The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home

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Hearts alive for your Valentines

Happy Valentines Day, dear blog!

Yoked lopi sweater stranded knit

Pop-up hearts 

Do you see the band of hearts?  It was an unplanned surprise on the needles!  I was simply re-using this Faeorese motif again but flipping from a white background to the brown.

Faeroe stranded knit motif lopi sweater

Faeroe border motif

It is charted on p. 118 of Traditional Scandinavian Knitting, and is listed simply as, “border from man’s cuff (Faeroe).  The sweater body is the 34” chest from the free Vormorgun vest pattern.  I am usually no fan of yarn company patterns but this one was clearly written, and correct.

Lopi yoke knitted sweater

Hunting for and combining the yoke motifs was a lot of fun.  The best words of encouragement were from Sheila McGregor at p. 132,

Faced with this range of possibility, it is more than a little depressing to see what the average yoked jersey looks like.  Yokes are very easy to experiment on and spectacular designs can be worked with only three colours…

book Traditional Scandinavian Knitting

The book in question

Miss McGregor (as the Foreword so names her) has helped me into other books on stranded knitting, and so the interest grows.  Will you join me in heeding her call for us knitters to return to a “finer and more craftsmanlike approach?”  It’s been fun so far!

Felted heart pin Valentines Day

I heart you.

A quiet word

Yesterday, I tweeted my thanks to Sasha and Jillian for the SpinDoctor podcast.  In the early, terribly shy days of my learning to spin, I found and lurked within the amazing catalogue of shows that Sasha produced.  Jillian joined seamlessly, and it never wavered.  Much later, I joined the podcast’s Ravelry group.

SpinDoctor gave me markers, reviews that I trust implicitly, laughter in my neck of the woods.  The straight-as-an-arrow content meant a great deal to me, and so did the warm delivery.  Most of all it is the only podcast that actually made me a better spinner.

Jamaicans say this instead of goodbye:  Walk GOOD!

Knit rabbit soft sculpture mohair tail

Yes, I made a Rabbity with a kid mohair tail. For this occasion!

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Sneak Peeks

I haven’t been able to post lately because my computer is on a rampage.  It’s slower than ever & crashes whenever it wants to.  It might just be hung up on a major MS update like DH says but we bought it 5 years ago to the month.  The 1st hard drive crashed months ago & this just seems like the last throwes of a tired Dell.

This weekend was all about organizing my many WIPs.  Then I put everything else away & had at my baby gift.  I love the border motif & hope (really hope) that it will even out on blocking.

Sweetie Pie to date

Sweetie Pie to date

Still very much in the development phase, and that’s all I have to say about that – for now!

After a long engagement, my brother’s wedding is really almost here.  This has official Wedding of the Year status.  I am even more excited because both DH & I are in the bridal party.  It’s all happening one October evening in San Francisco.  Do you see where I am going with this?  Sleeveless bridesmaid dress; night chill.

I kept ignoring the thought that I will need a cover-up for this wedding too.  The issue is that just this past May, I flaunted my silk Wedding Guest Shrug before a lot of the same people.  I know that a reprise might just make me that gimmicky knitter… Anyhow, I was being a dolt & am big enough to admit it.  Solution is the Wisp by Cheryl Niamath.  It’s a free Knitty pattern here.  The designer blogs as Fetching Knits.

The bridesmaid dress is all black & here’s what I am doing with the pattern:

Wisp of Necessity

Wisp of Necessity

I am using the recommended Rowan mohair & silk blend yarn in black on larger needles (size 10).  The blue yarn is not just an accent.  It’s 100 yards left of a skein of Alchemy mohair that the happy couple gave me for Christmas 2006.  Not enough for the full pattern.  I would love feedback on this one – DH’s nods are just not very convincing at this point…  Thanks!

By the way – mohair is a beast to work with.  The pattern is easy cheesy but the mohair is already giving trouble!

I have to run.  Toby has a vet appointment this morning & I am faaar from ready – happy knitting!

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WIP in the Vault

I really have rolled up my sleeves this week for baby Sierra’s real gift.  It’s another knitted piece of clothing for the nugget, and I am going for an original design.  Not as easy as I thought!  Having 2 diametrically opposite colour schemes to choose from?  Yea… scrapped the turquoise Rowan Calmer ideas.  New scheme looks like:

The working title is “Sweetie Pie for Sierra”.  I’ll keep dropping hints but have to keep the details out of TKK for now…

In terms of designing, this is my 1st garment; & sketched-up pattern.  My techniques books are all out, and all sorts of good stuff.  If all goes well there will be a pattern to be had out of this effort!

Speaking of baby gifts, Sammy’s Mom sent the sweetest note about his vest.  It totally brightened my day.  She wrote that I should keep up with my knitting, “even if you bring smelly wool into the house to do it!”  Gotta love the knitworthy, man!

Our weather seems to be clearing up a bit, so I can get those last few plants in the ground & also get back to the fleece prep work.  Cannot believe it but Brother Man’s wedding is around the corner!!!  Destination wedding for us:  San Fran or bust!

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It’s a pair!

At long last, I have finished the Norwegian Mitts!  The photos are a bit off but here they are:

Right Mitt

Right Mitt

Left Mitt

Left Mitt

Left Mitt's Palm

Left Mitt's Palm

Eventually, I’ll block them but for now I’m just so happy to have:  (a) learned colourwork; and (b) done an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern!  Feels like ‘real’ knitting.  The left mitten knit up pretty fast – only 2 sittings for the body of the mitten.  I have small hands, so that helps!  I really liked working with the Eco Wool, and have plenty left-over.

As for the sock-in-progress… I did rip her back, and am just going to knit it plain.  I was surprised that the Wool Bin ladies raved about it.  Apparently denim sock yarn is a rare find.  I had no idea!  It’s not been the priority though.  Having been empowered by a set of painting tips, we decided to finally tackle our powder room.  It’s been long days of scraping wallpaper.  Every inch was glued down, so my arm is aching…  We got a light blue – icy moon drops or something – and cracked the people up at Benjamin Moore in the process.  This is a steeeep learning curve.  See, our parents were never DIY people… in Jamaica painters aren’t expensive at all…  So, for all the wonderful upbringing we have NO clue on the paper/ paint front.  Wish me luck… the walls need more prepping!

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Online Helping Hand

There is a light at the end of the fair isle tunnel!  Thanks to a Ravelry Caribbean member for posting this link:

Def. putting on the blog roll too.

A kind blogger has put together a bunch of resources for those of us knitting in the wilderness.  Mitt No. 2 will benefit.  Poor Mitt 1… be it resolved that Mitt 1 (rightie) will stay in current form as evidence of progress:)


Progressing the Mitts

Fair isle is not easy & has up-turned my usual knitting m.o.  In order to follow two charts, I had to get off the couch.  A large flat surface was a must, and so I have moved kit & kaboodle over to the dining table.  I’m liking it in there, and faithful Toby is happy too.  Silence & meditative knitting are good things but the faint gaming noises from the basement are not, so, I’ve resurrected my ipod.  Learning the conventional knit stitch has made all the difference in doing the fair isle justice.  As a result, I am not contorting the body for every other stitch, and it’s loosened things up considerably.

Mitt no. 1 has everything but her thumb.  Mitt no. 2 is a twinkle in my eye.  Here she is:

Topped but not thumbed - rightie Norweigan Mitt

Topped but not thumbed - rightie Norweigan Mitt

Palm pattern - rightie Norwegian mitt - thumb to come

Palm pattern - rightie Norwegian mitt - thumb to come

Goes without saying that I am hugely proud of this baby:)  I do have a hunch that ending mid-motif may not be true-to-tradition, and yes, the palm join is off-kilter.  Progress not perfection!

In terms of yarn, I’m using Sirdar Eco wool dk.  The band says 100% undyed virgin wool.  It has a great hand but is also easy to split in stitches.  It seems loosely spun but I’m hardly an authority on these things.

This is my introduction to Elizabeth Zimmermann’s patterns.  I like her style but am v. grateful this isn’t my first mitten/ glove attempt.  Thanks to the Fingerless Gloves, I know how to make this right-hand, and the next left-hand.  I’m also keeping the thumb stitches, and will make it up on the dpns next.

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Back to the present

It”s not been all slipped stitches and unwearable art.  Gradually, my hands caught on, and I started to learn the first principles of knitting. Some I have figured out on my own (again, not vouching for the techniques here) but many a leap in understanding came from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s “Knitting Rules,” and Debbie Stoller’s “Stitch-n-Bitch Nation.”  I’ve gone from wholely clueless to telling yarns apart, substituting, and lately even designing my own stuff.  I now enjoy a good pattern but don’t cling to it for dear life.

  • This is what’s on my needles now:
    Norwegian mitt in the making

    Norwegian mitt in the making

    Mindless - moss stitch cotton bag from "Debbie Bliss Home Collection"

    Mindless - moss stitch cotton bag from "Debbie Bliss Home Collection"

    Toby is kicking up a fuss, so I better go let him out.  He’s only as good as the attention he gets, this dog!  I am speaking tonight (rather reluctantly), so the status quo above will not be troubled:)