FO: Ply by Night cowl and mitt set

Linen stitch set

Pattern: cowl blogged here, mitts just made up out of my head using linen stitch and more or less the same made up pattern I used for the manly mitts.
Yarn: handspun BFL singles from Chris at Briar Rose Fibers, blogged here in its final form. I used about 3/4 of the yarn, lets say 180 yds for the pair.
Needles: US 5/3.75 mm
Start/finish (for mitts): 12 December - 14 December 2009
Comments: No mods because it's my own pattern. I cast-on 47 stitches and worked in linen stitch pattern for 2 inches. Then I increased one stitch at beginning and end of row (2 sts increased) every third row five times, working new stitches in pattern. worked for about 2 more inches, then put 10 extra stitches on waste yarn, rejoined and worked 2 inches. Bound off in purl. Picked up 10 extra stitches plus 3 more and worked in linen stitch for 0.75 inches around the thumb, then bound off in purl.

BFL linen stitch mitts

Thankfully my mom's hands aren't too big, because the linen stitch has very little elasticity. But the set was very well received!

FO: Hat and mitten set

Back to the Christmas rundown. This was certainly the year for handspun gifts.

Night sky set

The hat was knit in July, and I had enough of the yarn (blogged here) to make some matching mittens.

Night Sky handspun mittens

Pattern: Robin's Egg Blue hat by Rachel Iufer, inspiring matching mittens
Yarn: Hello Yarn Fiber Club superwash BFL in "Night Sky", 2 skeins bulky weight, 245 yds. I used probably 200 yds for the set.
Needles: US 10/6.0 mm - next time I'll go down a needle size on the mittens - they were a bit loosely knit.
Comments/mods: I've already blogged the hat, so I'll just comment a bit on the mittens. I figured out the number of stitches I wanted for the folded over cuff, and worked that like the band on the hat. Then I knit a generic mitten shape, with an inset thumb (as opposed to a thumb gusset deal). The mittens are a bit loose, but I think they can work with liners if it's really cold.

Night Sky handspun mittens

The buttons came from some I salvaged off my Mountain Mohair sweater when I turned it into spaghetti. I think they work well, and the receipient seems to like them!

FO: Handspun manly mitts

Handspun manly mitts

Pattern: my own, a simple k6, p2 rib for the body of the mitt, with 8 stitches increased for the thumb gusset.
Yarn: Handspun BFL from Spunky Eclectic, detailed here
Needles: US 3/3.25 mm
Start/finish: 2 December - 6 December 2009
Gauge: ~6 st/inch
Comments/mods: Made for my brother, who lives in DC, where it gets cold, but not really really cold. I suspect he won't wear these much in the winter, but they'll be good for spring/fall transitional times.

Handspun manly mitts

I worked four rows of k1, p1 ribbing before switching to the main stitch pattern and worked for 2.5 inches before starting the thumb increases. Then put thumb stitches on waste yarn and worked the body of the mitt for another 1.5 inches before ending with 4 rows of ribbing. Then picked up thumb stitches plus 4 more and worked four rows of ribbing. Done and dusted (in the local vernacular).

I hope everyone has a great New Year's Eve tonight!

FO: Homage to Hello Yarn

Of all the Christmas presents, these were the hardest to give up, by far!

Snail mittens

Snail mittens

Pattern: Norwegian Snail Mittens by Adrian Bizilia
Yarn: Handspun BFL in natural brown and "Norway" (dyed by Adrian as part of the Hello Yarn Fiber Club)
Needles: US 00/1.75 mm (hoo boy!)
Gauge: ~ 9 stitches/inch
Start/finish: 8 November - 6 December 2009
Comments/mods: I've blogged about the spinning here. The 2.5 oz of brown BFL I originally spun up ended up being too thick as a 3-ply, so I spun up another ounce quickly and 2-plied it, getting ~70 yards. That worked perfectly. I ended up having to spin up another ounce later (72 yds) but didn't finish it all off. Let's say ~120 yds of the brown.

I didn't use up all of the Norway I'd spun either. As you can see, the stripes didn't match up as well as I was hoping, but I refused to let that bother me. Otherwise, I would have been splicing and swearing about small bits of handspun gone to waste and so on. I think I probably used two thirds of each skein, so maybe 3 oz total? Again, since I didn't measure the yardage, I have no idea how much I used. I'll have to measure the leftovers and weight them to get an estimate.

Snail mittens

The pattern was great fun to knit, although I have issues with using sport weight yarn on miniscule needles. My bright blue metal size 00 dpns are now bent and tortured from the effort of trying to knit with this stuff. I adore the stripes on the palms. Maybe even more then the snails...

Snail mittens

It's a very good thing these were a bit tight around the hand, otherwise my mother-in-law might be going home with very chilly fingers. I hope these beauties enjoy life in Vermont!

ETA (30 Dec): my MIL wore these yesterday on our poorly planned hike in the rain/sleet/snow and her hands stayed dry and warm enough that she had to take the mittens off. There's something to be said for teeny tiny needles I guess!

FO: Veil of Isis, the details

Now that all the Giftmas knitting has been gifted, I can actually get my brag on about some of these babies. Some have already been displayed, but here's the first of the secret projects.

Veil of Isis

Veil of Isis

Pattern: Veil of Isis from BadCatDesigns
Yarn: Indecita Baby Alpaca, fingering weight, purchased in Cuzco by Ironman way back when, a bit more then four skeins, but I don't know the yardage
Needles: US 2/2.75 mm
Gauge: it's lace. Who cares.
Start/finish: This was my Ravelympics 2008 project, so I started August 8, 2008. Finished November 5, 2009.
Comments/mods: The Albatross is finished, long live the Albatross. I decided that doing my first beaded anything would be a good challenge for the 2008 Ravelympics, and doing an entire lace shawl in two plus weeks would be a serious challenge. I was right. The beads slowed me way down, but I still don't think I could have gotten the whole thing done without the beads. Lace is hard, and when the rows got up in the neighborhood of 400+ stitches each, things slowed down even more...

The pattern is not for the faint of heart, as it requires being able to read your knitting and figure out where you are both within the row and within the pattern. The pattern is charted, but not for the entire shawl, so it takes some paying attention to keep things going. That being said, the pattern is fairly intuitive once you get into the swing of it. And the results are beyond gorgeous.

Veil of Isis

The pattern calls for five repeats of chart B, but I did four. I used size 6 black seed beads that I found at the local Houston bead shop. Hundreds of them. And a very small crochet hook. I got one tube of beads to start, which had ~600 beads in it - those were used up about two thirds of the way through. Suffice to say I lost count and there are a metric crapton of shiny little black bits.

Unblocked the shawl was 38 inches along the diagonal and 28 inches along each side. I messed up a bit with the blocking wires, and ended up blocking it in a slightly circular shape, but it ended up about 50 inches in diameter.

Veil of Isis

This baby went to my sister-in-law, who is possibly the only person I know elegant enough to be able to use this. She seems to be enjoying it so far.

Veil of Isis