Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More on the mittens

The mittens are still pinned to the ironing board where we last saw them. Auntieanne and Pam wanted to know:

"What are you mattress stitching? What selvage? They look to be knitted in the round. Not that I'm an expert on the questions you ask, but I'm a little puzzled by the questions."

The mittens were knit flat (against my better judgment, but that's what the pattern said). I knit the first and last stitch of every row so that the selvedges are in garter. I did decide to ignore the pattern's instructions to knit the thumb flat and then seam that up, because I'm rather good at knitting in the round and rather unpracticed in the art of seaming, plus it was a really awkward place for a seam anyway. So anyway, this seam needs to be put up the edge opposite the thumb.

School has started and seriously diminished my knitting time. I have also come up against a rather obnoxious gauge barrier that means I cannot start on my sweater until i do some math.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In which the mittens are beaten into submission

The knitting on these was almost embarrassingly quick and easy, but the finishing is going to be a pain. As you can see here I am currently blocking them. See all the straight pins? I am an evil genius. I used some old cork tiles that once served to decorate a dorm room. TRY TO CURL UP NOW, I DARE YOU!

These are the finishing steps to go, in the order in which I am doing them:

1) Block those little suckers until they cry for mercy (check)
2) Embroider fancy swirls all over the backs of the hands
3) Attempt to sew them up
4) Crochet fluffy ruffly cuffs

In case there are still any knitters reading this, help me out with my seaming questions PRETTY PLEASE!

a) These are stripes. When I do the mattress stitch will the color I use for seaming show?
b) I did a garter-stitch selvedge on a stockinette mitten. Should I use the stockinette or the garter stitch version of the mattress stitch?
c) Is mattress stitch something I should be scared of?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Knitting on commission

Great news for my knitting!

Week before last I stopped by my fabulous LYS, Mary Charles Yarn Company. Mary Charles is an awesome lady and her store has lots of very, very yummy yarn. Anyway she was looking for someone to knit some samples for the store and asked me to do it! And I'm getting paid in store credit, which means I get YARN! This is incredibly welcome news right now because Italy wiped out my bank account, and a series of unfortunate events has created a situation where I may not have cash until mid-september. I was going to have to use yarns from my stash (oh no!) to keep me busy. The horror!

Anyway the assignment was a pair of mittens in Mission Falls 1824 Wool from their most recent pattern book of mittens, cleverly entitled "smittens." If you scroll to the bottom of Mission Falls' patterns page the ones I'm doing are the stripes-with-swirls in the lower lefthand corner.

If you aren't familiar with Mission Falls Wool, it comes in a bajillion colors and MC let me pick which ones I wanted to use, which took FOREVER. Eventually I settled on a light purple, a deep raspberry and a nice cool green.

The raspberry will be used for the thumb and the decorative ruffle and swirls. I'll post more pics once I get em done. I just think these are so cute, and the wool is great to work with AND it's superwash. I haven't washed my swatches in a washing machine yet but I did use a little pantene on em (hey, it works for my hair!). I didn't have any wool wash on hand, and above-mentioned financial straits keep me from driving to the far LYS to get some. Anyway, they get SOOO soft after you wash them. I love this yarn and will probably wind up using it and maybe even the same colors on something for myself. I just love the green and light purple together.

Oh! I almost forgot! I have decided to get a little kooky. I mean, how serious does one need to be when knitting adult-sized mittens with stripes, swirls and ruffles? Anyway so on the right mitten I have REVERSED the stripes so that it begins and ends with the opposite colors. Knitting madness!

So, you may be wondering what I'm planning to use my store credit on. I am too, but I have a pretty good idea. I have for a long time been intending to knit a sweater, as I don't think I can really call myself an accomplished knitter without having one of these under my belt. I have changed which sweater this would be about six hundred times in the last year since I decided to make a sweater. I haven't actually picked up any yarn because it took me so long to land on a pattern and because I was afraid of making a big investment.

When I got back from Italy I was fired up! again, and decided on the Gatsby Girl Pullover from Interweave Knits (scroll down a bit). But then I got poor, and then I got this store credit, and MC doesn't carry the yarn and I hadn't decided yet if I was too lazy to substitute yarn and then... I saw this sweater from Blue Alvarez designs. It calls for Blue Sky Alpaca cotton, which Mary Charles sells and which I have petted on almost every visit to the store, y'all this stuff is sooo soft. I will be stopping by sometime soon to start thinking about colors and see how far my credit will get me.

Anyway so that's my good news.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy birthday, brother

Y'all my little brother turned 16 yesterday. We had a fabulous weekend. Boyfriend and I went down to parents' hometown to celebrate. On Saturday we went to lunch at this great seafood restaurant and had fabulous fresh seafood. They brought Tom a plate of like eight different desserts and we were like, um, do we have to pay for all of these? Turned out we didn't so we got to feast some more.

Tom and Dad play this gig together every Friday and Saturday night, so Mom, Dave and I went to check it out. They're really good! I mean, I knew they were because I have Dad's CD and I've heard them play in the garage and stuff, but it was kind of different with them in a restaurant and drunks cheering them on. Hehe.

I know everybody says you can't knit for teenage boys, but it just isn't true. You just have to know what to knit them and have a particularly cool teenage boy on hand. I made my brother a knitted something with yarn from Italy. I'm really, really proud of how they turned out- so much so that I want to submit the pattern, and until I get soundly rejected from several venues I cannot tell you what they are or show you pictures. And he actually likes them! Best brother a knitter could have.

A few tips on knitting for teenage boys of the goth persuasion: 1) make sure it's black 2) no intarsia reindeers.

Mom gave him a really long ethernet cord so he can play xbox live in his room, which has no plug, and dad gave him a bass amp and a case for his bass that looks like a coffin (hee hee!). Dave gave him a movie (treasure planet, great movie, netflix it today!). Mom also let him get his ear pierced. All in all a very cool birthday weekend.

Oh and we made a cake.