Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You Spin Me Right Round...

So, I'm doing some spinning for a friend - I've never spun on spec before, but at least he wasn't really picky about what he wanted.

I gave him some handdyed handspun last summer for his birthday, and he so loved knitting with it that he requested more. The guidelines were three skeins, green, and handspun. No weight, no specific colors, nothing. He said that he loved the last skein because it was unique and didn't necessarily match anything else, which I chose to take as a compliment (I'm sure it was meant that way, really).
Last year, when I was just learning, I had some mystery wool that I inherited along with the spinning wheel, and it was undyed, so I spun undyed bulky, lumpy yarn. Then, I decided to play with dyeing too, and bought some Wilton's paste dyes. My friend loved it.
This year, I have a boatload (thanks to my husband's trip to Stonehedge Fiber Mill and his theory that more is always better) of light grey Corriedale roving, and I have dyed four 2-oz balls of it in various shades of green, brown, and blue/teal.

That's actually not a bad representation of the colors. I think it's spinning up pretty nicely:

I just have to hope he likes the weight he is getting, 'cuz I like to spin finer than what I gave him last year. I'm trying not to spin it too fine, or I'll never finish it! I think it will be somewhere in the DK/light worsted range.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A New Venture

Well, this blogging thing is completely new to me, and I'm not at all sure how I'll like it, or whether anyone will bother to read it. I guess I'll think of it as a kind of on-line journal, and see where it goes from there.

First thing I want to do is add my first ever knitting pattern. I've been working on it off and on for a while, now, and finally have it in a format that I'm happy with. I'll upload it to Ravelry next, and activate my designer page so I can add more as I have them. That's pretty exciting for me.

It is for fingerless mitts, which I call "Evenstar," because they are an updating of my "Arwen" fingerless mitts available in my Etsy shop. Here is a picture:

Sorry it's a little dark; I've been told I have perfect color vision, but I have never mastered lighting.

Evenstar Fingerless Mitts

These flirty, ruffled mitts are perfect for tea with the Fairy Queen! (They are based on the original "Arwen" fingerless mitts in my Etsy store: http://www.mandarellaknits.etsy.com/)

Abbreviations and Techniques Used:

CO=Cast on
K2tog=Knit 2 stitches together as one
K1,P1=Knit one, Purl one ribbing
PM=Place marker
St St=Stockinette stitch
M1L=Make 1 left (Use tip of left needle to pick up the loop of yarn between the last st on the left needle and the first st on the right needle, going front to back. Knit this st through the back loop to twist the st and close the hole. Makes a left-leaning increase.)
M1R=Make 1 right (Use tip of left needle to pick up lthe loop of yarn between the last st on the left neede and the first st on the right needle, going back to front. Knit this st through the front loop to twist the st and close the hole. Makes a right-leaning increase.)
Cable Cast-on=*Slip the last st on right needle to left needle. Insert tip of right needle between the last two sts on left needle, wrap the working yarn around the tip of right needle, and draw loop through. Place the resulting st on the left needle. Repeat from * for desired number of sts.


Yarn: 100 - 110 yards worsted weight yarn. Mitts shown were knit using Cascade 220 "Quattro".

Needles: US7 (4.5mm) circular needle for ruffled cuff, either long enough to do "Magic Loop" method (32" or longer), or a short sock needle (9"-12")
Set of 4 US7 (4.5mm) DPN's (or continue with the circular needle if you're more comfortable that way.
Set of 4 US6 (4mm) DPN's (or US6 circular needle, again, if that makes you more comfortable.)

Stitch Markers
Waste Yarn
Tapestry Needle

Gauge: 5 sts/inch in st st, on larger needles

Size: To fit a Ladies' Medium/Large hand comfortably (approximately 7"-8" around)

Cuff: Using US7 circular needle and long-tail cast on, co 152 sts. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist the sts. PM.

Rnd 1: Knit
Rnd 2: * K2tog. Repeat from * (76 sts).
Rnd 3: Knit
Rnd 4: Repeat rnd 2 (38 sts).
Rnd 5 & 6: Knit

Switch to US6 DPN's and K one more rnd.

On US6 DPN's, work in K1P1 ribbing for 2". Work one rnd in st st. Switch to US7 DPN's and work one more rnd in st st.

Thumb Gusset: K across 19 sts, pm, M1L, K1, M1R, pm, K to end of rnd. (Increase rnd: K to marker, slip marker, M1L, K to next marker, M1R, slip marker, K to end.)

Increase in this manner every 3rd rnd 4 times, then every 4th rnd 1 time (13 sts between markers).

On next rnd, K to last st before marker, slip that st to R needle knitwise, remove marker, & place thumb sts on waste yarn. Slip last st back to L needle & K2tog, K to end of rnd. (36 sts).

Work in st st until hand measures 1 1/2 " from top of thumb opening.

Picot Eyelet Bind-off: Switch to US6 DPN's. BO one st. *Using Cable Cast-on, CO one st, then BO 3. Repeat from * until all sts have been bound off.

Thumb: Using US7 DPN's, arrange held thumb sts on 3 needles. K around, picking up and knitting 2 sts to cover the gap at the top of the thumb opening. Work in st st until thumb measures 1". BO all sts.

Finishing: Weave in all ends and block.

And there you have it - Enjoy! Of course, you may print one copy of this pattern for your own personal use, but please don't distribute or sell this pattern, or sell any items made from this pattern without the express permission of the designer (me).