Warm hands

I know. It’s June. My first excuse for knitting mittens is that it’s June in Michigan. This year that’s meant we’re still amid a good deal of chilly weather. My next excuse is that I don’t really have seasons for knitting. I knit year round. I knit a lot of accessories. That means you can often find me knitting mittens here in Michigan’s (sort of) “top of the mitt.”

This first pair is Susan Mills great two needle, knit-flat Mitered Mittens. It’s an excellent fun pattern. It was designed for the delightful, now discontinued, Classic Elite Liberty Wool. I totally enjoy knitting these in color-changing yarns. Here’s how the Liberty Wool worked out. This time I used Adriafil Knitcol. It’s a lightweight worsted, even close to a DK weight.

Sometimes it’s fun to see how these multi-colored yarns knit up, this time in relatively short rows of garter stitch.

Here’s a second pair. I used this skein of…brace yourself it’s a mouthful…West Yorkshire Spinners Blue-Faced Leicester DK Print.

And here’s the results.

I knit the second pair, the WYSBFLDKP version, in the small size and the Adriafil in the larger size. Both pair fit my large hands, more evidence of the highly forgiving nature of garter stitch.

The only tricky part of the mitt is likely a function of my well-documented removable stitch-marker disability. I’ve never gotten the hang of using one to mark the position of a decrease. So, instead of using the stitch marker to situate the mitered decrease, this is what I did. I put a “regular” ring stitch marker in place. Then, for the decreases, I slipped the stitch before the marker, removed the marker, slipped the next stitch, knit the next stitch, passed the two slipped stitches over—and replaced the marker before the stitch just knit. It’s a decidedly clunky maneuver, but at least I got all my decreases in the right place.

Next up is a totally fun freebie: Becky Greene’s Granny Glitten’s Mittens.

I knit this first pair in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash. I’ve always been happy with the stitch definition of this yarn. That’s important in a pattern of this sort, with smallish cables on the cuff and knits and purls forming the various patterns. Granny Glitten’s pattern resulted in a great fitting mitten.

This is a very folksy home-style pattern. It has a few of what I’d call quirks rather than mistakes in it. And a couple of minor errors that you’d figure out easily on your own. But this link is to my detailed Ravelry project notes in case you want to check them out.

Granny Glitten’s Mittens are great fun to knit. For me it’s the fact that the stitch patterns keep changing. No boring repetitions. I finished one pair and decided to knit a second straight away.

This time I used a decidedly unwintry shade of Sugar Bush Yarns Bold.

Again, a great fit.

I really have been on a mitten kick. This next pair is tincanknits Antler Mittens. The pattern calls for an Aran weight. I had a skein of Queensland Collection Brisbane. I was good on the stitch gauge (18 to 4 inches, in stockinette) using the recommended US size 8 needle. But my row gauge was off. As a result, these knit up super fast because I worked only 2 repeats (not 3) of the cable pattern after the thumb gusset even for this large size.

Sweet mitt. Good fit.

Lots of knitters turn to sock knitting for summer when they need a lightweight portable knit. Maybe give a thought to mittens as an alternative. Especially if you work your mittens in worsted weight these are quick rewarding knits.

Working even at a leisurely pace you’d have enough mittens for everyone come the holidays. That’s what I did when I was nine years old, sixty years ago. My mom gave me a pattern for 2-needle mittens and a supply of Red Heart yarn. And one pair of needles. I knit mittens for her, my dad, my two brothers, Gram, Pa, Aunt Joan, Uncle Hank, Uncle Lee, Aunt Dot, Walt, and my cousins. People acted as if they liked them. OK, probably not that boatload of rowdy boy cousins. Later, my mom took me to a real yarn shop and bought me one skein of yellow bulky weight yarn. She found a pattern and taught me to knit cables. I loved the feel of that yarn and those mittens. Something was different about that yarn, for sure. When we washed the mittens and threw them in the dryer I found out what it was. They shrank to ugly felted fists. I had discovered wool and my life-long obsession was set.

More cowls

Isn’t this a pretty one? It’s Kim Sequeira’s Earth Weave Cowl, a Ravelry freebie. The pattern calls for one skein of Malabrigo Rios and one skein of Noro Silk Garden. My, my. I had both in my stash. The Rios is the “apple green” colorway and, of course, the Noro is responsible for the color-changing blues and greens. This is a slip stitch cowl, a/k/a mosaic knitting. That means there only one color on each round.

Here’s another look.

Earth Weave Cowl is a fun knit and a great cowl. It has a tendency to flip over to its “wrong” (non-public) side when worn. But that’s not any big deal.

This next cowl, tincanknits Undertone, does the same flip-over. Again, no big deal. If the flip bothers the wearer, they can fold the cowl in half lengthwise. Presto! No flip.

Presto? I believe it’s been decades since I wrote, said or even heard anyone write or say that word. A bit of quick research reveals its origins are traced to the late 1500’s when conjuror patter incorporated the phrase from the Italian where it sort of meant “quickly.” OK. Enough digression.

I knit my Undertone, this time, mostly in oddments of String Theory DK. That’s the orange-red shade in the center section. The gold and the green are MadTosh DK left-overs. It’s a very satisfying knit. I’ve knit Undertone once before. (You’ll need to scroll down beyond a beauty of a wrap to see how my first Undertone worked out.) Here’s another view of my new one.

This next cowl is a rather new Ravelry freebie that I just couldn’t resist knitting. It’s loop knallerbse designed by Petra Peinze. I knit mine in Why Knot Fibers Stardust. My skein of Stardust is a beautiful gray fingering weight, with 5% stellina, 20% nylon, and 75% merino. The yarn is next-to-the-skin soft with no scratchiness from the silver sparkly stellina.

Your’re surprised by the shape, I assume. That’s what drew me to the pattern. How on earth would that shape work out? But it does.


Loop knallerbse is an excellent accessory for a blustery winter day. I’ve already gotten a good deal of wear out of it. Hopefully, by June or so, I’ll be able to pack it away for next winter!

Yowza and one thing leading to another

I’ve only rarely knit with Miss Babs. It always seemed like a lot of buck for the bang. But this set of 100% merino DK weight Yowza really captured me. And so did Boxes and Towers by Kirsten Kapur.

I am basically speechless, OK wordless, about how much I like this wrap.

I can’t get enough of looking at it and petting it.

I made very few modifications to the pattern. It calls for the knitter to cut the yarn and reattach the next color on each piece of the towers and boxes. Speaking of “yowza,” why would I do that and be left with all those ends to weave in? I didn’t cut the yarn except where new colors were needed in a new section. I carried the unused yarn up the side of the piece. It worked fine, including when I needed to pick up stitches along the side where the yarns twisted. When picking up stitches, I made sure to catch the float between the stitches, not merely the yarn being twisted along the edge. I was also careful to twist the yarn the same way each time, bringing the yarn I was using under the yarn I wasn’t using. I don’t know how necessary that was in this piece but I’m obsessive about such things. And I kept it loose and didn’t tighten up the yarn being carried.

The only other modification I made to the pattern was to increase the width of the edging a bit. I purled one round, knit one round, purled one round, and then worked the Icelandic bind-off–instead of picking up the stitches and immediately binding off. I did a yarn over at each side of the corner stitch on each of the three edge rounds.

Here’s another look at Boxes and Towers.

Yowza was wonderful to work with. No knots. No globby sections. The dye creates some heathering in the colorways, but there were no white blotches of undyed yarn. I’d use it again in a heartbeat. I liked working with it so much that I was determined to knit up every yard of it I could. Boxes and Towers required me to purchase six skeins of 200 yards each. The wrap used up about 800 yards. I needed to put that last 400 yards or so to good use. I had 28 grams left of Oakmoss (the green), Haydrick (the gold), Earthenware (the light burnt orange), and Slot Canyon (the light rosy shade). I had 20 grams left of Polished Stone (the gray), and 32 left of Sealpoint (the beige)–so, a total of 164 grams, about 400 yards.

I am really liking how my leftovers turned out.

Both the hat and the cowl are tincanknits knits from their “Mad Colours” book. The patterns are also downloadable on Ravelry. I just wanted to mention the book because I love to spell colors the wrong way, just like the Canadians and Brits. Just kidding. Live and let spell. The cowl is Undertone and the hat is the triangle version of their Prism hat.

I bet you spotted my little cheat–that spicey orange in the ribbing and alternating rows of the cowl. Yep, that’s not Yowza. It’s another oddment from my stash. It’s String Theory merino DK in the Rose Madder colorway. It really anchored the pieces, I think. It also left me enough Yowza to make an extravagant pompom.

Here’s another angle on the pompom, since knitters know that we knit in an era when you can work up some pretty elaborate hats and the first thing people say is…all together now…”I love the pompom.” Here’s another look at the pompom. It is a pretty good one.

Here’s a closer look at Undertone. It’s a quick, fun knit, with lots of potential for interesting color play.

Cozies for feet (and legs)

Mighty handsome legs, don’t you think? These tiny tiny leg warmers, baby sized, are tincanknits tic tac toes. Try to say that tongue twister fast three times. Tincanknit tic tac toes. Tincanknit tic tac toes. Tincanknit tic tac toes. Actually, not as difficult as I thought.

Here’s a closer look, off leg. As with the rest of tincanknit’s patterns, the pattern is sized from baby to adult. What an excellent idea. Newborn Georgia’s leg warmers–which could also serve as arm warmers–are knit in Kollage Yarns Sock-a-licious. It is, or rather was since it’s been discontinued, 70% merino wool, 20% nylon, and 10% silk.

I’ve never worn leg warmers. And I’ve never been a ballerina either. But I gather that ballerina status is not required to wear leg warmers.

Now we move to a cozy that’s less cute but more useful. These are Kris Basta’s Better Dorm Boots for Men.  This Ravelry freebie is meant to be knit in bulky weight (or worsted weight doubled) and results in a workhorse of a foot cozy.

My version of Better Dorm Boots is knit in Plymouth Yarn Chunky to assure that they are machine washable and dryable. The 25% wool helps warm the feet and the 75% acrylic makes sure they’re easy care. 120 grams of chunky is all it took to knit the largest size.

Bob’s feet are enjoying them.

These next handsome socks are knit from Churchmouse Yarn and Teas’ Basic Sock pattern. If you’ve not knit socks before, this pattern–in all its delightful wordiness–is an excellent place to start. I knit mine, well Steve’s, in a yarn he really likes: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight. This is a sport weight, which make for a firm warm sock when knit on a size 1.5 US needle.

Here are Steve’s feet enjoying a nice nap. The true shades of this colorway are the deep purple and blue shown above on my white backdrop. But I couldn’t resist showing off what a nice fit they turned out to be.

I didn’t want to forget about kids’ feet. These are Mine. They’re actually Isaac’s. But the pattern is Mine by Faye Kennington.

Mine are meant to be knit in a super bulky weight. I tried knitting them in Sirdar Bigga, a super bulky, but my gauge was way off. The slippers would had to have been donated to a basketball player. I downsized to a bulky weight and then my gauge was way off in the other direction. These turned out to be 8 inches long. I knit them in Valley Yarns’ Berkshire Bulky. 85% wool and 15% alpaca so, once they’re washed and thrown in the dryer, they’ll be looking for something closer to a toddler’s feet.

But they were a fun knit. It would have been better, I think, if I’d started my two-color look at the start of the garter stitch rather than just after the cable section. The pick up of stitches isn’t as neat as it should be (and would have been) if I’d changed the color just on the sole section.

Would you possibly like another look at those tincanknits’ leg warmers? My Ravatar insisted on trying on the leg warmers and she’s asking to be featured on the blog in full-body view. She’s also been begging me to knit a pair of tic tac toes just for her. She says her spot on top of my knitting corner bookcase next to glass head gets really chilly sometimes.

Fourth birthday for my granddaughter

This is a child’s size 4 Jones by tincanknits. Stop. Don’t say it. I know. You like the buttons. That’s exactly what the little sweetie, my granddaughter, said when she opened the wrapping. She gets a pass on that comment. You don’t. You need to say: “Great cables. Classic yet modern design. Wonderful stitch definition in that Wollmeise Merino DK, an easy-care superwash. Heirloom quality!”

I think this sweater is just the cat’s meow. It was a bit of slog. That was mostly because I was afraid of the knit-on button band and shawl collar. The button band worked out just fine. I knit the body on a size 6 and the pattern says to drop down 3 sizes for all the ribbing. My only modification was that I knit the band and collar on size 4 US needles. I consulted my section of the knitting universe (thank you, Dot especially) and decided the band might pucker too much with a 3-size disparity on the needle size. That was my choice even though I followed the pattern and knit the bottom ribbing on the body and sleeves on size 3s.

Here’s a look at the back and then I’ll have more to say about that shawl collar.

Bottom up construction is old-school, but it makes for such a nice fit in this sweater. As all the project photos show, Jones is a snug-fit sweater, without much ease. It comes in a huge array of sizes–from 0-6 months to 4XL!

Now, about that short-row shawl collar. Bottom line? It benefited greatly by a somewhat aggressive wet blocking. As you  look closely at many of the Ravelry project pages, you will see that the left side of the collar, as worn, has the unkempt side of the short rows and pick-up the wraps showing on the public side. That bothered me enough to knit the button band and collar twice to try to remedy it. But I wasn’t clever enough to figure out a proper fix. Maybe it’s time to really learn the German short row technique.

There is a right side and a wrong side to the short row work. The directions have you pick up one side of the collar’s wraps on the right side and the other on the wrong side. I think that’s the rub. And the short rows only shorten by one stitch so the wraps are all tightly packed. I am dissatisfied with the collar. And it’s such a prominent feature in the otherwise beautiful sweater. But after I soaked the sweater in Eucalan and laid it flat to try, the stitches relaxed and even the collar looked much better.

No 4-yr old should only get clothes for her birthday. So I added in a Doll’s Moses Basket. Well, a sort of amazing technicolor Moses Basket because my granddaughter is sort of a technicolor kid.

Michelle Williams’s Doll’s Moses Basket is a great Ravelry freebie that deserves more attention than it gets. I’m actually the only project on Revelry. Yep. The only.  If you or yours have a doll in need of a comfy bed, please seriously consider giving this pattern a try. Williams’s pattern photo shows a beautiful all-off-white version. Mine. Well you see it.

Mine is knit in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted. And all of the natural color is frogged from a shawl I hadn’t worn much, which made it an economical knit even though the total yardage used was a little over 800 yards.

Here’s a view of the bottom-side, showing the cabled handle and its construction. Williams’s pattern calls for knitting the sides in two pieces and sewing them together. I decided to knit the sides as one piece and just knit a few rounds of garter stitch to create a somewhat natural folding point for the top. I thought about the fact that the sides would be floppy. I even tried putting a flexible plastic layer between the inner and outer parts of the sides, but decided it looked too stiff. I decided to declare the floppy sides a design feature. And when I saw my granddaughter tuck some stuffed buddies in the basket and easily sling the basket over her shoulder like a purse, I decided that I’d made the right choice. The handle is a double cable folded in half and sewn up lengthwise.

My 20 inch Ravatar tried the basket on for size before the basket was gifted. She daintily crossed her legs and declared the basket a perfect fit. She loudly demanded I knit one for her if I wasn’t going to let her keep it.