Archive for the “gloves” Category

Some time ago I started designing a pair of flip-top mittens to match the Moorefield Hat. Instead of knitting the glove first and then picking up stitches along the back of my hand for the mitten top, as I've done for all the Fleeps I've made, the plan for these was to knit the mittens first, including a strand of waste yarn across the palm, so that the colourwork could continue uninterrupted on the back of the hand. Once the mittens were done, I'd pull out the waste yarn and have flippy-open mitten tops, and I'd pick up stitches to knit the inside gloves.

I got as far as knitting the whole mitten, with the thumb stitches held for later, and pulled out the waste yarn to work on the inner gloves, and... well... there were some issues.

A partially knit mitten in four colours.

First, the whole thing isn't wide enough to accommodate a glove underneath - or, for that matter, my fingers - at least not if I want to have room to wiggle them around. Second, and relatedly, the thumb opening isn't big enough or high enough. Third, the opening for the mitten top is about five rows too low... and fourth, I'm not at all sure that I have enough of the white yarn left over to make a pair of mittens the way I've got it charted out. (Fifth, unimportantly, I really don't like that braided bind-off. I won't try that again.)

So I've ripped back to the cuff, which fits just fine, and I'm going to try again to make flip-top gloves - fingerless this time, I think - that match the Moorefield Hat. It'll have to be bigger all around, for sure. Maybe just going up a needle size would be enough... it will be an adventure, either way!

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Eight (oops) years ago, I bought eight ounces of soft Corriedale roving with silk carded into it, thinking that I would make an airy tweedy yarn. Then I realized that I didn't know the first thing about how to spin woolen, and I didn't want to "ruin" the fibre by spinning yarn that wasn't what I wanted. But now I *do* (sort of) know what I'm doing, and so here's almost 300 yards of soft, tweedy, two-ply yarn that is destined to become a new pair of Fleeps.

The bits of silk were a fun spinning challenge; I had to draft more carefully, and sometimes stop treadling and draft them out separately, to keep them from making big blurps in the finished yarn. It was worth the effort, for sure. The yarn is fairly even and I think it will knit up well.

From afar, the yarn looks like a heathered gray... but up close, it's easy to see the pink, yellow, blue, and purple pieces. I'm really very happy with how this has turned out! It will probably floof up a little more once it's washed, and then I'll probably give it some good thwacks against the side of the tub to full it a bit before knitting.

I'd like my next Fleeps to be extra-warm, so I'm spinning this silk that I bought in May to use as a mitten lining. Switching between a quick magical long-draw for the Corriedale and a slow short forward draw for the silk was an interesting mental shift to make! The plan is to chain-ply it at a tight twist, and hopefully that will keep it from shedding too much against my fingers.

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Michael and I visited friends earlier this month. We both worked on our socks on the plane, which was a good conversation starter with our seatmate (she crochets!). One of the flight attendants commented, "Whatever it is you're making, I wear a size medium," which was both funny and not at the same time. I know people mean that sort of thing as a joke, but it comes across as having no concept of the time and effort that goes into these things - probably because I get similar comments so often that I almost expect to hear "could you make me a--" or "you should knit this for me--" or even "you *need* to make me one." Yikes.

It was warm when we got on the plane, but cold when we landed. I pulled on my Fleeps and immediately noticed that a crucial strand of yarn towards the top of one finger was dangerously thin. So thin, in fact, that it fell apart when I inspected it more closely. Fortunately, the local yarn shop was generous enough to give me the tail end of some green yarn they had lying around, and now my Fleeps look a little more battle-scarred. I could re-knit that finger... but I think I'll just leave it like this. It looks kinda cool.

I also bought this lovely skein of Malabrigo Sock yarn in the Zarzamora colourway, because the people at the store were just so nice about everything. I posted a thank-you note to them in their Ravelry group, too!

One night it was a little too cold for me, and Michael let me wear his floppy hat. He posted this pic to his instagram with the caption, "[Pirate] often says she loves when people wear the things she knit for them. I knit this hat for myself, but it was cold out, and I know what she means now. ❤︎" Is that not the sweetest thing? Then we had duck confit ramen for dinner, which was exactly right for the weather and my mood.

Also I think I need to make a floppy hat for myself. Maybe a floppy stranded colourwork hat! With a pompom!

On the plane ride home, I got up to the heelflap of my current sock. I'm knitting my own Cakewalk pattern again, and realized that... um... it's kind of confusing. Lots of people have made the pattern and no one's said anything, so maybe it's not so bad - but I'm going to update it so that it's more clear. Heck, this is my fourth pair of Cakewalks and *I've* never noticed a problem before. Maybe I knew what I meant when I wrote it, but I sure didn't this time!

Anyway, I'm quite pleased with the way these socks are coming out. The yarn is from last year's vacation to Salt Lake City; it's Cascade Heritage Paints in Teal Mix, some of my favourite colours of all time. I'm well into the gusset now and I've remembered why the pattern instructions are what they are, but I still think they need to be clarified in an update. Perhaps that will be tomorrow's project.

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Moorefield Mittens (take two) - now with a cuff of a more appropriate length. I'm getting pretty good at the alternating cable cast-on, which is still a little fiddly but no longer frustrating to do. I like how the cuff looks with red as the consistent colour - it's a different 'feel' than on the hat, but still nice looking. The wonky stitch tension will even out with blocking; for some reason I have more difficulty with stranding on DPNs than on circular needles.

The thumb stitches are being held aside, and I'm up to the part where I'm going to create the opening that will make these flip-top mittens. This is accomplished by knitting a row of waste yarn across the palm, then continuing on in pattern. This technique allows the colourwork to progress uninterrupted up the back of the hand.

When I made the Fleeps I knit the glove with fingers part first, and then picked up stitches across the back of the hand to make the mitten top. This time, the mitten top is knit first, and then the waste yarn across the palm will be pulled out to give me two rows of live stitches from which I can knit the glove fingers.

I made the stitches across the inside of the thumb in pattern, though it's probable that they won't even show in the finished object. The thumb hole seems a little large, but that might be necessary for a range of motion. When I go to knit the thumb, I could decrease by picking up just one stitch into both "corner" stitches - where the stitches on waste yarn meet the stitches I cast on to bridge the gap. That would bring the total from 26 down to 24, which might fit my skinny fingers a little better. Conveniently, it might also help to prevent holes in the thumb!

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The hat has been finished for a while now. The ends woven in, the yarn put away (sort of - more on that in a moment) and the styrofoam head located. The hat, finished but unblocked, has been sitting on the styrofoam head in my living room, where I've been admiring it on a nightly basis. "But," I said to myself, "I can't finish writing up the pattern without pictures, and I can't take pictures without blocking the hat."

So it had a good warm bath, luxuriating in the Eucalan suds for half an hour or so...

...and now it's back on the styrofoam head, its stitches far more even (especially around the decreases) and looking good. The head is actually too small for the hat, so it doesn't look as good as it might. I'd love to have a proper-sized blocking head. One day!

It has a name now, too: I've decided to call it Moorefield.

As for the yarn, which has been sort of put away (it's in a cubby of the coffee table), I might be making some matching mittens. I got started but then had to rip back; the cuff on these isn't nearly long enough. But they're pretty, so I'm sharing anyway.

There might not be enough brown yarn left to make two full mittens, so I've changed the colours around in the chart to have the main stripiness be red instead of brown for the second attempt. I'm also going to do these as flip-tops, because flip-top mittens are the best thing ever. If I really focus on them, I might be able to get them done and written up in time to release along with the hat. That's ambitious, but not impossible.

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Michael had mentioned that his Fleeps were starting to get thin in places again, and after Thanksgiving I took them home with me for their third repair job... which was really just a sneaky excuse to take some measurements and observations so I could knit him new ones. I worked from my notes from his first gloves, combined with the constructive feedback that he'd provided and checking to see where the old ones had worn out.

The new ones have longer thumbs to prevent a gap, seed stitch flaps rather than ribbed so they won't pull in quite as much over time, and duplicate stitch reinforcements at all the corners where the flaps attach to the body of the gloves. It looks as if the mitten-top is crooked, but they're lined up with the hands rather than the wrists, so they fall straight when the gloves are actually on.

michaels_second_fleeps

They're also a grayer kind of gray; his first pair was a darker gray with red tweedy flecks, but I couldn't find the darker colourway. The yarn is Jo Sharp Silk Road DK Tweed, which wasn't available in the US for a while but now WEBS is carrying it again. I used Peppercorn for Michael's Fleeps, and bought two balls of Serpentine for another future pair.

I used a combination of the Cigar and Gnomittens patterns, adjusted for the shape and size of his wrists and hands. Both patterns are free, but I found that they needed quite a bit of customization to make them fit perfectly. The cuffs would have been too large around as the patterns are written, so I took some stitches out of them, and then had to add width back in for the hands. I was very glad to have taken such careful notes on the first pair; it made it much easier to make the second set fit to perfection as well.

The gloves were done enough for me to wrap them up and give them to him on Christmas Eve, but I hadn't had the chance to sew on the snap-magnets (which is the most annoying, fiddly part of the whole project). I'll do that today, and then they'll be the last project on the books for 2015!

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Last weekend, Michael and I went to Ottawa to visit our sister the Ninja for Winterlude! We had a wonderful time - cooking, going to pubs (haggis nachos!) and yarn shops, skating on the Rideau Canal, checking out the ice sculptures, watching the Superb Owl with friends... I wish we could have stayed longer.

pirate_and_ninja

I finished my Fleeps just in time for skating on Saturday, and a good thing too, as they kept my hands wonderfully warm. (More about them in another post, though.) Michael and I were able to skate the whole canal from start to finish and back again, 7.8 km each way, plus a few side excursions. All in all, that's about 10 miles of skating! Here we are at Le Fin du Glace:

fin_du_glace

Of course, I bought souvenir yarn. Quite a bit of it, actually. On Friday, we went to Knit-Knackers in Smiths Falls, where I may have gone overboard. Michael bought me some Patons Kroy in Rainbow Stripes, a colourway that I haven't seen in my local stores, and a coordinating skein of navy for the toes/heels/cuffs. I picked up a ball of ONline Supersocke 100 in a tonal pink for a textured or cabled sock that I haven't yet designed, and another ball of Supersocke 100 in a colourway that looks exactly like skiing in 1988. Awesome, eh? I can't wait to knit this one up!

online_supersocke_paradise-1444

Before the Superb Owl on Sunday, we stopped by Yarn Forward in Ottawa where I couldn't resist this ball of Berocco Sox. If they hadn't had a partially-knit sample sock in the colourway, I might have passed it by. It wasn't until later that I realized with some amusement it has that same mustard-yellow colour that's in the yarn for my planned long johns!

berocco_sox_1493

Ottawa is one of my favourite cities, and already I'm looking forward to going to Winterlude next year - though I'd like to visit again in warmer weather. It would be nice to travel with a little suitcase, instead of a big one stuffed with wool sweaters and ice skates!

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There was no work yesterday due to "the most snow that Washington has seen in years." This seems to me like a bit of exaggeration as I only saw about four inches of fluffy dry snow up at my house. That's is nothing compared to the 18 inches of heavy wet snow I got last March (when it only rained in DC). But hey, a snow day is a snow day, right?

So, with nothing else to do, I finished knitting the hand of one Fleep and got started on the next. I'm only a few rounds from the base of the thumb now, and am on schedule to have them completely finished, mitten-tops and all, by the end of the coming weekend. It seemed like a good idea to do both hands first, and then both mitten-tops, so I can be sure that they're attached at the same place on each glove.

This morning it was so cold that my poor fingers got frostnip just clearing the snow off the car. I know it will be cold in Ottawa next week, and I've no desire to repeat this painful experience. The idea of lining the mitten-tops with polar fleece is getting more and more attractive, but whether it gets done will depend on how quickly I can finish the actual knitting and weave in all the ends.

I've been asked, semi-seriously, how much I'd charge to make a custom pair of Fleeps for someone. It's a good question, and I spent some time thinking about it as I knit. I generally only knit for people as a labour of love, but if the price was right I'd consider taking a small commission like this one. My time is valuable and knitting to a deadline tends to make me grumpy, so the "right" price would be astoundingly high, probably $300 at a minimum.

Do you take commission work? How much do you charge? Is it something you enjoy doing?

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Way back in 2009, I knit what was to become my most-worn project: a pair of convertible mittens with two full fingers and a few exposed fingertips, using a combination of the Cigar and Gnomittens patterns. They were made specifically for Winterlude in Ottawa, so that I could have my hands mostly covered and still be able to hold my spoon at the outdoor stew cookoff. One only really needs three fingertips in the winter, right? What can't you do with just three fingertips?

My usual snow gloves are incredibly warm, but too thick to let my fingers be useful for anything more than making snowballs. I called these knit gloves Fleep-Tops, and wore them through several winters. They fit perfectly. They were, in fact, the best thing ever. (So great that Michael asked me to make a pair for him, too!)

fleeptop3

But I knew that one day, my Fleeps would become thin and need replacement. And I knew that the yarn (Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed, which is 85% wool/10% silk/5% cashmere) was getting harder and harder to find. So a year later when I was in Ottawa for Winterlude again, I bought two more balls of it, this time in a deep green colourway with red and yellow tweedy flecks, called "Cedar".

Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed

I've missed going to Winterlude for a few years, but this year I'm going back, and so in the beginning of the month I cast on for the next pair of Fleeps. The first one is nearly done, with just a few more fingers and a mitten top to go. I may be frantically knitting on the train again, but I swear, these will be done by the end of the month so I can wear them around one of my favourite cities!

fleep_redux1

Unfortunately, the yarn isn't as great as I remember from the first pair. It seems weak. There are some very thin spots, and in one place one of the plies had frayed and broken so that I had to rejoin the yarn. The knitted fabric is a good weight, though; I'm not worried about these wearing out in just one season. Because it's so hard to find and because I'm annoyed at the yarn, I'm going to be looking for a replacement DK-weight tweed for my inevitable next pair. I think I'll always want a pair of Fleeps around!

I'm following my notes from the first Fleeps very closely. The only changes I'm making are to shorten the index and middle fingers, which are the half-length fingers, so that the finger covering ends before my first knuckle instead of after it. More cover seemed like a good idea when I made the first pair, but the fabric bunched up oddly when I bent my fingers. I'm definitely going to sew magnetic snaps onto these to hold the top to my wrist and keep it from flopping about, and I'm also considering sewing a polar fleece lining into the mitten for extra warmth.

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"Do you think, if we blockade her bag, she won't be able to leave?"

"I don't know, man."

"It's worth a shot. Come on, I'll take this side, you stretch out over there. She'll never be able to get through us."

"This has never worked before... but okay."

I am heading off for a two week vacation! The hardest part of packing was choosing what knitting projects to bring. I'm just about up to the heel turn on the second of my traveling socks, so I decided to bring another skein of sock yarn with me. I chose the Periwinkle Sheep that I got at Rhinebeck last year, and I'm finally going to make Cakewalk socks for myself.

Then I thought, maybe that's not enough. Maybe I should bring yarn for the fancy cabled kneesocks that I've been wanting to knit for years. Should it be Clessidra? Or Rhiannon?

Then I realized that as tempting as it may be to say that I'd have two weeks of pure knitting time, the truth is that I'm not going to work on something fancy or complicated at Pennsic. It takes too much concentration. I need something simple that I can do whilst holding a conversation, something I can put down and pick up without losing my place.

The yarn for my new dark green Fleeps is in the bag.

I don't have any posts queued up for while I'm gone, but I'll see you all in two weeks!

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