How did I do? (Year in Review)

In 2014, I knit at least 9320 yards, that’s over 5 miles of yarn!

The last thing coming off my needles was a Checked Rose Stitch Cowl experiment, finished Dec 30th.

 

IMG_20141231_160918

 

This is a two color stitch worked with the same two yarns, just switching which yarn is the dominant yarn part way through.

Looking at the rest of my Ideas list from January and adding up all the things I’ve done this past year;

  •  I did not knit up my alpaca yarn.  I did manage some design work, but thus far I’ve not been happy enough with the results.
  • I DID make my first gloves, followed by my first fingerless, and first TWO sets of mittens.
  • I DID tackle my second socks, and the third pair, and even a fourth!
  • While I didn’t work on the Stellar’s Jay shawl, I did start and finish 6 shawls this year.
  • Four of the Six Quilts I was planning did get some work done, but I actually did not finish a single quilt.  The only Quilting thing I finished were some pillow cases.  I am still working on Mario!
  • I totally tackled brioche stitch too!
  • I published 2 new patterns and even dyed some yarn using local berries.

So here’s a visual overview.  Included you will find one rather fuzzy bear that was the secret gift I mentioned earlier.

 

I tackled a milestone on the blog front too.  There was exactly one day when this site was not visited by anyone, not even a robot.  So I want to thank all of you (even the robots) for making me feel so awesome every morning.

So now I be you are wondering what is next. I am going to save all that for a later post in the next few days, as this post is now very long and full of photos already.

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Smitten with Mittens and Cables

Last week I spent an extra day in Grand Rapids, MI during their record setting November snowfall. Thankfully by the second day, I’d finished my first Mystery Knit-A-Long project, some Marie Curie Mittens.

 

Polonium and Radium as portrayed in yarn and beads

Polonium and Radium as portrayed in yarn and beads.  The picot edge does lay flatter after blocking.

This was my first Mystery KAL, which I tend to be a little worried that the mystery will turn out to be something I don’t particularly like.. but with cables, beads and science… they certainly had things going for them.

The inside of the thumbs have my initials and are dated.

The inside of the thumbs have my initials and are dated.

These were done in Cascade Heritage Sock, and Tipsy Sheep Socktails. Tipsy Sheep has cocktail inspired colorways, and is a local dyer that runs a monthly yarn club.  I am 3/4ths the way through this 4 month club cycle and have already signed up for the next round.

 

I also managed to get through not just one, but BOTH socks of a worsted weight sock pair on this trip.  (Though to be perfectly fair, the last sock was finished during the “snow day” at the airport hotel.)

Cable Twist Socks

Cable Twist Socks

Which means that while my first pair of socks took nearly forever… I’ve somehow managed to get 3 pair done this year. Apparently the key to overcoming second sock syndrome is interesting yarn and pattern.  And magic loop method where its all one big circular needle does help.  The simple cable here is actually done without using a cable needle, and because its worsted weight these knit up so much faster.

But wait!  There’s more!

I didn’t just make one pair of mittens…. I made two!

Sunshine yellow and brick  red flowers, to combat the winter greys and whites.

Sunshine yellow and brick red flowers, to combat the winter greys and whites.

These were a bit more difficult though, because to scale the pattern to fit, I ended up using my size 0 double pointed needles.  Which at times makes you feel like you are wrestling a porcupine. It certainly didn’t help that between the first and second mitt the chair ate one of the 5 needles, so I ended up making the second mitten with just 4 needles.  Still haven’t found that needle…

This is how it looks when you are working with your double points....

This is how it looks when you are working with your double points….

Working these two pair of mittens has inspired me to possibly attempt to make some geeky mitts next year. (Think similar to stockings, but with mittens instead) but I think I will want to pick up a magic loop size circular in these smaller sizes before I start making my own.  Needle wrestling isn’t really my thing.

And because I know its always a bit interesting to wonder how the inside of stranded color work looks like…. here’s an inside out mitten shot.  (Technically these are a Christmas gift, but since I went to see the recipient early, you get the early Christmas update!)  One amazing thing about this pattern was that unlike prior mitts, this pattern had one chart for the body of the mitten, with the thumb in the middle area.  You got the left or right mitten based on which direction you read the chart!

Mirrored coloration.  Overtime these loops will felt together a bit.

Mirrored coloration; loops instead of stitches making the pattern. Overtime these loops will felt together.

Also, for my “guilty I haven’t updated in awhile” pile is one celtic cabled cowl, that was finished in time for Halloween decorations.

The first time through the cable pattern is slow and full of stumbles and learning, but once you get to the repeating it all starts to come together.

Now if only I can get the rest of my planned projects for this year finished….

Colorworkin’ it! (And some Berries to Dye for)

Ok so the KAL challenge this month was colorwork, and to make it more interesting it was a dueling KAL of a cowl or some fingerless mittens.  I couldn’t decide which project I wanted to commit to, so another member told me I was joining the mitts team.  (Sometimes its rather caring to be bossed around and out of your indecision.)

Well here’s the thing… I was born in a state where you get snow; as in build snow forts and snow men, make snow angels, and generally freeze yourself in the cold, but its all ok because there is cocoa.  The concept of an item of hand wear that doesn’t cover ones fingers just does not fit into my brain on a very logical level.  However, I do have a friend that has expressed an interest in such a silly (to me) item of clothing, AND even in the subject matter upon which the pattern was based (See: Agents of SHIELD, sub catagory: villians – Hydra) and so…

Right in your super-powered keester!

Right in your super-powered keester!

These are made using what is called stranded colorwork.  You carry the non-working color along in loops called floats on the wrong side of your work.

But…. in my fit of indecision and due to the size of the yarn in my stash… I decided to also tackle the cowl, because it had interesting looking stitches. the cowl is knit as one piece with three different stitch patterns, all of which use the knit into the stitch below technique.

Cowling on a rock

Cowling on a rock

There were some amazing color choices from the group, and a few people adapted their cowl stitches to work for hats and scarves.  I went with a color group that I’m hoping will match a pair of mittens I want to knit up for a holiday gift… we shall see.

And now onto the berries portion.  I considered making this a separate post, but I didn’t want to pester anyone who actually is being notified of updates with multiple notifications.

Around these here parts (the Pacific Northwest) we have wild plants called salal (Gaultheria shallon). And about this time of year, they grow dark berries, which I had heard in my quest to first identify the plant were edible.  So this year, surrounded by the myriad of berries, I decided to try them out.

Now, first disclaimer here… Salal berries are not true berries, but is actually from the sepal of the flower, and thus is considered an accessory fruit.  (apples, pears and pineapples are also considered accessory fruit) So what I discovered when I was boiling out the juice was that the berry remains were actually very much still a dark coloration, and still giving off an enormous amount of dark liquid.  So… in the spirit of “this main stain” as a yarn person and not as the laundry lady, I decided to see how it would come out in yarn.

First up, I tried it out on some plain white 100% cotton:

And then because it didn’t turn out like a car wreck… with wool:

So there is my first go at dying something… using the most free ingredients, hand picked from around the yard.  (Is Free Range Dye a thing?).  Not sure it is a vibrant enough dye job to make people jump for joy and throw money at it, but it was something to try and now I do have plans for at least some of this yarn already… so stay tuned!

And one more thing…. my giftee finished her Nyan Cowl, and made some amazing mods to the pattern!

Did I give you this hat? (& first mittens)

Today I took a break from house work and finished up a Christmas gift and finished the second of my first pair of mittens.  I’ve known since I found the pattern just what yarn I wanted to use to try out making mittens.  It was this sage and white that would be kind on me, and was a nice soft wear.  I’d had the ball saved up for awhile… from when I made this hat and was learning about cabling and decreases:

A Beanie or Tuque… depending on where you live.

Now I know I gave someone I know this hat… but for the life of me I can’t remember whom specifically, it was either Calvin, or Al, or Mary or Dad.  So if any of you are reading this…. I have some mittens!

Kittenless Mittens

Now, to start with I didn’t find dpns in size 4 at the local hardware shop… (yes I live in a town of the size and age where you can purchase knitting needles from the hardware store) so I did pick up some size 3, which is slightly smaller and knit the smallest size.  Turns out… These mittens seem a bit bigger in a few places so my next pair will need a different pattern… ah well! But they do have the advantage of being ambidextrous.

At some point some enterprising homemaker devised the one fool proof method for ensuring that a kid wouldn’t ever lose their mittens.   No it wasn’t the elastic with clips on both ends, that turn frigid cold and packed with snow at the most inconvenient of times.  It was the long rope cord connecting mitten A to mitten B.

Almost as old as that, is the pattern I used to make my first mittens.  Apparently this is a pattern from Eleanor Roosevelt’s knitting patterns, and you can find it at knitty.com. 

Anyway… if I did give you that hat and you’d like the mittens, let me know.  And if you want a cord linking your mittens together… I have just a little bit more of that yarn!