Tuesday, January 29, 2013

mo' mittens

It's that time of winter when you want something woolly on your hands. When Dave put in a rare knitting request, I was all over it. I showed him a couple of skeins of Noro that seemed  black-ish and teal-ish. I love me some Noro knitting. I coulda shoulda woulda cast on for your basic mittens and whipped'em right out.616_GaleZuckerFV_0113But nooooooo. I had to make them more special. Fletcher Mittens.  You know how sometimes you make things more complicated than they need to be?600_GaleZuckerFV_0113Admittedly, some of it was my own doing. I started out on dpns.  I do not enjoy knitting mittens on dpns. And,  working from both ends of the Noro Kureyon at the same time, to get the striping action, made it a fiddly undertaking.636_GaleZuckerFV_0113Mr. Noro, it turns out, had impishly hidden a ton of fuschia in the colorway. Dave's pretty open minded about his mittwear but fuschia?  Not going to cut it. So I cut it, instead. (Ok, tore it out, but you know, give me some poetic license). Adding smaller bits and ends just increased the fiddly factor. Again, that's on me.608_GaleZuckerFV_0113 
I switched to  magic loop for mitt # 2, making me much happier. Overall, the mitered mitt is kind of a fun construction, it has generous thumbs, and the pattern makes a nice dense handcover, perfect for shoveling snow. Which in the end, is what it is all about.  Right?
Let us move on to something that is as close to perfection as you'll find at mi casa.207Zoes1bday_Zoe turned one!

Friday, January 18, 2013

this, that, the other thing...

January's been a month of catching up,  weaving in the the loose ends from 2012 and making lists of all the new projects and ideas I want to get going on.  It seems like all I do is notice opportunities to make, to try new crafts, or learn new skills. Like this workshop Saturday:
detail for this workshop and one on Monday making recycled scarves, on her website
with Crispina Ffrench, in Pittsfield/Shire City, Massachusetts. Crispina is one of our Craft Activism subjects. You really should check her out- she does all kinds of cool things in her studio with recycled sweaters and Tshirts. An old felted sweater is just raw material to her.  Being at her studio was one of those photo shoots where I spent the whole time jerking my head around in circles, trying to take in all the details, textures, colors and handcrafted beauty. Like her GIGUNDO potholder-style looms, above.

I myself have a Photography for Knitters class coming up at The Village Knitter in Babylon NY, you may know one of the proprietors, Ann of Purling Swine.  The workshop is Saturday Feb 2nd 12:30 to 4:30. . There are only 3-4 seats left, so if you're near "the Island", join us! I know, it is also Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, but that has to happen before noon--see? no conflict.

Lastly,  the finished (refinished) version of Cadence that I've been wearing all the time.  Don't you always have one sweater that becomes the sweatshirt sweater? The default one to wear if you don't need to look especially spiffed? I  last mentioned my Cadence problems in late 2011. I reknit in time for Rhinebeck this year, and threw it on to get a shot on my backdrop - posed dorkily and unflatteringly.
Though I wear it a lot and adore the earthy (and softened with wear) Cascade Eco Wool , I'm going to say that a big wide neckline and bracelet length sleeves (when, um, the shoulders are on my shoulders) are not ideal in our damp drafty New Englandy winter, it's drafty. It does leave room for me to layer on a scarf . Which I guess, for a knitter, that's a good thing.
(and to be fair to the designer, she showed it in heavy cotton. Even more sweatshirty. Loved the pattern though, regardless of drafty neck. Quick and fun knit.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

right on time

Not being a perfectionist has its advantages. I don't get fussed if some holiday gifts are delivered late, as long as the promises of the gift arrive on time, and the recipients are OK with it.
196_GaleZuckerST_0113Here's the last hat from the to-finish list. I cast on thinking it'd be a plain beanie for bro-in-law.  But he likes a little something extra. Like a point. In the past, my knits for him included (circa 2006) one-of-a-kind hats like this one, and in 2008,  the LaMar scarf.   The design  has a life of its own it gets downloaded literally every day, still.   There seems to be a lively german following for it.  (Love! this!)191_GaleZuckerST_0113This new hat's warm and bulky, with a vintage button. I think its an upholstery button,  yanked off a sofa way back when, in my button tin via a tag sale button jar find. The hat itself has a ribbed cuff in some leftover Alfa Maskin Vaskbar, a Norwegian wool/mohair bulky yarn last seen here  and the red is Mission Falls wool, held double. 

I prefer to show hats on a human head, and I even got Dave to plop this on his as he shoveled out the night's snowfall, but it seemed wrong to push my luck and ask him to stop and pose, just days after the last post.  I may not be a perfectionist, but at least  I'm nice. Sometimes.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

in which

My most reluctant model shows you the most whack gift to leave my hands in a while. My nephew requested  "one of those hats  with earflaps long enough for hand  pockets".
So I made one.  Dave truly hates to model, especially something as unsubtle as this.
Except it actually turned out kind of cool.  Plus, I said Bobo could be in the photos. Because, you know, nothing enhances an improvised crocheted earflap hat with recycled sweater pockets more than an American Bulldog.
I am particularly pleased with the pockets. They're the cuffs of an old felted sweater, cut open and upside down. The whole shebang is crocheted around with some Cascade Eco. It pulled it all together.*694_0113GaleZuckerFV 
I started with the Vida Chullo pattern, sorta, kinda, and then winged it from there.** The yarns are Cascade Eco Wool in a few colors (the light turquoise main color, and the dark red, and the brown outline. There's also some nice gray and some purple alpaca , brown Valley Yarn Berkshire, and other odds & ends.638_0113GaleZuckerFVIt gives Dave a kind of old surfer hippy look. Which is pretty much his style anyway, minus the surfing, minus the old (don't let the white  beard fool you).  It's really comfy. The pockets will fit my tall nephew just right. The usual 18-22 year olds who can be found here weekends actually approved. Huh. Who woulda thought? 693_0113GaleZuckerFVHad to show  those pockets again. I'm dying to use more of that felted sweater and make myself some mittens with the same edging.
* Yes, that is a  The Big Lebowski reference. Tell me the Dude wouldn't wear this hat thingy?
** I crocheted because it goes super fast, and I figured I'd be doing lots of ripping back. Which is so much easier in crochet than in knitting.  My crochet skills, though, are kind of naive.

PS. I tried to do this as a 15 minute blog burst. Ha! Not even close. It takes me that long to decide which photos to use, and another 15 to clean up my spelling & grammar mistakes.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

new mitts two mitts

All along I've been knitting,  like a little rattly tune always playing in the background. Every once in a while it's nice to notice the score.556_1212GaleZuckerFV These were supposed to be a Christmas present but that last inch somehow took an extra week. How does such a thing happen?newmittsJan2013 They're custom knit. Don't you love a pair of mitts that fit you like a glove? 
Pattern: Berroco Woodhaven - a good basic  pattern, I like tops that are squared off, not pointy. Just a couple of decrease rounds and then kitchener ending. 
Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino with a touch of Cascade 220 at the cuffs, to match the Honey Cowl from the last post
Needles: size us 6
The yarn was chosen for its superwash qualities. We've been having rampant accidental feltings Since the laundry police I can't be vigilant at all all the time, the solution is to  minimize the number of shrinkable handknits before they are all...minimized. I have to admit I don't love this yarn. First of all, it's pricey, yet it had a couple of frayed/knotted bits, you can see one in the second photo from top, poking out the right cuff The yarn feels nice but I'm not loving the pooling/flashing. The giftee, though, is quite happy with them, and that's the most important thing.  We're scheming what to do with the rest of the skein.
Leading choice is a hat, paired with the rest of that Cascade 220 skein. Upside: coordinated accessories, breaking away from the handknit bag lady look so often seen 'round these parts. Downside: it'd be at least partially feltable.