Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Yellow Rose Mitts from Yarnivore - Day 3

Magic markers...

Magic loop can be confusing.  With socks, you’re just doing the same thing for both pieces—there isn’t a “left” or “right”—and when you get to a “front” or “back” being important, you’ve got the gusset and heel there right in front of you.

Things are a bit different here.  Without a clear front or back, I might misconstrue whether or not I’ve made it clear around a round because every side looks the same.  I have learned this lesson through painful, lopsided experience.  To save myself from myself, I use different color stitch markers for the front and for the back. Since the working yarn always must come from the back to begin at the right side of each mitt, it only takes a few seconds of scanning to know exactly where I am when I return to my work.

My mitts and I traveled to North Carolina this weekend to visit my daughter, and I was once again reminded of the pleasures of travel knitting.  Airports these days are all about the wait—from security lines to boarding to “the fasten your seatbelt sign is still illuminated” to yesterday's 27-minute taxi upon landing (otherwise known as the complete tour of every inch of tarmac in O’Hare).  Did I stress?  Well, maybe a little bit, but mostly I happily knit.  Glad for the guilt-free time where opening my laptop is not permitted, but knitting most certainly is allowed.

Hooray for adventures accompanied by yarn!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Yellow Rose Mitts from Yarnivore - Day 2


The results of my experiment were clear and useful:  I’m not a fan of bamboo double-pointed needles (dpn's) for this project.  For tiny stitches like these, I prefer the slide of metal needles and the simplicity of magic loop.

I have a line in one of my books, Homefront Hero, where a war hero is learning to knit socks on dpn’s, and he says, “I feel like I’m wrangling a porcupine!”  That’s exactly how I felt working this.  It’s not that I don’t like double-points—I don't mind them in larger sizes.  These itty bitty ones, however, gave me fits.  I found it poignant—and amusing—that they came with the following warning on the package:

These should be used with all due care as these may cause injury if used improperly by an untrained/unfamiliar person.

Maybe not injury, and I’m certainly trained, but they caused frustration and annoyance in this particular knitter on this particular project.

And so, it is with great delight that I share the news that the next section—the Rosebud Wrists—settled itself perfectly on a two-at-a-time magic loop circ. Hooray!  I’ll fly through the four repeats in happiness.

Until the thumb gusset, which may (or may not) require the reintroduction of dpns.  Ah, the adventure of knitting…

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Yellow Rose Mitts from Yarnivore - Day 1

I love it, and it will require devotion...

Knitting can be a humbling adventure—especially when you consider yourself “experienced.”  K2tog on size 0 needles, for example.  This is enough to set my 50+ eyes to squinting, twitching, and my middle-aged fingers to cramping.  Were I to shoot a video of my face while doing all the “pass stitch over”s required on the cast on, I’m sure the faces I made would be mighty entertaining.  

And we’re not discussing how I had to call Caryn at Yarnivore to figure out where I went wrong and start over.  It happens to the best of us, right?

While the color of this super wash merino from The Sheepwalk Fiber Arts Studio—called “Love & Devotion”—is delicious, it’s somewhat splitty.  That nature can be frustrating when working on such a small scale.  I know—without a doubt—that I’ll have to do both of these mitts at once because I’ll never be able to convince myself I have enough patience to do the second once I finish the first.

And so…an experiment of sorts.

I much prefer magic loop—most especially two-at-a-time magic loop—to one-at-a-time-on-double-points when knitting such pieces. However, sometimes lacy patterns don’t always lend themselves to the immovable divisions of magic loop.  Some patterns you can tell it will divide up nicely.  Others, you can’t.

What to do?  Do both!  Do one magic loop and one on DPNs—at the same time.  After the first round of the Rose pattern (the part I think will give me trouble), I should know whether or not I can slide both of these onto a single circular needle ala magic loop.  Sure, I may have to split them up again when I get to the thumb, but I’m okay with that.

Onward—for science and craft!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June Reader Who Crochets: Amy Drown

The third Wednesday of each month we chat with someone who shares our love of books and yarn. DestiKNITters, say hello to Amy Drown.

Amy, what are you working on right now? 
I’ve actually had to pack up all my craft supplies at the moment because I just received a new job that requires me to move in a few weeks! But I was about to start on a new tartan afghan in colors that will (hopefully!) mimic one of my family’s clan tartans (I’m Scottish on both sides!).

What feels like your favorite/greatest crochet accomplishment? 
Definitely my first tartan afghan (see picture above)… because it came out square! :-) I’m terrible at keeping my loops and rows uniform. My cat, Rob Roy, however, is fond of the first one I ever completed, a large bedspread with a fun diamond pattern (see picture).

What feels like the worst crochet mistake/foible/wrong choice youve ever made? 
So I attempted this great red, white and blue patriotic afghan with a great border and star-shaped cutouts and… well, afghans aren’t supposed to be trapezoidal. It was so bad, Goodwill wouldn’t even take it, and a coworker ended up using it to pad a box for her dog to have puppies in!

Do you have a favorite yarn you like to work with? 
No, I’m afraid I’m still too new and inexperienced in the craft to be this particular! Anything soft and abundant enough to handle my myriad mistakes and do-overs!

Metal or wood crochet needles? 
Um… is it terrible if I didn’t even know crochet hooks came in wood? I’ve only ever used metal or, when I was a kid, plastic!

White chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate? 
I like all three! Lately my grab-and-go has been the Hershey’s white chocolate cookies ‘n’ cream.

Coffee or tea? 
Tea. Always and forever tea. Black, with milk and sugar. 

Whats your favorite Allie novel? 

What are you reading now? 
All Waiting Is Long by Barbara J. Taylor

Do you have a favorite stitching character from a book, movie, or television show? 
Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Our skills are about the same.

Give a shout out to your favorite local yarn store:
The Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe
14 Lupfer Ave
Whitefish, MT 59937

As her prize for being featured, Amy chose a copies of Yukon Wedding for both herself and a friend.  Thanks to our friends as Cascade Yarns, Amy also gets 10 hanks of Cascade 220 in Silver Grey.  If you would like to be featured as a Reader Who Knits or Crochets, contact me at allie@alliepleiter.com for details.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Linen Stitch Bag from Unraveled - Done!

Now that was a LOT of i-cord.  As much i-cord as I am tall--which is a LOT of inches of i-cord.

It all worked. The colors, the stitches, the i-cord, the size, the texture---all of it.  

I'm so fond of this bag.  It's been an amazing experience of learning and risk and perseverance and yarn.  Thanks, Unraveled!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Linen Stitch Bag from Unraveled - Day 5

A bag is born! 

Well, something that rather looks like a bag is born.  Right now it resembles a multi-colored blob closed at one end, but that’s to be expected at this stage.  When I look at it, the open edge feels wide.  Really wide.  Made more wide by the two-strands-held-together bind off which adds heft but in my case also seems to add width.  The open edge curves outward like a happy rainbow hat-brim.

Now, I am deeply aware that most of this probably won’t matter once the drawstring is implemented (and yes, I’m still living in fear of those endless rounds of i-cord).  I do wonder, however, just how tightly you can draw such a big thing closed?  Will it end up being practically useful?

The good news is that I don’t much care.  I love baskets and textured decorative objects, so if this ends up drawn lightly closed around a plant or just sitting as an object d’art on my office shelves, I will be equally happy as if it’s toting around my latest project.  Because it’s that pretty.  And making pretty things makes me happy.  

If it’s pretty AND useful, well that’s just icing on the cake, yes?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Linen Stitch Bag from Unraveled - Day 4

I have to say, I’m very pleased with the variety of patterns I’ve assimilated into this bag.  And the size is exactly what I was hoping for!  It has almost an Indian basket look to it, doesn’t it?  I’m generally not a “rainbow” person, but in this case the cavalcade of colors is just plain happy.  Not overtime I have ventured off-book for a pattern has it turned out this well, believe me.

Regular knitting—as opposed to linen stitch—feels like a breeze now without all the switching back-to-front-and-back-again of the working yarn.  I feel as if I’m zipping through these final rounds.  I’m taking time to enjoy this, knowing I have a daunting amount of i-cord looming at the end of this project.

The bag is so sturdy at the linen stitch sides that I think I will take the designer’s advice and fix some felt to the bottom to reinforce it.  

I was knitting outside on a lovely day at a concert in the park this afternoon, and after a demanding week of writing work, I relished the pleasure of knitting alfresco!  Which reminds me—don’t forget that World Wide Knit in Public Day is June 18!  Check here to see where an event is being hosted near you!