FF: No spinning, double FOs for Project Spectrum

It's rapidly moving in to that sad time of year when the spinning wheel starts to get a little dusty. I haven't quite managed to fold it up and put it away in the Stash n' Gear Room yet, but the brake band and the drive band are both off, and it's looking a bit neglected. Which is unfortunate, because I received 12 oz of Hello Yarn goodies in two different colorways this week, and I'm itching to spin them up. However, it is That Season, and so the spinning is taking a back seat.

In order to try and make it up to you, I present instead, not one but two FOs in my favorite color. One is a start on the gift list, the other is for me. So here goes...

The giftee:

Jack in the box mittens

Pattern: Jack in the Box Mittens by Robin Melanson, from Knitting New Mittens and Gloves
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted (100% wool, 245 yds/100g), left over from a sweater knit for my MIL long ago, color Touche Teal (icky name), and I used less then one skein.
Needles: US 6/4.0 mm for cuff, and US 7/4.5 mm for rest
Gauge: 5.5 stitches/8 rows per inch.
Start/finish: 4 Oct-8 Oct 2009. Really they were finished today when I sewed on the buttons. But so quick!
Comments/mods: I made the "mens" size, and the finished measurements are 10.5 inches long (from edge of cuff) and 8 inches around. They are roomy on my hands and about an inch too long for me. Which is ok, they aren't for me. The pattern was well written, quick to knit and fun. All good there.

Some details:

Jack in the box mittens
This cuff was fun...

Jack in the box mittens
I love the Staghorn Cable down the back of the hand - it's such a great texture

Jack in the box mittens

Jack in the box mittens

I can't believe it's taken me so long to jump on the mitten bandwagon. They are great projects! And, given that you can knit them in something other then fingering weight, they're a lot faster then socks...

FO #2 (for, ehem, me):

Seablue Playmate

Pattern: Indigo Playmate by Wendy Bernard, from Custom Knits
Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair (70% wool/30% mohair, 140 yds/2 oz), colorway Glacier Lake. I had 11 skeins of this originally, but I ended up with about 9 skeins worth (weight-wise) in this sweater.
Needles: US 7/4.5 mm
Gauge: 4.5 stitches/6.5 rows per inch after blocking.
Start/finish: 3 Sept-8 Oct 2009 (knitting was actually finished about a week earlier, but I have a blocking block).
Comments/mods: I repurposed this yarn from a Moriah's Wildflower Cardigan that I knit PR (pre-Ravelry), and then didn't wear much in Texas. I subsequently discovered that someone had chewed a wee hole in the bottom of it, and decided to rip it out and reuse the yarn in something else.

The yoke and body knit up really quickly. I found that I liked the way this yarn knit up on 4.5 mm needles much better then the US 9/5.5 mm needles I had used for the cardigan; the fabric is thick and cushy and snuggly, but still fluid, while the previous incarnation felt a bit too loosely knit.

Seablue Playmate

I did modify a few things. The collar was supposed to be three inches wide at the bottom edge (so not including the short rows for the shawl collar), but I was wary of yardage, and only knit it two inches wide. Still works fine, but the shawl collar isn't quite as dramatic. I think I like it better this way - this is my first shawl collar, and I was a bit dubious about the full sweep shown in the book. But I like how it looks on (pardon the crappy modeled shot but my photographer is busy eating gelato and looking at rocks in Pisa, so this was the best I could do) (PS - Honey? I'm gonna be so glad when you get home. Be warned that I'm dumping the kids on you and vanishing out the door ASAP).

Seablue Playmate

The other modification I made was to knit the belt and then decide I like it better without. I'm a bit...thick around the middle, and as knit, the belt made this ride up a bit too much and get too short. So I've decided to leave it open. If it needs to be closed, there's always a trusty shawl pin around that would work.

Seablue Playmate

I do love this yarn though. It's got great depth of color, and just feels so nice and soft. I guess it wouldn't be that great if you have an issue with mohair, but I love it. I wish it weren't quite so pricey, but there you have it. Gorgeous stuff.

Make do and mend

I've been catching up on the latest Cast-On series, the focus of which is reusing and recycling stuff you already have. In that spirit (and because if I buy any more yarn I will move dangerously closer to SABLE territory), I've been doing a bit of recycling myself.

First up is a (gasp!) sewing project. There are a number of clothes lurking in my closet that have not been worn in a shameful period of time, because they don't fit anymore or the style isn't quite right or whatever. One of these was a nice skirt that I've had for years, 100% silk with buttons down the front, which I haven't worn in eons because it was a very unfortunate mid-calf dowdy length. I've been meaning to shorten it for a long time, and last week while Boo ventured off to daycare and it was just me and the Wee Devil, I did just that.

Much better. The picture is courtesy of Devil, who is showing unholy fascination with my new camera. Methinks she'll need one for Christmas so she can fulfill her destiny of being the next Ansel Adams.

The other repurposing project ongoing is the reclamation of 11 skeins of GMS Mountain Mohair from a sweater I knit long ago, and really enjoyed for a while, but put away when we got to Houston. And then I pulled it out and discovered this:

Mountain Mohair cardigan

So last week I also turned that sweater into a pile of yarn cakes, which were then washed, dried and are in the process of being reknitted into Indigo Playmate, from one of my recent book purchases.


Blue spaghetti

Blue spaghetti!


Playmate in progress

I finished the yoke Monday morning while both of my children were at (gulp!) school, and am making good progress on the body. It's stockinette with occasional increasing/decreasing, so it's perfect for TV knitting. So far it's seen "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Oceans Eleven". Quality cinema at its best!

FO: Chickadee Cowl

Chickadee Cowl

This past Sunday, I picked up my handspun Briar Rose BFL, and wound it up to cast on for the March/April project, the Chickadee Cowl.

Approximately 30 hours later, I was done. Wow. Fabulous, instant gratification, assisted by the fun of knitting with handspun, and a totally addictive combination of pattern stitch and color progression.

Chickadee Cowl

Pattern: Chickadee Cowl by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: BFL handspun singles, dyed by Chris at Briar Rose Fibers for the Ply By Night SAL/KAL group on Ravelry.
Needles: 16 inch US size 10.5/6.5 mm circulars.
Gauge: totally off from the pattern, which called for 13 stitches/4 inches. Mine was about 20 stitches/4 inches. Thankfully, it stretches enough to fit over my big head, so anyone who might get it as a present should be ok.

The yarn is lovely and soft, and has a phenomenal sheen. I will definitely be getting more fiber from Chris in the future, since it was so fun to spin and knits up so beautifully.

Hey there stranger!

It's been a while, no? We have made it out of Houston (just ahead of a Flood of Biblical Proportions) and are comfortably ensconced in Vermont at the moment. I've taken advantage of the Grandmothers to get some knitting done. But in order to have at least a few posts over the next few days, I will not talk about all of it here.

First up: ta da! The first of the TdF socks is done in it's first incarnation (the cuff is going to be adjusted when I get to London and the rest of my yarn for this project).


Pattern: my own, to be available in late June.
Yarn: Cascade Fixation (98% cotton/2% elastic), 100 yds/50 gr. For a women's size 10 I used about a ball and a half.
Needles: US 1/2.25 mm
Gauge: 7.5 stitches/12 rows per inch.

These anklets are knit from the toe up, with an easy lace pattern reminiscent of the switchbacks on Alpe d'Huez, one of the most famous and storied climbs in the Tour de France. Easy, peasy and quite comfy for the hot days of summer, whether or not you're riding your bike!

Sad Day

So last night, I finally finished dropping down and picking up all the stitches on the back of Aleita, knit the last inch and a half, and sewed up the shoulders so I could try it on.

Aleita Shell

Umm...well...no. Just...no.

Where do I begin? I guess the good news is that the length overall is ok (I was worried I would need to add length below the waist decreases). But the bad news is that neckline. Dude. That sucker needs to come up at least three inches. At least.

Aleita Shell

And while I'm at it? A couple inches longer before the waist decreases is probably a good call. Survey says frog pond.

So I guess that week I spent slaving with a crochet hook was worth it, hunh? Grrrr....