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

Better & Better

I finished my Sixareen Cape three months ago. I have since been waiting to remember to get my husband to snap a few photos of it on. This morning, I am thinking it’s time to just share it without photos of it modeled in the interest of not letting any more time pass without acknowledging its completion.

sixareen1Here it is!

(Just humor me and overlook that it needs to be reblocked — the edges aren’t quite all they could be in this photo, but I really wanted to get the finished cape up here)

I really love how the colors came together (hats off to the ladies at Cream City Yarn for helping me make the final decisions on them).  The Quince & Co Finch was also an inspired pairing for this pattern. I highly recommend this yarn for colorwork — not as ‘grippy’ as a more rustic fiber, but the crispness of the stitch definition is beautiful for showcasing the colorwork stitching.

fixed detailNope, not kidding at all on that point.

Overall, this was a joy to knit & turned out beautifully. Anyone who is interested in the challenge of a large-scale colorwork project will love the Sixareen Cape. I really enjoyed the knitting. My only trouble is one that has nothing to do with the yarn, design, or pattern writing.  My problem is that from the time I started this project in March to today my swimming routine has drastically slimmed and reduced the size of my upper arms (we’re talking over an inch shaved off per arm) & upper body, so the fit leaves something to be desired. Admittedly roomier than I would prefer — it’s clear my new measurements would require at least one size down, it takes a bit of work to style it so that it looks right on me. While not ideal and despite the fact that I’m pretty fussy about my work & how it turns out, I’m willing to take the trade on a slightly less than perfect fit on this project for better health. And you really can’t deny that it is beautiful & cozy regardless.

sixareen wavingWith the temps dipping below freezing nightly now this cape will be getting a lot of use especially when I’m sipping coffee in the mornings, so perhaps my taking my sweet time posting this is more time appropriate than I originally thought. Oh, and did I mention that if I calculated correctly, I should have enough yarn leftover to be able to whip up one of Kate Davies’ colorwork hats? Yeah, it does just get better & better.

For details on my Sixareen Cape, check out my Ravelry project page.

See Sarah Knit.

Since we only have a few days before that April 30th deadline for the Merry KAL and it’s fabulous GIVEAWAYS this month, I thought I would share something special today to inspire anyone who hasn’t finished up (or started…) their ball yet.  For those who have — they look great and as always I am so inspired by your work!

As a treat — I hope — today you get to visit me at my kitchen table and see stranded colorwork on my needles & in my hands. This is not an instructional video, nor is it me being super precious about knitting perfectly for you. It’s just a glimpse of the materials I am using & my personal knitting style. Please keep in mind that while I have often photographed my hands for class handouts this is my first ever knitting video. I did not have much time for fancy editing because I wanted to get this video up sooner than later. I did my best to not ramble too much and to keep everything in focus and to knit as naturally as is possible with a camera & tri-pod between my hands — no small feat for me on any count! I promise to work on my video skills in the future, but for today I hope you enjoy this little clip.

Now remember next Tuesday is the cut-off to be entered in our GIVEAWAY for the April Merry KAL Christmas ball — it is co-sponsored by the wonderful Martine at iMake, so of course the prizes are lovely. As always, you are welcome to knit the ball I have chosen or any ball of you like — keeping in the spirit of this very flexible KAL all you have to do is knit one Christmas ball, share it on our Ravelry thread, & you will be entered into the mix to win one of our great prizes. It doesn’t get easier or more fun!

Happy Knitting!

Stitch by stitch…

I have been posting pre-progress and in-progress photos of my Sixareen Cape since I purchased the yarn in early March. Anyone not familiar with the project could easily think — wow, this Knitting Sarah is the slowest knitter on Earth! Each photo is about 3 rows further than the last — it looks like I am moving at a snail’s pace! While it is true that I was just writing about taking my time & the merits of slow crafting the other day and that I have indeed been taking my time (not to mention busy with all the outside-ness of spring here), I thought I would talk about this project a bit today so that you can see the big picture of what this project entails & why it is such a labor of love for me.

Let’s rewind to when I found the yarn — I told y’all about the surprise I had when I walked into Cream City Yarn & found that they were carrying Quince & Co. yarns. When I first spotted Kate Davies’ Sixareen Cape, I instantly had this idea of using Quince & Co Finch. I had reservations only because this yarn was not available locally & I much prefer to have the actual colors in front of me when choosing yarn for colorwork projects. When I walked into Cream City Yarn and found myself face-to-face with it, well, it was just fate. After some deliberation and input from the very helpful staff, I walked out with my palette and hugged the bag the whole way home. Excitement doesn’t cover what I was feeling.

You are probably wondering, what’s the big deal about this yarn? Yes, it has very good word of mouth these days — as far as yarn brands go, Quince & Co. is definitely pretty ‘hot’ right now. Beyond that though, the reason I was so excited to use it was — once again — the whole ‘American wool’ thing. Obviously, this is something I care about & am spending time learning about through The Great White Bale. On some level, I think I have started to see American wool as sort of on par with an endangered animal. Finding it in a shop was like seeing a Whooping Crane in the wild. When it happens, you commemorate it; the Crane by way of a photo even if it’s a little white dot, the wool with a project.

Because the yarn has this special hold on my heart in that it grasps at a disappearing industry in this country, it was instantly a labor of love. At just under 400stitches around, it has continued as such for well over a month. If you didn’t know, 396stitches around in stranded colorwork takes time even for the most skilled knitters. For those participating in the Merry KAL, this project is pretty much the absolute opposite side of the spectrum. The Christmas balls we knit up in a day or an afternoon (PS–don’t forget that there’s a big giveaway for the KAL this month!).  The Sixareen Cape takes time & patience — lots of both!

In my eyes, this project is just unmatched in beauty, but as I said it is not for the faint of heart — it is for the devoted. Each stitch, each row for me has been an absolute joy. As the weeks pass & I plug away with a a couple rows per night, I feel like so much has been knit into this project — so many thoughts and ideas are a part of this fabric. Little by little the pattern revealed itself — not unlike a flower slowly opening its bud just to get a little overly poetic about it. I really can’t put into words the treat it has been.

I did learn early on that marking out each of the repeats with stitch markers was essential — the last thing you want at the end of a 400stitch round is to find you are one stitch off in the colorwork pattern… trust me on that! Once I installed the markers I had no trouble with the pattern until a couple nights ago. I was so excited to be within 3 rounds of the end of the colorwork chart that I knit later than I should have into the night & made mistakes. Out came about 5rounds of work the next morning, reminding me again that slowing down is ok. Stopping is also not a bad idea when you are tired. Let’s be honest though — we can chalk that up to advice I should but probably won’t heed next time around!

I finally made it last night. The colorwork section complete, I am now on the main color, upper portion of the cape. While the 396stitches are moving much faster in one color & larger needles, they are still long rounds and I will admit that I am looking forward to starting the decreases. I am excited to wear this beauty & I still have about 600yards of knitting to go!

In the mean time, while I click away, I thought I would compile my in-progress photos for you here and snap a few new ones so you can watch it unfold the way I did!

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The yarn…20130316-162935.jpg

The cast-on…20130318-132851.jpg

The start of the colorwork…20130321-085617.jpg

Here we go…

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Round by round…

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It grows…

(thank you to my good friend, coffee, for sticking with me through it all)

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Slowly…

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But surely…

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Stitch by stitch…

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All the way through the colorwork and on to the main color.

I am the first to admit my tension is not perfect throughout, but I am confident it will block out. I can’t wait to be washing & blocking & wearing this beautiful project!