Tag Archives: Really Quick Mitts


In the face of great difficulty – other people making demands on my time, that is – I finally finished Eldest Niece’s Really Quick Mitts. It turned out that for me they weren’t really that quick, but that was my fault not the pattern’s; you might recall I ran out of yarn.

I’m disappointed with the results – they’re decidedly not up to my usual high standard, I say with a grin – but they’ll keep Eldest Niece’s hands warm. Given the chilly mornings of late, I think that’s far more important than whether or not I did a fantastic job of the knitting.

Thick and bound to be warm

Thick and bound to be warm

I used Lincraft’s Premium Luxe Yarn, a 100% wool that knitted up nicely on the 7 mm needles. Do they look like the picture? Sort of; near enough that you’d know they’re mittens. Would I make them again? Probably not.


Posted by on May 30, 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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still knitting

My workplace is presently a bit strange because everyone is restless (not only those who are going but also those who are staying). So I try not to focus too much on what’s happening there, despite knowing that I have a lot of work coming my way as a result of that situation.

As ever, in order to retain my sanity, I’m still knitting. Honest, I am. I’m still knitting the Easy Lace Cowl because I decided to make it deeper (yes, I made progress on that during the week while commuting). I’m still knitting Eldest Niece’s mittens (yes, I have done a couple more rows of that second one but haven’t yet picked up for the thumb). I’m still knitting the latest hat (halfway through a shaping row and wondering if the cables are going to be lost in the colours). And I’m still knitting the lattice scarf (wow, that’s an amazingly quick knit but best not attempted when so tired you can’t keep your eyes open and definitely something where you do not want to drop a stitch).

I’m also still knitting that Noro Silk Garden scarf that I started for Eldest Son’s 40th-birthday present. You might recall it morphed into something more sober and serious that my menfolk assured me he might actually wear (I don’t know if he does) but I didn’t unpick what I’d already done. I rolled it up and put it away in one of my many calico shopping bags. I picked it up for my travel knitting on Sunday, wanting something gratifying but not requiring huge amounts of concentration – I needed to be able to identify sheep and crops and participate in conversation, you know – and being a straightforward 1×1 rib, it was ideal for the purpose.

So I’m still knitting quite a lot. I’m just not finishing anything.

And now I have an emergency sewing project: some more toobs, please, because one is lost and the weather is getting too chilly to be without such a thing. OK, I’ve tracked down the black polar fleece, must be close to locating the white and am clearing the sewing table. Back soon!


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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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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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