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Tapestry Mittens

April 25, 2015

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I do love a good mitten pattern and this new one I found might be my favorite yet. The Northman Mitten is right up there, though.  There’s a couple of things I look for in a good mitten pattern:  it has to have a decent thumb (either an afterthought thumb or a thumb with a gusset)  and it has to be a two color pattern.  This pattern has both and it also has a lining, which is really nice. And it was a really fun knit.

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This pattern is from Elinor Brown, a knitting pattern designer who I was always in awe of because she designed all these wonderful patterns and did all this knitting while attending medical school.  The pattern gives three sizes for the mittens.  I knit the Medium and I thought they seemed just right for the average woman’s hands.

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I chose to use Quince Chickadee for the outer mitten yarn so that the pattern had a lot of stitch definition.  It’s a 100% wool yarn.  Sometimes, in the past, when I have used a wool and alpaca blend for an outer mitten, the alpaca fuzzes up a little too much and the pattern becomes a little blurry.  But I like the warmth of alpaca so I used that for the inner mitten.

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Two color knitting is so fun and it’s addictive to watch your pattern coming off the needles.  When I knit in two colors, I hold one yarn (the contrast color) in the left hand and knit Continental with that and I hold the other yarn (the background color) in the right hand and knit English on that side.  It took some practice to learn, but it’s natural for me now and very fast.  if you hold the contrast yarn in the left hand, it becomes dominant in the finished knitting. The background color is held in the right hand, and stays in the background.

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I knit all my projects in the round on circular needles using Magic Loop instead of double points.  It makes it very easy to try on the project and assess sizing as you go. Plus I hate all the double points sticking out and having to work around them.  And it makes knitting the thumbs very easy.

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The only thing I did not totally love on this pattern was the i-cord cast on. The result just wasn’t worth the aggravation. If I knit another pair of these (and I will) I’m going to do a different kind of cuff – maybe a picot edge.

Pattern: Tapestry Mittens
Needles:  US#4, #2 and #1 Circular Addi Lace
Yarn:  Quince Chickadee in Frost & Storm and Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light in Viola for inner mitten
Ravelry Page

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Sideways Garter Stitch Vest

March 28, 2015

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this vest is vertically reversible!

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If you do not subscribe to Purl Soho’s e-mail newsletter, you really should.  This great little shop in New York’s Soho neighborhood puts out an awesome mailing that includes free patterns.  That is where I saw this pattern for a vest that is done entirely in garter stitch.  It caught my eye right away, so I looked it up on Ravelry to see how  many people were knitting it and what their creative spins on it might be. One great feature of this vest is that you can turn it upside down and wear it the other way, with the contrasting color on top.  Each way gives you a different size collar.

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This was such an easy project to knit – it’s just one big rectangle of garter stitch -but it does require doing afterthought armholes, which I kind of love doing.  I’ve done a lot of afterthought thumbs for mittens and afterthought heels for socks, so I know the technique well.

You just knit a length of contrasting waste yarn across the required number of stitches, slip these stitches back to the left needle and knit in your regular yarn.  This leaves you with this contrasting yarn embedded into your piece:

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To make the armholes, you slip your stitches just under your waste yarn, picking up one leg from each stitch underneath:

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Here are the stitches on the needles after they are all picked up, both below and above the waste yarn:

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Now you can get rid of the waste yarn by just picking it out and cutting it as you go to remove it:

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Now it’s a matter of just binding off those stitches you just picked up:

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After they are all bound off, behold – an armhole:

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It’s really pretty easy.  A lot of people on Ravelry decided not to do Afterthought Armholes and, instead, just bound off the stitches as they knitted the garment but as I understand it, this method does not make as nice an armhole.  I guess the tension can vary too much.

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I really love this vest.  It turned out with a very nice drape – I used a Made in Michigan yarn called Shepherd’s wool that I really love.

Pattern:  Sideways Garter Vest
Needles:  US # 8 Addi Lace 40″ circulars
Yarn: Shepherd’s Wool in Pewter and Black
Ravelry Page

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Cozy Mittens Knitted Flat

January 5, 2015

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This has to be the craziest pattern for mittens I’ve ever seen – and the easiest. Mittens are almost always knitted in the round, on circular needles or DPNs, but these are knitted flat – and not a mirror image flat, like you would think and then just folded together.  When I first saw these, I couldn’t figure out how they were seamed up, so when I knitted them I took photos to show you how to fold them.

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The pattern calls for  these mittens to be knitted with worsted weight yarn.  When I did a mitten the first time, they were way too thin and way too small.  So I experimented and knitted another mitten with the same worsted weight yarn, only held double and they were perfect!  As I was knitting the piece, it looked huge, but after it was seamed together, it was just right.  It makes a double thick, warm mitten this way and the cuff comes up a full 3.5 inches on my wrist.  They’re a nice size.

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After you knit the flat piece, the mittens are folded up by seaming them together with a crochet hook, contrasting yarn and using single crochet. This was simple as could be – but a couple of tips for you: the pattern says to do it in two intervals, by crocheting across the top and down to the thumb and then cutting the yarn and then crocheting up the rest. I did mine in one pass – I started at the top and crocheted all the way to the bottom and then went around the cuff.  Also, the single crochet looks better on one side than the other – so be sure to begin it with the top of the mitten facing you.  You can see the sequence in these photos:

 

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Fold the mitten together, aligning the top halves. Crochet the two halves together along the top. After you crochet down to the the thumb crotch (above), turn the whole piece over:

 

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now flip up the thumb on the left (above), 

 

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then fold over the thumb on the right to match the thumb on the left and continue to single crochet them together (above)

 

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crochet down the thumb, the lower side seam and then just continue right around the cuff.

I hope these photos help you if you want to knit these.  These mittens knit up incredibly fast!  I loved this pattern.

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Pattern: Cozy Mittens
Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash Worsted, held double, Doeskin Heather
Malabrigo Merino in Indigo
Needle:  US #8, circular, Addi Lace
Ravelry Page

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Snow Buddy Family

December 3, 2014

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I think one of the nicest yarn shops I have ever visited is the Yarn Garden in Charlotte, Michigan.  I was in there a couple of years ago and was so impressed with this shop.  I wish I had taken a picture of the interior. Old fashioned downtown shop with high ceilings, brick interior . . . just a really welcoming space with lots of quality yarns.  I loved this place.  And on one of the display shelves sat the cutest little knitted winter family of characters.  I immediately bought the pattern and finally got around to knitting a few of the little guys.

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These tiny people are quick to knit up.  You stuff the bottoms with dried beans for weight and then add poly fill for the rest.  The pattern is easy for just about everything except the little baby’s earmuffs – I never did understand the directions for those and so I just improvised.  Other than that, there were no troubles with the pattern and I had so much fun knitting them.

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This is a great pattern in which to use up scraps of yarn.  All the little accessories do not take up much yarn.  I knitted these in worsted weight yarns.

Pattern: Snow Buddy Family
Needle: US#3 & US#6
Yarn:  Various Stash Yarn (I used a lot of worsted)
Ravelry Page

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ColorPlay Scarf

October 27, 2014

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Have you ever knit anything with Rowan Kidsilk Haze?  If you have, you know how gorgeous this Italian yarn is.  It is a lace weight blend of mohair and silk that is light as a feather.  It is an expensive yarn, but it’s very special.  Whatever you make from it is very warm and has fantastic drape.

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This pattern is, once again, from one of my favorite pattern resources – Churchmouse Yarns and Tea.   The pattern calls for four solid colors, but I used six because I wanted a much longer scarf.  The yarn is to be held double.  The pattern has you knit one of the solid colors for a big block and then cut one yarn and add in one yarn of another color.  Now you are knitting with two colors at once and you get a great new color.  Then you cut the first color and add another end of the second color and knit with just that color.  It’s fun to see the colors that two different skeins produce together. I did not follow the pattern regarding how long to knit in one color – I just knit until I felt like switching colors.

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The scarf is all stockinette stitch, except for a 7 stitch border on each side done in seed stitch, to keep it from curling.  It’s very effective.  All that stockinette makes for easy knitting while you watch TV.  The scarf lies very nicely.  I damp blocked instead of wet blocked it.  I figured it would be way too heavy to handle if I wet blocked it.  I just threw two towels in the washer on rinse and spin and then wrapped the scarf up in there overnight and then pinned and blocked it the next day, as the pattern suggested.  It worked really well.  The scarf ended up being 82″ x 13″ after blocking, a really nice length.  I did not quite use completely all six skeins.

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I’m definitely going to knitting more of this pattern, it’s so great.  I can see all kinds of terrific color combinations. Kidsilk Haze is about $15 a skein, so it’s ends up being about $90 to knit one of these scarves in this length.

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Pattern: ColorPlay Scarf
Needle: US 7 Addi Lace Circulars
Yarn:  Rowan Kidsilk Haze in 6 colors:
Hurricane, Steel, Smoke, Anthracite, Tornado and Heavenly
Ravelry Page

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Peu de Pluie Scarf

October 13, 2014

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Often, I have two knitting projects going at the same time – one that’s so simple I don’t have to really follow a chart and can do it while I’m watching TV and one that’s complicated and requires attention.  This pattern is one of those that requires your full attention.  It’s lace knitting and a whole lot of fun, actually.  I loved this pattern and the design and it was thoroughly enjoyable to knit (although I had to start it three times because of mistakes before I got really going with it).  It’s knitted in two halves and then grafted together. Second half went much smoother.

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Although I loved doing this pattern, I’m was not super happy with the outcome of this scarf for two reasons – no matter how much I blocked this scarf, the sides keep curling.  Badly.  If you look at the opening photo in this post, you can really see it. It really takes away from the finished look, because I don’t really care for skinny scarves.  I blocked this baby twice and even steam blocked it with an iron, but the curling stayed despite the fact that the designer put purls on the edging to counteract the curl.  So I’m not sure if it was just me or what.

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Also, I have used Madelinetosh yarn for lots of projects. I realize it is a hand dyed yarn, where there will be slight differences in the skeins. And Moorland is one of my favorite colorways and I have used it before for my awesome Stockholm Scarf and my Guernsey Wrap. However, this time the difference in the skeins was amazing – you can see it in the photo above.  The yarn was all purchased at the same time. I was really disappointed with this.  It just has never happened before. Oh, well.  I guess when it’s all wrapped around your neck you won’t really notice it too much.  The Tosh is still super soft and squishy. I love it.

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Pattern: Peu de Pluie Scarf
Needles: US 6 Addi Lace Circular
Yarn: Madelintosh Tosh Sport in Moorland
Ravelry Page

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Turkish Bed Socks

September 8, 2014

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Here’s a fun little project I recently finished.  These little socks are super easy to make and make great use of all that sock yarn laying around. I guess a lot of people like to wear them with clogs, but I made mine just for something comfy to wear around the house.  The pattern is from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas shop on Bainbridge Island.  If you’re ever in the Seattle area, it’s a great little shop to visit. And they have a lot of terrific patterns on their website.

 

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I made little tassels to go onto mine and I really like the look.  The yarn I used is from Pagewood Farm – it’s hand dyed, super soft 80% merino, 20% nylon. The color is Lavender Fields. I used #3 circular needles and this made a perfect size for my foot, which is an 8-1/2.  I loved the pattern because there was hardly any purling and I could just go round and round on my circulars using Magic Loop.  These knit up really fast and I’m definitely going to make another pair in a different color.

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Pattern: Turkish Bed Socks
Yarn:  Pagewood Farms Sock yarn in Lavender Fields
Needle: US 3 Addi Lace Circulars
Ravelry Page

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