Saturday, February 28, 2009


I don't really have much to blog about today, but I feel like I should. Know what I mean? It's just one of those weird days; I'm just a little 'off'.

One thing I would like to share with you... Over at Clicks 'n Things, there's a photo series happening. My sister (she of Capricious Cogitation*) challenged me to join her in her Lent project. Last year, she posted a picture every day except Sunday. I've decided to take her up on her challenge. Feel free to check out both blogs.

My photos are pictures that I've taken in the past (with a REAL.... film.... camera), and scanned into my computer. This week, I went through almost 10 years of photos, threw out a lot, and intend to scan a bunch of the remaining. 

Knitting has been pushed to the backburner much of this week because of the photo project; as well, I just haven't felt like picking up the needles, even though I want the mittens, among other things, done. Like I said, I'm feeling a little 'off', for some reason.

Oh well, today John and I have every intention of just getting out for a while. Maybe that will help.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Quick Post

I've decided to change the look of the blog.... just slightly. I hope you don't mind too much. More little changes to come as time permits.

Nothing Like A Mental Health Day!

Today, I'm taking a "me" day. Work, at least my share of it, is slow at the moment, so I decided that today would be the perfect day to take off. So far, I've gone through all my old photos and tossed out a lot of them. I'm left with one much smaller box of pictures and I have every intention of going through that box photo by photo. Some I'll scan, some I'll put aside for each of the kids, some will be tossed.

As well, I've made a pan of cream of mushroom soup that turned out spectacularly well. It will become part of dinner (which I have planned.... Crab Stuffed Sole Meuniere, served over rice, with vegetables on the side), as well as some for tomorrow's lunch. Incidentally, the crab stuffed sole recipe is from I'll let you know how it turns out; it certainly sounded good.

I've also been working on the Ruba'iyat mittens. The second one is coming along very nicely, thank you very much, and here's the picture to prove it. I've also been working on a mitten design of my own. One day, I may even knit it up! I must say that this fairisle/norwegian style mitten knitting and designing is very addictive. Coming up with the designs is almost like colouring is to a child. Fun, fun, fun!

This second picture is a tv-knitting item. I'm not sure how it will turn out, but it is intended to be a wrister, no thumb opening, no fingers, just a tube of knitting to wear around my wrists when I'm on the computer in the mornings. I find that my wrists, especially the right one, gets very cold and achy. Just a cuff of knitting around my wrist helps immensely. The yarn I'm using for this k3, p1 rib wrister is, once again, the JarboGarn laceweight that I love so much. I'm using 2.25 mm dpns, 64 stitches. 

While I think of it, Nicola asked where Stacey and her husband got married. It was Mexico. And apparently, it rained the day of their wedding, so it was in a chapel rather than on the beach as originally planned. She did, apparently, get many favourable comments on the dress (that's a good thing!)

I was also asked about the yarn I'm using for the Ruba'iyat mittens. The brown yarn is Louet Gems Pearl and the coloured yarn is Fleece Artist sock yarn. Don't ask me about the colourway, as the tags were lost way back. Both yarns have been living in my stash for at least a couple of years. I must admit, it is nice to have a stash to knit from. :)

Now, it's time to prep for dinner. We won't be eating for a few hours yet, but there's prep work I can do now. Then, I'll have some more time to knit on the mittens. All in all, I'm having a good day!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nothing to Report From the Home Front

I don't really have much to blog about right now, but I wouldn't want you to think I'd fallen off the face of the earth or anything. 

The second of the Ruba'iyat mittens is about half finished and looking good; I was hoping to have it done this weekend but the weekend was spent on other things.... like getting my mop cut. I'm much happier now.

I'll get back to the mittens this week.  (Forgive the mess behind me; this room is our office/sewing/storage/ironing room.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

One Down, One to Go

One of the Ruba'iyat mittens is off the needles. I love it! It fits perfectly, the colours are gorgeous (the pictures really don't do justice to the colours)... what's not to love? The second mitten is now on the needles and I've just about completed the wrist band. And it's snowing. I'll probably get some use out of these mittens before spring arrives.

Earlier this past week, Stacey emailed me a couple of wedding pictures. You will remember that I made her wedding dress. As promised, here are the pictures of Stacey and her new husband.

Now, back to mitten #2.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mittens Revisited

I've found my mittens! That is, I found a mitten pattern that I really like and that is going to fit me nicely. Thank goodness for Ravelry!

I was going through some old posts in a group I recently joined ("I Make Mittens") when I came across a post offering a free pattern. As soon as I saw the picture, I was smitten. I printed up the pattern and headed straight to my stash. My first choice of contrast colour was a bust.. there just wasn't enough contrast. Then, I remembered that I still had more than enough of the Fleece Artist sock yarn that I'd used for my Swallowtail shawl. I found it, tried it and was thrilled with the results.

I love this contrast. I think I'm going to love these mittens.

The pattern is by Heather Desserud and is called "Ruba'iyat Mittens". As specified in the pattern, I'm using a 2.5 mm circular needle and working the Magic Loop method. The yarn I'm using is Louet Gems fingering weight in brown and Fleece Artist Merino sock in shades of turquoise/green/purple. I'm following the pattern as written except for one small modification. Heather starts her mittens with 4 rounds of ribbing; I chose to start with a picot edging, giving the mitten a double-thick cuff. I think it will compliment the mittens nicely.

At this stage, I'm a little over halfway through the first mitten and it fits perfectly around my hand. I'm pretty sure that the length will be just right, too. See the diamond shaped motif? Well, it's to be repeated for the top of the hand and when I took the picture, I wasn't quite up to the top of that motif.

I love it when it all comes together!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Adventures in Mitten Knitting

When it comes to knitting, this has been a disappointing week. Maybe it's nothing more than the February doldrums, but my knitting has been slow, frustrating and very little of it. Granted, it didn't help that my wrist was sore and aggravated by things at work, but still...

I've worked on the Norwegian mittens a bit this week. It's a little on the small side, I'm afraid. Once blocked, it may be alright, but right now, I find this one a little on the snug side. Hmm, that seems to be a pattern this week... more on that later.

I like how it looks; I like the warmth of it; I don't like the fit of it. I'll finish this one and I'll block it, but until then, I won't start the second one. As you can see, all that's left to do is the thumb and then the picot cuff needs to be stitched up.

In my last post, I asked for your input and Nicola suggested EZ's Mitred Mitts from "Knitter's Almanac". Seeing as I just happen to have said book, I looked it up and decided I'd try them. I'm using Noro Silk Garden on 4.0 mm needles. I started with an I-cord cast on, which EZ suggests as an option. I've never tried this cast on before; I like it. It gives the mitten a finished look. I'll have to remember this cast on. (See the end of this post for the how-to.)

EZ (Elizabeth Zimmermann, for those unfamiliar with her) suggests just snipping the yarn where you want the thumb, but in case I decide to frog these (and, yes, I might), I used waste yarn instead. Here, you can see that I've started to pull out the waste yarn, after threading the thumb stitches onto more waste yarn. Why? So I can try this mitten on for thumb placement/cuff length and to see how I like the look and feel.

And the prognosis? Well, first off, again I find the mitten on the snug side. That's alright for the cuff, but not for the hand. Secondly, I have a feeling that the base of the thumb will not be the most comfortable. Can you see how the stitches are stretched apart? I'm afraid the corners of the thumb, especially the outer corner, will become a stress point, making it a touch uncomfortable. One thing I know about myself is that any little thing that causes any kind of irritation will cause me to throw a garment to the other side of the room and never wear it again (I'm the same with scratchy labels in clothes).

*Big sigh* I'm afraid this mitten is destined for the frog pond. Back to the drawing board.

The I-cord cast on... basically, all you do is knit an I-cord. The number of rows in your I-cord should be the same as the number of stitches required for your cast on (in the case of the mittens above, that would be 48 rows). Finish off the I-cord and, with your working yarn, pick up and knit the required stitches from the I-cord. Once your project is complete, sew the ends of the I-cord together. Simple, clean, finished.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I've been thinking...

So, if you’ve been reading this blog lately, you’ll know that I’m into mittens and gloves right now. In looking at and trying out different patterns, something’s caused me to wonder. Thumbs.

In particular, thumb gussets. I know about peasant thumbs, almost like an afterthought thumb, which has no increases for the thumb. Basically, they’re like a buttonhole, usually on the palm side of the hand. Stitches are put onto waste yarn at the place where the thumb will be, and the same number of stitches are cast on and the rest of the mitten is worked. This is one thumb I’m not particularly fond of because I think there would be way too much stress on both sides of the thumb opening. I know about the standard thumb gusset, with it’s increases every third round or, sometimes, every other round. Once you have the required number of stitches for the thumb, they’re put on to waste yarn and picked up later when the rest of the mitten or glove is finished.

Lately, though, quite a few of the patterns I’ve perused have a different kind of thumb gusset, one that I’ve not knit before. They’re increased every round until the required number of thumb stitches have been worked. Then, the mitten is knit upwards until the whole mitten is at the right length for the thumb opening. That’s when the thumb stitches are removed to waste yarn. From there, the mittens are worked the same as those with other types of thumb gussets.

Also, thumb gusset placement isn’t uniform on all patterns. Some, like the basic mittens and gloves in Ann Budd’s book “Handy Book of Patterns” are what are known as ‘sore thumbs’; in other words, they stick out like a… well, you know. In other patterns, the thumb is offset towards the palm by a few stitches.

I’d post pictures of all these different thumb gussets, but I haven’t knit all of them. What’s your experience in mitten or glove knitting? Which methods of thumb gusset, or lack thereof, have you tried? What’s your favourite, or preferred, thumb gusset and thumb placement?

That reminds me… Interweave Knits had an article in it’s Winter 2003 issue on thumb gussets. It includes descriptions of the basic, wide, palm and asymmetric gussets. What I’m talking about here are variations on the basic gusset.

Talk to me.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I'm Stoked!

Yesterday being the lovely, sunny, crisp day that it was, John and I went for a walk. On our way back to the apartment, I insisted that we stop in at the used book store just up the street.

I like to drop in there now and then, just to see what they've got in the way of knitting books. I was not disappointed this time. There, on the shelf, in pristine condition, was a copy of Alice Starmore's "Book of Fair Isle Knitting". This book has been on my wish list since I borrowed it from the library last year. The marked price was $9.95, but when I brought it to the till to pay for it, I was informed that all crafting books were 30% off. I got this book for about $7.00! It was only after I'd paid for it that I let the clerk know that I'd seen this book online, through, for up to $120. I'd say I got a deal, wouldn't you?

I can see more fairisle knitting in my future.

Now, I leave you with a picture of Trinity with her new baby brother, while I get to my knitting.