Twiglet Mitts

Over the past few months I’ve sung the praises of Martine – the creative lady behind the iMake blog & podcast – many times. I live in the middle of the United States and she lives on Guernsey, an island in the middle of the English Channel, so we’ve never met or even spoken to each other, but as co-hosts of the MerryKAL we have been in touch over the last few months many times via email. I’ve also been listening to her podcast & even left her an audio message which she shared on her show. I have been so thankful for her involvement in the MerryKAL — the space she’s provided for the KAL in her Ravelry group has been such great fun. Beyond that, the energy & enthusiasm she brings to everything she undertakes is contagious and so fun to be around. It’s hard to not walk away from one of her projects smiling & excited for whatever comes next. In fact, I find it pretty hard to move at the speed of a mere mortal afterwards. It’s a curse I happily bear!

A few weeks ago, Matine very kindly gifted me one of her patterns: her Twiglet Mitts. I did a stage four stash dive (this was pre-organization, so it was kind of a big deal) to find the perfect¬† yarn. I was looking for something kind of earthy to contrast the lace, so I settled on some Dream in Color Smooshy in the November Muse colorway.¬† I am a big fan of Dream in Color yarns — they are also a US distributor of The Herdy Company, makers of pretty much the cutest sheepy gifts on Earth (they even make a lot of their stuff in the UK — love those ‘local’ manufacturers!). Some day I totally want these.

But I digress.

Anyhoo, Smooshy & pattern in hand, I started out on my Twiglet Mitts the day before leaving on our spring break vacation to Omaha.20130325-170112.jpgThey were super fun to knit — not too hard, but not boring either. I did the bulk of their knitting in the car to and fro’ our vacation spot. By the time. I got home I had finished my beautiful mitts.

twiglets both fullI have thumbs that were made for a hitch-hiker which makes my hands rather wide — it makes me well-suited to piano playing, but I did need to add on stitches to make these mitts fit properly. Have no fear, though, Martine includes easy to follow directions for doing this. She thinks of everything.

twiglets close upI love how this yarn makes the lace a little rustic.

twiglets wristsAnd yet there’s this hint of daintiness with a slightly scalloped edge.

on handThe fit could not be better! There is a lot of hype on her Ravelry thread from those who have completed the pattern about the excellent fit of the thumb. I am here to concur that this thumb construction is the best fitting thumb I’ve worked. She really outdid herself perfecting it!

I’ll be announcing the lucky winners of the MerryKAL giveaway shortly — some of the lucky participants will be winning a copy of this pattern. Thank you again, Martine, for contributing the patterns & helping make the April giveaway — and the Merry KAL in general — awesome! For those who don’t win a copy, you can purchase the pattern on Ravelry here. You won’t be disappointed!

For details on my Twiglet Mitts, check out my Ravelry project page here.

A Lovely Experiment

From the early days of working together, Alisa from Firefly Fibers and I have been running a mile a minute with ideas for the yarn & fiber that surround us. I so appreciate having someone who shares the same enthusiasm for the craft with me — a friend to routinely squeal at pretty yarns with, who I can email one line emails relating lust over a pattern, & who will text me to come over and smell new yarn. (OK, that only happened once and it really did smell incredible). Somehow despite how tight we are regarding our yarn & fiber endeavors — really, I can rarely hold anything in — she managed to keep a secret. For my birthday she hand dyed some yarn for me.skeinedIsn’t is gorgeous?

When I opened it I was instantly reminded of a campfire. The idea of ‘fire’ stayed with me through the process of searching for the perfect pattern. I sifted through Ravelry seeking a pattern that fit my ‘theme’, would highlight the color changes, and would use most of the skein so as not to miss any of the colors. I landed on Aurantium Blossom by Alice Yu at Socktopus Designs. It was a bit of a gamble working lace over the gradiated color, but there were some examples on Ravelry that made the effort look promising. I decided to try it mostly because the fire image in my head lit up & was amplified with this design — suddenly my fire had turned into a phoenix! Comforted by the knowledge that if it didn’t work, I could frog it and try something else (it certainly wouldn’t be the first time), I purchased the pattern and started knitting.

After one restart about halfway through the skein — the gauge was a bit tight & choking the lace, so I moved up a needle size — I cruised through this very enjoyable knit & bound-off my last stitch a couple evenings ago. As with any lace project, it looked like a heap of random stitches. I put it in its Eucalan bath & 20 minutes later I was pinning out my phoenix-like shawl on the blocking mats.flat laid out copyDo you see the likeness?

Close up2

Here’s a close-up of some of the stitching. I really, really enjoyed this pattern. It was well-written and is an absolutely lovely design.

hanging fullI am pretty much in love with this beauty.

hanging close up1Really, how could I not be?

in halfEven folded in half it is lovely.

Declared an ‘experiment in gradiated dyeing’ by Alisa, I would call it a pretty brilliant experiment. Really, it is insanely lovely.

You’re jealous, aren’t you?

I don’t blame you!

Your next question is probably, “Where can I get a skein of that gorgeous yarn for myself?” Well, unfortunately this skein was part of a super small batch that is already entirely spoken for. Future small batch, limited edition dyeing is possible, but not on the immediate agenda. Alisa’s day job keeps her pretty busy — those of us who are local depend on her to keep us in our staple yarns, after all. It is no small task & one for which we are all very grateful, so we’ll be patient. In the meantime, I will say thank you, Alisa, for making me part of this lovely experiment. It has been pretty much awesome.

For more info on this project, check out my Ravelry project page.

Learn more about Alisa on her website, Alisa the Yarnista & check out her shop, Firefly Fibers, the best local yarn shop in Southern Wisconsin.