Category Archives: finished object: accessories

Four months later

Back in January, as I embarked on the busiest and arguably my most stressful semester thus far, I started a pair of Sanquhar gloves. Because naturally, when you have lots of stress, the best response is to add a comparable amount of stress to your knitting. As it happens, I got about 75% through them in January but then set them aside for more portable projects, and they sat long enough by the wayside that I became worried they would enter the eternally despondent land of Unfinished Objects, never again to return to the friendly grove of Works in Progress.

Thankfully, this was not their fate. I picked them up again last week and finished the rest of the second glove, and lo, they are beautiful.

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Pattern: Sanquhar Gloves, instructions by Tata & Tatao, largely composed of a set of charts and a few English translations from Japanese. (You have got to love the modern knitting world wherein a centuries-old traditional Scottish knitted garment is re-interpreted through pattern instructions in Japanese, then re-fashioned into English translation.
Yarn: A Touch of Twist light fingering weight (270yds per 50g), in dark purple and pale teal, purchased at Rhinebeck 2008.
Needles: 2.0mm steel DPNs.

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The pattern actually directs you to use laceweight and 1.5mm needles – and don’t get me wrong I’d still love to try that – but this would have resulted in gloves too small for my own hands, and in any case I was looking for an excuse to use this bit of my Rhinebeck purchases. (I still have 2 balls of the same yarn remaining, in a pale purple and dark red. Hmmm). Overall it worked quite well, though somewhere between January and May I must have had a gauge shift, because the fingers on the 2nd glove turned out slightly bigger than the first. Happily, this is not very noticeable when they are worn, and in general the pair fit, well, like a glove. (Ho ho ho, I kill me).

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This is, to say the least, an adventurous pattern. One of the main challenges is that because the instructions are English translations from Japanese, they are relatively sparse. However, the charts are quite clear, and the Sanquhar knitting format leaves little room for maneuverability, which is good for interpretation – the ‘blocks’ format of the motif are all the same size and as long as you can keep this consistent, and work at a gauge that will produce a glove of the correct size for you, the pattern will work. Although this is my first time knitting colourwork at such a tiny gauge, once you get the hang of it it is easy to develop a sort of rhythm to it, as is often the case with stranded colourwork.

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The only thing I didn’t quite do properly were the finger gussets – I fully admit that I pretty well fudged those. I would like to try another pair of these sometime in order to give it my 100% and do better. But you know? These still kick ass. I’ll take ‘em. The overall result is an incredibly intricate, light yet warm pair of gloves that nobody else on Earth has. I am actually debating whether to put them into regular Winter rotation come November – they are gorgeous and I would love to show them off, but on the other hand I don’t think I would recover if I lost one, or both.

Thankfully I have the summer to ponder that. Onwards, yes? Yes.

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Mmmph.

This is about exactly my state of mind this week. I have remembered that the only problem with having a break is that the re-entry to the real world is more of a crash-landing than a gentle refresher. I’ve been going pretty well straight since Sunday, and next week I get to be rewarded with – wait for it! – more of the same! Oie vey, how many more weeks until the end of term? How many more lectures to write and assignments to grade? Let’s hope I make it.

All of this makes knitting ever so much more appealing, and I keep trying to remind myself not to forget about the Small Projects. I love sweaters (and am admittedly mentally admonishing myself for getting to the end of February with only one completed sweater…there are currently at least 5 in my head and I’d figured I’d at least have started one of them by now past the swatching stage), but the small stuff really does have the instant gratification going for it.

On my weekend in DC (now so distant at almost 2 weeks away…::sob::), I started and finished a Koolhaas hat, with the Tanis Fiber Arts ‘Green Label’ aran weight purchased a few weeks ago, and lo, it is good. There’s a sister skein of this deliciously bright, stubbornly cheerful, pink ‘Royal Flush’ colour that only needs me to turn it into mittens and I’ll have a nice set to round out the end of winter.

Either the bright shade is resisting photographic stability, or it’s mimicking my general state of mind, because out of two photo sessions half the pictures came out a bit fuzzy.

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Hmmm, well that’s not quite right. Perhaps from the top…

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Almost but not quite. Perhaps an outdoors shot from the side?

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That’s a bit better. I have to give my props to Jared Flood for a brilliant pattern. I worked all the cable twists without a cable needle which made everything quite speedy, and completed most of it while sacked out on Liz‘s couch watching DVDs and gearing up for sightseeing, so you know that means it’s a good pattern if I could do it on minimal brain cells. (Mental note: good current criteria for knitting. Hmm…)

The yarn itself is lovely, quite sturdy, superwash, and beautifully dyed. If I could manage the cash I’d stock up a sweater’s worth, but I think the standout Tanis Fiber Arts colours make it a great candidate for small accessories. Next step…mittens? Time will tell.

Here’s looking forward to the weekend for some quality yarn time and battery-recharging. I do have to get buttons on the Blooming Cardigan (attempt #1 has turned out not quite up to snuff. I can do better!), and I am inching towards finishing up a sock design project that I’ve had under wraps for far too long and I am just twitching, waiting to share it with all of you.

Weekend soon. Soooooon….

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I have a white balance?

So Jacquie sauntered by my blog yesterday and said, “hey man, groovy mitts. But your pictures are all blueish, check your white balance, dumbass.”

(Okay so she didn’t say dumbass, she was actually very nice, but even extremely friendly camera tips always remind me that I treat my perfectly serviceable digital camera like a point-and-shoot 35mm and maybe I should actually read a friggin’ manual one of these days. Or maybe I should have taken Jacquie and Michelle’s awesome knitting photography class when they ran it last year in Toronto. So many shoulds, so little time.)

But anyway, who knew? There’s a white balance, right there in the Menu settings. Mine is always set to ‘auto’, but I looked at the options, sure enough there is a ‘daylight’ setting. And my photos tend to be taken in daylight since the big windows by my desk have the best natural light going. So I clicked that little ‘daylight’ setting and lo and behold went from this:

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To this:

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Same glove, same spot, same time of day, but noticeably less blue. Neato. White balance, you and me, we’re gonna be pals.

Now you could say, “But isn’t this also just an excuse for you to photograph that same finished glove that you already showed us yesterday?” And to that I would say…yes. Yes it is. What can I say, I love my little Sanquhar Glove #1. It just needs its mate and then all will be right with the world.

Happy knitting on this Tuesday!

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Now I can be in 2009

It gives me a great deal of reassurance to know that Kelly is still obsessively knitting Christmas gnomes, because I only just finished the last of my Christmas gift-knitting. Le-voila, a finished pair of Cat Mittens, the first FO of 2009 and the second-last thing I cast on in 2008:

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Pattern: Cat Mittens (scroll down)
Yarn: Drops Alpaca in black and pale blue
Needles: 2.75mm Clover bamboo DPNs
Modifications: None.

Notes: The concept itself is brilliant, and it should come as no surprise these are headed towards P, aka Miss Beatrice the Cat’s mummy. You’ve got to be a cat lover to love these, and I think they will be well-receved.

This pattern is extremely well charted, so all you really have to do is cast on the required sts and then follow it along. I think one of the reasons I dragged my heels on finishing this is because of the need to follow the chart, though – it wasn’t something I could just memorize and take with me in my head, and that’s something I’ve gotten used to doing. But it is quite clearly written, and if you’ve gotten the hang of basic stranded colour-work, you should be fine. Just 2 colours needed, and you could probably grab some solid colour sock yarn sitting around and make these up nicely.

My only real concern with this pattern is that there is no explicit gauge measurement listed. The designer does tell you the anticipated mitten circumference for a certain needle size, but a stitch/row gauge would be helpful. After finishing these I found them running on the small side (bad for me but fine for the intended recipient, her hands are smaller), and after perusing Ravelry I found the same thing was true for many others who had done the pattern. So, if I were to do these again I would definitely go up a needle size and use a slightly squishier, floofy sock yarn like Dream in Color or STR. I see many on Ravelry have used Shi Bui Sock which seems about right. Or perhaps even a DK or sport-weight for extra sturdiness. The Drops Alpaca worked all right for this size but I think is ultimately too thin for anything larger, given how fiddly parts of the mitten are.

I’ve got about 22g of each colour left now, so perhaps there will be some alpaca Endpaper Mitts or similar in my future. In any case I’m just glad to have these done so I can move on to something new! I have just been itching to cast on a sweater after doing nothing but mitts and socks and bitty things for the last month and a half.

Finally, on the crazy update – the Sanqhuar gloves are still awesome, and Glove #1 is completely finished. I love it. Finishing it has given me renewed momentum and I have cast on for #2 immediately.

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Bring on the cold. Knitters can take it.

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Everlasting Love

My love for Noro, it continues unabated.

These two skeins of Silk Garden Sock decided that they did not, in fact, wish to be socks, but a garter ridge scarf instead. How could I say no to this face?

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I cast on on Friday afternoon while hanging at the Purple Purl with Martha and Lisa, after a very leisurely tour of Queen St. and Indian buffet lunch. (Mental note: do this more often). I put pedal to the medal (aided in large part by Second Sock Syndrome on some gift socks), and finished it up on Tuesday.

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I cast on 370 sts on a 4.0mm circular needle, and alternated yarns every 5 rows. I combined shades #252 (black/blue/green) and #87 (pretty much every colour there is), stopped when I thought it was OK, and I love the effect. There was some minor surgery involved, admittedly. I yanked out some of the green section of the #252, as it was a bright shade that clashed a bit too much with the yellowish green of #87. Other than that, smooth sailing. It’s long enough to loop comfortably once around my neck and still have some ends hanging to my waist.

I’d do this again in about two seconds flat with the regular Noro Silk Garden, for a chunkier “real” scarf. This scarf is slim for an accessory style scarf to pair with a sweater or jacket, which is something I’ve been wanting to knit for ages and ages. There’s a bit of each shade leftover and I’m starting to be hopeful that it might be enough for a wee striped beret or similar. Time will tell! In the meantime I had better get some more gift knitting off of my conscience.

How’s your December knitting going?

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Finishing things

The upside to a workday at home is that it is extremely easy to have a break to blog about your finished knitted things. The downside is the lack of photographers.

As a result, while I’d love to show you a fantasic Finished Object photo-shoot of my completed Twist Cardi (which has been patiently languishing for weeks while I finally went out and got buttons), the best I can show you is this:

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I’ll wrangle a photographer later, this sweater deserves better. It turned out very comfy and warm, more like a jacket than a cardi, which is what I intended. For this shot I did a public service and cropped out my blotchy face…shady winter light is not a friend to portraits…but I can report that the hood is lovely and functions well.

On the hat front, I did indeed manage to finish the Inga Hat of previous posting, with some extra yarn that reader Robyn handed off to me last week when I handed over her blog contest winnings from last month (other winners – your yarn is in the mail! Mea culpa. I don’t know why it takes me so long to get to the post office). But sadly it is indeed too long. The blocking for cloche-effect did actually work, but the crown still sits too high. I am going to try one last effort of ripping out the last 6-8 rows and sewing it up. If that doesn’t work…Well, then it’s a fair isle felted tea cosy for me.

But I did finally get to another hat, after perusing Ravelry and discovering the Norwegian Star Earflap Hat (Ravelry free download link) from Tiennie. This one worked. I did have to pull out the first attempt after a couple of inches once it was clear I needed to go down in needle size, but once I got the circumference worked out the rest was just fine. Thanks to the 2/3 of a skein of the same petal pink Patons, which just happened to be sitting in my stash from last year, I now have a hat to go with the gloves I finished a couple of weeks ago.

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I figure if you’re going to make the decision to make an earflap hat, you might as well go full tilt and add pompoms to the i-cord tassels. (A decision which I feel is validated by other Ravelry users doing the same thing). My only concern is that the combination of tassels and the pink shade may have resulted in a hat more suitable for someone closer to 13 than 30, but I’ll go with it for now. It’s warm, it fits, and I’ve got all winter to make Hat Attempt #3.

The pattern is very well written, and gives you 3 child circumferences and 3 adult circumferences, and is infinitely variable in colour combinations. Since the fair isle section is only 15 rows, it is easy to adjust length by adding or removing rows to the solid colour sections. I call this one a win.

Although I still have quite a bit of work to get done in the next few weeks, and a Mt-Everest-sized mountain of prep to do for next term, I’m very much looking forward to the fun parts of December. Knitting, baking, and hibernating ahoy!

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Filed under finished object: accessories, finished object: sweater, sweaters

Best laid plans

Last week I finished the striped gloves, and they turned out suitably pink and brown and stripey:

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They’re perfect for our current temperatures which are hovering in the just-below-and-just-above-freezing range. Not quite as warm as mittens but they’ll do the job nicely for the time being, and are darned cheerful too. I do love that Patons Classic Merino.

After that I did indeed succumb to the Noro sock yarn on Wednesday evening and started in on something with stripes and the Silk Garden Sock, but then the next day I convinced myself it just wasn’t working out and so I pulled it all out only to start on something else on Friday.

This is the Inga Hat, a very attractive free pattern that I noticed last winter but never got around to making. After finishing my gloves I wanted to make a hat with the remaining half-skeins, and since there are many Ravelry users with Inga Hats made out of Patons Classic Merino I thought I’d give it a shot. I wanted something in the same colours but not a repeat of stripes – I’m okay with matching hat & mitts, I just don’t quite want matchy-matchy, if you know what I mean.

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It looks pretty, doesn’t it? The pink and brown are still very nice, and I’m pleased with my selection of red for the stripe at the brim. I’m also pleased with my execution of the braiding at the edge there, since I’d never done that before and it’s nice to build skills every so often.

Well, pretty isn’t everything, sadly. I should have seen Warning Flag #1 when reading the pattern and it said “one size fits all”. Ahahahahahahah. Nothing in knitting is one size fits all, least of all hats, surely we have all learned this by now. I blythely increased my needle size to go from an intended head circumferece of 21″ to 23″ to sit comfortably for me, except I should have known this would alter other things about this hat.

Warning Flag #2 which I completely disregarded until it was too late was the fact that this pattern does not tell you the intended row gauge, only stitch gauge. So while it is entirely possible that if I had not increased the stitch gauge I would not have ended up with a hat 2-3 inches too long, I will really never know for sure since I’m not very clear on how long it was supposed to be in the first place. If you’re familiar with the pattern you’ll know that the decreases mirror the decreasing slope of that diamond pattern, and are thus embedded in the pattern repeat itself which makes it nearly impossible to simply decrease earlier without completely disrupting the pattern.

So at the moment I am stopped here, having just begun the decrease-every-row decreases, and have discovered a sad fate. This lovely project which was going to use up the Gloves leftovers, has eaten through the Chestnut Brown at a faster rate than the Petal Pink, and if I am going to contemplate finishing the hat, I now have to go off and get another ball of Brown of which I will probably end up with 95% still leftover – thus defeating the purpose of using up leftover yarn in the first place.

Sigh. Why, knitting? Why must you come around to kick me in the shins like this? And on a nice weekend no less.

As I see it, I have 3 options:

1) Get more yarn and finish the hat, and if it does not fit never speak of it again.

2) Get more yarn and finish the hat, and if it is too long attempt to block it with a slightly wider brim to achieve a “cloche” hat effect. (This would seem like a good option except for my fear of ending up looking like I am wearing a carpeted lampshade on my head.)

3) Pull it all out and knit something else. (This would seem very reasonable also except for my woe over having spent 2 days’ worth of knitting time only to have it erased.)

None of these options are particularly appealing to me, especially since it is now cold and snowy outside and I still have no hat to go with my gloves. I may have to just stuff it back in its project bag where it can think about its crimes, and hope that my start-itis returns to vanquish the where-is-my-knitting-motivation-itis that seems to have taken its place.

But in good news, it IS Sunday. Pass the hot chocolate.

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Rolling along

This FO has been lingering for a week now, and in fact still needs 2 ends woven in, but I’m pleased with it and it’s done-ski. My Colinette Jitterbug Clapotis:

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I did it according to pattern with slight modification, on 3.5 mm needles to accommodate the Jitterbug. I did omit the final increase repeat, and added a little bit of length, and could have probably omitted another one to give it yet more length. This will be a nice accessory scarf come fall and winter, and I’m looking forward to being able to wear it. The colour is ‘gaugin’, and I used almost exactly all of 2 skeins.

Yesterday a few of us Hamiltonians had a Toronto day for Steph‘s birthday, and sadly this photo from lunch in Kensington Market is all I managed to snap:

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We did a good yarn crawl – Lettuce Knit, Romni, and the Purple Purl. I was fairly modest in my purchases, and it was a good time. We were sad to discover when arriving at the Purple Purl that they were closed to recover from a bit of flood damange from Tuesday night. Thankfully they lost very little inventory but there will still be cleanup to be done and I know they will be grateful for all good vibes and support. I hear they are not the only Toronto yarn shop to have been damaged by the sudden deluge of rain on Tuesday night (bizarrely, we in Hamilton were 100% dry, only 60km away). Our little group definitely had the sympathy and I am sending them more good vibes from afar. I will definitely be bringing treats with me (baked or drinkable…or maybe both…) for the next visit or two. I wish I could do more than that.

We’re planning another day like this all over again for the end of the month when our birthday comes up, and that makes it all the better to have a sunny summer yarn day coming up again.

I hope your summer knitting is going well, and if not knitting then hopefully some relaxation of some kind!

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Just a few flakes

Southern Ontario is getting hit big time – and from what I hear the northeastern United States got it big before it got to us. I think Hamilton’s been doused with more than 20cm so far and the snow isn’t stopping until late tonight according to reports. It’s a good thing I pushed myself to finish these, because they’re now the only complete pair of mitts I own! (I lost a glove on the bus on Thursday, boo)

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It’s been a weekend of cancelled plans. Plans to get to a party on Saturday night were nixed, and my poor sister has had to forgo the holiday open house at her place this afternoon. The roads just aren’t drivable. Thankfully the one form of transportation left – walking – is enough to get me over to her place, so she and I will sit and knit and have a party for two instead of ten, and I’ll get to put in some quality knitting time with Ivy League and maybe a few more Korknisse. But dude. What else would you do on a day like this?

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Well, there is ONE other good thing to do on a weekend like this.

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But it needs a few knitted ornaments. Must get on that ;)
May you have a warm and knitterly Sunday, wherever you are.

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Mirror in the Bathroom

I have been underestimating the skill it takes to stand in front of a mirror and get a good picture of yourself wearing knitted things. Here I thought, hey! Just put the hat on and click, how hard is that? Pah-HAH.

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I think that was the best one. There were several on the cutting room floor. Oh here, let me show you some of those too, I’m feeling extra procrastinatory this morning…

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I think there were possibly a dozen more after that, that were either too blurry, too dark, or too dorky. And dude, this was with an actual digital camera. How do people do this with camera phones with those cruddy 1.2 megapixel lenses? I am baffled. In any case, none of those got a good shot of the top of the hat (I tried. The results weren’t good):

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In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you the reason the hat is folded over is so that I can avoid showing you the horrific charting error I did in the middle of the 5th repeat on the rosette pattern. I am confident that Average Person Walking Down The Street will not notice, though, which is why I did not feel compelled to rip out my 8 colours of yarn to fix it.

But ta da, December Lights Tam from the Holiday Interweave Knits. All in all, a lovely pattern. Super quick knit and a beautiful product. I am just happy the colours I chose worked out, I’d hate for it to turn out like some weird mottled mess.  My only other modification besides colour was that I did the whole thing on 3.5mm instead of 3.25 and 3.0 mm as the pattern says (I think), to make the band a little looser than an 18-inch head-circumference and to come closer to gauge requirement. It was good practice on multi-colour fair isle, seeing as I’m itching to cast on for Venezia still (IK Fall 2006). I am STILL hanging on to Venezia as my reward for finishing my draft, and with my stash as my witness, that will happen before next weekend. It has to. I am not carrying this on into another month, I am so close.

I am also looking forward to the time when I can knit something new, something that is not an enormous blanket (or a thesis draft). These small little suckers are awesome instant gratification. Why did I forsake hats and gloves and mitts and toys? They are the best things ever.

Bee

This is, in fact, a bee for Bea. Knitted cat toy courtesy of Christine Landry’s free pattern, great for using up a bit of ACK-rill-ick still lingering in the stash and soothe wee kittie brains with a bit of catnip at the same time. I placed the finished bee on the carpet and she promptly sniffed it, then clutched it and rolled around for a proper greeting. Awesome.

Happy Wednesday, my friends! May your knitting be close by.

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