Monthly Archives: September 2009

Monday night knitting: Advanced Level Techniques

Before attending this particular Monday night knitting Workshop for One, please come having completed the following steps:

1. Cast on new sweater, fully convinced of enormous amounts of time standing between date of cast on and date of actually wishing to wear the completed sweater.

2. Finish sleeves of sweater within a week. Congratulate self on super speediness.

3. Cast on for back of sweater, complete ribbing.

4. Allow sweater to stagnate for a full two weeks with no active knitting whatsoever. Return to sweater, experience astonishment that it has not in fact been knitting itself while tucked away inside project bag.

5. Experience panic over rapidly approaching date of actually wishing to wear the completed sweater.

Ready? Okay. Now you’re ready to proceed as follows:

6. Consume a full glass of wine.

7. Merrily return to sweater knitting, confident of being able to proceed speedily on back piece of sweater all evening long.

8. Discover that proceeding requires placing an “establishing” row of cables, including several charts.

9. Experience deep confusion wondering why your knitting does not seem to match establishing row instructions. Recall that since you are modifying for length, your hip shaping decreases have not begun yet and thus your establishing row is at least 6 sts off from original pattern instructions.

10. Write out establishing row instructions by hand.

11. Knit the establishing row.

12. Re-knit establishing row.

13. Double-check completed establishing row three more times.

14. In absence of visible remaining errors, continue knitting.

15. Consume second glass of wine to celebrate.

16. The following morning, resume sweater knitting as transit knitting, silently and personally celebrating completion of Advanced Level Knitting Technique: Drunken Cable Placement.

Cassidy - back progress

Cheers, I say. Cheers.


Filed under cables, fearless knitting

Hello, People of the Pod

Pattern download link for most recent version, Dec 15th 2013: Podster mitts PDF

For months now I’ve had this pattern brewing up in the back of my brain, just waiting for the opportune moment for me to cast on and write it out. After a while I started to think, “surely, someone else has done this already.” And it’s entirely possible that someone has, but if that’s true I haven’t managed to encounter it yet. This is a fingering-weight glove pattern, but more than that it is a flip-top, convertible glove/mitt pattern (glitten? mlove?). “But Glenna,” you are saying, “that’s nothing new, psh, I’ve seen that before.” Well, this is a convertible glove with the addition of one wee little modification: an i-Pod thumb:


This modified thumb is intended to solve the extremely decadent and modern problem (because really, as problems go this is about eleven millionth down on the list of things that need fixing) of wanting to use your digital music player in cold weather, without having to remove your whole mitten and get cold fingers in the process. Digital music players come in lots of different styles these days, and they all have buttons and switches to press, but the unique thing about the i-Pod is that the little dial relies on the touch of your actual skin. You can pound away at it with your gloved fingers as much as you want, but after a certain point it won’t work unless you expose your actual thumb and fingertips, which means ripping your glove off of your hand in order to change tunes or podcasts.

And so I finally said, “heck with this, I am a knitter, I can solve this problem.” So a couple of weeks ago I marched right over to my stash and pulled out a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy (you know, as you do), and started knitting away. Getting the little peekaboo thumb just as I wanted it took a couple of attempts, but I’m pretty pleased with this particular result. Time will tell once the real fall cool weather starts to sink in, but by Jove I think we’ve got it.


This is, at first blush, a flip-top glove/mitt pattern. At the end of the instructions are three potential modifications to this, the first of which is the ‘podster’ peekaboo thumb, which fashions a ribbing-covered gap over the inside stitches of the thumb. This means that it is snug enough to still fit to your thumb, but loose enough for you to peek the tip of your thumb through and expose it for helpful music player control. The other two modifications are quite logical and not terribly unusual in the slightest, and explain how you could work this alternately as a pair of plain gloves, or plain mittens. So, these instructions are essentially 4-patterns-in-1. (Note: I only worked the modified thumb on one glove. You may choose to do either one, or both, and choose whichever thumb suits you best. Or just screw the fancy thumb and make normal gloves, that’s cool too.)

With the sample shown here I’ve used Dream in Color Smooshy, which is a multi-ply fingering weight yarn with a bit of squish to it. At the pattern gauge of 32 sts/44 rows over 4 inches, it produces a moderately snug gauge (in other words: not loose or drapey, but not so thick that it stands on its own), so if substituting yarns, try to choose something that behaves similarly. Regarding sizing, I have written the pattern instructions for two sizes, loosely intended for a Women’s Small and a Women’s Large/Men’s small. I made the larger size (shown here) and they fit my 7.75-ins hand circumference quite well. If in doubt, measure your hand circumference (or the hand of whoever is receiving these), and if it is 7 ins or bigger I recommend going with the larger size.

One thing to keep in mind for these instructions is that, while I direct you to work in the round and tell you what needle size/gauge to use, I do not tell you what specific method to use. I am assuming that if you are knitting this pattern that you have done at least one project’s worth of knitting in the round, that you know what method you used to do so, and that you are comfortable using this method again. You can execute this on Double Pointed Needles (DPN)s, Magic Loop, or knitting on 2 circulars – it is entirely up to you. (For the record, I worked this sample up using Magic Loop. These days I slide back and forth from DPNs to Magic Loop pretty fluidly.)


The other thing you’ll notice is that I don’t provide any finishing instructions for things like buttons, snaps, velcro, or other means of fastening the mitten top in the “down” position. This is, I will admit, partly out of sheer laziness, but also because I have to say that when I wear flip-top mitts like this, they spend about 90% of the time in the “up” or closed position, and I can deal with a little bit of flopping around when they’re not. You’re more than welcome to take this step, however, and it would be fairly easy to add a fastening of some kind to the back of each wrist.


You may download the pattern instructions for free here from my blog, or here in my Ravelry store if you are a Ravelry member, which will also allow you to store in your Ravelry library.

If you find value in this pattern, I would humbly suggest taking the dollar amount that you think it is worth, and donating that amount to your preferred charitable organization (who are, most likely, trying to solve problems that are a little higher on the list than cold podster fingers). I hope that you will enjoy knitting these, and that the gloves keep your hands (or those of a few gift recipients, perhaps?) toasty warm and technologically savvy all season long.

Well, at least until the super cold weather hits, at which time I will be running screaming back to the thrummed mittens and praying for thaw. But these can still live happily in my coat pocket for when I need them – and hopefully, yours too.






Filed under design, finished object: accessories, free pattern, knitting addiction, mittens

I never could get the hang of Thursdays

I’ve got WIPs that I wish were FOs by now, lectures and papers I wish were completely written, and about a zillion and one other things I would love to be doing right this very second instead of attempting to pull productive thoughts out of my brain. The downside of work-at-home days includes how much easier it is to procrastinate, but the big upside is that with just a turn of my head, I can just look out the window, or over at some of my yarn, and some days that alone is a good thing.

Back at the New Year I knitted up a few ‘Korknisse’ corks and gave them some resolutionary signage, and two of them live on the windowsill. Observe them with respect, for lo, they are wise.


What do you wish you were knitting right now? A girl can live vicariously. While getting to the non-knitting stuff one step at a time.


Filed under Uncategorized

Two by two, knits of blue

The thing about coming to that elusive ‘blank slate’ of knitting is that it doesn’t usually last very long. Between last Saturday morning and Monday morning I had cast on no fewer than 4 new projects, two of which were indeed quite blue, as I suspected. (The other two are not entirely blue, and shall appear in this blog in due course.) I think there is something about this deep shade of turquoise that I find extremely comforting. I seem to gravitate towards it in the late winter/early spring, but heck, maybe it’s time for blue to have an autumn turn as well.


This is the beginnings of a new sweater, one which I’ve been wanting to cast on for months and months, but since my sweater-knitting pace this year seems to be not only glacial but exponentially so, it’s taken me forever to getting around to starting it. I love this yarn and can’t wait to have it finished to wear in the fall. It may be a backup Rhinebeck sweater, even.

The pattern is Bonne Marie Burns’ totally cute Cassidy cardigan, yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca (one of my top favourite yarns for sure) in Oceanic Mix which I bought back in February on a sale and which has been incredibly patient with me. (This much can be said of my stash – I could clothe myself many days over with knits from it, but I do know how to rock a yarn sale). After 9 days I thought for sure I would have been over the sleeves and into the body by now, but then again my internal knitter clock has always been a bit impatient with my actual real world clock. And besides, the sweater’s doing a little better than my other knit of blue:


These are the Fleece Artist socks of much pondering, with the double-stranding of Merino sock and Angel Hair mohair/silk/nylon. I am enjoying knitting them but sadly they have been pushed not only to transit knitting but second-tier transit knitting, and this is also 9 days’ worth of effort. I will say, though, that I think these are going to turn out very nicely for house socks, but possibly not so much for daily practical wear – I believe they are going to be incredibly warm, thanks to that grabby mohair.

And the blue spinning, that is coming along nicely as well. In my next post, though, I am going to do my darnedest to show you one of the not-blue things. I love it and am just itching to show you all, but it’s not quite done yet. Soon. With that, it’s time to put the knitting clock away and look at the real world one again. Stupid real world. It’s a harsh place, I tells ya.

May your Monday be as painless as possible! Happy knitting tonight.


Filed under Uncategorized

Moving Right Along

In my last post I mentioned that on Saturday I was, at least for a very brief moment in time, on a blank slate. I was free to cast on new things for myself having finished others, and one of the projects I finished was a second Swallowtail shawl.

I made my first one back in June out of Sea Silk, and it is lovely and drapey and beautiful, but I wanted one that would be bigger and cover more of my shoulders and arms. So, I took the pattern and up-sized it, knitting 19 repeats of the buds instead of the instructed 14. For a while i was expecting I would knit 3 repeats of the lily of the valley instead of the 2 in the pattern, but when I finished the 2 in the pattern I realized that a) it didn’t really need a 3rd repeat, and b) if I only did 2 then I would be done sooner.


I’m quite happy with the result. Betty here is modelling it for me (she is so named after Mad Men‘s Betty Draper…since I’m going to be draping my knitting all over her, yuk yuk yuk I kill me), and doing a fine job. For this second, up-sized Swallowtail I used 1.5 skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight in ‘Plum’, which on 4.5mm needles left me with a wingspan of just over 5 feet across. Very pleasant. And check out that lovely lacey point…


It’s true that the nupps get easier the more you do them. I find myself much looser on the nupps this time around than on the first go, and I really do like the way they look. I could even start to enjoy the nupps, dare I say.

I have more shawls that i’d like to cast on…once I get through the 2 pairs of socks, 1 sweater, and 1 pair of gloves that have come on the needles since Saturday morning. Nothing like a little bit of knitting to take the edge off of term starting, no? I thought so.

Happy Wednesday – keep the knitting close by!


Filed under finished object: shawl, lace

Reports from the Field

1. Although I’m pretty pleased that I haven’t had to use my Pattern Notes and Errata page in a while, the wee errors do sometimes slip through there occasionally, and I’ve begun an entry for Rendezvous. They are small errata, but there none the less. In the interim, I am going to try to work harder at the whole “being perfect all the time” thing, but I’ve heard that this might take a while. Further bulletins as events occur.

(Incidentally if you are a person who has downloaded my patterns through Ravelry, you’d get any updates automatically anyway. This is when it pays to keep your email address in Ravelry up to date.)

2. Yea verily I did what the internet told me and after starting my new socks yesterday morning, I am pulling the kid mohair strand from the outside, contained within a plastic baggie next to the merino sock yarn within my travel knitting bag, and it’s all going very well so far. The socks are actually working up pretty neat and I’ll be sure to post about this later.

3. At the Kitchener-Waterloo fair yesterday I ran into a couple of knitters who found this same Fleece Artist sock kit and bought it as a direct result of my enabling. I regret nothing.

4. The Kitchener-Waterloo fair was great. It was pretty hopping, too, more so than I remember it last year. Apparently there was a line-up waiting to get in right at opening. Inside the two vendor rooms was lots and lots of good stuff, and good people too.


I believe the final count was around 80 Vendors participating, and they did not disappoint. It was wall-to-wall knitting and spinning supplies and lots of happy people with happy bags and armloads of things, in varying quantities. I ran into several friendly faces, including Lisa, Michelle, Theresa, Rochelle, blogless Elizabeth who I met in Ottawa in the spring, and probably several others who I am likely forgetting. I like that even though it’s a big event, it’s still pretty easy to find people you know and stop to chat at the edge of a corridor somewhere.


5. I bought some yarn. I bought more than I thought I would, which I realize in and of itself is not unusual for me, but I suppose I was felled by two things: First, the K-W fair and the Rhinebeck trip in October are the sanctioned yarn-buying times that I am allowing myself for the forseeable future. Second, I was, as of the beginning of the day, on a complete blank slate. I woke up and had no projects on the needles, for the first time in I don’t know how long. I think as a result, my brain reached for things I didn’t expect it to.

The fact that, after I got home, I cast on a (blue) sweater with yarn not purchased yesterday, is not important. What IS important, is that I managed to not buy blue yarn. Having prepared myself beforehand, I gave myself rules to branch out of my current colour tendencies and get other things. And my knitting brain said, “you want ‘not-blue’? Hah! I’ll give you so much ‘not-blue’ you won’t know what do DO with yourself.” Exhibit A, three skeins of the awesomest bright colours you’ve ever seen:


From left to right, these are Van der Rock yarns, Lorna’s Laces, and Tanis Fiber Arts. Van der Rock yarns are a relatively new Canadian outfit, run by two extremely adorable people. I encountered their booth at Sock Summit for the first time and was happy to encounter them again. I walked away with the pink skein above in “Neon” (all their colourways are named after elements from the Periodic Table, or molecules…you can have Arsenic green, Lead purple…good geeky knitterly fun), and really enjoyed chatting with them.

The Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (this one here is the ‘Satsuma’ colourway) was an (unsurprising) addition to my quest to have as many Lorna’s Laces Jaywalkers as I can knit (we’ve moved well beyond the goal of ‘a week’s worth’ now), in a variety of colours, and the Tanis skein is her new colourway called “Lemongrass.” It’s so bright it had to come home with me.

Also, I bought Noro sock yarn. I have no explanation for the fact that I brought home 6 skeins of it (2 silk garden, 4 Kureyon), other than that it was on my list for sock knitting this winter, there were lots of sales, and I am helpless. Also, even when there is blue, it’s not just blue, so that totally is allowed in the not-blue rules.


I may have also bought a few bits of spinning fibre. Maybe. I’ll save that for later. Today I’m going to continue knitting my new sweater, and ponder what I’m going to do with my new acquisitions. Fun times ahead for Sunday. I hope you have a good one!


Filed under knitting tourism, stash

Ask the Internet

First off, it has dawned on me that I may be heading back into a teal/blue colour jag, as witnessed by both my spinning and the knitting that is about to go back on the needles. I’m going to try to head this off at the pass and cast on something that is not teal, but since I know Chante always manages to catch me on these things, with her steel-trap powers of colour jag observation, I thought I’d better fess up right up front. If you’re anti-teal (though why would you be? it’s so bright yet soothing…) I promise I”ll try not to make it a habit for too long.

Second, I have some show and tell and a question. Back in July when I was in Toronto one week, I met up with Kim and we perused Romni Wools while they were having their summer sale. The summer sale is not to be trifled with. All their yarn goes on 20% off, and the store is huge. If you haven’t trained beforehand, you could really hurt yourself.

I managed to exercise some self-restraint, but even for a person who “wasn’t going to buy anything” (because at this point I was “trying not to buy much before Sock Summit” hahahahahhah), even coming away with a few skeins is a lot. BUT, one of said skeins popped back up in my memory this week and I pulled it out to get ready for the weekend. I’ve got a little bit of car-knitting time in view, and no current sock project in the travel bag, so this seemed like a good bet.


This is a skein of Fleece Artist merino sock yarn, put together with matching yardage of a matching colour of kid mohair/nylon. The idea (I think) is for you knit the two strands together, and since the mohair/nylon is quite sturdy as well as being as soft as kittens, you get a very colourful, soft, decadent, but practical pair of socks. Sign me up. I remember back in May when I was taking Cat Bordhi’s class at Lettuce Knit, the store had just gotten some of this in stock and Cat saw it, saw that it was regularly priced at only $20, and said something like “buy them all right now before they realize what a great deal this is!”

So anyhoo, fast forward to now, when I’m ready to break this kit out and do some soothing stockinette sock knitting with it, and I wind up the merino half and after struggling to find the ends of the mohair/nylon I manage to wind that up too despite the fact that it resembles a matted bundle of cobwebs…


…and that is when I remember that I have managed to never once in my life knit with a brushed mohair/nylon blend like this. Not once.

So my question for you, dear knitting internets, is if you were about to go knit with this stuff and want to save yourself as much agony as possible in the face of clingy grabby mohair….Would you pull that ball from the centre, or the outside?


Filed under socks, stash