FO Friday: Handspun Chicken Mittens

I made something out of yarn that I made!

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Project: Handspun Chicken Mittens

Pattern: Fried Chicken Mittens

Designer: Ellen Mason

Available: FREE! on Ravelry

Yarn: my very first handspun yarn

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Fried Chicken Mittens is my very favorite “just a mitten” pattern.  The way the thumb increases are done make for a superior fit!  I knew I would be a bit short on yardage, and my handspun yarn was in two or three different weights.  I started with the most irregular/bulky/fuzzy yarn at the cuff, and knit less cuff than called for.  I knit the mittens two at a time, so that if I needed to turn them into fingerless mitts, they’d be at the same point.  I joined in the mid-range yarn shortly after the cuff, and then swapped to the best yarn as that ran out.

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I knew I would be cutting it VERY close.

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As you can see, I ended up short by the tip of one thumb.  I stole a bit of yarn from the first batch spun on my new spinning wheel, and called it good.

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FO Friday: Alizarin Damask

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Project: Alizarin Damask

Pattern: Damask

Designer: Kitman Figueroa

Available: $5 on Ravelry

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Alizarin

This is my second try on this particular pattern, and I’m glad I stuck it out! I love the undulating waves, punctuated by nupps and wrapped stitches. There’s a lot going on with this pattern, and in retrospect I wish I’d chosen a lighter-colored yarn … but I loved working with the Tosh Light, and I love wearing the finished shawlette. I made the small size, and it’s really more kerchief than shawl.

 

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New Pattern Release: Mhara Baby Blanket

Introducing my latest pattern: Mhara Baby Blanket! Mhara means “sea” in Gaelic.

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Pattern: Mhara Baby Blanket

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: for $1.99 through Knit Picks IDP or $2.50 on Ravelry

Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Bulky in Tranquil

Design/Skills Needed: This fully reversible baby blanket is worked on the bias in garter stitch. Step-wise increases and decreases are embellished as you go with crocheted waves. Explicit directions for stroller- and crib-sized blankets are given, but the pattern is easily adapted for larger or smaller blankets. This pattern includes complete photo tutorials for the step-wise increases and the crocheted embellishment. For ease of printing, these tutorials appear at the end of the pattern. Experienced knitters may print just page 2 for complete pattern with no extraneous photos or information.

Familiarity with crocheting is helpful, but not necessary. Almost any yarn will work with this pattern, provided you use appropriately-sized needles.

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CO Monday: Emperor’s New Mitts, March 2012 RSC Socks, and Tute Catkin

Last week I received the latest shipment from the BMFA Rockin’ Sock Club! The March 2012 yarn is to DIE for.  Can’t share photos yet, of course, but I will soon!  I’ve decided to make the sock pattern this month — it’s perfect for the yarn.

I also cast on for my very own Catkin! I’ve loved this pattern for quite some time, and I think it will be stunning in Mad Tosh Light in “French Grey” and “Byzantine.”

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I hope everyone in the knitting world took time to cast on yesterday for Louise Zass-Bangham‘s new design, The Emperor’s New Mitts. I did, and I don’t regret it one little bit! I elected to use the recommended yarn, Rumplestiltskin (100% pure spun gold), Unicorn (100% rainbow), and Jason (golden fun fur).  Of course it took extra care and time to place the 3000 gold beads, but I think you would agree that the results are worth it!

Here is Julian modelling my new mitts — very pretty, no?

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New Patterns Released: Twins and Entwined, Cabled Mug Cozies

Announcing my two latest patterns: Twins and Entwined, two cabled mug cozies!  Both are available FREE on Ravelry, so go download a copy today.

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I designed this pair of patterns for my upcoming “Intro to Cabling” class at the Hub Mills Store. The class is two hours long and costs $20.  I’m offering it twice in the near future, on Saturday, April 21st, and Saturday, May 19th, from 10AM – noon.  “Twins” is the simpler of the two patterns, intended for the knitter who is totally new to cables.  “Entwined” is a bit more complex (though not as much as you might think!), meant for a knitter who has done a bit of cabling before, or an adventurous novice.

If you’d like to take my class, call (978) 408-2176 or email yarn@hubmillsstore.com to reserve a seat.

Both cozies take less than 50 yards of worsted-weight yarn, plus two buttons, and can be finished in a single day.  Both are also appropriate for learning how to cable without a cable needle — something I will also teach in class, because I think it makes cabling SO much quicker and easier.

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FO Friday: Tappan Zee Pulled Taffy

I finished a sweater for me!  This is not something that happens every day.

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Project: Tappan Zee Pulled Taffy

Pattern: Tappan Zee Cardigan

Designer: Amy King

Available: FREE! on Knitty.com

Yarn: Decadent Fibers Pulled Taffy in Red Hot Pepper

I bought this yarn on spec back in June, at the 20th (and final) Granite State Knit-In.  I’m sorry to say that a LYS had brought all their merchandise and were selling it off at 2-for-1 because they were closing their doors.  I’m glad to say I found two skeins of this astonishing fiber, each normally $35.  I decided to take a leap of faith and buy both — almost-a-sweater for $35 was too good a deal to pass up.

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Once I had it home, it proved to be a bit of a challenge.  First of all, though it claims to be DK, it really feels and knits up closer to worsted.  Also, it turns out that 980 yards is not quite enough to make most things, at least not in size large-enough-to-fit-me.  I finally settled on Tappan Zee — a pattern I queued in large part because I love the eponymous bridge!  I used to drive back and forth from DC to Boston fairly frequently, and every time I saw signs for Tappan Zee it made me happy.  Try saying it aloud — you’ll be happy too!

Swatching told me three things: first, I should expect worsted-ish gauge.  I decided to follow the pattern for a proportionately smaller size, which ended up working great.  Second, blocking the swatch told me that this yarn would bleed dye something awful.  This turned out to be a good thing, because the fully saturated color was a bit much — I prefer the toned-down color after blocking.  Third, the fabric is also appreciably softer after a good wash-and-block, which reassured me while I was knitting — the WIP sometimes felt a bit crunchy and oh-my-god bright red and orange.  Thank goodness for swatching to tell me the truth.

One thing I changed in the pattern was the armholes.  I really hate tight, binding armholes, so instead of casting off for the arms, then bridging the gap directly, I chose to cast on a handful of stitches under each arm.  I must have goofed the math a bit, because my sleeves ended up a little ruffled — too much fabric up there.  It bothered me at first, but my knit group claims they like it, so I’m slowly coming around.

I was about two dozen rows shy of the official “start the edging” point, when I noticed that the yarn ball hand dwindled to an ominously small size.  I got out my new and wonderful super-accurate digital scale and weighed the ball before and after the next two rows … and discovered I had barely enough to finish the edging, but only if I started it RIGHT THEN.  As it was, I had to rip out the swatch in order to bind off the last few inches.  I think the finished cardi is long enough — any longer would have been odd, actually, which implies I shouldn’t have been doing quite so many rows in the first place.

The luckiest part of this project was that I found the perfect buttons. They seem as if they were dyed-to-match — and they were cheap, and they were the first ones I saw at the shop, and they came in a set of three!

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FO Friday: Minotaur Obsession

This week, I offer you another “finished it a while ago” project.  I am wearing it right now, so I thought — hey, I haven’t show this to anyone yet! Better take care of it.  In contrast to last week’s epic blanket, this cowl only took 5 days from CO to BO.  Whee! Quick projects are awesome.

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Project: Minotaur Obsession

Pattern: Minotaur Cowl

Designer: Rachel Henry

Available: FREE! on Ravelry

Yarn: CEY Obsession

I had exactly one ball of this interesting (but discontinued) yarn.  It’s a bulky-weight cashmere, made up of 8 different skinny strands, each a different color.  I was a pleasure to work with — I mean, cashmere, right?  I made a tight-fitting mobius cowl using my own design.  Minotaur starts with a foundation strip (knit flat in garter stitch) that is twisted and seamed to form the base of the mobius.  From there stitches are picked up along the single mobius edge, and the remainder of the cowl is knit mobiusly.

This construction allowed me to get exactly the right fit, because the foundation strip is easy to measure as it is knit.  It also allowed me to use up every last scrap of this extra-luxurious fiber, because I just kept knitting in pattern until it was all gone.

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FO Friday: Yggdrasil in Blue

I finished this about a month ago, but I think it slid directly off my needles onto my lap. My Yggrasil lap blanket is so warm and cozy!

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Project: Yggrasil in Blue

Pattern: Yggdrasil Afghan

Designer: Lisa Jacobs

Available: FREE! at Interweave Knits

Yarn: Knit Picks  City Tweed HW in Dungarees

You might remember this blanket from my “Finish it or Frog it!” post back in January. I’d already made some progress then, because it was my “neglected project KAL” target for January.  I won’t say it was “easy” to finish, not exactly, but I did eventually get into the rhythm of the border cables.  I do not think I will ever do this pattern again, and although I admire the finished full-size Yggdrasil Afghans out there, I have reason to doubt the sanity of those who accomplish such a gargantuan knitting feat.

The pattern itself is well-written and clear. Plenty of good charts.  I think this might have been my first knitted-on border, back in the day.  I also have a niggling feeling I may have grabbed the wrong size needle when I re-booted this project … the “old” border (right edge, upper right corner) looks a wee bit tighter than the rest.  However, this is invisible when I’m using it, so I am doing my best to let the slight difference go. I am definitely not going back and fixing it, ooooh no.

I continue to love, love, love City Tweed.  What a wonderful soft yarn with gorgeous colors, and it shows cabling so nicely! And it’s so warm and cozy!

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