Tag Archives: knitting

Progress!

Hello, hello again! You’ll be happy to know that some projects have finally made their way from limbo into the real world (and then into my “war chest” for next year).

First up, lot 365 – Cap or hat, texture:

The pattern is Ilkley Moor, by Ann Kingstone. I knit it from Malabrigo Sock, in Cote d’Azure. I was worried that the color would be too dark to show the pattern, but thankfully that didn’t turn out to be a problem. I selected the pattern as it ticked several boxes – lightweight yarn, multiple, complex cables, and honestly, a stunning finished project. Super fun to knit too.

Texture was the name of the game over the last several weeks, as the next project is for Lot 358 – Mittens, texture:

These were another fun pattern – Gallus, by Kristin Kapur. These were also knit from Malabrigo Sock (I might have a problem), in Botticelli Red. They’re definitely a nicer color in person, more of a garnet red than what you see in the above picture.

That’s all for now! Next time I’ll show you a finished Lot 377, or maybe my progress on Lots 359, 369, or 378.

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Hand in Hand – Lots 357-359

It’s time for one of my favorite categories – mittens!

It’s also the first time I get to show you something in progress for the fair, a 100% knit between the end of the 2015 fair and the start of the 2016 fair item. Actually, at this rate, it’s going to be a “100% knit in the first week of October” item. I may have gotten a little obsessed with these mittens.

These are the Gallus mittens, a pattern by Kirsten Kapur. I’m knitting them from Malabrigo Sock, one of my favorite fingering weight yarns…just not for socks. The yarn is a little thin and there is zero nylon content to slow wear and tear. However, it comes in beautiful colors for mittens and hats, and is relatively cheap. The color for these is Botticelli Red. As noted by others on Ravelry, this pattern produces a fairly long skinny mitten. That’s fine by me, I have long skinny hands. Others may wish to remove a few rows from the hand chart and/or add a few purl stitches to the side to widen these.

These mittens will be my entry for Lot 358 – Mittens, texture. There are two other lots just for mittens, 357 and 359, for Mittens, plain and Mittens, color pattern.

“Color pattern” (specifically defined by the fair as “two or more colors per row”) I understand. I have eleven pairs of stranded mittens under my belt, I got this. There are nine patterns in my queue that I’m considering. Well, make that eight, one of them includes an unmentionable word as part of the pattern. I’m leaning towards one that uses four different colors of yarn that I hope to start this December.

However. “Plain” continues to elude me. As defined by the fair, plain knitting includes “stocking stitch, reverse stocking stitch or overall garter stitch trimmed with ribbing or garter stitch. May include color stripes.” Hmm…I can easily think of patterns and designs that would fulfill these criteria, but how to make them state fair worthy? As I mentioned a few posts ago, I was unable to track down pictures of the winners in any of the plain categories this year.

After carefully combing Ravelry, I DID manage to find one winner from a couple of years ago – a pair of simply striped mittens with deceptively difficult thumbs. It’s a starting place at least.

Next time there might be a few more categories than usual – I haven’t really nailed down scarves, you see…

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A Year at the Fair

One thing I never got around to doing while I was here for college was going to the Minnesota State Fair. I was either completely unaware of it’s existence (freshman), didn’t know when it was (sophomore), in another country (junior), or too late in arriving to partake (senior).

Last year, however, I was determined to go. And I did  – three times, even! I ate a lot of portable food, discovered fried cheese curds, ignored the part of me that was screaming in horror about being surrounded by thousands of people, and went over the Creative Activities Building with a fine tooth comb.

See, I had heard that you could enter various crafts and get ribbons for them. I’d never participated in anything that handed out ribbons or trophies before and was…intrigued. Despite the fact that the (very flattering) reaction every time I mentioned maybe entering was enthusiastically positive, I wanted to check things out myself first. Also, I had heard it cost money to enter. (Not true.)

There were some absolutely beautiful items in the case last year – stuff that was not only complex in terms of technique, but…well-executed, if you know what I mean. Smooth fabric, tailored details, fine finishing – there were items on display for which the basic knitting had been only 3/4s of the work.

However, I knew that some of my stuff was up to snuff. If not my sweaters and cardigans, then definitely my mittens and other accessories. Plus, the fair allows you to submit work completed in the three years before the start of the fair, so I was able to submit one of my masterpieces.

That’s right, the blanket (the odyssey of which you can start following here) took second in its division this year. A pair of gloves, a hat, and some mittens also placed, in fourth and fifth. The shawls got jack, and I don’t love them anymore. Kidding.

One thing that stuck out this year, however, was that the second, third, fourth, and fifth place finishers (and all other none placing entries) were all crammed into one display case, while the blue ribbon projects got a case to themselves. The displayers had obvious done their best to make sure that every project was visible, but the case was stuffed.

So I thought, next year I want a blue ribbon. I want my stuff in that case, visible as everybody walks in the door of the Creative Activities Building.

Thus begins my year at the fair – a year of knitting to state fair blue ribbon standards, as best I can. Part competitiveness, part personal challenge, part boredom, and part Mauri’s-gone-all-Kaylee-Lee-Frye over those blue ribbons.

Next time…strategy. Yeah, there’s a spreadsheet.

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Sweater in 15 Minutes a Day – Complete!

It’s done!

Mandel Sweater

Mandel Sweater

I knit the medium size of the Mandel Sweater (Rav link), using around 1150 yards of Knit Picks Gloss DK in Admiral. I bought the yarn back when Gloss DK was a bit cheaper, so this sweater only cost me about $45 in materials. The pattern indicated that I would need 1250 yards for my intended size, so I kind of had to hold my breath and hope, since I was about 20 yards short of that. Thankfully I finished with around 85 yards to spare.

The pattern was quite clear and easy to follow. I would rank it at the intermediate level, with its saddle shoulder construction. Plus, the instructions are not written out line by line, it’s up to you to figure out which rows you need to increase/decrease/work the pleats on. Stitch counts are given, so you can work out at each stage whether you’re on track or not.

It fits!

It fits!

I disliked working the pleats and at times considered eliminating or reducing them. But really, at that point I might as well have just bought a blue knit pullover from Old Navy.

The body hem rolls, despite the garter stitch edging. I might rip out my cast off and add a couple of rows there this fall if it continues to annoy me.

Close up of the neckline and shoulder pleats.

Close up of the neckline and shoulder pleats.

Now for the stats. In January, when I started on this sweater, I remarked that I was inspired by Learning Japanese in Ten Minutes a Day and other books of its ilk. These books have always annoyed me – you can’t learn a language in ten minutes a day, especially not Japanese. Hell, the US Department of Defense puts their people through 64 weeks of intense study and classifies Japanese as one of the languages that takes six years of University-level study to master (it’s fellows are Chinese, Korean, Pashto and Arabic).

But a sweater? Meh.

Well, it turns out that a sweater broken into 15-minute chunks can take quite a while. In the end, this one took 46 hours and 45 minutes – just short of two days. If I hadn’t broken down and finished it off at the end of June (to put me out of my misery), it would have taken 187 days. Or from January 20th, when I started, to the 25th of the this month. I’m not knitting with a silk/wool blend in July. Heck, wearing the thing in June was bad enough. It’s going into a drawer for November.

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Stripy Scarf

Noro Striped Scarf

Noro Striped Scarf

I finished something! About a year ago I got a craving for a long skinny scarf. I grabbed two skeins of Noro, cast on, and…let it linger in my closet until last month. To get it going again, I turned it into my work party knitting, dragging it hither and yon. Since the rows were short, it was easy enough to get a couple of inches in whenever I had a free moment.

For 100g of worsted-weight Noro, I got a looooong scarf. Long enough to jump rope with – maybe 9-10 feet long. Long long. Just in time for the weather to hit 70F.

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Inching Along

I’ve been really enjoying having six projects on the go. Because of various obligations, it’s something I haven’t been able to do for a long time and it’s fun to see how things shake out.

First, the Sweater in Fifteen Minutes a Day is back on schedule and proceeding a row at a time. At my current pace, I might be able to wear it in June. Whoops.

Mandel

Mandel

I can’t remember if I’ve talked about the specifics before – the pattern is Mandel, a saddle-shoulder, top-down, seamless sweater by Anke, a German designer. It’s a fairly simple design, with some waist shaping and ‘pleats’ at the sides (indicated by the red arrows) and shoulders (difficult to see). There are pleats in the sleeves as well, but we’ll see. I’m always caught between following the designer’s whims and my own. It fits quite well from what I can tell and it looks good, so for the moment I’m following the pattern as written.

Wolf Mittens

Wolf Mittens

They’re done! No, that’s a lie. That’s one mitten – the left picture is it blue side out, as I knitted it. The right picture is the mitten turned to the white side. I’m debating with myself about knitting the second mitten because I know now that I will never wear these. For starters, the yarn is Malabrigo Sock and MadTosh Tosh Sock. So, expensive and 100% Merino. Lovely for hats, liable to felt and pill the first time I touch a steering wheel. So I’m thinking these might just be show mittens. Of course, do I need two mittens in that case? Decisions, decisions.

Noro Scarf

Noro Scarf

The Noro scarf grows thin and thick, thanks to the yarn. This has become my drunk knitting, for work parties. Progress is made quickly and it’s hard to screw up.

The beginnings of the doll shown in my last WIP round-up post has continued as well – it’s down to the waist at this point. The shawl and the sock are generally ignored at this point, the shawl because it requires my complete attention, the sock because it is boring. However, their stars might be on the rise – the sock is the only suitable think I have for bus/train knitting at the moment and the shawl makes good plane knitting. And I do leave for Tokyo on Saturday…

 

 

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Slouchy Hat

I think my coworkers suspect that all I do is get home from work and knit myself a new hat for the next day.

Future Blues, Rowan Lima, Minty by Erica Jackofsky.

Future Blues, Rowan Lima, Minty by Erica Jackofsky.

I’m quite taken with this one – it’s knit extra long, with eyelets that you thread with i-cord to tug into a slouchy shape. This hat took a very satisfying exact ball of Rowan Lima, in the Patagonia colorway. Of course, I was so convinced that I would need two balls…I bought two balls. Time for matching mitts.

The pattern is so easy and intuitive, I’m using it to teach a new knitter. Plus it’s really cute and I can change out the ties for a different effect, if need be. Of course, that means knitting more i-cord.

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