I know I've mentioned it before, more than once, but I love my Fleeps. I love them. One of the best parts of the weather turning colder is that first time I put on my warm coat and find the Fleeps in my pockets. Buuuuut... they're not warm enough for the depths of winter. So I decided to knit a warmer pair: a double-layered pair of Fleeps, with a separate glove for the inside and a stranded colourwork mitt for the outside. Does that technically make it a triple-layered Fleep?

I started with the inner gloves on US 2 (2.75mm) needles in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, figuring that I would need them on my hands to take measurements for how big the outer mitts should be. The outers will be knit in the Ultra Alpaca regular not-quite-worsted weight in both dark charcoal gray and teal, which I'm currently swatching on size 6 (4mm) needles in a few different colourwork stitch patterns.

Of course now that I've knit the inner gloves, I'm quite tempted to wear them just as they are and make a second pair to go inside the new Warmer Fleeps. Especially because I have a skein of Ultra Alpaca Light in the same dark gray I'll be using for one of the outer mitt's colours, and I'm not sure these green-y/gray ones coordinate as well as I'd like. Plus maybe they shouldn't have ribbing, if they're going to be inner mitts? Besides, as evidenced in the photo, one skein is just enough to knit one pair of gloves...

And of course, I'm taking careful notes as I knit so that I'll be able to duplicate them over, and over, and over--

Two gloves sit on a wooden table with a tiny ball of leftover yarn between them. The gloves are handknit in a lightweight grayish-green yarn. They have partial fingers for the thumb, index, and middle fingers. The ringfinger and pinkie are fully covered.

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This is just a post to test the ActivityPub plugin. If all goes well, the blog is now federated, and you can follow it if you like at @Pirate@www.knittingpirate.com :)

A mug with lots of different pirate flags on it.

In other news, the brioche blanket is cranking right along, and is now large enough to keep me warm while I work on it. Progress pictures soon!

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A friend announced that she was expecting, and my first thought was that I should knit a blanket - because even though I'd long sworn off any obligation to knit for babies, that was before I had a knitting machine, right? I could crank out a blanket so fast, I told myself. It'll be like nothing, I said. No problem at all, I said. And I ordered a couple of balls of Lion Brand Mandala.

You'll note this is not a picture of a finished blanket, or even of a blanket in progress on the knitting machine...

A brioche knitting project in progress. On one side, it is ribbed in pink with green and blue in the background. On the other, it is green and blue ribs with pink in the background. The balls of yarn, showing the gradient from green to blue to purple to pink, are lined up on the table.

I'd decided on a reversible tucked cable pattern in full needle rib, and I was through the first ball of yarn and into the second, when I noticed that I'd dropped a stitch somehow. Maybe it was related to a static issue, maybe there wasn't enough weight on the tuck stitches, maybe it was gremlins. Either way, it wasn't fixable, so I pulled the work off the machine and re-wound the yarn to begin again.

Meanwhile, I'd finished knitting my mindless stockinette socks and needed something else to work on during football games and knit nights. So here I am, knitting a baby blanket by hand...

The pattern is just a simple two-colour brioche rib. I carefully wound the two balls of yarn to be exact opposites of each other - yes, I know, it looks like there are four balls in that picture, but that's because the put-up was too big for my ball winder to handle and I had to split them. The hardest part of this project making myself take a break from knitting it. I know I should, or my hands will hurt tomorrow... but I wanna see how the colours play out!

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It's been some years since I've gotten to go to a yarn festival. Mom and I were rained out of MD Sheep and Wool this year, and couldn't get up to Rhinebeck in October, but this past weekend we went (along with friends Monica and Jen) to the smaller, less frantically crowded, Maryland Alpaca and Fleece festival.

The night before we went, Mom and I looked through my stash of fingering weight yarn. I had two sets of two yarns that went together, but they didn't go together together. My goal was to find the other two skeins to bring each set up to a sweater quantity... and I had great success!

On the left, I already owned the top two skeins - one of them dates back to 2007, yikes - and supplemented with the minis and the pale green. The second one isn't as much of an outlier as it looks with that yellow; the top one also has pops of gold in it. And on the right, I had the first and third skeins already, and bought the orangey-purple and pale pinks to fill out the set.

I guess I'm finally planning to knit some sweaters, huh :)

Many skeins of fingering weight yarn, split into two sets. Each set is enough to knit a sweater. Both sets fade from darker to lighter. The first set goes from dark greens and blues and a few pops of oranges and yellows here and there, to a pale green. The second set runs from a dark purple to a lighter purple-pink with hints of orange to a lighter pink.

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After I finished the rainbow socks, this skein of Cascade Heritage Paints in the "Thunder" colourway was the next sockweight yarn in my stash that was meant for mindless stockinette during knit nights and football games. It seemed fitting to knit Thunder socks right next to Rainbow socks, so here we are :)

I used Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato Heel for these - I love how this heel looks in a contrast colour!

A pair of handknit socks. A blue streak spirals down the gray legs and feet. The cuffs, toes, and heels are a dark navy blue.

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I finished* spinning eight ounces of superwash Targhee in the "Invincible" colourway from Hipstrings, and finally got around to skeining and washing it. ("Finished" meaning there are remnants of singles on several bobbins that, if redistributed and plied, would be a decent mini-skein of yarn. So technically it's not totally finished, but... it's finished.)

I'd been going for a fingering weight yarn that isn't too dense, and... I seem to have succeeded. I came out with over 850 (!!) yards of three-ply yarn, as recorded on my new yarn counter from EEW's kickstarter last year.

Two skeins of fingering weight yarn, with a penny for scale. The yarn is striped in teals and purples.

Given that kind of yardage, suddenly my plan for knitting socks was shifting to a new plan for knitting a sweater. Of course I'd have to spin another eight ounces of fibre, probably in a contrasting colour to make stripes - but whatever, that's fine. I started to swatch. On size 3 needles (3.25mm) I was getting 30 stitches/4 inches and it felt pretty loose, so I put in a row of purls to delineate the needle change and tried again on size 2 needles (2.75mm). Now I'm getting 32 stitches/4 inches, which feels better.

It's really nice to knit with - not coarse, not twisty, not heavy and dense, not biasing - just pretty.

A full-size swatch of handspun yarn, mostly in burgundy. There is a penny on it for scale, to show how small the stitches are. The rest of the yarn ball sits on the desk above the swatch.

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My team at work is planning an offsite event on the other side of the country, which I am anticipating with about the same amount of excitement as an impending root canal. It's in February, which is an ideal time of year to be planning a cross-country flight.

As a consolation prize, I went to the yarn shop and bought a ball of sock yarn. Now I'll have something to look forward to about this trip, instead of just being grouchy about it.

A ball of Lang Super Soxx yarn. It looks like it will stripe into a neon rainbow alternating with black.

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New socks, new socks! I really had hoped to have these done in time for Pride Month, but hey - there'll be another one next year. Yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in the "Rum Raisin" colourway, which I bought in Lake Tahoe in 2019. Pattern is... just a plain ol' 64 stitch sock. I kind of wish I'd thought of knitting these toe-up so that the toes would have started (or ended) at the beginning of the rainbow, but it's not that big a deal :) I did break the yarn after turning the heel, skipping ahead to the next red stripe so that the rainbow wouldn't be interrupted over the ankle, and that was a good decision - even if it did mean having a few more ends to weave in.

A pair of rainbow-striped socks. The colours are more like jewel tones than actual primary rainbow shades, but the effect is still that of a rainbow.

The same day that I finished these, I immediately started on the next pair, this time using Cascade Heritage Paints. The colourway I'm using is called "Thunder," which seems sort of appropriate to go next to a pair of rainbows. This past weekend I turned the first heel and am working my way down the foot. It'll be another plain stockinette pair (it's good knit-night work!) but with a navy contrast yarn in the cuffs/toes/heels. Also, I'm putting a Sweet Tomato Heel on these socks in hopes of not disturbing the spiral pooling of the yarn. I really like how it looks in the contrasting colour.

A partially knit sock. The cuff and heel is dark navy blue, and the leg of the sock is a spiral of grays and blues. The foot isn't yet knit.

Maybe there's something about the whiff of fall in the air that's gotten me re-invigorated to work on my knitting projects. This morning when I sat down at my desk I saw the yarn for the second of my Aviation socks (the third in the Twisted Trilogy that I've been procrastinating on for a while) - and instead of just nodding at it, like, "yeah, I see you," I picked it up and knit for a while. Once this sock is done I'll write up all three patterns in a nice way and then get them published, finally! I'm trying not to give myself a hard time for not finishing this project sooner, because what good would that do now? Instead I'm going to try to remember how much I actually do enjoy knitting this pattern, even if I'm a little intimidated by the thought of writing up patterns for publication :)

The very beginning of a purpley-pink sock. The ribbed cuff transitions into a twisted stitch pattern that makes an interesting texture of columns.

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A few years ago, inspired by a blog post from Ashland Bay, I bought four braids of fibre with the thought of spinning a gradient three-ply yarn, changing out one strand at a time as I worked from the first colour to the last. My plan was to pick up a coordinating solid and then use the resulting yarn to make a sweater like this Painterly Pullover.

But the green on the left stood out too much. And I couldn't find a solid that I liked that would coordinate well with all four colours.

Four braids of merino spinning fibre in a gradient from sage green to dark blues/purples.

So... I replaced the green with a pinky-purple blend, and I like it a lot better. The coordinating solid is a pale pink, which unfortunately arrived smelling of cigarette smoke and Febreze, bleah! I put it in a plastic tote with some paper towels soaked in FreshWave IAQ (that stuff is a miracle) and then let it air out in the sun and breeze, and fortunately got all the stink out of it.

Here it is all together:

Across the top of the picture, four braids of merino fibre in a gradient of colours from a medium pinks/purples to a darker blues/purples. Along the bottom, a coordinating solid in pale pink.

I can use the green fibre as the test-spin for the bigger project, approaching the whole thing as scientifically as possible. My general dislike of loosely plied yarns has led to some really dense, overtwisted yarn in my handspun stash, so I'm going to do some swatching of twist angle and plying twist before I start spinning another sweater quantity...

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Seven years ago, I bought the world's ugliest yarn (I love it though) intending to knit a pair of EZ's "Nether Garments", because what could be cozier than woolen long-johns? Except it never happened, possibly because every time I thought of starting the project, I thought about how long it would take... and put it off again.

Then I got a knitting machine, and thought "wow, this will make it so easy to make a pair of pants!"

How wrong I was. The knitting machine makes short work of knitting pieces of fabric that might be pants legs; it does not make it any easier to fit a pair of pants to my body.

I picked out a pattern (the "Lounging My Best Life" pants) and knit a gauge swatch - and for a wonder, I got it right! (The pattern is written for a mid-gauge machine and mine is a standard gauge, but if I loosen it to tension 10, this 6-ply yarn will go through.)

Since I'd never made pants before, I thought I'd follow the pattern exactly as written (even though I was pretty sure it wouldn't fit) and then make adjustments from there. Here's the first leg knit up, minus the ribbing at the cuff, which I'll handknit after I know the legs fit - isn't it perfectly 1970s?

One pants leg, unseamed, lies at full length on a wooden coffee table. The stripes are an incredibly garish collection of 1970s colours: mustard yellow, brown, steel blue, and some jacquard-looking stripes as well.

What it's not, unfortunately and unsurprisingly, is perfectly fitting. It's quite a bit more high-waisted than I want... and I don't seem to have nearly as much curve in my hips as the pattern seems to think I will. I took measurements and tried again.

My second try (not pictured) is closer, but still doesn't fit. I knit both legs and basted the seams so I could try them on, then took more measurements and attempted to draft a pattern in Designaknit. Then I set everything aside for a while until I could stop being mad at it. Once I get over the disappointment, I'll try on the pants once more to make sure I've noted everything I want to change in the fit, and then I'll wind up the yarn and give it another shot.

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