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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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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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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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oh, no, you’re not getting me that way

I’m told that Youngest Uncle has changed his travel plans and will now not be trekking in the Himalaya in September. Rather, he is likely to be travelling in tropical northern Australia. Hm. Not a lot of call for fingerless gloves in that clime, is there? But I’m not going to stop knitting!

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Knitting

 

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fingerless gloves again

I’m back on fingerless gloves for Youngest Uncle. It’s been a busy day today – university Open Days – and yesterday was meant to be busy but I was utterly worn out from Friday’s two hours of post-workday house-scrubbing at the Nonni’s place, so I just lolled about and did as little as possible for as long as possible!

The original fingerless gloves pattern had confusing instructions, so I looked around for something else and found this pattern which has nice long fingers (ideal, you’d think, for Himalayan trekking). Time being now of the essence, I’ve cast on and am already wishing I’d been less hasty about getting stuck into a new pattern late on a Sunday when I’m bone weary. Never mind, I’ll sort out what I’m doing, I’m sure I will. I mean, how hard can it be to knit round and round in 2×2 rib for an inch or so?!

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Knitting

 

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