Tag Archives: fingerless gloves

delivered FO and almost FO

On Thursday I made the long trek south to visit Youngest Aunt. Her place is not really all that distant but, because you drive through busy urban and suburban traffic all the way, it takes quite a while to get there. Thursday was sunny and surprisingly warm, meaning that we were able to sit out in the backyard and swap travel tales. I finally gave Youngest Uncle his fingerless gloves/fingered mitts just before he headed out for work on his old commuter pushbike; he was very pleased.

While Youngest Aunt and I talked, I knitted more of Middle Niece’s Easy Lace Cowl.

Soon to be finished and blocked

Soon to be finished and blocked

Presently, as you can see, it’s very tall and narrow, but the 2 ply/laceweight yarn will undoubtedly squash down well. Also, it will lose height and gain width when I block it. By now, I can’t have many pattern repeats left: possibly only one and certainly not more than two. My fingers became too cold to knit by lunchtime, so I stopped then. After lunching al fresco – it was too nice a day not to seize the opportunity, even if we did need our jackets – we moved indoors for a short slideshow of the most recent OS trip then went for a walk. What could have been a nicer way to spend the day? Travelling home again was horrid, but there’s simply no way to avoid heavy traffic.

Once I’ve done those couple of rows on the cowl, and they won’t take very long, which of my UFOs should I pick up next? Nonna’s cardie, for which I admit I’ve presently lost enthusiasm? The Noro Silk Garden scarf, of which I need to tink a few rows because I seem to have lost a stitch (I don’t know how, probably simply by getting distracted at some point and not noticing)? Or should I start some mittens for myself?

Whatever your knitting dilemmas are, I hope they’re keeping you warm.



Posted by on June 29, 2013 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?


Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing


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Yesterday I had lunch with Library Lady A, an old friend (we go back nearly 40 years and have a lot of shared history; YoungB and her youngest are the same age). We decided pub grub would be a better, quieter answer than attempting to hold a long conversation in one of the city’s many food halls. I enjoy the variety of food available at all of them and particularly love the Asian halls at the Central Market, but they are so noisy that you cannot hear yourself think. Conversation is definitely out of the question there and we were intent on talking. The pub was, as we’d hoped, considerably quieter. The food was perhaps a little more expensive but it was plentiful and tasty and, you know, we were able to have alcoholic liquid accompaniments. Winner.

Library Lady A is a knitter. She introduced me to the delights of sock-knitting. She knitted a lovely little beanie for YoungB when he was a baby (using the same pattern that I’ve just used for Dr C’s beanie). I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that, along with swapping news regarding family and kids at uni, mutual friends and the like, we talked about knitting. She’d recently finished a scarf for her elder daughter and needed some new project. She’d seen a wonderful ‘fingerless gloves with a flap’ sort of affair in use in a TV program and chased up the pattern, which intrigued her and she was eager to try. Like me, she’s not one to knit for no reason, so that there are a couple of males in the family who will use the resulting mitts (or she herself, perhaps, as she’s a keen gardener) is all to the good.

I exclaimed with her over the pattern and then, by way of giving her a source of even greater inspiration, I told her about Ravelry.

Do you think she’ll ever forgive me?


Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Knitting


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FO: Fabrique scarf

This is another of those fancy knitting tasks that make you look very clever. Once again, I didn’t pay full price for the yarn – if one can call it yarn; Lincraft Fabrique Ruffle Yarn which is, as the website says, a 100% polyester chiffon rather than a yarn per se – but the experiment was worth the shade over half-price that I did pay. I admit to having had difficulty getting this started. For some reason, the stitches seemed to slip a lot. Obviously, I eventually got the hang of it. I would have to say it wasn’t the nicest feeling article I’ve ever made and the resulting ruffle is scratchy against the skin. It would, however, look great draped around a collar on a jacket. It would add quite a bit of extra elegance. It took less than a week to make, so it’s impressively speedy.

Surprisingly difficult to photograph, but it's just a medium length ruffly scarf

Surprisingly difficult to photograph, but it’s just a medium length ruffly scarf

I am now so snowed under with bits of projects that I don’t quite know what to do next. I’ve knitted almost up to  dividing for the underarm on Nonna’s cardigan, which is now too heavy to be travel knitting and about which we are divided in our opinions. YoungB and I think that Nonna will wear it because it’s a purple yarn with other colours through it, Dr B thnks she won’t because it’s not a solid colour and he’s never seen her wear anything else. That might simply be because nobody has ever given her anything that wasn’t a solid colour; and in the days when she knitted herself, yarns were generally plainer than those readily available today. We’ll see.

I’m about two-thirds done on the Easy Lace Cowl (it’s looking nice and should be warm and cosy; luckily it’s lightweight enough to be still good travel knitting). Fingerless gloves/fingered mitts? Nah. Really quick mittens? Nah. Polar fleece toobs for needy motorcyclists? Oh, I can’t even get to my machine at the moment, I still have so much junk on the table as a result of bringing home all my things from the office. Sporadically, I clear a patch but it’s almost as quickly gone again with some other thing I’ve been asked to deal with. I can just about keep track of the black polar fleece, but it’s in imminent danger of disappearing, I tell you, and I still can’t track down any white.

And then I’m meant to be signing up with job sites and preparing this, that and the next thing for employment folk. Yeah, right. That would be a fine thing if only the technology would play ball!


Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing


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the difference between H and K

In knitting news, I’ve sewn up one of Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves and, if I say so as shouldn’t, have done a lovely job of the side seam. The fingers? Not so good, but fiddly sewing doesn’t always lead to the tidiest results. YoungB, whose hands are about the same size as Youngest Uncle’s, tried on the finished mitt and pronounced it lovely and warm. I have the house to myself today (for a few more hours, anyway) and intend to finish the second mitt so I can move onto Eldest Niece’s really quick mittens, which are next in line. One thumb and the sewing-in of ends are the only tasks remaining there. I need to finish the back seam on the hat I knitted last week. It’s like any handsewing on dark colours in that it requires good light but I could possibly manage it in the presence of others, so that needn’t be done immediately. I’m still working on the Easy Lace Cowl – there hasn’t been a lot of bus knitting this week, for all sorts of reasons – but there’s no looming deadline on that, so I’ll just keep plugging away at it as the mood takes me.

I'm pretty happy with that side seam

I’m pretty happy with that side seam

So what about H and K? H is a shoe fitting, a wide one. K is an even wider shoe fitting, one I’ve suddenly discovered to be magnificently comfortable. And the difference between those two? It’s whether or not I can even wriggle my foot into a shoe in the first place! In other words, it’s the realisation that, if I want shoes that don’t hurt, I need to pay for very good ones. I’ve had wide feet for most of my adult life, even when the rest of me wasn’t quite so wide. I’m not averse to spending good money on good shoes – in my youth, I regularly wore Footrest shoes because they were comfy and, so long as I avoided one or two designs made on a last that didn’t suit my foot, I knew they fitted almost without having to try them first; and I loved K Shoes when I was living in England because they came in wide fittings – but my income these days is far more limited and therefore can’t be made to stretch to paying hundreds of dollars for shoes.

Yes, I know, it’s not as if I’d be spending it every week and one can rationalise it over an annual budget and so on; but sometimes you just can’t stump up that amount of money at one time in the first place. Finding cheap shoes that fit is problematic (read, impossible). I can get away with sandals in summer, though even they can be less than ideal if they have straps in the wrong places (in the interests of full disclosure, I admit to having had problems with swelling feet since I fractured an ankle in a vehicular accident a very long time ago) but I can’t wear sandals all year. Those of you who live in truly cold climes will laugh to hear me say that my feet get too cold, but that’s the way it is for me. Therefore, I need closed shoes. Closed shoes that fit are hard to find. My head hurts trying to solve the dilemma.

Youngest Aunt offered to buy me some really nice shoes as a birthday present, so off we went with a particular brand in mind (one that Youngest Aunt herself wears). It turns out, however, that they are indeed lovely but don’t fit me. My feet are too wide for most of their styles. The woman who served us was extremely helpful at suggesting an alternative brand, and obviously good at her job: I ended up with two pairs of shoes (the second pair is not home with me, but still in the shop and being purchased on lay by; not all shops offer lay by so I was happy indeed about that option). They’re both black, which is of course functional and pretty much OK with pretty much anything, but they are very different and don’t look at all as if they’re meant for the same task.

The shoes I brought home look like granny’s dancing shoes or perhaps something that Phryne Fisher might wear. They’re comfy and elegant (and nobody is more surprised than I am that my feet aren’t screaming because, gasp, they have a small heel). I suppose I should now hope that no-one decides to have a summer wedding that might require my purchasing light-coloured shoes or, heavens, I might have to buy some of those! (No, there are no weddings in the offing that I know of; but there are lots of youngsters at marrying ages and a couple in long-term relationships, so who knows?) At least now I know what size shoe I should be looking for.

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Posted by on April 13, 2013 in Knitting, Musing


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after the party



YoungB’s birthday party went off well. The music wasn’t too loud, and certainly not too loud too late (no police responding to complaints; always a good sign), there were no fights (high spirits and alcoholic spirits aren’t always a good mix) but, most importantly of all these days – particularly in our area; and it’s a sad comment on society that things should be so – there were no gatecrashers. The morning after crept on into early afternoon and the last guest waved goodbye at about lunchtime. YoungB and I did a rubbish round, dealt with the last of the recycling and discovered that the Pale Ale he provided is not many’s preferred drop; except ours, as it happens!

There were, it’s fair to say, a few sore heads but nobody completely written off. On the whole, the guests behaved well. And was YoungB’s head sore? Yes, probably, but more from weariness than intoxication. He said, quite rightly, that it was his job as host to ensure his guests’ safety, which meant that he needed to be fairly sober at all times. It didn’t meant he couldn’t or shouldn’t have any alcohol, but that he had to be sensible. He was. He was also sensible enough to drink copious amounts of water and make sure he ate plenty.

He was weary because he’d had a l-o-n-g day. The Schools’ Head of the River Regatta took place on the same day As a coach, he’d had to be there by about 7.30 to get his crews organised and give them some last-minute tips. (No, they didn’t win but he was pleased with how well they rowed, particularly because of some late crew changes.) All of that had entailed a 6.30 am start. YoungB then didn’t really stop until about 3 o’clock the following morning. He has flat feet and, as he admitted when I was shooing him back to bed for an afternoon nap, they hurt after that much standing about, orthotics or no orthotics.

We agreed that, although we’d have liked the guests to have eaten more (you don’t want to even think about how much food we had left over) it was an enjoyable party and nobody misbehaved too badly. The guests were most enthusiastic in their rendition of Happy Birthday. I have to say, somewhat bemusedly because I truly don’t understand why, that it was one of the most energetic but least tuneful efforts I have ever heard! It was sung twice: once in English and once in Italian (oh, yes, most of the kids had studied at least one year of Italian at high school). The boys even did an emu parade the next morning, between my appearing with the toaster, raisin bread and crumpets, and returning with the coffee; something I considered polite and thoughtful. And, when sober, most of YoungB’s friends have always been that. They’re a likeable lot and, as I once said after a presentation ceremony, if our future is in their hands – and I suppose ultimately and immediately it is, because they’ll be choosing our nursing homes; but in a wider way, it might also be so because some of them certainly have the potential for politics – then it is likely to be a good future.

There are some more bits of tidying up to be done that Dr B will deal with today (returning the marquee, chairs and trestles; things of that nature). Then YoungB will catch up with most of his mates again at uni for the last week of half-semester. And I, I’m going back to finishing-up Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves. I am. Really, I am. Honest. Or perhaps finishing the winter hat while I watch a TV show. At the very least!


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derailed plans

Happy Easter, one and all, whether you celebrate it as a religious or secular feast or simply consider it a well-earned long weekend to be spent with family.

My plan was to knit; specifically, to finish Eldest Niece’s birthday mitts. I’ve managed to derail myself by running out of yarn for them. It’s entirely my fault; I decided to make the cuff a bit longer and Eldest Niece has long hands, so the mitts are long. Drat. If that was my weekend knitting plan – as I’ve said, it was! – then I’ve scuttled it nicely (I’d need to go into the city to buy more yarn unless, by a fluke, the localish branch of Lincraft would have a matching dye lot; but if I were making the effort to go that far, I’d go into town where I could guarantee matching the dye lot). I’ve started on sewing up Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves but, you know, I need peace and quiet and good light for that, none of which appears to be forthcoming.

Dr B has also derailed my plan by ordering me – he would say he asked but I’m telling the story and that’s how it feels to me! – to be involved in a project that’s his but would, I agree, look better with my neater writing (a pile of labels for a lot of keys and sorting out his key cabinet; but without his first identifying each key, I wouldn’t know what to write on the labels anyway). Also, the little mending job he asked me to do on his motorbike cover? I’ve finally managed to do it. It wasn’t entirely little. It was repairing a seam that runs the length of the cover. I used whatever thread was in my machine – white, as it happens; I could show you a photo but it’s, like, you know, boring – and muttered a lot. If I’m honest, it probably took me longer to clear sufficient space to sew an article that large than to repair the seam. It was, after all, straight sewing. The main thing is, it’s fixed.

Then there’s the little bombshell in the shape of realisation that YoungB’s birthday party is next weekend, not the one after. Yikes! We’d had several discussions and Dr B had assured me the party was to be in a fortnight. Yeah, but he was wrong! Oh, well. What gets done gets done and, you know? The kids won’t care much as long as there’s plenty of food and drink and a marquee to provide protection from any inclement weather. That much, at least, has pretty much been organised by YoungB.

So in my spare moments, in order to maintain some semblance of sanity and calm, I’m knitting a nice, warm hat to cover someone’s head during the chilly weather that’s definitely on its way. How about you?


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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?


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.


Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Knitting, Musing


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just another small FO: starry bandanna

As well as knitting steadily on my two current projects – the easy lace cowl is nearly finished, too – I sewed a bandanna for my cousin. Her hair has now started to fall out as a result of the chemotherapy and, although she’ll probably wear a wig quite often, sometimes she’ll want a bit of protection without all that bother. I popped this in the post to her the other day.

Patterned with stars for someone who is a star

Patterned with stars for someone who is a star

It’s made from some pretty, cotton quilting fabric that was lurking in the specials box the last time Dr B and I were out shopping (it’s one of my cousin’s favourite colours, of course). You’d be proud of how carefully I measured it and its hems. I was quite proud, I can tell you; no evidence of my usual slapdashery! Being a firmer sort of cotton than what I used for Dr B’s bandannas, it held a finger-creased hem nicely, so I didn’t have to iron it much at all. There are some matching lavender bags to make everything smell sweet and to help keep the moths away.

I’ve known for years that I let myself get sidetracked quite easily and that that’s why I rarely undertake large knitting tasks (I delegated the knitting of YoungB’s baby shawl, for example). It means I can drop whatever I’m doing to respond to cases of genuine need. It also, alas, often means I’m struggling to finish things I’ve been trying to do for a long time and should really have finished long ago. You remember Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves? Yeah, I’m still going on those nearly a year after I started them. But, you know, I have at least three weeks up my sleeve before his next birthday; at least. That should be bags of time. Shouldn’t it?

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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing


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