Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Danish Fisherman's Mittens

Last Monday I was meeting a friend for coffee, and wanted to bring a project in case I was waiting ( I'm paranoid about being late, so I am usually extra early). While I was looking for just the right WIP to bring I realized that the only small(ish) project I have OTN right now is the primula shawl, which I've decided, after much tinking, is not a good project to work on while I might be easily distracted. So, I needed something new.

Luckily Mondays are my errand days, and I was traveling very close to Patternworks. It was the perfect opportunity to begin a new take along project. Patternworks generally has some wonderful odd-ball yarns in it's sale bin dirt cheap. This time was no exception. I picked up four balls of Classic Elite Classic One Fifty, two in "radish" and two in "pewter".

Now I just needed the small simple pattern conducive to on the go knitting. My next stop was the library. Where I picked up Marcia Lewandowski's Folk Mittens.

Here's what I ended up with. The Danish Fisherman's Mittens traditionally have two thumbs each, so they can be turned around when one thumb wears out, making them last twice as long. I decided I would risk having just the one thumb each.

The pattern was perfect, though. The stranded colour work kept it interesting, but the complete regularity of the patterning meant that I could work with out fear of error even in the most distracting environments. Actually, it was so perfect that these mittens quickly went from my take along project to my only working project.

I knit the first mitten exactly as charted by Marcia, but I did not like the top. I never like rounded top mittens when I make them, so I should have expected it, but these were a bit too long as well.

I ended up ripping the mitten back to the middle of my pinky nail, and started angular decreased. I had to recenter the starting point of my rounds to get them in the correct orientation to the thumb gore, and this cause a kind of awkward looking red stripe. I decided to make this the left hand mitten, which would keep the stripe on the inside, and move the thumb gore on the next mitten to avoid repeating the stripe. It worked just fine.

The mittens used up about 48 grams of the red, and 38 grams of the grey. I bought 100 grams of each, so I have enough for another set of mittens. I'm kind of excited about this, because this may possibly be the nicest yarn I have ever used. Okay, I think I say that about 90% of all Classic Elite Yarns, but this one truly is wonderful. It's super soft merino, but it is cable plied, which makes it firm, and strong. I can't wait to see how it wears. I see it becoming a staple in my stash.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Very First Project

I was digging through a box in my storage unit recently and came across this:

My very first yarn project ever. It's a throw made of Lion Brand Homespun. The entire body is worked in double crochet, and it has a single crochet border.

You can see that this was before I understood the importance of the dye lot.

It was also before I truly understood the function of a turning chain. Each of these stripes is made using a full skein of yarn. I worked with the given colour until I didn't have enough yarn to complete another row, then switched to a new skein. So why are the stripes at the top so much thinner than the stripes at the bottom? Because the whole piece is about 8" wider at the top. I kept increasing at the beginning of the row with out ever realizing I was doing it.

This photo shows how crooked it really is. I can see why I chose to toss it in storage. However, now that I have rediscovered it I love it, imperfections and all. It's actually the perfect thing to grab in the middle of the night if the air conditioning has made my bedroom just a little too cool.

This past weekend I went to the World Quilt Show in Manchester, NH. There were tons of quilts, and tons of vendors. It was really a great way to get out of the heat and spend the afternoon.

I took lots of pictures, but I am only going to share this one here. Although this was not my favorite quilt in the show I was still amazingly impressed by it. Read the description below:

Almost 53 THOUSAND pieces! And it's hand quilted, too.

Also, while at the quilt show I bought several black and white fabrics to work into my quilt. Here's what I did when I got home:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It seems that I am finally back to blogging regularly, after a very long time of only posting here sporadically. I really do enjoy blogging. It helps me stay focused on my projects. So, I am going to try to continue posting weekly.
I've actually done quite a bit over the past week, and will hold a bit back for another post. This one will be about some on going WIPs.
Here's the crocheted baby blanket. It almost finished- fully assembled, and being edged. I think it will require more blocking than I had hoped, but over all I'm pretty pleased with it.
I have finished the second section of the primula shawl. It's hard to photo-document the progress of a circular shawl. Here is a small section stretched out over a dinner plate so you can see a bit of the pattern.
This project reinforce my usual thoughts about not posting gift projects until they are complete and gifted. Last week I was telling Rita, my co-worker for whom this shawl is intended, about the quilt I am working on, and she asked for pictures. I had forgotten I had blogged about the shawl, and gave her my blog address. Shortly after I realized what I had done, and now she knows about the shawl. She was thrilled. I guess it was almost as good as surprising her with a finished shawl, but not quite the same. For those of you who also see my projects on Ravelry, the shawl is entitled "crazy lady" because that is my nickname for Rita.
Speaking of the quilt, I've worked another log cabin square for it. I will need six more this size if I want to make the entire front of the quilt in log cabin squares. I am definitely leaning in that direction right now.
I have a couple of small FO's since I have blogged last, too. I think I am going to write up a pattern for one and post it here another day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dave, don't look.

Although one of my readers has asked me NOT to blog about my quilting (for fear he would be tempted to try it) I just can not resist sharing my progress.

I finished the four log cabin blocks I needed to make the reverse colour scheme of the large block I showed yesterday. Once again I am beyond thrilled! I keep looking at these pieces thinking "I can't believe I made that!"

At this point I am thinking I will have to continue with the log cabin squares.

Here are the two squares together. Each piece is made of four 1' blocks. SO, they are both about 2' square. I am thinking 9 of them would make a lovely quilt top. However there are a few other things I would like to try. So, not sure if I will try and incorporate them into this quilt.

At some point I will blog about knitting and crocheting again, but there is no blog worthy progress at the moment.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Becoming a sampler?

As I'm putting together blocks for my first quilt I keep having the desire to try something just a little different.

I've never really been a fan of the log cabin quilt. Well, not until I picked up a book of piecework projects at my local library. I can't recall the name of the book, but it had the most beautiful log cabin projects in it. So, I decided I had to try a little log cabining for my quilt.

Above is the first square I made, and I loved it.

Then I moved on to a second square. It's sort of a reversal of the colour scheme of the first.

Then I joined 4 squares in the first design, and I am blown away.

I'm not sure yet how it will all come together, but I am really enjoying the process.