sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

mittens mittens everywhere

Long time, I know :) It's the strangest thing-- ever since my son started school I can't manage anything timewise like before, even with a huge block of time in my day. I have no idea what's happening and have no doubt that it'll sort itself soon, but yeah... hang in with me :)

I don't think I'd even knit if I didn't have a goal-- this past month I've been working on projects for Verb's "Smitten Mitten" contest. Kristine put out the call for submissions of mittens and armwarmers knit in Verb fibers and yarn, both in personal and published patterns, and I managed 3 out of 4 :)

My first was more accident than anything. I absolutely fell in love with zigzagstitch's End of May hat and knit it in Verb's sadly discontinued Yakkity Yak (50/50 yak/merino). I had a lot of yarn left over from the 2 skeins, and thought about reverse mirroring the MC/CC for a duplicate hat-- but then Mandy released an End of May mitten pattern with that prominent, striking flower and I was obsessed :)

End of May mittens and hat
Verb for Keeping Warm Yakkity Yak, "indigo blue sky" and "cafe au lait"
Hat: US 4, Mittens: US 3
Started and finished: October 2009

Can I tell you I'm also obsessed with matchy-matchy now?! I want to knit a bunch of matching mitten and hats-- I always thought it was scarves and hats to match, but mittens are f*ing brilliant. I've already picked up some Ultra Alpaca for another set :)

I *really* love this set though. The pattern reminds me of something vintage, and the color pairing of the blue and tan-gold do as well. (go bears!) I can't take credit for the colors working together though-- I went into Article Pract and these skeins were just sitting there next to each other like they belonged together :) I think AP is the only place you can get the Yakkity Yak now-- they had some and even in these colors last time I was there.

I did make the shorter hat version; this one fits me perfectly like I want a warm hat to (over the ears and forehead). Also fits over big curls :)


SUCH a hammy pie. I like the gold detail at the cast on edge-- I did use some waste yarn to make a forehead-length lining, but removed it since the yak really is soft enough to wear (and I hate extra finishing :)) I just used some extra gold to do a crochet chain around the picked-out waste yarn edge to secure it. I didn't know I needed the shorter version til I was halfway done (swatch? for a hat?! ;)) so I just shifted the chart and its top decreases over halfway for the same result. Easy really.

No mods with the mittens, except I used a 2-color caston for that same gold detail at the cuff, purled one row in MC, then started the pattern.

Speaking of mods, my next Verb mitt project was Gasteropoda by Kristi Geraci...

Gasteropoda by Kristi Geraci
Verb for Keeping Warm Creating Superwash Sock, "Wonder Boy"
variety of needles
Started and finished: November 2009

I fell in love the minute I saw this on Kristi's blog. Look closely-- it's a 2" spiral that winds its way around the hand and arm! I am a SUCKER for innovation, and this! is! OSSUM! Knitting these I kept thinking that I want a spiral knit sweater now :) I'm not a cool enough knitter to figure that one out, but seriously I'd make one.

I lengthened mine (Kristi's version is a more traditional armwarmer length), and chose a shorter dye repeat with "Wonder Boy" (original knit in Wisdom Yarns Poems sock, a long striping yarn like Noro). I chose to lengthen them because lately I've been wearing my handknit kneehighs under my jeans in the mornings I drop my son off to school-- quite warm and almost like secret garters under denim in highschool. I think these will serve under a jacket with a light shirt quite nicely with our cold mornings and warm afternoons.

I retained the original caston #s for my size and only used a change in needle size to add width and extra spirals for length-- a US 3 for the above and upper forearm, a US 2 for the middle arm and US 1.5 for wrist and hand. I think if you wanted, you could also decrease stitches while spiraling if you wanted to use the same needles throughout-- the nice thing about sock yarn though is that it is forgiving knit on a range of (small) needles when you're not worrying about abrasion and feet and shoes.

I want to knit another pair of Gasteropoda from a long-repeat handspun... I can't help but think how AWESOME they'll be spun/knit from a DyakCraft (formerly Grafton) batt. And what a great choice for small leftover bits of sock yarn?! But I do like these a lot... it's like a maybe-poisonous snake squeezing me.

Aside from the spiraling construction (which is effortless-- no finishing), what really got me was the gusseted afterthought thumb. I'm not familiar enough with mitten construction to know if this is new or not, but it's really cool. I want to figure out how to use it for traditional afterthought mittens now!


Yay for a nice shot of the colorway and sheen of the yarn too :)

For my last mitt project, I knew I wanted to use handspun-- specifically the baby llama from the Verb Ultra fiber club shipped in August.


There were three distinct colors so I sketched up a stranded design using 3 colors (2 colors per row), tetris stylings.


The baby llama on its own didn't have enough body to stand up to mitts, so I swapped in some Lana Cash (dark grey) for one of the colors. I'm glad I did-- when I saw this colorway it immediately reminded me of Bohus knitting for some reason, and I spun the llama drafting against twist for LOTS of halo. Paired with the matte commercial yarn, the halo pops off like it does in Bohus collars against the body yarn...


I love these... they may actually get the most wear for being practical. (Tho I'm sitting here wearing the Gasteropoda to type this ;)) They are super warm but very, very light-- the pair weighs one ounce (30 grams). The afterthought thumb I kept very short so I could grip things easily-- I can drive without taking them off, unlike the fullon lovely End of May mittens. I also loved using three colors-- I usually only use two, and while I'm not aching to start some true 20 color fairisle, three was nice :)

Phew. If you thought that was a lot of mitten action, be sure to pop over to Verb for Keeping Warm's Ravelry group to see all of the entries and vote-- the threads are all stickied to the top til next week.

And as if that wasn't enough self-promotion... brand new stitch markers in my etsy shop! Hubei turquoise, carnelian, peridot, lapis, coral, garnet in nugget shapes... I guess I have been busy ;)

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Still adrift tho. Til next time :)

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