Knitted Mittens – Latvian Mittens

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The kits have been started, but I am currently distracted by colour-work mittens. The cold weather is making mittens less of a fashion statement and more of a necessity and I am loving the wonderful thickness that colour-work gives.

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Ok, so folk may have made this discovery a few thousand years ago, but I never really thought about it before and I am very impressed by the happy mix of pretty with functional. The ones I made earlier this year I made from a technical challenge angle (and the wave mittens were definitely a challenge to my attention span), but now I am all about the warmth.

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At Ally Pally I treated myself to a Latvian mitten kit (to be given to Santa until Christmas). Ok, so the instructions are Google translate at its very “best”, but the yarn and chart make it still a good buy. Having never worked on 1.5mm needles before I have discovered a whole new world of pain, not in the fact that 1cm of knitting is almost 10 rows (although that is quite painful), but the kind of pain that needs a thimble. I am not a big fan of thimbles, as my child-size hands find them clumsy and a bit sweaty, but apparently I use my left index finger to push the needle back. I have never realised this before (I don’t really think about how I knit, I just knit) but I reflexively do this to the point that I fall over my fingers if I try to stop and do it differently. Pain first drew my attention to this (1.5mm is roughly the size of a darning needle) and even wearing a thimble I cannot knit them for too long before the jabbing of the needle and the tightness of the yarn make hurty hands.

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I think you will agree that the pain is worth it, as already they look amazing but they will take an age to complete. Perhaps they will be ready for winter 2047? Here’s hoping!

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While knitting on tiny needles create a jewel like charm, knitting on thicker needles/yarn has a charm of its own. Humble DK feels like rope after the delicate-less-than-4ply yarn and gloriously (it is knitting up a heck of a lot quicker)! For Christmas I wrote to Santa (also known as the Amazon wish-list) and popped a few Scandi-knit pattern books on there. Well, Santa was kind to me and I have been carefully reading and choosing motifs for my new mittens.

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I decided to pair olive with dark green and make a pair of spring flower mittens. Going all of the way, I decided to do a proper palm chart (which will make a denser, harder wearing fabric) but wimped out of a complex thumb and opted for an after-thought one instead. I did briefly dabble in the idea of using left-over purple yarn to make the flower pretty, but after only five rows of tangled hell I decided that the two-tone mittens looked much better and frogged back.

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One mitten down and it is looking good. It is still a bit of a wing and a prayer if I will get it all out of the two 50g balls (which is why I haven’t done the thumbs yet). The downside to having a long-term stash is that my chances of buying another ball in the correct dye lot on both colours is zero to nothing (the plus side is that I started these late in the evening after a quick rummage). Still, all being well I should have enough yarn to do a stranded thumb. Plan B is an alternative row stripe thumb. Plan OMG (if I run out of yarn for thumbs) is to unravel some of the cuffs and see what I can do. Absolutely Plan Z (if there isn’t enough yarn for the main mitten) is to unravel both cuffs and knit them in a contrast colour and then knit the thumbs to match.

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And people say knitting isn’t an adrenaline kicker….

LouBug

Let’s Knit The Bookshelf #knitting

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Happy New Year knitters! After a brief hiatus, I’m back. I was buried under a pile of books somewhere trying to resurrect my brain from a 15 year slumber, long enough to complete a written assignment. My attempts at study thankfully have been fractionally better than my attempts at knitting, which sadly have taken a back seat. I haven’t been totally at rest these past few weeks, I have managed to knit this (more on the fluff scarf later):

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Anyway, back to more exiting news! Behold – LouBugKnits blog post mentioned (dare I say featured) in the sacred pages of Let’s Knit The Bookshelf!! The page has since been cut out and laminated (not an uncommon thing in my world), and will be stuck to the wall of my home office forth with. Tragically nobody seems as excited as me (and LouBug), and have largely backed away as I’ve come at them waving my laminated evidence. But hey ho, it certainly brightened my day.

This blog is shared between two sisters, and there’s a little something for everyone! LouBug is an experienced knitter who has been making beautiful  projects for years, while beginner KnitWit is learning all the time.”

As part of the honour LouBug and I get to submit a guest blog post to the Let’s Knit website. I have a few ideas and have started a draft, but I have slight writer’s block as I feel it should have slightly more content than my usual blog ramblings. Ho ho ho – Happy New Year knitters!

KnitWit

Hitting the Knitting Kits

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With the Christmas knitting finished on time and now safely delivered, I can now turn my attention to my backlog of Let’s Knit kits. I really like these little kits as they are cute and self-contained (hopefully I can remember where I put all the patterns!) and perfect for short-goal knitting.

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I have wanted to make some of these things for a couple of years now, but either crazy Christmas knitting, or post-Christmas casting on have always go in the way. I’m sure everyone has a bit of a post-Christmas casting on frenzy; when all those big projects you dream about while knitting for others are meticulously planned, bagged and desperate to start. But the problem is that big things take time to finish and this year I have decided to give into my inner five-year old and knit a few quick things as well.

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First up is going to be this angel kit. Ok, so Christmas may have passed, but it can be stored away as the chances of it being knitted next year in the Christmas run up are as tragically unlikely as they were this year. Lucky for me, my teacher instincts were firing up and sparking and I put the pattern with the kit before bagging it up!

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I have now crocheted a wreath (inside is a cunningly placed foam pipe-lagging formed round a coat hanger) with shop bought pompom threaded off it. The original plan was quite ambitious but I have decided that life is too short to make 20 different designed snowflakes and I am going to settle for felt stars and the angel instead.

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If the snowflakes happen in the future, well, I can easily take the stars off, but for the moment I just want it done. The only modification I am planning is to knit a base on the angel and stuff it as it will make it easier to attach to the ring. I might also include some sparkly yarn on the wings (possibly even some Crystal Barbie style thread) and I am tempted to use plastic eyes but I shall see if it makes the angel creepy!

Failing that, there is always next Christmas…

LouBug

Let It Snow #knitting

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I would like to point out that this photo was taken at midday! Not that I am dreaming of snow (and indeed snow days) but you never know. Cat was particularly annoyed at the cold crunchy grass and came out especially to glare at me (as humans obviously control the weather).

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Bad though it maybe to be a cat, it is definitely good weather to be a knitter! As I say practically every year, all those odd looks you get knitting jumpers in mid-summer pay off big time when the temperature suddenly goes artic. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so odd to have a large box of scarves, or a load of woollen socks. It seems perfectly normal and even a little envy generating (I think I might be at the stage when I could (in theory) wear a different scarf each day to work for the entire winter season).

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But it is also the time of year for giving. Say hello to the Knitboys’ TMNT hats, complete with flip down/flip up eye masks. A sensible fusion of knitted hat with a firmer crocheted band added on at the end. The crochet has the added bonus of being double sided and the stiffness helps it stand out and not tickle the face. Naturally they were charging around the house on secret ninja missions within a few minutes, nice to see my duties as auntie fulfilled for another year!

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I have learned my lessons well and each sibling pair has the same basic thing (to prevent tantrums on the day). Crucially each hat has a way of telling them apart (so if one is lost there is less of a fight over whose one is left). So, also say hello to the Curlygirls’ kitty hats (complete with sparkly bows). I shall have to hunt out a photo of the little one (barely 2 years old) wearing hers as she did look very cute.

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To help the ears stick out I put a couple of hidden stitches along the triangle and some “crease” lines along the bow to help it look good. Not bad for a made up pattern!

Annoyingly, with the rush for Christmas, I forgot to get a photo of Ma-KnitBug’s socks or KnitWit’s socks. But assume that they were fabulous and brightly coloured. Mr LouBug’s super gloves will have to wait for another post, but be assured that they squeaked past the deadline.

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Now time to find a knitted blanket and huddle under it!

LouBug

 

New Year, New Knits

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The New Year is here and the temptation to do a “new year’s resolution” blog is definitely there. But, looking back on last year’s list – it all seems a bit pointless; some things got done and some things didn’t. I don’t think it made one jot of difference being on a list. So I shall resist pinning down what I should do and instead do a list of things I will stop doing.

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1: I will stop worrying about my stash. Every year I try ever more complex ways of dealing with my ever-growing stash and every year it results in it getting bigger. Cold sheep, stash diets, one in – one out; I have tried them all and they invariably end with big talk and little action (and usually buying more yarn within 24 hours of declaring the plan).

So I shall embrace the stash and accept it for the beast it is. I shall accept it and instead try to improve my storage.

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2: I will stop setting myself a named technique to learn. My hobby doesn’t have to have “learning objectives” and “timed outcomes” – that would be my day job! I learned a lot of cool stuff last year (mainly colour-work) and I am sure that I will learn more cool stuff this year.  But I have had the most success on new things when I have a burning desire to make a product and will obsessively work/frog until it is right. But I am going to continue to buy books on different techniques! One day my library will take over the world….

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3: I will stop trying to do projects out of guilt. Guilt that they are slowly decomposing in the WIP box. Guilt that, at their current rate of completion, they will be done by 2020. Guilt that I am letting good projects go to waste. Some days call for a chunky, neon garter stitch scarf! Trying to do a complex lace-weight shawl can wait until later. After all, yarn doesn’t go off.

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4: I will stop worrying about how many project I have on the go. I will simply buy more needles and row counters! My WIP box seem to naturally self-regulate, with things being finished and new things being started reasonably regularly. I seem to go through natural phases of finishing up and casting on, so my house shouldn’t go too much “the hoarder next door” with project bags.   Saying that, I think I will still do “finish or frog February”, if only as it gives the WIP box a bit of a shake-up/treasure hunt.

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5: I will stop trying to enforce some kind of logic to my WIPs. No one in the entire world will care if I have 50 pairs of socks on the go. Perhaps Cat and Mr LouBug might care a bit, but only really if I started to store the projects in the fridge or the pile blocked the TV. I am forever telling new knitters that there “are no knitting police” and yet I feel that I will be judged by my WIP pile. However, I will try to be a bit more regular in my pattern filing, as I always remember good patterns I wanted to knit when I first saw them.

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So happy 2015 and I hope all your knitting is keeping you toasty.

LouBug

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