Saturday, July 31, 2010

Knit, knit, knit ... and knit some more

This week I have had way more knitting time than usual. First Monday and Tuesday elder cub was not 100%, nothing serious but a nasty cough .. so I stayed home with him, and I knit .. a lot, which was a nice way to pass the time waiting for him to get better (or worse). We had a prescription for antibiotics should his cough go to his chest, luckily it didn't. Then Thursday night Bear had an appointment with a Dental Surgeon, nothing too major but surgery all the same. With his heart history it was prudent to stay home and be there on the Friday with him 'just in case'. Again .. another day knitting was achieved. Every one is now fine - except I suspect that I have picked up the cubs bug .. things taste funny and my throat feels not quite right ... inevitable I suspect. Smallest cub was off school Thursday with the same thing - but that day Bear parented. Parented - it is a verb isn't it?

So knitting, when one knits 3 of five working days a week and knits evenings .. significant progress happens.
First both Squirrel Mitt outer were done ... thumbs and all. I've not blocked these yet, as I'm waiting to block the pair at once with the lining in them so right now they are a little 'bumpier' than I'd like .. but it should all sort and smooth in the blocking.

Once the mitts were done, and after i had admired them for a bit, I picked up for the lining stitches around the line where the cuff was knit up. This is such a neat technique .... and completely covers all the stranding inside the mitten, prevents snagging and of course makes the mittens thicker. I didn't have a small quantity of lace weight I wanted to sacrifice for these so headed out to my LYS to see what they had. Oddly - in New Zealand lace weight is often referred to as 2 or 3 ply, and is predominately sold and used for baby wear. You know the old fashioned white, lemon, pale blue, pale pink layette sets, booties, jacket, bonnet. Because of that the lace weight yarns on offer in yarn stores here are in those colour schemes, not quite what I wanted ..oh how I dream of LYS's that stock a full range of yarns, not just the baby colours and DK weights that seem so popular in New Zealand. Luckily the manager found a 50g ball of this silk merino unbranded lace weight left over from the last sale. This seemed a good match and is soft and silky - perfect for the mitten lining. She is holding the other one 'just in case I need it', even luckier she found the price was still the sale price of $NZD4 - score!

The lining is where I made my only change to the pattern. The increase rate for the lining gusset is the same as for the outer but was too fast, the lining row gauge must be shorter on the same sized needles. So I frogged the first attempt at the lining gusset and reworked it with an increase rate of every 3rd round (not every 2nd). That seemed about perfect. With no stranding and charting ... the lining knits up relatively fast compared to knitting the outer.

I realized that as the lining will be covered totally by the lining - I probably needed a progress shot of the stranding, so here it is. the instructions say if the mittens are to be lined there is no need to weave the longer floats .. but I did. I think that it can help the work stay flatter, the temptation to pull the stranding to tight is increased as the floats get longer.

Last night I finished the lining in the first mitten completely, and as it was only 9ish .. I picked up the stitches for lining the second mitten.

Which will probably not knit as fast as the first lining .... but there is some thing addictive about these. Right at the end of the pattern it says "Attaching acorns? Now’s the time". This made me wonder .... I couldn't find any reference to acorns in the pattern itself so I headed off to Ravelry to check out the versions others had knitted and sure enough some had attached acorns, little acorns dangling off the wrist .. and there are instructions Wee Twee Tiny Acorn Tutorial, by Pamela Wayne (sorry its a Ravelry link).

These mittens have me totally enthralled, its not even cold here, we have sun and the windows open and the kids are out biking. My plan when I bought this pattern was to knit these on the plane at the end of the month. So much for the plan, I loved knitting these, and now I have to rethink my traveling knitting. ...

Feel free to make travel knitting suggestions, I'm now thinking Bug Out socks and a Traveling Women Shawl, and/or a center out baby blanket?

na Stella


Nilda said...

They are beautiful and you knit like the wind...I know from utube. Love watching you do stranded knitting, reminds me of my college days and watching my ceramic professor throwing pots on the wheel. There's something hypnotic about watching someone creating something when they've been doing it a while. Maybe the muscle reminds me of sign language. Very beautiful.

Regarding the mitten colors, out of curiosity, what is the real color scheme? The pics from the last blog look quite different.

KathyR said...

You find the best bargains when it comes to shopping for yarn! The lining looks perfect as does the finished mitten. No wonder you couldn't wait to knit it. Can you really wait that long to knit "Bug Out"? But, yes, those and "Travelling Woman" could just be the right choices for the journey - not long now, the countdown has begun. Glad to hear the family has recovered but take care of yourself. Rather get the nasties out of your system now, though, than have them hanging around for later, though!

Knitting Linguist said...

I love them! I'm sorry for the reasons that you had so much knitting time (and I hope that everyone's feeling much better, including yourself), but the results are undeniably wonderful on the knitting side of things. My gut feeling is that for the plane you'll need one more complicated pattern for when you're feeling awake and want to listen to an audiobook, and one no-brainer project for when you're sleepy and/or watching a movie. It's best to be prepared for any contingency...