Big warm mittens

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These extra warm mittens are knit from superbulky Ester Bitran Hand-dyes Socos. That’s kind of a mouthful. I know I found it in a markdown bin and wasn’t sure what I’d end up knitting from it. 88 yards to a skein. Don’t look at the yarn too covetously because the maker has discontinued it. But it was perfect for these knit-in-one-night Burly MItts, by Mona Schmidt of Knit stricken! You will find her free pattern here.

Even with Socos I could not get the required gauge of 10.5 stitches to 4 inches on my largest sized doublepoint needles (10.5 US). So I made a few modifications to accommodate a gauge of 12 stitches to 4 inches. My result is slightly, very slightly, less burly than the original. I used about 125 yards of yarn.

These mitts have found a new home. I figure Carly has warm hands when she’s got hers tucked into these.

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Deer crossing County Road 459

tentative_deer_lowresThis doe paused after two companions made it safely across County Road 459. Then she decided to bound out into the road just as Steve’s car was close by. She seemed to spot his car but proceeded anyway. After all, these creatures do not have many road savvy IQ points.

The doe,  Steve, and his Subaru Forester are none the worse for the close encounter.

In 2012, Michigan continued to be one of the top-ranked states for numbers of deer-car crashes. Only West Virginia, Iowa and South Dakota had us beat. Michigan drivers had a 1 in 72 chance of hitting a deer that year. Read more here, at the MIchigan Deer Crash Coalition website.

Remember, when there’s one there’s likely more than one. They are herd animals, after all. And the catch phrase is “don’t veer for deer.” Otherwise a property damage accident and a deer death can too easily turn into a bodily injury accident or even a people death.

Celia’s Blankie: a Cottage Creations must-knit

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This is Celia’s Blankie, another modular-knit afghan from Carol Anderson at Cottage Creations. Anderson’s website is not set up for e-commerce or downloading patterns, but the pattern booklet is available on a number of websites and local yarn shops and she invites direct inquiries to her.

Miles of garter stitch is a big draw for me and so are Cottage Creations patterns. The instructions are very clear, but also quite chatty. Rather rustic drawings illustrate some sections of Cottage Creation patterns.

As with Rambling Rows, which you can check out here and here and four more here, when you finish Celia’s Blankie, there is no finishing. You will likely chose to work in the tails from the individual blocks as you knit and, if so, it’s off the needles and your finished blanket can be immediately put to use.

My blankie is knit in easy-care Plymouth Encore worsted. I knit the largest size square the booklet suggests and ended with a blanket that was 45 inches by 46 inches, including the 10-ridge garter stitch border.

Anderson leaves a lot of choices for the knitter, including the size, number and color-patterning of squares. Since it’s knitter’s choice, the pattern doesn’t spell out exactly how much yarn you’ll need. I found I was able to get 7 squares out of all but one of the Encore skeins, on US size 8 needles. This blankie took 3 skeins of each of the 3 colors I chose. The booklet provides photos of several blankets knit by several test knitters, with information on their choice of yarn and how much yarn they used. I selected one of the arrangements used by one of the test knitters. There isn’t any reason why you couldn’t put this pattern on steroids and knit a full size blanket. Just knit more squares.

For the border, I picked up 24 stitches in each square, working garter stitch in the round with my longest circulars. Garter stitch in the round means you knit one row, purl one row. I marked each corner with a stitch holder and then each knit row I increased one stitch (by knitting in the front and in the back) on each side of the marker. I bound off on a purl row.

Here’s a closer look at one of the mitered corners:

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I’m pleased with the result:

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Yarn Harlot’s one-row scarf

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This is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee a/k/a Yarn Harlot‘s popular one-row scarf, available free on her blog. It is, she kids us not, one row repeated over and over until your yarn runs out or your interest wanes. I’m a big fan of rhythmic easy patterns that give a lot of bang for the buck and this is one. It’s shown here in one strand of Misti Alpaca Handpaint worsted, in what seems to be a discontinued colorway (5939), held with a strand of Cascade Yarns Kid Seta (a 70% mohair, 30% silk mix) in colorway 27. I cast on 26 stitches on size 9 US needles and ended up with a 61 inch scarf. A very satisfying quick knit.

It isn’t always predictable how two yarns will knit up together. I found it surprising that the Kid Seta darkened the alpaca to the extent it did. This is the Kid Seta and the alpaca in their “before” state.

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Here is the same scarf, this time knitted on size 8’s with a 30 stitch cast on, in one skein of Mountain Colors Mountain Goat in the sagebrush colorway. Mountain Goat is a wonderful lush 55% mohair, 45% wool mix. The 230 yard skein yielded a 52 inch scarf. That’s a bit short, but still very serviceable.

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How I spent my winter vacation

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This so satisfies my inner OCD voice. I’ve always kept my “singles” knitting patterns somewhat organized, but they’ve been stashed away in drab black 3-ring binders. Now they are wearing sturdy, colorful, eco-friendly binders from Naked Binder. In the past, my patterns tended to double up in vinyl sleeves, to save space. Now every pattern has its own sleeve. And basically every body part or category of pattern has its separate binder. Hands, necks, shoulders, feet, girl heads, other heads, kid bods and big bods. Well–you can read for yourself. I am very pleased with how I spent my holiday vacation days.

I pored over old patterns that I’d forgotten I had. When I found duplicates (how did that happen), I found a new home for one. When I found a pattern I’d made already, especially if it was during a period in my life when I had more knitting brain cells (or better eyesight), I thought about whether I might knit it again. Mostly, the answer was “yes” because many of these patterns are old friends. But if I knew I wouldn’t be knitting it again, I gave my patterns to others who might use them.

I’ve been looking for ways to integrate my pattern stash into my new basement work area. This is way cool!

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