Snowfling Mitts, Version 2

Two years ago around this same time of year, I purchased the Snowfling Mitts kit from Tanis Fiber Arts and knit up these fantastic mittens.

snowfling mittsAnd over the last two years they have been some of my most used mittens. Made in stranded colorwork and lined with a cashmere blend, you can surely understand why — they are very warm and very soft! With all the use they are holding up remarkably well, but my darling daughter has taken a liking to them. Our daily walks began to require wheeling and dealing to see which of us would get to wear them. And if you know anything about me when it comes to sharing my knitwear, you’ll know I was often left hunting for a different pair.

As I’ve mentioned, on my little birthday getaway trip to Spin of Door County I picked up some Madelinetosh DK & Pashmina so I could set about making myself another pair. I opted to make them one of my goals for my One Plus One Plus One Project this quarter and thus gave myself both permission and incentive to get them knitted up.

img_1842-1And that’s just what I’ve done!

img_2230Of course, once I start with colorwork I can never put it down. I worked both of the outer mitts first…

img_2257And then quickly moved on to the linings.

And now they’re done!

topsideI absolutely adore the mix of different snowflakes on the top of the hand. Personally, I don’t think the light blue/grey blend of the Cloud colorway could be any more perfect.

palmAnd the simple starry design on the palm is just like a light snow. I was aiming to be just a bit more relaxed with my gauge with these than the first pair in order to make them just a smidge roomier and I’m happy to report that my plan worked out perfectly and this pair is just exactly the size I wanted. I also diverged from the pattern in that this time around I went with the designer’s original impulse and made the picot edge the darker color. I opted for the darker edge partly just to try something a little different and partly because — I’ll be honest — the black/grey won’t show the dirt & wear the way the light blue/grey would. Oh, and instead of sewing the picot edge down I picked it up and knitted it at its turning point just to avoid the sewing. It’s not and neat and tidy as a sewn picot edge, BUT it saved me some time and it really isn’t noticeable when you’re actually wearing them.

As for the lining…

peekI’m not usually one to be very creative or, you know, skilled when it comes to pairing and coordinating colors. I usually seek (a lot) of help for this task, but when I saw the “Byzantine” colorway, I knew it could be no other way for these mitts.

snowfling insideoutI can say nothing more than I whole-heartedly adore how they turned out.

As they were off the needles, I laid them next to my computer so I could admire them while I got some work done. Within moments, my daughter sauntered up to have a look. She tried them on and said,

“Mom, can I have these? I really think they fit me perfectly.”

(For the record, remember they are a little big on me and she is 8).

I replied, “Oh, but I made these for me so you could have my red ones with the white snowflakes. You know, the ones you are always borrowing because you love them so much.”

(She pauses to admire my precious mittens.)

“No, I really think I should have these new ones.”

And with that she took it off and walked away.

We haven’t revisited the topic yet. It’s anyone’s guess how it’ll go down, but I’m guessing that the most likely outcome is that we’ll negotiate into some sort of scenario in which we share the two pairs. I won’t ever complain or deny my kiddos my knitwear, but for certain special projects I think I’ll always reserve the right to make them share with me.

general

To Call a Fig a Fig

Two nights ago while waiting for a swatch to dry so I could start a new project, I thought I’d be responsible and whip up a quick hat for which I’d wound yarn before our Yellowstone vacation. Responsible because the yarn was wound and I knew it’d be a quick knit. I got going on the ribbing and then had some… ahem… issues with putting it down.

img_2292-1Having been on a real colorwork kick lately, knitting up the Passerine Hat would be a great choice. I’d gotten the pattern & yarn right away when the pattern was first published for some very sentimental reasons (which I’ll share when it’s finished) and I knew it would be just a treat of a project. Plus, with the feel of colorwork already in my hands, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, yesterday I was knitting away, completely addicted to seeing the pattern take shape and before I knew it I was through the colorwork and beginning the crown shaping.

img_2294As my bedtime crept closer and I got more tired, I started looking more and more at my little birds. The tension in the colorwork wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. It looked fine, really, and I knew it would wear just fine, but the more crown shaping I did the more I knew I was not going to be satisfied. This treat was going to be imperfect unless I took drastic measures.

As knitters, I think we’ve all been in the spot where we have a choice to make about a project. Maybe the sizing of a sweater is a little off, maybe some stitches are twisted way back in the pattern, or maybe your colorwork isn’t quite perfect. The hardest choices are the ones that don’t have an obvious answer. Yes, I could leave this hat with the little imperfect birds. I’m really not a total perfectionist and I could probably live with it. Besides, no one would know except me that they were a little off.

Alas, just before bed I decided I couldn’t ignore the tension issues and I simply had to call this fig a fig. And thus, I awoke this morning to this…

img_2295With fresh eyes and a good night’s sleep under my belt, I’m ready to have another go at this little treat of a hat and to make it the little beauty that I know I can knit it into, the adorable hat that it is meant to be. Sure, it would have been nice to have done a more perfect job the first time. Yes, it’s a little frustrating to go back and re-do basically an entire hat. But if there’s one thing I’m certain in this craft, it’s that knitting in real life is rarely perfect and sometimes it requires a second go. That’s a fact with which, my friends, I am at total peace. And on that note, here I go again!

Righting the Ship

After a vacation, it always takes some doing to get back in that daily routine. Especially with the homeschooling aspect, the post-vacation recovery feels a little bit like righting a ship that’s listing hard to starboard. First there’s just getting the house in order & caught up with laundry and then there’s the getting the sleeping & waking schedules back on track, nudging the kiddos back up to speed in completing assignments, and just generally getting everyone back in the rhythm of our daily life. I’m happy to say that after a week and a half, we’re almost there.

For all the slow-pokedness and feet dragging, though, I will admit that I’ve managed to get a fair bit of knitting and spinning done. I finished up my vacation singles from Wolf Ridge Lamb & Wool Co.

img_2218In wanting to let them rest before plying, I had a bit of a conundrum. With new fiber on the way from Three Waters Farm for the Completely Twisted and Arbitrary SAL, should I wait for it to arrive or attempt to spin something up quickly in the interim? Figuring that the fiber — which is shipping from North Carolina — would probably be a bit delayed thanks to Snowzilla, I thought it only appropriate to spin up “Cool Conundrums,” also from Three Waters Farm.

img_2220-1I also took the opportunity to try to get to know my new Very Fast Flyer that I got for my birthday. Beyond just getting used to the speed — as the name indicates, it’s pretty fast — I wanted to get an idea for how much fiber will fit on the bobbins, if it changed how quickly I could get through a project, etc. I’m approaching the threshold where I’m not just hanging on for dear life and am actually getting a good feel for how to create with this new tool.

img_2222And for a first attempt with this flyer, I’m still hopeful that the yarn will turn out decent. I’m about three-quarters through the fiber and hope to wrap up the singles today so I can get at plying soon.

In my knitting life, I finished up my Samothrace Wings shawl…

img_2224I was working on this as part of the Three Waters Farm Susan Ashcroft SAL + KAL and was impressed that this pattern was not only memorize-able and highly addictive. I’m still waiting on my Agnes Sweater to dry (it’s being stubborn and slow) so I can block it, but I’m hopeful the proper FO pictures won’t be too far off.

I also attempted to learn how to use a pom maker…

img_2236in order to make a topper for my Timber Bay hat. I’m a little concerned the pom isn’t big enough — I had a real behemoth in my mind’s eye, I guess — but I actually ran out of yarn, so it’s going to have to do. I’ll get some photos of the finished hat soon so you can have a look.

AND, the last couple days Mr. Knitting Sarah has been deathly ill with the flu, so yesterday I spent some time just hanging out and resting with him. While relaxing, I went ahead and started my second One Plus One Plus One project — my Snowfling Mitts.

img_2230If you’ll remember, I got the yarn up at Spin of Door County for my birthday — it’s Tosh DK in Cloud and Leopard. Against pattern instructions, I went ahead and used the background color for the picot edge. I like how they look, but if I’m being honest it’s also so they don’t show dirt as much. What can I say? I’m outside a lot and I’ll be wearing these outside a lot.

In any case, as is the way with me and colorwork…

img_2234I couldn’t put them down and I finished the whole outer right mitten last night, including the thumb, before going to sleep. I have serious “can’t-put-it-down” issues with colorwork. There’s are worse things in life than not being able to set down colorwork. In any case, I’m going to whip up the left mitten and then move on to the linings.

And with that, it’s time to start our day. I’ll be making valiant efforts to stay on track, right this ship, and plow through today’s lesson plan. And I’ll probably sneak some time for a certain colorwork mitten, too.

In the Mean Time…

Well, I’ve got my plans for the Christmas Eve Cast-On as I shared in my last post and I managed to wrap up my holiday knitting early yesterday morning, finishing up my daughter’s Everyday Brew hat.

img_1719The big question, of course, was then:

What do I work on for the next 3 days?

The kiddos and I are still in school through Wednesday, so I knew I’d have a bit of my normal down-time while they work through lessons. I was thinking I’d wind a bunch of yarn I’ve been looking forward to knitting — a hat for myself, a very special cozy sweater, some warm socks for my kiddos, but I ran short on time for winding before the school day started so instead I opted for a project I’d purchased yarn for on my terrific lady day a couple months ago.

IMG_0873The five skeins at the bottom have been destined to be a Nordic Wind shawl and in a bout of extreme optimism a while back I’d prematurely wound all the yarn into center-pull balls. A simple design + beautiful yarn — it was the perfect answer to my question.

img_1723-1As soon as I cast-on, I instantly knew I’d chosen wisely. The pattern is incredibly easy and the yarn — of course — is a gorgeous luxury. It was absolutely ideal to work on during down time in school and then again, after a flurry of pre-holiday cleaning and a winter solstice walk with the kiddos…

img_1729-3It’s just such a wonderful project with which to unwind. I may have even knit through the entire first skein by the time I headed for bed. The pattern gives measurements for each color block section, but I’m opting to just knit through the skeins and shift colors when I run out.

In the above photo you can see my ‘advent calendar’ in the background. I’ve been faithfully keeping up with it and have even added a couple extra squares now and then just for fun.

img_1725-1Being the winter solstice, by the time I had my day’s square added I was out of natural light, so please pardon the horrendous lighting. I have a couple packs of mini skeins from Spun Right Round and Tanis Fiber Arts that I’m considering adding to the mix on this blanket. I’ve been saving them for other projects for a while and I think it’s time to just use them. Plus, I think they’ll be very fun additions.

My plans remain on track for the Christmas Eve Cast-On and I’ve still got some spinning I’d like to make happen before my house is full of guests, but I’m happy to have found my ‘in the mean time’ project. After all, we all deserve a good, relaxing knit this time of year — in between the cleaning and the baking and the wrapping and all the merrymaking. There is nothing quite like that down time with my needles — that pause to take it all in. The glimmer of the colorful Christmas lights, the sound of my kids playing with their train set, the dog snoring softly in the glow of the pretend fireplace — the very stuff of the holidays.

Saugerties Reprise

In early spring this year, I finished my Saugerties Shrug.

IMG_9599The pattern was love at first sight for me & I did the unthinkable in order to get this project on my needles: I actually set an alarm and entered the crazy & cut-throat race that are Plucky Knitter updates. Don’t get me wrong, The Plucky Knitter has some incredible yarns and colorways — I don’t think anyone can deny that. I’m just not into how competitive and rushed trying to order this yarn is. In any case, it says a lot that I actually made a point to get the kit.

Of course, there was a little drama. If you’ll remember from my post on the shrug I had narrowed the colorways down beforehand, but I misunderstood which was the main color and which was the contrast color so when the kit finally arrived I was kind of bummed. I emailed customer service — knowing full well it was my own fault — and asked if there was any chance I could buy an extra couple skeins of the dark color, Magnet & Steel, so I could flip the colors. They were prompt & friendly and set me right up and I went about the business of making my shrug. As you can see, it turned out great and I wear it all the time around my house now. It’s just perfect for throwing on for an added layer especially in the early morning or when I have to let Moose out. My husband compliments me on it a lot, too, which is kind of cool. When you knit as much as I do, I think those around you kind of become immune to fabulous knitwear so pointing out particular interest in one piece means it must be pretty special.

In any case, I decided last week it was time to make the matching hat. I’ll admit to having multiple motives. I wanted to knit a cool hat, yes, but I also knew it would be a good way to get my hands back in the groove of colorwork for a holiday project which I wanted to start. I got it on the needles the day before Thanksgiving and worked it just until I got past the needle change and got the second color started…

IMG_1485Once our noontime Thanksgiving meal was over and my cleaning duties complete, I settled back in with it while I visited with my mom. And before I knew it…

IMG_1489I was on the crown!

IMG_1493-1I finished just in time to watch the (less than stellar) Packer football game with my dad.

 IMG_1534And, of course, it’s been put through its paces. I honestly did not realize it was as slouchy as it is before I started. And yes, it’s supposed to be — I did check my gauge repeatedly throughout as well as once it was complete and it’s spot-on. I was a little unsure about that slouch when it first came off the needle, but I’m digging it now. It’s a great addition to my cold weather wardrobe.

Along with the successful hat, the project I was using it to prep for was also a great success…

IMG_1513-0I’ll just share one quick in-progress black & white photo for now and then I’ll share a proper FO post after the holiday. The recipient knows they are coming, but doesn’t know which colors I selected and I think it’ll be more fun to keep that a secret. Suffice to say, I purchased this pattern way back at the beginning of summer and was delighted to have an excuse to knit up a pair of these fantastic slippers. They knit up in a flash and turned out just wonderful, no doubt in thanks to the extra practice with my hat. It’s rare that I plan my knitting to work out quite so neatly, but I have to admit I’m pretty pleased with how these two project played out. A new hat for me, a holiday gift complete all by way of knitting with one of my favorite techniques. What a great way to spend a a few days worth of my crafting time!