Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cara's mittens

My dirty secret: I am a closet Twilight fan. There, I said it...let us never speak of this again.

What can I say, it speaks to the repressed 13 year old girl still buried deep within. If I was still 11 Edward would be my new John Taylor from Duran Duran.

But regardless of whether I've read all 4 books, including the Edward-only-perspective-version of the first book online, and on-demand-ed the movie the day it went to DVD (right...TMI) I would still have wanted to knit these super sweet mitts.

free pattern: Bella's mittens from subliminalrabbit --a thousand thank-yous for making this super cute pattern FREE!!
yarn: stash-busted Patons Classic Merino (100% wool) not quite two balls (knit double-stranded) in "chestnut brown"
needles: 4mm
mods: I knit to a tighter gauge to make the mitts smaller for my child-sized hands.

I am not actually as obsessed as I sound...there is no question that that movie was lame. I do not even remember seeing those mitts in the film (though I do remember there being a barage of gortex jackets, which given that movie's location shoot of my former home of Vancouver, is no surprise) Gortex is in essence, fashion suicide. Sure, it keeps you dry I guess.

But I am definitely not in a position to make fun of any Twi-hards out there. Particularly NOT given the ever-so-relentlessly-sliding-me-to-insanity scale of crap TV, pop culture, cheesy books, bad groupie bios and underground comics that yours truly likes to consume with regularity and without impunity. I'm Cara, and I have NO SHAME. Consider yourselves my support group.

I was excited to use up some stash yarn for this project. As with most of my stash-busting knitting, I ran out of yarn about half-way through the second mitt. (Sigh). So after putting it down for a few days trying to decide whether I would actually BUY more or abandon them forever, I hopped on my bike and sped off to my mom's house to route through HER stash. And SUCCESS, I came up with a couple small balls of leftover Chestnut Brown classic. Jackpot! I biked home and finished up the mitts. Then I biked BACK to give her what was leftover of that yarn, as I refused to keep it in MY own stash (anal much?). Suffice it to say that there are at least three different lot numbers of yarn in these mitts. I guess the fact that I was knitting them double-stranded probably accounted for why it all seemed to blend together pretty perfectly.

My only hiccup came about three-quarters of the way through the second mitt when I glanced down to dicover that I had somehow twisted one of the cables the wrong way. Grrrr. I had to rip back down past the wrist. But no matter, they went up pretty quickly in the end.

It was only after I'd FINISHED them and was about to block that I discovered that in ripping back I had apparently begun knitting again at a different spot. All this essentially means is that one mitt has one less cable repeat. When I tried them on, one was about an inch and a half shorter than the other. BLOCKING to the rescue! Now they are both the same length, regardless of the number of cable repeats.

Other than that there hasn't been much knitting around these parts (still inching along on that brown and orange scarf...). Mostly "gardening", but I won't bore you with those details. We're in a row townhouse, so it's not much of a backyard. It's more of a ditch, really. And by "gardening" I actually mean about three weeks worth of hauling off dirt (our backyard is apparently made of ROCKS)under cover of darkness and replacing it all with topsoil. A month later we are finally at a stage where we can actually begin planting things, though I am possibly now too sore and exhausted to do so.

C'est la vie. Hopefully soon we'll actually be able to enjoy the space back there a bit more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meanwhile, one MONTH later...

I'm back and all healed-up thank you very much! My wrist issues kind of went away on their own over time (and well a bit of massage therapy and icing thrown in there too...er, not cake icing though I imagine I've eaten my fill of that this last month to boot), but it quite literally took the better part of the month to come round for me.

Proof positive that I am officially back in the zone:

A finished knit!

AND might I add, a fab new camera so's I can dazzle ya'll with (for the most part...)some non-blurry images for once.

Head/hair flip notwithstanding, at least the shrug is in focus! I haven't entirely figured out how the stinking thing works yet I must say...and when I think back to all the SLR photography courses I took in college NONE of those seem relevant now.

But I digress, this has been wedding shrug experiment numero deux...

the deets:

yarn: about 2.5 balls worth of Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy in "Sunflower" (I think? somewhere else this colour appears to be listed as "citrine" hmmmm) 41% cotton, 34% hemp, 25% modal.
needles: 4mm and 4.5mm
pattern: Two-tone ribbed shrug from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits 16 inch size
mods: smaller yarn, slightly smaller needles and shorter sleeves.

I was looking for an excuse to knit with Hempathy. Why did I need an excuse? um, I guess cuz I never really knit with summer-weight yarns, and I've definitely never knit with Hemp before. Anything knit, reagrdless of what it's made of is going to be hot as far as I'm concerned. Around these parts there is simply no relief from a 50 degree humidex, so what's the point? Well, Vegas may be a different story. It's hot there, but it's not sauna hot. A girl can cover up a tattoo in a place like Vegas...

Hempathy is predicatably scratchy. But also, it's not. There is a roughness to it that is not unpleasing. Never fear, there are no dreadlocks in my future... Plus, it likely softens up with a good blocking (which I didn't bother with --maybe later).

And this pattern...straight forward and well-written. It went up like a charm. This was actually the first thing I've knit out of this book. When I first bought it a couple years ago I felt like there were many patterns in it that I was drawn to, but in the end, not so much. Maybe my knitting tastes have changed? Maybe I got tired of looking at that weird waist-band included in every sweater? Who knows, but the bloom was defintely off THAT rose for me. When I went though it again though it seemed like there was a lot I'd over-looked.

Was this the best yarn choice for it? Again, not sure. (The pattern calls for worsted weight) so I was pretty much just knitting a bigger size on only slightly smaller needles. It came out fine, I love the colour, the airy-ness etc. but the collar definitely does not stand up the same way it should with a thicker yarn. And I feel like all my woven-in yarn ends are highly visible (they likely are not but I'm definitely aware of them).

In the end a cute shrug, but far too casual for a wedding I think (also tattoo pretty much visible through it...) in that plain stockinette. The drama factor I was hoping for with the collar didn't really pan out in the somewhat drapier yarn.

I think I might have to stick to a lace pattern if I am indeed going to go the shrug-route. But for now I'm going to hold off a bit.

Plus it's almost SUMMER...I have more relevant things to knit like uh, mittens:

(why I suddenly became obsessed with having to knit these I have no idea, but I'm glad I did and they are WAY cute)

and scarves...

Just when I thought I was getting somewhere on this last one I got to the middle section in the pattern that states: "now carry on in this ribbing for 47 inches". SAY WHAT???? 47 inches before I can even begin the final 3 feet???? I thought it HAD to be a type-o.

Nope. I went back and checked out the final measurements. You are supposed to knit this scarf for NINE FEET. Presumably so that there is lots of length to tie it into a bow, but come on. Ugh this is going to be a long-ass slog. See you in September.

Just kidding. All this scarf knitting is peripherary as far as I'm concerned. I'm currently debating on what sweater project to sink my teeth into. And some hats.

Essentially I plan to ignore the fact the summer's coming and continue to knit like it's still winter. Suck on that one mother nature.