All the TV commercials today seem to be about Black Friday shopping. Apparently people will be assembling right around 4am and then elbowing and bitch-slapping each other all day so they can get discount DS's and GPS systems. Yuck!
My theory is that for these folks, this annual retail death march is about showing their love. "I love you so much that I got up in the middle of the night and knocked over several senior citizens to get you this MP3 player."
I'm thinking these folks are mostly non-knitters. Knitters don't have to engage in cage-match bouts over the last Wii. We can knit 2 color mittens on size 2 needles. We can make cabled sweaters for men with 50 inch chests. We can stay up until midnight Christmas Eve to finish that one last hat. Just as much love and devotion, far less chance of serious injury.
Happy turkey day everybody! If you don't stay home to knit tomorrow, stay safe and watch your back. Those soccer moms will shank you.
I wanted to dash off a quick post before my week gets away from me. I'm on call this week and on Wednesday Miranda gets her spacers for braces, and I have to do the pre-Thanksgiving baking, and then we drive up to Windsor to pick up Lindsey. Thursday will be the typical cooking marathon, and then Friday I'll rest! (After I go to the hospital to see newborns.)
As promised, the Selbuvotter mittens are all done.
I have the perfect recipient for these. She's a knitter so she will appreciate them, but she would never make something like this for herself. For now, they are safe in the Christmas present pile.
Another addition to the present pile:
Hoping this one is manly enough for one of the nephews. Warped for this on Thursday night and finished it during the OSU - U of M game. With as quick as these scarfs weave up, it is hard to imagine I will ever knit one again.
I've got a good start on my Dad's Christmas sweater.
Crazy colors, huh? That is all one colorway! The yarn is Keltic from Berroco and I bought a jillion balls of it on final clearance. (Patternworks? Can't remember) It is a nice wool and acrylic blend. It is loosely spun, so I suspect it will want to pill a bit, but it is soft. I am planning raglan sleeves and a placket collar. Kind of like this. Will be interesting to find suitable buttons.
I had a special request to show my hand-made warping board. "Hand-made" sound a bit too fancy, how about "slapped together in a haphazard fashion".
PVC pipe rocks!!
The string in the picture is the guide for the last warp I wrapped. I follow that path over and over and all the warp threads end up the same length. I have found it works best to wind in sections - more than twenty wraps and the yarn wants to jump off the pegs.
I'd like some caps for the ends of the pegs but I keep forgetting to look for some. I should at least sand the rough hack-sawed edges, but that would mean I'd have to take a break from crafting and Christmas is bearing down like a freight train.
You know how you'll be blissfully knitting on a fabulous sock and some Muggle will come along and say, "You know, you can get socks for a dollar a pair at Walmart." As though A) you've been living in a cave and never heard of Walmart and B) hand knit socks and white cotton tube socks were in any way comparable. As if!
So you try to explain the superior fit and warmth of a hand knit sock and then you mention that the actual knitting process is it's own reward. About this time, the Muggle's eyes glaze over and they wander away, unconvinced but willing to leave the crazy knitter to their pitiable "fun."
We've all been there, right? Okay, keep that in mind as I explain to you
how I spent the last week weaving...
...three kitchen towels.
I know, I know, but aren't they beautiful? I wove them from a lovely fingering weight bamboo yarn that I bought from the Weaver's Loft booth at the Ann Arbor Fiber Fest. It is called Bambu 7 and it is very silky-soft.
The pattern is also from Weaver's Loft. There was a sample towel laid out by the yarn and I just loved how it looked and felt. The lady working the booth was nice enough to write down the threading and treadling for me so that I could reproduce it. I chose to use cream and sage yarn hoping they would work in my sister's kitchen.
Weaver's Loft lady (really should have asked her name!) thought I could get
four towels out of the yarn I bought, but I didn't want to run short
and warp for three towels sounded plenty long to me. It was very long,
but I used my homemade PVC warping board and managed to get it sleyed and threaded. I only had two crossed warp threads to fix, and then off I went.
I expected weaving yarn this fine at 15 epi would go really slow but it really didn't and I loved watching the pattern emerge.
As soon as these were done, I warped my rigid heddle loom with assorted brown scraps and made another plain weave scarf.
I don't like this one as much as the black and purple one, but I love that fringe!
One more scarf, this one a plaid.
The yarn is Katia Mississippi #, a fingering weight cotton/acrylic blend I scooped up off the sale porch. Another Christmas present for some niece or nephew, but I am sorely tempted to keep it for myself.
Back to knitting for my next post - the mittens are done!
First of all, the Yarn Harlot takes it into her head to knit some mittens. Fancy mittens, Nordic-style, with a two color pattern, preferably snowflakes, and a pointy top. Being a wise woman, she asks the umpty-billion readers of her blog for pattern suggestions.
You're curious and start to scroll through the comments.
There are many suggestions and lots of them have links to patterns so you bounce back and forth looking at pictures.
Some of them are pretty, but none of them really catch your eye.
But a word catches your eye: Selbuvotter. It keeps coming up and it becomes clear that it's a book of mitten patterns. So you click back to Ravelry to check it out and find yourself faced with a staggering array of gorgeous mittens. Five minutes later, you are clicking on the "Buy It Now" button.
The book arrives and you page through it. There are so many beautiful mittens it is
nearly overwhelming. You note a couple that are particularly charming and then set the
book aside. It isn't really mitten weather and you have plenty of UFO's competing for your attention.
Fast forward several months. You have just finished your second sweater in a row and you really need a small project to break the monotony. But it's also getting close to
Christmas and you should really be thinking about presents. Hat? Not special enough.
Socks? Just not in the mood. Hey, how 'bout some fancy mittens?
Stash dive produces two beautiful skeins of fingering weight alpaca. You choose #2 dpn's and virtuously cast on a swatch.
Uh-oh. Not getting gauge, not even close. Do you really want to go down to #1's? Naaaah. Let's check the book again. Hey, there are lots of different gauges. Surely there is mitten at your gauge.
Happily there are several. After serious deliberation, you pick the prettiest one and cast on. You've got your dpn's, your photocopied pattern, your highlighter tape. It's all good. You cruise through the narrow ribbing and start the cuff.
Hmmm. Not so happy with this. Hard to keep the floats loose and uniform and you can see where you change needles. Not exactly ladders, but not seamless either.
Work on two circulars? Drat! Only have one in the right size. Magic loop? Two rows remind you why you rejected that particular technique when it first came around. Now what?
Put project aside and wait impatiently for next day's lunch break when a quick trip to the yarn store erases all the savings created by using stash. Ah well. You grab another #2 circular and then, on a whim, you also grab one of those funny little 8" circulars. You figure you'll hate it, but it is worth a try.
We have a winner! The teeny needle works great and the mitten starts to grow. You have to switch to 2 circulars for the top of the hand and stay with them for the intricate thumb. Before you know it, you have a mitten!
One down, one to go. Gotta love the Yarn Harlot!
Shockingly, I have actual knitting to blog about today. There has been no sewing or spinnng, just knitting and a little weaving that I'm not ready to show yet.
The first item is my creamsicle pullover which I finally finished! I took a long break on this project while it was too hot to work on it, but a couple weeks of steady work got it done.
I used EZ's recipe for a seamless pullover with saddle shoulders and added some X's and O's cables to the sleeves to add some interest.
I just love this yarn (Brown Sheep Lanaloft Worsted) and the color. It is crazy warm and it fits me really well.
Minutes after weaving in the last end, I went in search of yarn for my next project. (I was at Yarn Cravin' at the time) I needed to knit a birthday sweater for my daughter and I had about a week to do it if it was going to reach her in time in Montreal. My requirements for yarn were soft, worsted, and pretty enough to jazz up a plain vanilla sweater.
Malabrigo to the rescue! Can you believe this is the first time I've ever made a sweater of Malabrigo? It will NOT be the last. The colors are gorgeous and it is one of the softest wools I've ever found. I chose Pagoda as my main color, but the shop only had four skeins, so I also bought a skein of Cognac as an accent color. Turns out I could have made the sweater with just the four skeins, but it wouldn't have been as pretty and I wouldn't have had a leftover skein to make myself something!
Standard v-neck vest with steeked armholes and neck. The proportions might look wacky but L is tall with a long torso and she says it fits perfectly. She got her birthday box 3 days before her birthday and was very happy.
The Pagoda is more red than in the picture, but I just love the color variation.
My latest knitting is two-color stranded knitting on size 2's, so you can guess it isn't a sweater! Pictures next time - I gotta make dinner.