Spinzilla 2017 Is Almost Here

I took a little break from spinning to finish up some mitts for the Fingerless Gloves Fanatics 17 Points in 2017 Challenge on Ravelry. This year’s challenge is very much an individual one in that the group came up with a list of things that get points and we decide for ourselves just how we add them up. In previous years, there were limits on how many points you could get in various categories, but that ended up being a lot of work for the volunteer moderators who oversee the challenge. This year the group decided to make the group’s challenge less burdensome on the moderators. The participants decide for themselves how many times they can use any given category and tailor the level of challenge to their own needs and desires.

I decided that I would not use any category more than once, and as of last night, I have accumulated 16 points. Only one more point to go. But the next pair of mitts will have to wait until after Spinzilla.

Sixteen points’ worth. The mitts on the lower right are the most recent pair. I finished them last night before I went to bed.

I have also done some Spinzilla preparation. I have gotten the fiber I plan to spin all prepped, stripped, whatever, and I have written down just how I plan to spin and ply each fiber.

All the fiber is from Sweet Georgia Yarns in Vancouver, BC. I don’t know whether I will be able to spin and ply all of it in one week, but I sure as hell am going to try.

 

And in case you were wondering whether I have been able to keep my Introvert Room tidy, you can judge for yourselves.

I think my desk is still pretty tidy.

The “trash” corner is looking good!

On the right side of the top of the piano are the bags of fiber I plan to spin during Spinzilla.

My reading corner is still looking neat. Notice there are no empty Pepsi bottles anywhere. LOL

The book shelves are still relatively neat. I have two bobbins of plied yarn on one of the shelves that need to be wound off before Spinzilla begins.

It’s even still tidy behind the door!

Mitts And More Mitts (And An Ear Warmer, Too)

I have been trying to knit up some of my handspun. I have accumulated a lot of it since I started spinning five years ago, and with another Tour de Fleece under my belt, and my second Spinzilla looming, the handspun is really piling up. But lo and behold! I have made a tiny dent in the stash. None of these items has been washed yet; heck, not all the ends have been woven in yet. But the knitting is finished, so I count these as FOs that qualify for the Happy Dance.

When I finished these mitts, I still had a fair amount of yarn left, so I knitted a matching ear warmer. The stitch pattern was borrowed from Claire Devine’s Everyday Brew Hat. The yarn is my handspun from 2012. It’s some of my earliest wheel-spun yarn using Corriedale pin-drafted roving from Sunset Fibers. It was the October 2012 selection from the Fiber-of-the-Month Club.

As you can see, these mitts weren’t quite finished when I photographed them. One of them still needed a thumb. They are completely finished now, but I’m too lazy to take another picture. I call these the Pittsburgh Skyline mitts, so named because the colors remind me of the colors you can see in the Pittsburgh skyline as viewed from PNC Park as day changes to night. The handspun is Falkland from Into The Whirled in the color way 24-1/2th Century. The pattern is just a 1 x 1 ribbing using my standard worsted-weight yarn mitts template.

I started with a tubular cast on, which works very well for 1 x 1 ribbing. I think it looks fantastic, and it is very stretchy.

This is the bound-off edge. I’m not very good at doing a tubular bind off because for some reason, I always get the edge too tight. But a search of YouTube turned up an invisible 1 x 1 bind off that looks just like the tubular bind off but without the double knitted part. It’s easy to do, and I can do it without making the edge too tight.

At the moment, I have yet another pair of mitts OTN, also in handspun, but this time the yarn is fingering weight and the pattern is a wee bit fancy. But you will have to wait a few days before you get to see them. 🙂

A Long Time Coming

So, I am finally getting around to posting pictures of some of the knitting I have been doing. These pictures are a shawl I knitted from handspun. The fiber is Wensleydale from Spunky Eclectic in the color way Island Dreams that I spun into a 2-ply laceweight yarn; the shawl was knitted from two strand of the yarn held together. The pattern is the Campside Shawl by Alicia Plummer and was started a little over a year ago as part of a KAL in the Spunky group on Ravelry. The shawl knitting was interrupted by some baby blanket knitting, and it took me a while to get back to it. All the pictures of the shawl are before blocking, so you really cannot get a good idea of how lovely this pattern is.

A close-up picture of the upper edge of the shawl. I spun each bump of the yarn from end to end and somehow all the colors lined up in a way that resulted in some very nice, subtle striping.

The colors in this picture are more saturated than in real life. The first picture is closer to the actual colors. But in this picture you can see the center “spine” of the triangular shawl. The bottom edge of the shawl is a few rows of garter stitch. When I block the shawl, the edge will no longer roll. Fingers crossed.

Once again, the color is off, but you can see the shape of the shawl. It looks like the tips are going to curve, so the shawl should fit very nicely.

Once I have blocked the shawl, I will post more pictures of it. I don’t know how much use it will get because Wensleydale is a bit on the scratchy side, and since I doubled the yarn, it’s going to be a very warm shawl. But even if I don’t wear it much, it was a lot of fun to knit.

Faded Roses

My Faded Roses Graham-finity Cowl has been washed and blocked, and it is now dry. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. As I suspected, it did grow quite a bit when I washed it. I’ll admit I was a teeny bit worried because it was a little on the small side when I took it off the needles, and because it’s a cowl, I didn’t bother to swatch. Even if it had ended up being a little small, it would have fit someone.

This picture captures the colors pretty well. The hot pink really pops.

If you wear the cowl as a single loop, it’s pretty long and it’s wide enough that it will cover your chest and keep it warm under your coat.

 

Worn as a double loop, the cowl is sure to keep your neck warm, and if your head and ears get cold, you can pull one of the loops up over your head for added warmth there.

My iPhone doesn’t take the best pictures because the selfie camera isn’t the greatest, bit you can still get a good idea of how the cowl fits and looks when doubled. An added bonus is that you get to see the results of my recent hair cut.

This cowl is truly one of a kind. I will probably give it away because as much as I love it, these are just not my colors.

 

Knitting Is My Bag

It has been a long time since I blogged about my knitting, which seems odd for a blog that is called All Kinds of Knitting, but that doesn’t mean that no knitting has been happening. It just means that no blogging has been happening.

My most recent FO is a cowl knitted from my own handspun yarn.

This lovely Loop Bump…

This color way is called faded roses. It has bright pink, dark reds, browns, and brownish grays in it.

became *this singles…

I spun this singles on my Ashford Traveller in double drive using the sliding hook flyer. The singles on the bobbin gives a fair representation of the colors in the bump. Only the brownish grays are MIA in this picture.

which became this yarn…

I chain-plied the singles to create a lovely self-striping yarn with long repeats. Loop bumps are perfect for spinning end to end and chain-plying to get lovely self-striping yarns with long repeats of color.

which became this, my Faded Roses Graham-finity Cowl.

The color in the picture is skewed to purple. I tried to correct it but failed. There is really no purple or purplish in this yarn

The pattern I used is the Graham-finity Cowl which is a free download on Ravelry. Although the stitch pattern works up differently on each side of the fabric, the resulting cowl is reversible because both sides look like they could be the right side (aka, the public side).

 

This is the side the designer intends as the “right” side, but when you are knitting the cowl, this side is the “wrong” side, that is, it is not the side that is facing the knitter.

This is the “wrong” side of the cowl, although it is the side facing the knitter when the cowl is being worked.

I haven’t washed and blocked the cowl yet. I expect it to grow a little bit once I have washed it. I have knitted this pattern before using handspun yarn, and I love the resulting cowl and wore it all winter.

This is my Fancy Pants Graham-finity Cowl that I knitted from a lovely 50/50 Merino/silk blend from Woolgatherings that I spun up into a somewhat nubby and a little bit thick-and-thin yarn.

The Graham-finity pattern is great for handspun because there is a lot of texture to the pattern, so minor or even major inconsistencies in the yarn don’t stand out. Also, it is a simple pattern that is easy to memorize, but it doesn’t get totally boring. Yet it makes for pretty mindless knitting, so it is a great pattern for watching hockey, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, or binge-watching television shows. I can’t praise this pattern enough. I love it.

After casting off Faded Roses, I immediately picked up a UFO in handspun that got set aside months ago for baby blanket knitting and pussy hats. I want to finish it before I start yet another baby blanket or get to work on knitting fingerless mitts. I really need to do more knitting and use up some of the handspun I have made.

 

*I waver on whether singles when referring to an unplied yarn should be singular or plural. These singles? This singles? Singles is? Singles are? I think it probably should be singular, as in a singles can be plied with another singles to make a two-ply yarn, but it makes for some awkward-sounding English to treat it as a singular substantive adjective (an adjective that stands in the place of a noun). If one calls it a singles yarn, one would definitely use singular demonstrative adjectives, indefinite adjectives and verbs: This singles yarn is an example of a singles yarn. So, logically, when singles is used in place of singles yarn, it should be singular: This singles is an example of a singles. I can avoid the problem altogether by simply using singles yarn in place of singles, or by rewording the sentence so that singles isn’t the subject of the verb. Comments are welcome.

 

Mitts Are My Master

There was a time when I looked at pictures of fingerless mitts and… Meh! Really, why would anyone except maybe toll collectors wear fingerless mitts? thought I. Then smartphones. That was my A-ha! moment. I knitted my first pair of fingerless mitts for my DIL, and I haven’t stopped. Really, they are as addicting as socks, maybe even more addicting because they take so little time and yarn to knit. They are a great way to use up leftover yarn and can be knitted in any weight yarn. Fingerless mitts are the best thing ever.

And fingerless mitts are far more useful than I ever dreamed. I have always hated driving in gloves, so in the winter, my hands would be cold on the steering wheel. But now I’m nice and cosy when driving in cold weather because fingerless mitts! I can keep my mitts on in the store and handle money with no problems. I can read and send texts and answer or make phone calls without having to take off my mitts like I would have to do with gloves. I can carry shopping bags more securely with fingerless mitts on than with gloves on. And when it is super cold outside, I can slip a pair of fingerless mitts over a pair of gloves for extra warmth. Fingerless mitts are great!

I am always on the look-out for fingerless mitt patterns that appeal to me, and I recently found a free pattern from the Cascade Yarn Company. The Alhambra Hand Warmers really struck my eye. I thought the cable pattern was interesting, and that the pattern would look great worked up in worsted weight yarn. And I had some leftover lovely purple-blue worsted weight wool in my stash that I thought would show off this pattern perfectly.

Version 2

Because I worked the cables with a cable needle instead of using the method in the directions, and because I wasn’t paying close attention, I crossed my cables the wrong way, to the right instead of to the left.

But I thought the mitts as pictured on the pattern instructions left a lot to be desired.

The color of the yarn used doesn’t show off the cables very well.

Version 2

I don’t think this color would sing to anybody.

And the stocking stitch palm means the mitts will not fit a wide range of hands. On the model, the mitts look ill-fitting and sloppy.

DSC06694

The mitts droop around the wrists when the wrists are flexed. Ugh!

DSC06696

Really, just looking at these pictures might turn anyone away from making these mitts. The yarn they are knitted from is acrylic held double, the they just don’t look very good. And both mitts look like they have biased, but perhaps the model just didn’t bother to make certain they were on straight before the mitts were photographed.

So I decided to do some modifications to the pattern to produce a better fitting mitt.

Version 2

My main modification was to knit the palm in 2 x 2 ribbing. Now the wrists won’t be all droopy and the mitts will fit a wider range of hand sizes.

Version 2

I knitted an extra repeat of the cable pattern and did the thumb gusset increases every third round instead of every other round so that the mitts would fit my hand better. Otherwise, they would not have been long enough for me. Ignore my thumb. It looks worse than it is.

My modifications are detailed in the notes on my Ravelry project page, which you can view by clicking here.

The yarn I used is Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted weight wool, my favorite basic wool yarn, in Sapphire that I had left over from another project, and I was pretty sure I had enough to knit these mitts. I don’t normally play yarn chicken, but I decided to give it a whirl and, YAY! I won!

Nearly completed. The yarn that is left is on the left. The mitt on the far right still needs the thumb. There will be just enough yarn to do the thumb and probably a yard or two leftover. Perfect!

The little ball of yarn that is on the left is all that remains. It should be plenty to finish the thumb on the right-hand mitt, which is on the far right of the picture. I was cutting it close.

These mitts were a lot of fun to knit, the pattern is pretty well written, and I found only one mistake. It is written for one size only, but the knitter could easily adjust the size by using larger or smaller needles or a different weight of yarn. The directions for the cables are written only, no charts, so if you prefer to work from charts, you would have to make your own. This is a free pattern, so I’m not complaining about these “deficiencies,” just making sure that anyone who is interested in the patterns knows that there are no charts and only one size.

As an aside, I really hate it when knitters complain when a free pattern doesn’t have multiple sizes, or doesn’t have both charts and written out directions, or contains a few minor mistakes. They are usually the same knitters who bitch about having to pay for a pattern. If you want all the bells and whistles, you are going to have to pay for it. Tech editors and test knitters don’t work for free, nor should they. End of rant. End of post.