Archive for the “Fleep Redux” Category

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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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.


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:


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!


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!


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!)


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!


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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