Thursday, 28 January 2010

Get thee to a nunnery!

Where did the week go? Alas, my knitting corner is going to be deserted for the next four days while I get up to knitterly shenanigans in a nunnery in York with a couple of dozen of the nation's best knitters, spinners, bakers and all round good time girls.

Hope you are looking forward to your weekend as much as I am.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Uncharacteristic single mindedness

Well, the least you can expect after a two week blogging silence is a finished article and I'm determined not to disappoint. May I present a complete pair of Ailbe Mittens knit in Yarn Yard Clan. They were a really enjoyable knit from start to finish (apart from the questionable grafting at the end but we won't dwell on that...) which is a good job because despite their innocent demeanor there is a heck of a lot of knitting in a pair of mittens made on 2mm needles!

Their other pleasing characteristic is the fact that they fit beautifully and are really comfortable to wear. This is all good as I am heading off to York on Friday to spend the weekend in a convent with twenty other knitters. Northern England in January! What a perfect showcase for knitted goods! How many hats, socks, scarves and mittens can a girl squeeze into her bag along with all the equipment I just might need for a weekend of knitting and spinning excitement.

Sorry - back to the mittens....

I think this yarn is perfect for this sort of project - the twisted stitches really stand out well and the fabric is really dense and soft. The main motif is quite complex but has a flow to it.

The ribbing is very simple but it's amazing to me how a few simple travelling stitches every so often can turn it into something quite beautiful and complex looking. I wouldn't mind a whole pair of mitts in this stitch pattern. Can't be that hard.....

Well, I think that's probably how far I can stretch the narrative over one pair of purple mittens. Fear not, there's another post around the corner where I will tell you all about this.

....and how I survived an eight hundred stitch cast off....

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Still mitten smitten

Well it's still all about the mittens in my house. Must be the wind and snow that is making its presence felt across the UK at the moment because all I want to do is curl up on my sofa, watch the weather and make mittens!

First some good news - I finished the simple pair of mitts for my sister. I hope she likes them. Just to reiterate they are knit in Madeleine Tosh Tosh Sock and are my own design using a simple twisted stitch pattern. I am pleased with them and hope that Sue enjoys wearing them too. I could be persuaded to write up the pattern if people are interested.

Filled with enthusiasm I cast on another pair in Yarn Yard Clan in the Botanic shade using a slightly more complex stitch pattern. I was very pleased with the way the asymmetric ribbing led into the main body of the pattern but as the cuff progressed it became clear that this stitch pattern is a lot more yarn hungry and draws in the fabric more than the previous one so more stitches need to be added.

The mitt now looks like this again - waiting for a bit of a tweak to the design.

In the meantime my latest Yarn Yard Club Yarns arrived - this time a beautiful green and brown inspired by horse chestnut trees (and you know how much these trees mean to me) so I spent a lot of time gazing at it and planning what I might do with it. The highly contrasting shades were designed with colour work in mind but I felt that something was missing....

One of the blogs that I always enjoy visiting is Cornflower and it was when I read this entry that my problems was solved. A bit of nudity was all that was required to spice things up a bit!

From then on the pattern choice was quite easy. I have had Postwar Mittens from the Twist Collective in my queue for a long time and the colours seemed to have the slightly retro quality that I was looking for. I'm really pleased with the way the addition of a small amount of Nude Clan has brought the combination to life.

I spent quite a large part of my time over the weekend happily knitting away on these and am looking forward to picking them up again this evening. Isn't it lovely when you have a project you are enjoying so much it's hard to put down?

Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year Mittens

I've been nursing this yarn for some time,wanting to make something special with it. It's the November Yarn Yard Clan sock club offering and is my sort of semi solid with not only variation in tone but shade as well which knits up into a lovely heathered fabric.

Clan is a wonderfully smooth merino due to its eight strands to create a sock weight yarn so I knew that it would show patterns very well.

So I wound it and continued to look for a suitable pattern. I haven't knit much from Knitty recently, not because the patterns are anything but their usual high standard but nothing had been in the right place at the right time.

I had been thinking about doing something intricate with twisted stitches as I prepared to head back to the Isle of Wight for Christmas and the New Year when I knew I would have the time and liberty to spend concentrating on my knitting. Ailbe seemed to be the perfect pattern to match the yarn, and with its twisted motif and tiny needles to provide the challenge I was looking for.

It turns out, as it often does that these mittens, whilst time consuming are an easy and rewarding knit. The yarn lends itself beautifully to this sort of knitting.
Even so, I really couldn't go straight on to the second without a slight detour onto another project. I have been promising my sister a pair of fingerless mitts and found this yarn in my basket. It is Tosh Sock by Madeleine Tosh and is a souvenir from my trip to America in October. I bought it in Loop in Philadephia which is a well stocked, friendly shop with plenty of high end yarn to choose from. One of the lovely touches is that they offer to wind your new yarn for you as a matter of course. Much to the disappointment of my sister and niece and nephew who continue to fight for the privilege of winding my yarn.

I chose a stitch pattern from Twisted Stitch Knitting by Maria Erlbacher . This book is going to be a very useful resource for patterns for socks and gloves.

The stitch pattern I chose is quite fiddly but simple and classic.

To make the mitts as light and warm as possible I knot them on 2mm needles to give a very firm and windproof fabric.

Believe it or not, I have started the second one of these even though I have so many ideas in my head having spent time reading the book.
Do you think she'll like them?