A Little Snow Indoors

Happy New Year! I know, I know–I’m a little late. I’ll blame the weather. I’ve had on my list for the past week,  “blog post about snowflakes,” but the weather hasn’t been cooperative: I wasn’t able to get a decent picture until today. While yes, late sunrises and early sunsets play their share in the difficulty, this past week was also complicated by real snow–I spent a couple extra hours on commuting this week thanks to the snow on the roads. (Which seems always “conveniently” timed to the morning drive in–has snow never heard of “midday?)

So you’d think I’d be sick of snowflakes–and of the real stuff, I am–and it’s still the first half of January! But I still like my thread snowflakes.

Tatted Snowflakes

 

These are more of the tatted snowflakes that I’ve shown off in the past. I think I’m going to count this project as “done” now. For one thing, it’s the sort of project that could go on indefinitely–how many snowflakes on a tree is too many?–so if I don’t call an end point it will never be done. For another, I’d really like to cross it off my list. But I might still continue to make some of the small ones–they go fast.

The patterns come from a variety of sources–I don’t even remember where I found the small snowflake now; it might have been an old issue of McCall’s Needlework. The big star shaped one, which probably took the longest was from a book of my Grandma’s. And the large square one–which wins the “most fiddly” award–comes from a back issue of Piecework (Nov.-Dec. 2004). If you look closely, it doesn’t want to lie flat–there’s simply too many knots too close together for it to do so. The picture in Piecework lies flat, so either I didn’t quite make it correctly–knots bunched too closely together perhaps, or the pattern as written and the picture shown aren’t quite the same. Given that the pattern leaves a bit to the tatter to work out (it doesn’t actually specify the number of repeats, for instance), it really could go either way. (The large star-shaped doesn’t lie flat at the moment either, but that’s a storage error.)

To finish the snowflakes I soaked them in a 50/50 water and white glue solution and let them dry. I can’t wait to add them to my snowflake tree next year!

(And yes, I did see Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s knitted lace snowflake–I was briefly tempted, but the fiddlyness is more than I want to attempt….um…I hope!)

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Finished, Boxleaf Shawl

Boxleaf Shawl overallBoxleaf Shawl tail detail Boxleaf Shawl join detail Boxleaf Shawl closeupPattern: Boxleaf Triangle by Anne Hanson (Ravelry)
Yarn: Brooklyn Handspun Soft Spun Plus, Colorway “Winter Wind,” (1) skeinNeedles: US5/ 3.75mm

I started this shawl back in February during the Sochi Olympics, and by the time I finally wove in the last end and remembered that I should actually block it for use, it was August. I have a problem remembering to block lace, it seems! Boxleaf proved the perfect TV knitting–not so complex that I couldn’t follow a show (or Olympic event as the case might be), but with just enough interest I didn’t get bored. I knit the “mini” size, but added one pattern repeat to maximize yarn usage. Actually the way the pattern is designed, sizing is practically irrelevant as the top edge and the body are knit at the same time and it has no special outer border–just knit as many repeats as you like. My one-skein version makes the perfect neck shawl to keep my shoulders from getting too cold on a chilly day.

Of course, now that I look this post over, I’m wondering why I didn’t get any closeups of the top edge–it’s a lovely little leaf that you can’t quite make out in my pictures. Sigh. Something to fix another day…

Mitts for Grandma

About two months before Christmas, my mom decided that my grandma needed fingerless mitts to keep her hands warm during the day – and that I should make them. I decided that Delicato, a pattern I’ve knit before would be the order of the day, and started searching out yarn possibilities. Once my mom decided which yarn she liked best, we ordered the yarn, it arrived…and I avoided knitting them. Around about Thanksgiving I decided I’d better not put them off anymore, and started, completely winging the needle size based on past experience (which worked out perfectly). It was a slow start. As I mentioned in my last post, knitting wasn’t exactly my friend in 2012 and my wrist was bothering me. As Christmas inched closer however, I had no choice so I sat down for a marathon day of knitting–and was rewarded by feeling much better about both the craft and my wrist. (True culprit for the wrist pain is, I believe, the computer–which alas, I cannot completely avoid.) I completed them in just the nick of time, and my grandma both likes and has been wearing them. Win!

GrandmasMitts

Pattern: Delicato by Anne Hanson (Knitspot)
Yarn: Woolen Rabbit Pandora (merino-bamboo-nylon sock blend)
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm)

It’s a good thing I enjoyed making these again–my mom has requested a pair from the leftover yarn! I don’t know how quickly I’ll get to them, though–since I last posted, I was offered a full time job (income, yay!) with a long commute (1 hour drive – no public transport option, boo!), so my time will be more severely limited than the last couple years. But they are definitely near the top of the list!

Mittens!

It seems oddly “appropriate” to post these today; we hit a record high of 67° F.

DSCN9992

Pattern: Snapdragon Flip-Tops by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Great Northern Yarns 70% Mink 30% Cashmere Yarn (Sunset Red colorway)

Needle: US 3 (3.25 mm) – despite supposedly being the same gauge as the Monkey Bread Hat I knit with this same yarn, using the same needle size didn’t work. Whether due to my own gauge issue, pattern error, wrists that are too narrow, or the fact that the ribbing doesn’t really pull in with this yarn, I don’t know.

Modifications: A lot! I doubled the length of the ribbing at the cuff. The thumb as written didn’t really work for me, so I added a gusset. I also doubled the number of stitches in the cast on around the thumb opening, and picked up more accordingly. (And then decreased accordingly.) I decreased more sharply at the end for a more rounded look and omitted the button and I-cord loop closure. But despite appearances up above, these are still flip-tops! (More details on mods on my Ravelry page.)

Additional thoughts: I figure by the time I worked out all my modifications, I knit these at least two, maybe three times! None of the modifications are the fault of the pattern, just my own eccentricities. I imagine the thumb as written works better for some hands than others. The pattern itself is well-written, with a good chart and a clear diagram for picking up the stitches for the flip-top–although, the yarn is so fuzzy, I had to thread a contrasting thread through the line for the pick-up so I could see what I was doing.

And have I mentioned, I LOVE this yarn! So soft, so fuzzy. It seemed to hold up to my continual ripping (it just made it fuzzier faster–which would have happened at the first washing anyway). As Murphy’s law would have it, after the breaks in the yarn when working on the hat (which otherwise could have been knit with a continuous strand), there were none in the skein I used for the mittens, when I had plenty of stop and snips and restarts as natural course. Go figure! I still need a scarf to complete the set, but with the coming spring, I think I’ll break for now to return to some other WIPs and come back later.