Saturday, January 30, 2010

Last of the Mittens

For those of you following my blog, you might remember that I signed up for NaKniMitMo10 (a mitten knit-a-long for January 2010).

Well, last night I finished the third and final pair of mittens.  The pattern was Swedish Fish by SpillyJane.  I used Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn for the background colour, and Estelle Cadenza sock yarn for the red fish.

The pattern called for a 72 st cast on, with an increase to 82 sts after the ribbing.  I was dubious about knitting 82 sts for mittens for my small hand. But, the pattern called for 2mm needles versus the usual 2.5mm, so I figured that they might fit.


I knit about 2ins on the first mitten, decided it was going to waaaay too big, and frogged it back.

I redid the charts to remove one column of fish from the front and one from the back. Then I added a few stitches left and right on both sides to balance the mitten out for a 62 st cast on.  After ribbing 10 rows, I increased to 72 sts.  Perfect!

Mods:  I knit one extra row of fish for the length of the mitten.  I also changed the decreases on the fingertips in keeping with the pattern decreases over ten rounds.

This was a pretty easy knit compared to the complex charts for the Mogit Selbut Mittens I knit earlier this month.  Still, it was enjoyable and a good project for TV watching.

Sarassa Pond Fish Mittens (front)

Sarassa Pond Fish Mittens (back)
I'm glad the kint-a-long has drawn to a close.  It is quite exhausting knitting with a deadline....and where's the fun in that?

Now for something completely different -

A new vest!  I had to have a mindless knitting project in between all those stranded and fair isle projects.  So I cast on another vest.  I present to you Blackforest Hilja:

Blackforest Hilja
Blackforest is the yarn I dyed at Shelridge Farms in November.  It is worsted weight soft touch ultra.  A really lovely soft yarn, and a delight to knit with.

In between the mittens and the vest, I went on a fabulous road trip with the girls to Shall We Knit in New Hamburg.  There I attended a workshop to learn the amazing double-knitting technique.  Double-knitting is a form of knitting in which two fabrics are knit simultaneously with two yarns on one pair of needles. The fabrics may be inseparable, as in interlock knitted fabrics, or they can simply be two unconnected fabrics.  In other words, double-knitting is used for knitted items that can be reversible (e.g.  scarf, hat, potholder, etc.).  And the totally neat thing is that whatever you knit on the right-side is mirrored on the wrong-side.  The colours are just opposite!

So guess what my next project is going to be???  [hehehe]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some Mittens and a Party

Well, after all my cosmic ramblings, nothing's happened!  A few more odd dreams, but nothing else.  Brilliant I say!  Damn brilliant.  I don't need cosmic forces working against me [laughing] - I'm battling enough already.

In my last post I mentioned some mittens I was knitting - Selbuvotter #7 by Terri Shea.  I finally settled on some colours - brown and olive.  I wasn't thrilled with my colour choices, but beggars can't be choosers!  I resolved to knit from my stash, and my Shetland Spindrift stash was lacking in any sort of natural colorway.

The mittens turned out spectacularly well!  And I'm not just saying that cos I knitted them.  They fit like a glove and they are so, so pretty.  I struggled with the thumbs....don't know why.  Well, I do really - I was watching too much TV and not watching what I was doing!


Mogit Selbu Mittens (front)

Mogit Selbu Mittens (back)

And on Saturday 16th January, I was invited to a birthday party for Kathryn .... one balloon, no cake - but a sparkler in a dessert!  We ate at East Side Mario's (a little taste of Italy) across from Masonville Place.  I ate too much salad and bread to finish my meal, but I took the left overs home and they lasted all of five minutes.

Party Goers

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cosmic Ramblings

I read my horoscope today. It’s not something I read often, nor place great faith in. But, when I feel like there are cosmic forces at work in my life, I like to study my daily forecast to see what the divine astrological gurus have to say.

I am a Pisces (two fishes tied to one another and swimming in opposite directions). My ruling planet is Neptune; my element is water; my birthstone is aquamarine, my special colours are turquoise and green, and my special plants are water lilies, lotus and jonquils. According to astrologists, my most likeable traits are compassion, sensitivity and spirituality.

I HAVE TO SAY THAT THIS IS TOTALLY ME.  I can't profess to know anything much about Neptune (other than it's the 8th planet), but the rest is totally spot on.

So, today’s horoscope reads:

"There's been countless times when you've come face to face with this particular problem, and each time you tend to make the same mistake. Consequently, you might do yourself a favour by listening to someone who has been in this situation before you, and open your mind to alternative approaches."


Here’s what lead me to consult with my horoscope. During the last few days:
  • I found $20 on the street.
  • 1 found $10 in the pocket of my winter coat that I hadn’t worn since last year.
  • 1 found $10 in my mitten knitting book – used it as a bookmark at least a year ago.
  • 1 got the bill for electrical work that came in $2,000 under what I’d been quoted, and it seemed they did a lot more work!
  • I sold two items in my Etsy store today after having sold nothing for almost a year.
Yes, this all sounds brilliant, and I should be happy.  But it’s not normal. I’m not lucky, not lucky at all.

And then there are my dreams. Vivid. Strange. Unsettling. I can’t remember them all. The last three nights though, my father dyed in one.  In another, I was on a bus trip, the bus broke down, but I couldn’t get off the bus like everyone else.  And last night I was hiding under the bleechers on a beach and a tidal wave crashed on top of me!  I was holding my breath, but ran out of breath!

Something's up.  Good fortune on one hand, and feelings of entrapment/turmoil/fear on the other.  Weird.

If Carl Jung was here, he'd probably emphasize the importance of balance and harmony in my life.

Hmmmm.....I'm going to go do some knitting now.  I don't think it'll help with my cosmic strife, but it couldn't hurt!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I spend an inordinate amount of time on the Ravelry website.  There, I've written it - admitting the addiction feels good - yes it does.  But that's as far as it goes...  I'm not going to any meetings!  I love Ravelry, and being part of the whole Ravelry community brings me untold happiness.

I've wanted to participate in a Ravelry Knit-A-Long (KAL) for ages, but my working life often intrudes on my fabulous knitting life.


I've signed up for the NaKniMitMo10 KAL.  It began on 1st January, 2010 and will conclude on 31st January, 2010.  Members simply knit as many pairs of mittens as they want during the month of January.

Why mittens? Well, January is one of the coldest months of the year and mittens are much warmer than gloves. They are relatively quick to knit, and you can be brave in color choices. You can try out different techniques like stranded colorwork, cables, etc. There are almost 2,400 free mitten patterns on Ravelry. You always have enough yarn in stash for mittens.

Pictures of finished mittens are in the NaKniMitMo Flickr Group.

So, do you see how this all ties in with my NYE resolution to knit from my queue and stash?

On 2nd January I cast on my first pair of mittens for the KAL. I finished them yesterday - Aran Felted Mittens #132 by Shirl the Purl.  I knit these for my MIL's birthday on 22nd January.

Paran Mittens before felting

Paran Mittens after felting

And last night I finally decided upon my next mitten project:  NHM #7 by Terri Shea.  This fair isle mitten pattern comes from the Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition book by Terri Shea.  The original mittens are on display in the Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle, WA.

According to the book:  "the main pattern is a stylized lily, according to Annemor Sundbo, and symbolizes purity and the Virgin Mary.  Lilies arranged in a rosette pattern were often used in woven tapestries in the county Trondelag, where Selbu is situated.  The palm pattern is reminiscent of the quilting pattern 'Double Irish Chain' ".

Now I just need to decide on two colours and I'll be casting on!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Nordic Sweetie Hat

Have you got knitting projects that have been in your queue forever?  You know the really, really want to knit them, but you think you've bitten off more than you can chew?

And fair enough....who wants to waste time and money?

Then there's that horrid little pessimistic voice in the back of your head telling you that you don't knit well enough to take on such glorious and difficult projects.

So you think to yourself "aww, heck - I'll leave them in my queue cos they're so darn nice and they'll give me something to aspire to when I become fearless"!

Then, Christmas comes and Christmas goes.........


And before you know it, it's New Year's Eve!!  Whoot!  And that means only one thing:  New Year's resolutions! [mad optimistic cheering].

Forget the mundane resolutions like:  I will not eat so much chocolate; I will hunt down happiness and love; I won't allow stress to beat me up this year; I will not take things so personally; I will seek enlightenment; I will find a way to work less and earn more......

This year, I'm going for the great gusto - the ultimate of resolutions!  That unatainable and supreme resolution made in haste just three seconds before the end of the old year....

I WILL KNIT FROM MY QUEUE.......and my stash!


12:01am - 1 January 2010

Oh bugger!  Why did I resolve to knit from my queue and stash?  Ugh!  What was I thinking?

With wreckless abandon I go to my Ravelry knitting queue.  So many queued projects.......  I close my eyes and click on one!  Oh nooooooooooooo!  Not that one!  I quickly glance around the room - is anybody watching?  I could re-click.......but.........darn conscience!!

Enter [stage holy crap left]:  Nordic Sweetheart Hat by Anne Featonby!  A study (= bloody PhD) in fair isle knitting!

Fearlessly, and comforted only by blocks of cadbury chocolate, TV marathons of Spiderman, Batman, Torchwood, Dr. Who and Corner Gas, I cast on 144 stitches with fingering weight yarn onto my 3.25mm circular needle.

I knit like a mad woman!  I was obsessed!  There was steam coming off that addi turbo!  I only stopped to eat, go to the loo and sleep!  My eyes hurt.  My neck hurt.  My butt hurt (I think there's a permanent groove in the lounge chair!).  But I stayed the course.  This afternoon I put the addi turbo down and exclaimed:


Without further ado, I give you:

Nordic Sweetie (front view):

Nordic Sweetie (back view):

Nordic Sweetie (side view):

Nordic Sweetie:

If I can do it, you can do it!  Now go forth and be fearless too!  Knit from your queue!