FO: Chicanery Mitts — Take 2

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I knit another pair of Chicanery Mitts last weekend.  These were knit in a really soft, acrylic yarn.

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The soft, worsted weight yarn makes this pair extra thick and cozy.

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These mitts are also now for sale in my Etsy shop, Online.  A third pair (different pattern) are already ‘in the make’.  Post to follow soon.

Also up and coming (FINALLY) –  some posts highlighting last year’s county fair season.  I have lots of photos and stories to share, I just haven’t had the time to do it!

~Happy knitting! 

FO: Chicanery Mitts

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This week, I finished a pair of Chicanery Mitts, a pattern written by Angela Myers for Three Irish Girls yarn.  I LOVE this pattern, and I actually just finished a second pair in worsted weight that is still blocking, but will be posted about soon.

 

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I completed these last weekend, but they waited all week to be ‘finished’ (knitter’s F-word) in that they still needed loose ends woven in, and a good blocking.  I used one of my favorite sets of antique sock blockers to block these mitts.  Pardon the mess!  I block most of my work in my office which has now become somewhat of a workshop, and it is cluttered. 

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The stitch pattern is meant to break up colors in variegated and hand dyed yarns, similar to the way linen stitch does, but it also gives this great cobble-stone appearance to the fabric that I think is so great.  It also makes these mitts extra thick (due to slipped stitches within the pattern), so this pattern can be done well with fingering weight yarn, which will still make thick, warm mitts.

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I actually did a little stash busting with this pair, and used some left-overs of some of my nicest yarn.  If you remember my Cladonia Shawl, you will recognize the yarn (which was just as wonderful to work with the second time around!  Why haven’t I got more of this stuff!?).   The yarn is Madelintosh Tosh Sport in the colors Sequoia B and Twig. 

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This yarn is hand dyed, which gives it that gorgeous appearance.  I so wish I had enough yarn to do a second pair for myself, but I’m nearly certain what I have left won’t make it.  I had to weigh the left-overs out on a gram scale just to be sure I had enough for this pair.  This pair was made for sale in my Etsy shop, which I will blog about soon.

Happy knitting!

~Kristen

FO: Organic Cotton Market Bag

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This week I crocheted a market/tote bag.  You may remember that I made one of these a few years ago (see post by clicking HERE) for my sister’s birthday.  I crocheted this one from the same Patons Pure 100% organic, cotton yarn, but this time I used a coordinating variegated color blend for the top band and handles.

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Even though I used the same pattern (The Green Grocer Bag by  Vicki Mikulik ), this bag came out significantly smaller than the one I made for my sister.  This is odd because I actually used a smaller hook for my sister’s bag. 

The bag shown here was crocheted using a size I hook.  The pattern calls for an H, but I currently have no idea where my H hooks are.  I used roughly three and a half balls of yarn (at 117 yards each) for this bag.

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Details about my reasons for knitting this, and the last several hats I have posted about are coming soon!

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~Happy knitting!

 

FO: Linen Stitch Dish Cloths

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More kitchen cotton!  No, this has still not gotten old for me.  I love useful, hand-made kitchen stuff…

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Since I have a lot of variegated, cotton yarn laying around, I decided to make kitchen towels and cloths utilizing linen stitch.  I LOVE linen stitch.  Recall that I knit a linen stitch scarf last year (see post by clicking HERE). 

Linen stitch looks neat and flat, and appears more woven than knit.  It has a nice drape and lack of bulk.  What is also does, though, is distribute colors within hand-painted and variegated yarns in the nicest, loveliest way. 

 

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Most of us dislike the ‘pooling’ of color that can occur with these types of yarns.  For an example of some serious pooling of colors from a hand-painted yarn, see my link HERE for my Breath of Fresh Air Scarf knit from a hand-painted yarn from Three Irish Girls

I have mentioned before that I don’t like my fiberwork to look ‘crafty’, and my goal is usually to make something that people are often not entirely sure is hand-made or machine made.  Color pooling, in my opinion, often makes projects look crafty and home-made, and I generally don’t like it.

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Since linen stitch contains lots of slipped stitches, it carries colors from one row below up to your current row every other stitch, and in this way, distributes the colors within unevenly or irregularly dyed yarns throughout your work. 

In the case of these dish cloths, it gives them a fun, multicolored look that reminds me of confetti.  Linen stitch also gives the illusion that the piece is more complex than it actually is.

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People who knit linen stitch know it has one major down-side:  since stitches are being slipped as part of the pattern, your fabric grows fairly slowly compared to many other stitch patterns.  In my opinion, it is totally worth the work! 

In the case of these dish cloths, I love the way they look and feel, and they make great, relaxing, stress-knitting at the end of a day when my mind is too tired to think about a detailed pattern.

~Happy knitting!

FO: Warm, Winter Hat

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A few weeks ago, I knit this ribbed, wool-blend, winter hat.

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I love this yarn.  It is a really great shade of pink with subtle orange and purple striping. 

 

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I improvised the pattern, in hopes of making a cute, functional hat.  The main part of the hat is 4 x 4 ribbing, with a folded brim to keep it snug.  I added a home-made pom-pom to finish it off.  I think it worked out well. 

 

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In spite of the fact that it’s almost April, it’s still hat weather here in the Midwest.  Believe it or not, we are still getting snow!

~Happy knitting!

FO: Children’s Hats – Hearts and Stripes

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In February, I knit these hats from some textured yarn that I picked up at a local chain craft store.  I loved how pink the pink was, and I thought it would look great with the grey color.

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I had no idea what I was going to make with the yarn when I bought it.  These hats were just experimental - I improvised both patterns.  The hearts were inspired by the proximity of Valentine’s Day.   This was supposed to be my Valentine’s Day post! 

I think that the heart hat would look even cuter with a thin, pink stripe above and below the row of hearts.

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Maybe a third experiment is in order…

 

~Happy knitting!

FO: Radiating Star Blanket (& a sleepless night…)

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If you noticed that this blog posted around 5am, it’s the cold, hard truth.  I wasn’t feeling well last night, and I went to bed around 10:35pm.  What followed was a succession of events (of the canine variety) roughly every two hours, until I gave up.

My early morning hours went something like this:

  • 10:35 pm  –  Pounding headache.  Tylenol.  Bed.
  • 1 am – Dog #1 jumps out of bed and does the “potty walk”.  This means a trip outside is needed.  If this is not achieved immediately enough, the sound of a urine stream (always in a carpeted room) will promptly follow.
  • 2am – Dog #2 jumps out of bed and stumbles around the house making loud gagging noises.  This doesn’t stop until I get up to assess the situation and comfort said dog.
  • 3am – Dog #2 is now somehow aware of some wildlife creature lurking outside.  He is now making groaning noises while I ignore him and try to sleep.  Concurrently, dog #1 sleeping to the right of my head is exhibiting some impressively loud gut sounds.
  • 4am – Dog #2 gives up on the groaning and gets back into bed.  Dog #1 jumps out of bed.  This is followed by the sound of a urine stream hitting the bedroom door (in the carpeted room).
  • 4:01am – Exhausted,angry ‘dog-mom’ launches out of bed AGAIN. 

After the third trip (in four hours) to the back door with the dogs, I cleaned the urine out of the carpet and gave up.  I’m ashamed to say that these episodes of elderly dog shenanigans sometimes make me consider getting into the closet and shutting the door.  I haven’t ever actually done it, but that’s only because I know that the resulting clawing at the door would only ruin the finish.  And this would likely be followed by the sound of a urine stream.

I would like to state that both dogs are sleeping soundly while I type this.  How nice for them. 

Luckily, my day yesterday was much better than this morning has gone so far.  I attended a baby shower held for my cousin who is having her first child.  Everyone in attendance had a great time.

I decided to knit her a baby blanket as part of her gift, so I went on a search last week for a pattern that I liked.  I didn’t really want to make a tired, traditional blanket, but I needed something that would work up quickly. 

What I found was the Radiating Star Blanket pattern by Alexis Layton.  The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download HERE.  I love the look of the blanket, and actually, the pattern is really easy and fun to do if you can knit in the round on circular needles.

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I used an acrylic yarn that I bought at a local, chain craft store since most things coming into contact with babies will need to be washed sometimes.  I went with Bernat Softee Chunky yarn in Seagreen.  The pattern is written for chunky weight yarn, but I picked super-chunky yarn since I had very little time to complete the project.

I used size 11 needles, but I think if I had used something even larger, like size 13, the blanket would have had a nicer drape.  I also ran out of yarn due to some miscalculations (I always forget to leave enough yarn for the bind-off!) in the last few rows of the pattern.  Due to this, I was not able to put in the edging row which was designed to help control the curling that stockinette stitch likes to do.  Sigh.  My options were to either rip back three rows of work and then put in the edging and bind off or just bind off the last row and call it a blankie. 

The perfectionist in me hates that I chose the latter.  I already have plans to make a second one of these with the necessary adjustments just to appease her. 

So the blanket was a little stiffer and a bit curlier than I had envisioned, and I searched for a solution.  Blocking it was the obvious choice, but I knew that soaking over 900 yards of super chunky yarn would pose some challenges.  I think it would have weigh about 80 pounds when wet, for one thing.  I entertained ideas of steam-blocking it, which I have never done before.

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I ended up trying it.  I pinned and stretched the finished (dry) blanket on the rug.  Then I used the steam setting on my iron. 

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I sprayed the blanked down with steamy water, and then steam-ironed it thoroughly.  I was pretty sure that the steam from a little iron would never penetrate the super chunky acrylic, and that therefore, I was wasting my time.  I was excited to find that it actually did penetrate and relax the yarn which smoothed it out while the stitches became more even. 

Blocking is wonderful (especially for perfectionists), isn’t it?

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So the final blanket turned out looking nice and polished, and I felt better about giving it as a gift.

Welcome Baby!

Hopefully it will get lots of use and snuggles.

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~Happy knitting (and possibly sleeping…)! 

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