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It is madness to knit mittens in March. It’s almost spring–when will you ever wear the buggers? But nonetheless I did it, and nonetheless I’ve already gotten some wear out of them.

Behold!

mittens

The widdle fiddleheads!
Pattern: The fiddlehead mittens, by Adrian Bizilia
Yarn: Rowan Harris Tweed 4-ply, herring (background); Lana Grossa Meilenweit, some dusky tealy blue; STR lightweight, jade; Claudia Hand painted, grape jelly; Lorna’s Laces Shepherd sock, poppy; STR lightweight, sunstone.
Needle: US 2
Started: March 8
Finished: March 16
For: me
Mods: knitted with smaller weight yarn, didn’t do lining.

mitten cuffs

Oh yeah, I also added an I-cord edging. At least I think it’s an I-cord edging. I just kind of made it up as I went along, but I have a feeling that many people have done this one before. :) When I was done with the mittens, they were a little short. So I picked up some stitches at the bottom and knit two rows. Then I broke the yarn, cast on 3 stitches, and did some I-cording. When I got to the last stitch, I just knit it together with a live stitch from the mitten. I repeated this all the way around and wah-la! Edging. I did it with two colors to make it zee perfect length. At first I didn’t like it, but now I do. I think it compliments the I-cord cast on nicely, don’t you?

mittens 3

In other mod news, I didn’t knit the linings because they wouldn’t have fit if I did. These are perfect for me now. Plus, since I knit them in fingering weight, they’re kind of light. Springtime mittens, if you will. I totally love the idea of linings, though, and plan to incorporate them into maybe some other mittens. Real winter mittens.

mitten tops

The only other “mod” I made was arsing up the pattern on one of the tops. And then I accidentally took a picture of it. The amazing thing was, I screwed it up on both sides. In different ways. That takes some kinda talent!

mittens thumbs

And I don’t really have much more to say about them, except that I 100% absolutely and totally love them. The pattern was fan-freakintastic and very fun to knit. I didn’t find any errors. And it was very clearly written.

mittens 2

Oh yeah, I remembered one more thing. A few people have asked me if I planned this out, did the gauge and figured hand size and all that crap. My answer? Nope. I just started knitting. I didn’t think about it at all. And they fit! Perfectly!

Life works out pretty well sometimes, doesn’t it?

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bamboo baby booties


There. Consider it fixed.

The pattern is Saartje’s Bootees (pdf and ravelry link), and I used some leftover Panda cotton (blueberries and grapes) to make them. They’re so little and cute! And by little I mean tiiiineeee. See? Crocuses included for scale.

bamboo baby booties with crocuses

Yup, we’ve had loads more crocuses come up. I was afraid the ones I saw last week would have died a horrible gurgling death in our flooded backyard, but they look okey-dokey. Yeah, we had a load of rain earlier in the week here. I live in a river (creek?) valley too, so when it’s wet, it’s wet. I actually couldn’t get home on Tuesday night. I was at work until 9 or so, so it was dark when I drove home over those winding rural roads. I was pretty close to my house when I got stuck. The road just kind of ended. Where there should have been pavement, there was water. Three or four feet of water. I swear, it was more like a pier than a road. I got out of my car with my trusty Maglight (it comes in so handy!) and looked both ways on the road, but I could see no paved surface. Just water water, as far as I could see–which, granted, wasn’t very far. It was dark, pouring, and foggy. I sat in my car for a bit, mostly in denial. I really wanted to go home. But as I didn’t really see myself becoming a headline in the local paper (Knitting Grad Student Swept Away in Flood! Really, What Was She Thinking?), I managed a three-point turn on the scant strip of exposed gravel and headed back into town. My poor MIL. She got a slightly hysterical call at 10 pm. Of course she was wonderful and said yes of course I could stay there! And was there anything she could do? She’s the bee’s knees, my MIL. I was slightly hysterical since I couldn’t get a hold of the blub, who was asleep. He’s a really really heavy sleeper. Also, there was a huge puddle of water on the passenger side floor of my car because it was leaking, and also my headlights kept dimming. It was…disconcerting. And then, when I got to my in-laws’ house, I realized I didn’t even have any knitting with me! Not a good night, all in all. But everything’s okay now, except kind of a funny smell from the floor of my car. I need to get it cleaned.

Okay. Enough babble. It’s Friday. Here’s what I’ve been

Reading

Watching
…for about 20 minutes. Then I told the blub, “I’m going to go sit by the fire and knit.” He laughed and guffawed through the rest of the movie. I guess it’s a guy thing.

and

Listening to. Don’t dreeeeeem it’s over! Love that song.

So this Sunday is Easter, and the blub’s brother and his kids are coming for a visit. We’re going to dye Easter eggs on Saturday! Squee! It’ll be so much fun. And also since it’s Easter, I have to post my favorite chocolate bunny cartoon, from Signs of the Times.

easterhumor1.jpg

Hee! Have a good weekend, everybody.

verity

My husband just seems to have a magical effect on me. I’m so pretty when he takes my picture!

Verity’s finished! Hooray!

Pattern: Verity, by Ysolda
Yarn: Cascade Venezia Worsted, 1 skein
Needle: US 6
Started: March 9
Finished: March 13
Mods: not on purpose
For: Me, of course. You silly.
Rav link

Sigh. I do love this hat, but will I ever ever ever be the owner of a slouchy beret? All signs point to no, quoth the magic 8 ball.

verity back

This pattern kicks ass. As usual, Ysolda has created a beautiful design that was fun and interesting to knit and also taught me a trick (more on that later). However, it also tricked me. This is because I’m a very silly person. Let me ‘splain.

So when this pattern came out, I knew I wanted one. I also knew I wanted one in green (fancy that). I also also knew I wanted it in this gorgeous green yarn that I had seen at In a Yarn Basket, a new silk/merino blend from the nice and happy people at Cascade. It’s called Venezia, and it’s fabulous. The silk makes it shiny, the merino makes it soft. Plus, it has a hand not really like either wool or silk, but more like cotton. But sproingy. It’s kind of weird, actually. But I love it. To me, it kind of feels like Cotton Fleece, and we all know that if yarn marriage were legal, me and some Cotton Fleece would be hitched before you could say “tinker’s toot!” And this yarn drapes really nicely. In short: I heart it. I would love a sweater out of it, but at $14 a pop it’s not really in my grad student budget. BUT. I could afford one skein, which is all I needed for Verity. Did it bother me that Venezia is listed as a light worsted and the pattern calls for heavy worsted/aran? Not really. I tend to not let minute details like that enter into my conscious thoughts.

top of verity

So. Got yarn. Got home. And I didn’t do anything silly like swatch, I just cast on (it is knitted from the top, though). I used the suggested needle size (8) on the pattern, but it seemed…too floppy. Didn’t like it. Ripped it out. Repeated with a 7, had a similar result. Then I cast on with 6s. And it was just right. I knitted for awhile, then measured my gauge. 5.5 sts/in. The pattern gauge is 4.5 sts/in. Well, I says to myself, I can just knit the largest size and it will fit me!

See, okay, this is where the silly part comes in. For some reason, I was thinking of the last beret I knitted by Ysolda, which was Gretel. In that pattern, you could knit a fitted, regular, or slouchy beret. In this pattern, Verity, it has sizes (XS-L). In my yarnlust addled head, I combined the two. I thought that knitting the largest size would still give me a slouchy beret. WRONG. What it gave me was a beret with a larger circumference at the band. It does fit, but it sure as hell ain’t slouchy. But that’s okay, actually. I do really like it. Especially the button–see my button?

verity button

Nice button. Pretty.

The trick that I learned was how the band was knitted on. It was nifty! So you knit the beret from the top, and when you’re finished with the main body part, you break the yarn and put it aside. Then you get some dpns, and cast on for the band. It’s knit flat, back and forth, but the the last stitch you ssk with a live stitch on the hat, then turn and knit back. And that’s how the band goes on. Neat, huh? Well, I thought it was neat. It did take forever to knit the band, but I was so charmed by the technique that it didn’t bother me. In fact, I liked it so much that I’m applying it to my mittens. My almost done mittens. I’m just putting on an edging to lengthen them a bit and then I’ll be finished! Maybe tonight. Just in time, too…

crocuses

I found this in my backyard yesterday. Not gonna be mitten weather much longer.

Happy pi day! Did you know it was pi day? 3.14. Yup. Hey, geeks need a reason to celebrate too, ya know. Cool people can’t have all the fun. Although I must admit, I don’t get nearly so excited for pi day as I do for mole day. (October 23rd. Avogadro’s number, the number of atoms in a mole, is 6.02 x 10^23. It is reason for much rejoicing.)

Right. It’s Friday. Here’s what I’ve been

Reading

Watching (More of a romantic comedy than a restaurant movie. The blub was kind of disappointed. Plus he kept yelling things like, “That’s not how you make a béarnaise sauce! Arrugh!” It did get a bit annoying.)

and

Listening to!

green ipod yay

Yay! Yay! I got an iPod! Yay! It’s a 4 gig 2nd generation nano. And I’m quite smitten with it (it’s greeeen). Plus I got an otterbox for it too, so I can take it lap swimming. Nifty.

So I’ve been downloading podcasts like there’s no tomorrow. Here are some I’ve gotten so far:

CraftLit
It’s a Purl, Man
Lime ‘n Violet
NPR Science Friday
Science Talk
Stash and Burn
This American Life
and every single episode of Radio Lab. I love that show. It’s not on at a regular time either, which is why I’m pleased as punch I can get the podcast.

So, anyone have podcast recommendations? Science or knitting or otherwise good? I’d love to hear them!

Wanna know what I did with my big weekend off?

mitten

I made a mitten!

A Fiddlehead mitten, to be precise. I really wasn’t planning on finally making myself mittens this late in the winter–hell, trust me to knit mittens in March. But I happened to see Friday evening on Ravelry that the pattern for the Fiddleheads was available. Before they were only offered as a kit, which are currently sold out. So I snatched up the pattern, printed it, and merrily carried it home. Yay!

So the pattern calls for light worsted/DK weight yarn. I don’t have many exciting colors in light worsted/DK, and I’m (sort of) on a yarn diet, remember? So decided to try to make these out of sock yarn instead. I do have a lot of that. Plus my hands are kind of small, so the pattern as written would have been too big anyway. And I’ve had this Rowan Harris Tweed 4-ply languishing in my stash forever, earmarked for mittens/gloves. I got it ages ago at Knit New York (yay souvenir yarn!), and it’s so pretty. So I grabbed it and some sock yarn and cast on.

And guess what! It fits!

mitten on eve

Well, it fits me. Not Eve. Nor Herman.

mitten on herman

And I didn’t do the nifty lining. But it is really warm and nice. But if it were any smaller, it wouldn’t fit. In fact, I was a little worried about it, so I gave it a test drive today. Yes, I’ve been walking around wearing one mitten. But it seems okay. Although I think I might add a little length to the bottom. It’s a bit short.

In case anyone is interested, the yarn I used (from bottom of mitten to top) is: a) Lana Grossa Meilenweit, some dusky tealy blue. b) STR lightweight, jade. c) Claudia Hand painted, grape jelly. d) Lorna’s Laces Shepherd sock, poppy. e) STR lightweight, sunstone. I haven’t actually knit socks with any of those yet, but since you only need ~40 yds of each color, I didn’t mind skimming off the top a bit. I always have leftovers when I knit myself socks anyway. Well, almost always.

And also if anyone wants to use sock yarn for this pattern like I did, I must warn that these are small. Like I said, they fit me most beatifically, but my hands are tiny. They are 6.5″ around the palm. Yeah, really. My wedding ring is a size 4. Small. As a totally random aside, the blub wears a size 13 ring. His hands are huuuge! My wedding ring fits completely inside his, with room to do little laps. It’s kind of silly, the difference. Anyhoo, consider yourself warned. On the smallness. Of the mittens. Not on my husband’s large hands. Right.

So, now I just have to knit the other mitten. Anyone think I can finish before it actually gets warm? It’s supposed to be 60 ºF here on Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday. Oh, plus I’m knitting something else. Verity. I’m about 3/4 of the way done, but the picture I took this morning is crappy so you can’t see it, neener neener! Oh well, here. See how nice I am? Anyway, with both of these fighting for attention like red-headed twins, I don’t see being done with either really soon.

But I’ma gonna try! 60 ºF! Crap.

It’s cold and icky and snowy out there today. Yes, again. What the hell happened to the lovely spring-like 65 ºF is was last weekend? As a nod to the cold, I’m wearing my Lace Leaf pullover today–you know, the one I made out of Malabrigo Chunky? It’s gotten pretty pilly. I was working happily at my computer this morning when it slowly began to drive me insane. At some point, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, so I pulled out a disposable razor from my drawer and started shaving away at it. (Everybody does keep disposable razors in their office drawers, right? In case of a shaving emergency. I have deodorant, too.) I had gotten my left sleeve done, and was working on the armpit when my boss unexpectedly walked into my office. Um, did I mention that I was still *wearing* the sweater? Yes. So he stops dead in his tracks, his mouth drops open, and he turns and walks back out. I haven’t seen him since. But I did finish shaving the rest of my sweater, and I must say it does look spiffing!

So. I knit some socks.

Sunni's socks

Socks fer Sunni part deux (Rav link)
Pattern: Mad Color Weave, by Tina Lorin
Yarn: Bellamoden superwash merino sport, color Fahrenheit 451
Needle: US 3 dpns
Started: Feb 10
Finished: March 1
For: Sunni, as per name of socks
Mods: heel flap instead of whatever the hell the pattern said

So these are part deux because I first started the Aquafina socks with this yarn.

(Okay, they were NOT called the Aquafina socks. Apparently that’s the name of a bottled water company. I can’t remember their bloody name, nor can I find the pattern in Ravelry. I had put them in my queue, then hit “cast on” when the time was right. Then they went wrong and I deleted them, but of course they didn’t go back in my queue and I didn’t have them favorited. And now for the life or me, I can’t find them–ARRUGH! They were a slipped stitch pattern, in a front block and a back block, supposedly to make variegated yarns not pool. Does anybody know what I’m talking about?)

***Apparently they are called the Aquaphobia socks. Not Aquafina. Hey, anyone could have made that mistake. Right? Anyway, thanks Chelsea!***

Cleansing breath.

So the socks did not work in this aforementioned other pattern. So I ripped them out and started the Mad Color Weave socks instead. Now I’m thinking that maybe this wasn’t the best pattern for this yarn, either. The cabled pattern looks pretty chaotic. You have to look kinda close to even see it.

Sunni's socks cable pattern

Don’t stare too long. They might induce seizures.

I must admit that I didn’t really like knitting these. Not because of the yarn, it was soft and squishy and pretty and nice. It was the pattern I didn’t care for. And I can’t put my finger on why. They just weren’t particularly…fun. But I muscled through and finished them because they were for Sunni’s birthday, which rapidly came and went. I did finish the first sock in time, which I wrapped up and gave to her, and she unwrapped and tried on and promptly gave it back to me. It did fit, so that was good. Then I finished the second. Now they’re both done. Yay.

So, mods. I completely ignored the heel directions on this pattern, and just inserted my “hey I’m lazy” regular heel-flap heel. I do think it fits the best, plus it’s committed to memory so there you go. You also were supposed to carry the twisted stitch pattern from the top down the side of the heel flap, but I thought that might be uncomfortable so I didn’t. I also arsed up the second sock by knitting a one-purl stitch gutter between the top and the foot instead of the two-purl stitch gutter like I was supposed to. Whoops. I didn’t notice until I was well into the foot, and you can’t really tell anyway. Sunni you don’t mind, do you? They are still cuddly and comfy. I swear.

So now I have to pop these in the mail, since Sunni had the gall to move to Arizona. I mean, just because someone drops your dream job in your lap doesn’t mean you can just up and move halfway across the bloody country, leaving all your nice friends who knit you socks and mittens and things behind. I mean really, how rude.

I’m just being sarcastic, of course! As usual. Sunni knows I’m uber-happy for her, but I already miss her terribly. I just walked into the lab to check something, and it’s snowing sideways out there. You hearing this, Sunni? See what you’re missing?

Sigh.

Oh yeah, it’s Friday. Here’s what I’ve been

Reading

Watching (Makes me cry. Every. Single. Time.)

and

Listening to

Criminy, that was a lost post for a Friday, eh? Sorry. Well, let me make it just a bit longer. Next week is spring break. Yaaaaay! Not that I’m going anywhere, but I get a week off of whiny students. AND this weekend they’re doing some kind of water main work in the building so all the water’s getting turned off. Including the sinks and the toilets and the sprinkler system. So we’re not supposed to enter the building unless “it’s absolutely necessary.” So I get a whole weekend off from lab work! Big YAAAAAAAY! More knitting time for me!

See ya. :)

Spherey

Hello!

Pattern: Spherey, from Jess Hutchinson’s Unusual toys for you to knit and enjoy
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Worsted, yellow and orange. Just a bit of each.
Needle: US 6
Started: Feb 23
Finished: Feb 29
Mods: a few, minor
For: a baby, not yet born

No, not my baby. I mean, not my impending niece or nephew. But in a total aside, my SIL had an ultrasound a few days ago, and the little bugger was crossing its legs! Totally typical behavior from my obstreperous family. The baby is very healthy and everything’s good, but I still can’t start Babette yet! Wah.

Anyway. Spherey. Yes. He’s for the baby of a friend. Isn’t he just the cutest? I love his sunny-ness, completely needed in this time of mud and melting snow. And I loved knitting this. It was so much fun! I can’t wait to do some of the other toys in this booklet, like the Robot and Squarey. Plus another Spherey for my baby. There’s just something so lovable and squishable and appealing about him. He is very curious. As soon as I sewed his legs on him, he wanted to try the climbing wall.

spherey hanging by his feet

At first he monkeyed around a bit…

spherey likes heights

…but then he got the hang of it. Pretty good for someone who has no hands, eh?

So, mods. There were only two, and they were minor. First, I finished knitting the sphere head and stuffed it and sewed it up before I put the face on. I just couldn’t tell what he looked like not stuffed, so I couldn’t tell where to put his eyes and mouth. And eye placement is really important with these things. It really makes the whole character. (Another aside–did you know that Jim Henson insisted on being present for the eye placement for all of the Muppets? True. Other people would make the rest of them, but the eyes were always the last to go on. And Jim wanted to supervise that. That’s how important it is.) I also cut little felt circles and sewed them on instead of using safety eyes, or embroidering them on. My embroidery skills are not so good. Plus you’re not supposed to use safety eyes for babies because they can supposedly pull them out. Although if this is true, why the hell are they termed “safety”? Whatever, I’d rather err on the side of caution in this case. The felt eyes worked fine.

Verdict: I want to squeeze him and hug him and name him George! It’s not just me, either. Everybody in my house seemed to love him. Excepting Kelpie. For some reason, he freaked her out a little bit.

Kelpie and Spherey

I sees round people!

I guess you can’t please everybody all of the time. Oh well. :)

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
March 2008
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