Technical Tuesday: Colour Work!

I can’t believe I have not done a Technical Tuesday on colour work! I have been working on my secret project. I’ll drop you a hint and tell you that it includes colour work. I swear! That is all you’re getting though!
I have done colour work on a number of things and first and foremost in our minds are the fiddlehead mittens! I’ve knit two pairs recently, Sara’s Wedding Mittens and Shauna’s Mittens. This kind of colour work is very addicting to me. It feels almost therapeutic to go through a chart and see the colour pattern reveal itself. I am always checking what I have knit so far to see if I can see the design!

At first it is a little bit difficult, but once you get the hang of knitting with two colours it is nothing at all! I know I say this about everything, but if you keep on a technique long enough, it won’t be as painful.

I still remember writing a post about my loathing of double pointed needles and now I don’t think I could live without them. I harbour a deep and passionate love for DPN’s and pretty much every technique I used to hate. All the techniques I found really difficult but wanted to perfect are now all my favourites!

Regardless of how difficult a technique might seem I am telling you to keep on it because it will totally be worth it in the end!

Wedding Mittens!!

I can’t believe it is Wednesday again, I think the days before Christmas fly by faster and faster every year. Speaking of flying by, Sara’s wedding is coming up and that means the deadline for her wedding mitts are too! Two and a half weeks left to go!

Wedding Mittens 2

I’ve been working on the mittens whenever I get a chance to do some sit-down knitting as opposed to the one row here or there I normally get. Which means I have been making some great headway on them, but feel like I am slacking off at the same time. I always watch TV when I do my sit-down knitting, so I feel as though I have been watching a lot of TV.
They’re looking really great though, I actually had to rip out about an inch of work the other day because when I started the pattern again, I started at the wrong spot. The curl was going completely the wrong way. I only noticed when I got up to the decreases for the top of the mitten and thought to myself that it looks quite shallow for a mitten.
You would have had to curl your fingers up in order to get the mitten on. So I rectified the mistake and kept on knitting. I actually managed to finish the outside of the first mitten while Sara was here. This was super satisfying because Sara is one of the most grateful people in the world. Especially since she, herself, knits; she knows the amount of work that goes into making a garment.

Wedding Mittens 1

I am going to make both outer shells, block them, then pick up the stitches for the lining. I can’t wait to see what they look like with the little hidden blue lining! They are going to be beautiful and last forever. I’ve been knitting them fairly tightly so in 1000 years people on an archeological dig will find these bad boys.

Functional Friday: Hello Yarn’s Fiddlehead Mitten Review

I was emailing the designer of this pattern the other day and I realized that I had not reviewed it yet. For me this is utterly inexcusable and I plan to make it right! This pattern came to me as part of a kit. The yarn and pattern were all packaged together. Unfortunately, these kits are no longer available, so you would have to buy the pattern and the full amounts of the yarn individually. Which I have done because I love this pattern that much.

FMittensFinished

The first time I saw this kit, the LYS owner handed me a sample mitt that she had knit. At that point I was completely and totally sold. I LOVED it and wanted to get one in every colour. Unfortunately at this point in my life I was just out of school and was struggling to pay student loan payments as well as rent. I couldn’t afford it this time, but I went back and visited… more often than I would like to admit.
I was also scared that I wasn’t at that level of knitting yet; they looked to pretty and intricate, I had never some something that complicated before. So it wasn’t completely about the money.
Paul ended up making the decision for me and bought the kit for my birthday. I think he had probably heard enough about these mittens I was lamenting over.

Fiddlehead Mittens Thumbless

I didn’t cast on right away; I circled around them like some kind of nuclear bomb. My main problem was, I didn’t want these mitts to go FUBAR on me. It was a nice kit and more than I had spent on yarn before. I wanted them to be perfect. The thought of casting on with another, more inexpensive yarn, never occurred to me. I was still a relatively new knitter at this point.
Paul started asking me why I hadn’t cast them on yet. I made excuses here and there about needles or another project, but that would only work for so long. One day, I just closed my eyes, clenched my teeth and opened the bag. Which was the best decision I have ever made. It was the most difficult pattern I had ever done, but it was well written, clear, logical and a great learning experience for me.
The mittens start off with an I-cord cast on, Having never done one, I trusted the pattern completely and followed the instructions. The cast on looked amazing and it hadn’t hurt at all. I thought these mittens might be possible.
Being a beginning knitter and not knowing any better, I trusted the pattern 100% and it worked out for me. Not having knit a whole lot of patterns I didn’t realize how well this one was written, but having a wider variety of knowledge now, I can spot excellent writing when I see it.

Fiddlehead Beginning

I may have a slightly biased point of view because this project was a pivotal moment for me as a knitter. From this point on I was not afraid to throw myself into any project regardless of how hard it looked. If I took it slow and paid attention I could do it.
I know this review was a little less technical and a little more about me fan-girling all over them, but, I maintain that they are a very well written pattern with a beautiful finished product. Definitely beginner friendly so I always advise people to go for it! These mittens are one of the most complemented pieces of knitting I have.

Monday Mishaps: Quite Shifty

As you can tell from my Friday review, I love TFA patterns; clear, concise and professional. All the clarity in the world will not help you if you are really not paying attention. Since I’ve started the Ombre Cardigan, I’ve been knitting it quite a lot; in the car, playing cards etc. It is an easy enough pattern to remember and doesn’t require a great deal of focus. Focus, as you might guess, is something I have been in extremely short supply.

Several times I took this cardigan out to knit somewhere and forgot to bring my measuring tape. I knew I was supposed to be knitting to 7.5” so I kind of eyeballed it. When I actually measured it, the cardigan was much closer to 8”. I thought to myself that this is not a horrible thing and changed colours to keep knitting.

Ombre Half Back

Now, this is a lace cardigan worked with two strands held together. Aside from the obvious, it means when you are counting your stitches to see where you stand… there are a lot. I spent so long actually counting stitches that it was kind of ridiculous. I am really glad there was a breakdown of the five different sections of the sweater and how many stitches were supposed to be in each one.

When I finally counted the amount of stitches in each section, rather than just the total, I realized every one of these numbers were different from one another. The back was supposed to have 90 the sleeves 72 and the two fronts should have had 47. These are approximate numbers and not the ones from the actual pattern. I ended up with the back being 4 stitches shy, one sleeve was done, the other sleeve was two short, and the thank heaven but the fronts matched!

Ombre Arm Hole 2

I had to fudge some numbers, carefully. I wrote down the numbers for each section and when I completed another row of that section I wrote down the amount of increase stitches in that row. It managed to work out… I think. At least I haven’t gotten to a point where I realized I colossally screwed up.

Well…. Except after I put the arm stitches on waste yarn. The pattern said to CO 4 stitches and place a marker, then CO 4 stitches and continue. Instead of reading that as cast on, I read it as cast off, then cast on. I kind of thought it was an odd thing to do, but I followed the pattern and continued on my way. I think it was the third row when I noticed the holes. This was not right at all. I could tell that I had bungled something horribly.

Ombre Arm Hole 3

I went back to the pattern and CO stands for cast ON not cast off. Cast off is shown as BO, bind off. I had yet another facepalm moment and tried to drop stitches and fix the problem. This wasn’t destined to work though; there just wasn’t enough yarn in that space to CO four extra stitches. I had to rip it back to the arm holes.

I made use of the technique for ripping out I covered a few weeks ago and that made a huge difference. It got me within range to un-knit the last row. It really sucked to take out that much lace, but I feel better for it. The underarms look so much neater now, no holes or stretched stitches. I am glad I didn’t just blow it off and try to sew it together at the end.

Ombre Arm Hole 1

This is just the top quarter of the sweater! I haven’t even started the sleeves or the bottom part yet. Let’s hope I am a little more attentive to the pattern and will be able to complete this project with little to no more huge catastrophes. My relationship with lace is precarious enough that we might need to go on a break after this. You know… get some space and perspective. There are so many yarns in the sea.

Knock on Wood

With the Kitchener/Waterloo knitters fair coming up, I really need to get on top of dyeing all the yarn I would like to sell there. I realized the other day that they dyeing was only half my battle. I need to knit samples as well! I have a few friends who have volunteered to make a couple garments as samples, but I am the main source.

Ombre 2

I’ve had the Ombre Cardigan planned for a little while. My friend, Lena, gave me the idea for the colours and I couldn’t get it out of my head. My Citrine Label yarn was the perfect match for this pattern. Soft and light, it is deliciously luxurious. I can’t wait to finish it and actually wear it!

Since I need a couple other samples I will probably make a few pairs of socks, a shawlette, hats, scarves and anything else that would strike my fancy. I suppose the best advertising is the kind you wear right? I’ll have to make Paul something as well. Maybe a vest? He gets so warm that a sweater is not really practical.

Ombre 1

As you know from Monday’s post, it wasn’t the smoothest of starts, but everything is going along nicely now. I think I may have just cursed myself, but what is life without a challenge? I am really enjoying the Ombre Cardigan, but it may be partly the yarn. It is so soft yet not slippery at all! I am absolutely reveling in this knitting! I may have come to detente with lace…

On the other side I am still working on a random vanilla sock and Shauna’s mittens. I haven’t really had all too much time to knit! I am sure every knitter feels that at some point; life must go on.