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getting round to things

Eldest Niece's mitts have finally left my hands and I hope they'll soon be keeping hers warm.

Eldest Niece’s mitts have finally left my hands and I hope they’ll soon be keeping hers warm.

Today, the Aunts, two of the Nieces and I joined a fundraising walk, a gentle 4 Km circuit beginning and ending at a beachside venue familiar to me from the occasional Audax Christmas dinner. I don’t think any of us came remotely close to working up a sweat. No matter. We did it and enjoyed ourselves. Also, it provided an opportunity for me to hand over Youngest Niece’s birthday cowl (crocheted using Moda Vera Ambruni yarn) as well as the fingerless mitts for Eldest Nephew (knitted using Country Tartan 8 ply yarn) and Eldest Niece (photographed above and knitted using Bendigo’s Murano yarn, nominally an 8 ply). Middle Niece is pondering her options and will probably put in an order for one or the other article for her birthday in June 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m about four stitches away from completion of unpicking the sticky beanie (knitted using Moda Vera Bouvardia yarn) and hope to be back on the knitting of it by tonight (the four stitches are where I’ve woven in the ends, so I’m finding them particularly tricky). I won’t complete it tonight but it will only take a couple of evenings of work (it’s knitted in the round so there’s no seaming to contend with) to have it where it needs to be: ready for popping in the post to the friend whose head it’s intended to cover. Then, and I’ve promised myself it will be only then, I can make a start on some socks for Dr B.

And that’s as much of a plan as I can wrap my head around at the moment. Work is manically busy and we continue to have computer problems on the home front. I hope you’re faring better, whatever your weather and whatever you’re getting round to 🙂

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a good afternoon’s work

Two afternoons, really, and there's still a thumb to finish

Two afternoons, really, and there’s still a thumb to finish

Hello, again, I hope you had an enjoyable Easter weekend? Ours was sunny and delightful until Monday. Then the temperature dropped (so much so that we caved in and turned on our space heater) and the skies opened. It was cold. It was wet. There was hail. Winter announced its loud arrival. Of course, today has been warm and sunny 🙂

Given the combination of unfriendly weather and a public holiday, if you had fingerless mitts with a looming deadline, wouldn’t you have stoked them up while watching La Terra Trema? (Not the best choice, because I really needed to read the subtitles!) I did and made one mitt. This afternoon I’ve knitted the second one to the point where all I have to do is 10 very short rows on that second thumb. Nothing to it. Then it’s on with the blocking and Eldest Niece should have them for her birthday.

Once again, I’m using Bendigo Woollen Mills’ Murano yarn, this time leftovers from the beanie I made for Dr C way back when. It’s perhaps not the best yarn for something like this, in the sense that it has a tendency to felt and it pills something dreadful after a few wears – meaning that it might not be as long-lasting as a harder-wearing yarn like Cleckheaton’s Country Tartan – but the colourways are such fun and the resulting mitts certainly very warm (I finally have some for myself).

The next question is, should I make a shopping bag to accompany them or just gift-wrap them in paper instead?

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2015 in Knitting

 

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party pooper

The last time Karen hosted a Pyjama Party Sewalong, I finished mine in time but was defeated by technology when it came to showcasing photos of same. This year? I was going so well! All cameras charged and functioning, computers working OK most of the time. I’d bought the fabric, laundered it and even ironed it (yes, that’s quite possibly what caused any recent seismic disturbances in this part of the world). I had it laid out on my sewing table with the pattern and everything, all ready to cut out. It’s a pattern I’ve used on numerous previous occasions, so I knew the actual sewing wouldn’t take long at all. But then? Then we had unexpected visitors from interstate – a delightful couple of busy days, but although some knitting might have happened when I wasn’t driving, I certainly wasn’t able to do any sewing – and that was that. So, really, I think that had better be that. No more parties for me. I obviously can’t be relied on to do anything in time!

That’s not to say that, in between feeling very glum about the whole employment scene and not wanting to waste blog time moaning about same, I haven’t been busy. I’ve finally finished Youngest Uncle’s fingered mitts/fingerless gloves (at this time of year, good, natural light for sewing can be in short supply but the need for the finished article quite pressing, especially now that Youngest Uncle is home from a tropical holiday). I’ve knitted a beanie for myself. And I really am about 99% done with Middle Niece’s Easy Lace Cowl.

I ended up making Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves/fingered mitts using a knit-it-flat-then-sew-it-up pattern from the Patons Winter Warmers Book 483. It’s pattern 37, Knitted Family Gloves or Mitts. I used Cleckheaton Country Tartan yarn, which knits up beautifully, and made the Man’s size. I’m happy with the results and I’m sure Youngest Uncle will be too (I’ll be delivering them tomorrow).

Test-driven by Dr B, whose hands are very large. They'll certainly fit Youngest Uncle.

Test-driven by Dr B, whose hands are very large. They’ll certainly fit Youngest Uncle.

And, as I said, I knitted a beanie for myself. Strictly speaking, when I said the colours of that balaclava weren’t my colours, I was wrong. The colours are fine but those particular shades are perhaps not quite dark enough for me. On the other hand, although the beanie sports a similar colour palette, the shades are much darker; in fact, a little too dark for me. But let me remind you of YoungB’s witty wisdom that any colour is your colour when you’re cold. I’ve been wearing this beanie and loving how warm it is.

Cheerful, self-striping yarn again but this time a slightly flatter crown than my previous beanie

Cheerful, self-striping yarn again but this time a slightly flatter crown than my previous beanie

You won’t be surprised to hear that this pattern also comes from the Patons Winter Warmers Book 483. This time I used pattern 15, Knitted Cap and Scarf. I made the Lady’s size, used Bendigo Woollen Mills’ Murano and didn’t bother with the striping (given that the yarn provided that anyway). Once again, I loved the yarn but was disappointed that there was a knot. And this time, I didn’t see the knot coming, so ended up having to tink half a row. Oh, well, no biggie. At least I wasn’t knitting anything complex.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I hope you’ve been keeping busy, too?

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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do you remember?

That would be, do you remember Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves? They were last seen on 30 August last year and they’re about in the same state now as they were then. Well, that particular version is.

I changed to a Paton’s pattern in the flat because I couldn’t wrap my head around the instructions for the pattern in the round. The fault, that time, was definitely mine not the pattern’s. Had I had more experience knitting such things, I might have known how to fix the problems in the first pattern I tried and, similarly, not been flummoxed by the second pattern. But, you know, for years I’ve worn sheepskin mitts purchased while on holiday in Scotland or fake leather/suede gloves which have been suitable and warm. I’ve had no burning need to knit my own gloves or anything with fingers; so, although I did knit a pair of gloves a very long time ago, I’m not confident with what I’m doing and it’s perhaps not surprising that I was struggling.

In any case, with a (second) deadline pressing and lots of other bits and pieces of Life occupying far too much good knitting time, I decided that a flat pattern might be a better option. I was right. It was quick. Even so, there were not quite enough hours for me to finish the mitts although I did complete the actual knitting. I took a photo of them in their unblocked, ends-everywhere state to show Youngest Uncle that, really, they were almost done! When I showed him the photo (phone cameras are useful things, aren’t they?), he said they looked all right. That’s actually high praise, though some might think it sounds like a put-down.

You get the idea, right?

You get the idea, right?

Were you to suggest that I should try to find an excuse to knit more gloves so I can practise, you’d have a point; but knitting for no reason is not an exercise that appeals to me greatly. I’ve far too many real knitting projects lined up (and, ooh, one of them is a jumper I want to knit for YoungB). Fingerless mitts I can make quickly and they’re well within my capabilities (as you might recall, my own were lent to Nonno and they have, I think, been put in the charity bin since his death in spite of my requesting they be returned to me). I will make more of those at some point. Adding in fingers, full or truncated? Not impossible; but perhaps I’ll decline next time such a suggestion is made!

Meanwhile, while I was waiting to do the parental post-pub-crawl pick-up, I made a start on some really quick mitts for Eldest Niece. She’s a teacher and already finding the morning temperatures uncomfortably brisk, so I reckoned that a pair of thick, warm mittens might be just the go for keeping her fingers warm when she’s doing yard duty. I don’t have the required yarn or size of needles. Instead, I am using Lincraft’s Premium Luxe yarn, a 100% wool that comes in a range of lovely, solid colours. The ball band suggests 12 mm needles as the best size. Not for me! I am using 7 mm needles (which I could find in the shops AND which I can hold comfortably enough to be able to knit; obviously larger DPNs might be found in a specialist shop but during a half-hour lunch break, you can only walk so far). You can immediately see a problem here, can’t you? Thinner yarn, smaller needles. No problem. I’m knitting the larger size. Eldest Niece has long, slender hands so the trickier thing is estimating how long to make the mitts and that would be true no matter what needles and yarn I used.

I like to be positive about patterns that are freely available, as the Really Quick Mitts pattern is, so I will only say that if you download it, beware. It is not as well set out or indeed written – let’s say it’s unclear or at best confusing – as it might be and there are mistakes in it. But if you can push past those relatively minor details – it might mean you have to do your own calculations about increases (I had to tink three or four times, which is a right pain when you’re knitting in the round, because I was convinced the fault was mine) – then this truly is a quick knit. I’m almost finished the first mitt and I only started it last night. Famous last words again, but they will probably be ready in plenty of time for Eldest Niece’s April birthday. Anyone want to bet on that?

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Knitting

 

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the end of a very long week

Life can change quickly and sometimes it does. Last Saturday we farewelled Nonno for the last time, laying him gently to rest in a grassy cemetery on a day as sunny and bright as you could wish for. Only his close family and a few friends threw rose petals onto his coffin. We exchanged stories over a long lunch where a few tears were shed and much laughter was shared as we related tales of his inventiveness and more bizarre exploits. Only those who knew him well could believe, and perhaps understand, the streak of madness in his sanguine approach to a spot of impromptu restorative dentistry: fibreglass.

But life rolls on and I have been knitting, despite temperatures in the 30s and a percentage of humidity that makes me want to leap off a cliff (I hate humidity, always have; but there aren’t any nearby cliffs and it would take far too much effort to get to any). Last night I was steadily working away at Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves (or fingered mitts, you might see them thus described in some quarters) and admiring the evenness of my output. I’m not praising my knitting so much as the yarn, Cleckheaton’s Country Tartan. It has never failed to give me a reliable result. I will have the gloves/mitts finished for Youngest Uncle’s birthday and that will be another little achievement. I promise there will be no fibreglass involved.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Knitting, Musing

 

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progress note

Just to confirm that I have really been working on Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves, I took a photo of the right one on my hand. My hand is considerably smaller than Youngest Uncle’s, so obviously it won’t look at all like that when it’s finished – for one thing, it will be finished! – and it will fit Youngest Uncle much better. But, you know, you’ll be able to see what progress I’m making.

Hoping this will keep Youngest Uncle’s thumb as warm as it keeps mine

This is the Cleckheaton Country Tartan 8-ply machine washable wool in colour 2804. It’s been approved by its future wearer as suitably sober.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Knitting

 

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somewhat hysterically

Having a teenager is as much of a roller-coaster ride as having a baby and even more entertaining. Sometimes, anyway. I asked Boy if he’d try on the first fingerless glove (which I’m pleased to report is going well) so I could assess how much further I need to knit before I start the fingers. He assured me it fitted like a glove. Right.

As a matter of fact, I took a photo. Also as a matter of fact, Dr B has, ahem, borrow the card reader. Ergo, no photo.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Knitting

 

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