Sunday, October 19, 2014


So this is mostly a ta-da! post about the Gnome Mittens by Spillyjane (if you don't know Spillyjane and like fair isle or happiness then you are seriously missing out).

Anyway, I promised my niece Sarah that I'd make her these mittens for her 24th birthday.  For those of you keeping score at home that momentous occasion took place in April of 2013.  Road to Hell, good intentions, etc. etc., yadda yadda.

I cast them on in March of 2013, made it as far as about here:

...and then I bailed on them.  I don't know what happened.  Maybe it was the rows that involve three colors at once (damned gnome beards) or maybe it was the parade of other knits that caught my eye.  I'm not sure exactly what it was but as the months went by Sarah was getting less and less patient with my bullshit.

Me:  ::posts picture of finished scarf::
Sarah:  Hey that's nice!  You know what else is nice?  Mittens with gnomes on them.
Me:  ::posts picture of finished sweater::
Sarah:  Wow,  you're really cranking out those knits!  Feeling like a little mitten knittin'?
Me:  ::posts picture of fourth finished sweater::

So anyway, last Saturday I picked up the first mitten and by the end of the night, it was done.  "Well," I thought to myself, "that was embarrassing."

I cast the second mitten on the next day and did a bit here and there during the week.  Yesterday, I sat down, put on some podcasts, and finished it up.   BOOM.

Gnome Mittens by Spillyjane
Needles:  Knitpicks size 3, 16" circs
Yarn: Various colors of Knitpicks Palette, raided from my bestie Koren's stash
Yardage:  184, estimated by weight of 40g

Next up, I'm working on finishing up a shawl that I'm lovingly referring to as "Not Socks Then," knit from a Patons sock yarn that stubbornly refused, through three tries and four years to become socks.

(And a quick update to follow-up my last post, all buttons have been sewn on, and I've worn all the sweaters I knit this summer except for Ardys.  I don't have the right outfit for that yet, or haven't figured out how to wear it or something.  I need a white Oxford button down.  I ended up buying new buttons for Myrna, as neither of the options I found pleased me.)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Button, Button! Who's Got the Button?

I do!


So, all the sweaters that I've declared "done" this summer?  Yeah, you guessed it.  "Done except for the buttons..."  Hey, give me a break, it was July, it's not like I was gonna wear a worsted weight wool sweater anyway.

Anyway, a couple of trips to my button box and the local Joann's Fabrics, and I think I'm set.

These wee little flowers are for Alice.  Simple and sweet.

I wanted something kind of funky and maybe a little rustic for Harvest.

(Ardys didn't actually need any buttons, so it really is done.)

And then there's my latest FO, Myrna.  She's still blocking (and still damp), so I can't do a full-on, modeled "TA-DA!" post yet, but here's a teaser shot:

My foot is totally hiding a stain in the carpet.  Move along folks,
there's nothing to see here.
I'm debating a couple of different button options.  I found these two in my button box:

Of the two, I think I like the white and gold better, but I'm not entirely sold.  I may end up back at Joann's before all is said and done.

(I hope none of you noticed that none of these pictures actually show actual buttons on actual garments...)

Monday, September 01, 2014

Summer of the Sweater

This has been the Summer of the Sweater.  Since May I've knit Harvest, by Tin Can Knits, Ardys, by Laura Aylor, and now Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska.

That's three sweaters!
That's right, Alice is done, baby.  BOOM!

I would show you the front, but I haven't fixed the button band yet.
The front view's a bit ... revealing.
I am so pleased, and proud of this sweater.  It's my first time doing top-down set in sleeve construction--which wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it might be.  For the most part, the pattern was clear and well-written, though not for the faint of heart (or inexperienced).  There were a couple of places where it essentially said "keep doing what you ought to do in this spot..." so if you didn't know what you ought to do, you'd be kind of screwed.

I mostly did though, so that's alright then.

I used Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, which is a tonal sock yarn that has enough color variance to almost count as variegated.  I swapped out skeins every two rows to keep it from doing any weird flashing or pooling or what-have-you.  That seems to have worked pretty well, though it did make for a billionty ends to weave in.

Lessons learned:  I wish I'd made it a size smaller than I did. It's supposed to have negative ease, and it's a smidge loose throughout the bustular region.   I also decided to skip adding buttonholes to the front placket because I figured I'd never wear it open anyway.  I'm regretting that life-choice.  Not a major deal, but I wouldn't do it that way if I could go back in time and do it again.  

Project Specs

Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 6
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, Canopy
Pattern:  Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska
Started: July 22, 2014
Finished: August 30, 2014

So now what?

I don't have a sweater problem. You have a sweater problem.

P.S. Don't worry, Sarah -- your Gnomes are back on the radar.  

Wee Gnomes All in a Row

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Finished! WendyKnits' Summer Mystery Shawl(ette)

Guys!  I finished a thing!  I know that's less of a cause for shock, alarm, or celebration than it would have been, say, four years ago.  But after four weeks of working on Alice almost exclusively it's nice to have something positive to report.

I started the Wendy Knit's Summer Mystery Knit-along on a whim.  I never finish the things, and often don't entirely care for them, but the spirit of along-i-tude swept me up and before I knew it I'd signed up and dug around in the stash.  (It should be noted that this happened right before or about the same time as my recent change in attitude about knitting.  This represents more of my old style and approach than it does what I'm trying to do now.)

Pros:  I could use old-growth stash on this, no problem.  So I got to feel virtuous.  The design included a "Knit According to Your Yarn" option that me use up every last drop of the skein.

That little tail there is straight up all that was left.
Cons: The size and shape I ended up with feels a little "old lady" to me.  (No offense intended to any ladies, old or otherwise.)   I tried it on before blocking and well it's okay.

I don't think I'd wear it like this?  I tried wrapping it up like a cowl.

G+ made me a fashion montage!  Alas, it did not also fix my hair.
That's a little better.

I've got it blocking now, and yoinked (technical term) on it some.  That'll open up the garter stitch, so I'll lose some squashiness (another technical term), but gain some length.

Summer Shawlette

Pattern:  WendyKnits' Summer Mystery Shawl 2014
Yarn:  Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet DK, bought at my local, The Knaughty Knitter
Needle:  Knit Picks Options Interchangeables, Size 7

Update on the Alice-Front

I'm to the bottom ribbing/patterning/hem thing-a-ma-jig.  The pattern has you shape the stockinette body of the sweater as an a-line.  The very bottom is a repeat of the faux-cable that makes up the front of the bodice. Five repeats of this bad-boy and Boom!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Let Us Observe a Moment of Silence

... for the Watergarden fair isle sweater.  Alas, poor knit, we hardly knew ye.

The Watergarden sweater is a men's fair isle sweater from Interweave Knits.  I cast it on back in 2008 out of Knit Picks Palette and got maybe, I dunno, 4-5" done.  And then I set it down and never, ever came back to it.

Long-time friends of the show will note that it has appeared in every single February is for Finishing post since.  And even as recently as this past February I was still protesting that I was gonna knit it someday.

Yeah, no.

There comes a time in every knitter's life when she needs to get a frickin' grip, and y'all that time has come and come again.

What with my new-found resolutions to knit things I'll really wear and a healthy dose of reality checking I realized that EVEN.  EVEN IF. I should ever actually finish the entire mostrosity of a sweater, I would never. ever. wear it.

So, after 6 years of protestation and hand-wringing I ripped that sucker out.

Now I just need to figure out what the heck to do with eleventeen tons of Palette.   A variation on Funky Grandpa perhaps?

Meanwhile, Alice carries on.  I'm a good 4" into the stockinette and am at the stage where the end is both in sight and so very, very far away.

Maybe a beer will help.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Go Ask Alice

Since I had that knitting epiphany I was talking about last week, I've started choosing my projects differently (which only follows after all, otherwise what's the point?)  I guess what I mean is that I am thinking about projects differently.   Time was I'd see a sweater and think "that looks like it would be awesome to knit" -- and don't get me wrong, that's definitely still a consideration.  But now I'm trying to stop and think "would that be awesome to wear?"

A subtle and important difference, methinks.

My current project is (I hope!) going to be both. I'm making Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska. The construction is wicked clever. It's a fitted sleeve that's knit top-down. I feel confident that the designer is cleverer than I, but the pattern is well enough written that I'm doing alright.

This is my first stab at knitting an adult garment in fingering weight yarn.  I'm using Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in "Canopy" (it's much more variegated than I was hoping it would be.  I'm trying to be at peace with the occasional bit of pooling-weirdness.)  It's going a lot faster than I was expecting, but I'm still about to the point where I'm longing for a spot of worsted weight.

Project Specs

Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 6
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, Canopy
Pattern:  Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska
Started: July 22, 2014