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February 28, 2006

Finished: Squirrelly Swedish Mittens

Sq_Mitts_2.jpg

**Update** The pattern is now in the sidebar on the main page (you can't see it if you are in the archives).

My Olympic Knitting is done! No gold for me though--I was picking up stitches for the final thumb as the torch was extinguished. Still, I came pretty close considering that Thursday through Saturday I was out of commission (busy being sick and all). I finished the mittens on Monday night instead and am v. pleased with how they turned out.

The Specs:
-Pattern: My own
-Yarn: Elann's Sock it To Me Collection Essential 4-ply (30 grams each of dark and light green)
-Needles: size 1 bamboo dpns
-Start to finish: February 22 - February 27
-For: A knitted offering to the Olympic Spirit. They were supposed to be for me but they're too small *sniff*

Notes: I'm planning to write up the pattern for these soon. How soon? Maybe in a few days if everything goes smoothly. Maybe longer if it doesn't. I also want to chart up and knit another version that will actually fit me. I'm still trying to decide on colors--I really like the green on green, but not enough to knit another pair in the same colors right away.

thumb.jpg
Surprise! The thumbs are stripey inside!

Final Verdict: I like them. Too bad they're so small.

On the list

I am so knitting this. Just as soon as I finish Demi, that is...

February 25, 2006

Finished: Thunk's Hidden Agenda Sweater

Thunk_Sweater.JPG

The Specs:
-Pattern: Hidden Agenda Sweater by Kate Watson from Amy Singer's Knit Wit
-Yarn: I substituted Handspun Bulky Wool from handpaintedyarn.com for the Manos the pattern called for
-Skeins: 9 and 1/2 skeins Roanoke, 1/4 skeins Sunset
-Needles: size 10 circs (size 8 circs for collar)
-Start to finish: Mid October - February 22
-For: Thunk

Notes: I am so amazingly overjoyed to be finished with this sweater. What with all the procrastination, the funky yarn, and me making every finishing mistake known to knitkind I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the end of this one. The finishing was brutal…I sewed both sleeves in backwards, reknit the collar about six times, and spent an entire evening on the zipper alone (my first). It's a good thing that this sweater turned out or I would be very, very sad.

The Yarn: Drop the money and get the Manos. If I had to pick one word to describe the Handpainted Bulky Wool it would be "inconsistent." Some of the yarn was over spun, some skeins were drastically more thick and thin than other skeins, and some were hardly thick and thin at all. I think I did a pretty good job of blending it together to get a consistent look, but it wasn't much fun. On the positive side, the colors are very nice.

The Pattern: The pattern was lovely and easy to follow. I made the second smallest size (42" chest). In retrospect, I could have made the smallest size...it's a little large on him and I’m afraid that the weight of the sweater will cause it to stretch out. Still, it looks nice now.

Final Verdict: It's a winner! Thunky is out wearing it as I type.

February 23, 2006

Feeling Toadly

Just checking in to keep you up to speed on all things Elliphantom:

1) Last night I finally finished Thunk’s sweater. I won’t have the chance to take any pics until this weekend, so you’re just going to have to wait.

2) I am only on the fourth row of my second squirrel mitten. I blame Thunk’s sweater.

3) I am sick. I have the sort of cough that makes people get up and move to the other side of the room. It’s not bad enough to keep me home from work, but it has been v. successful at getting sympathy from Thunk. The best part is that he’s been reading me to sleep from the latest Yarn Harlot book. Normally he won’t read me knitting-related books because they make me too excited and I won’t fall asleep.

In other news: I am grouchy. Grump, grump.

Here, have some needles.
more_needles.jpg

February 20, 2006

Feeling Squirrelly

Folks, we have a mitten:

R_sq_mitten.jpg

Wednesday evening I sat down and fiddled around with gauges and charts until I came up with a nice mitten pattern. Since then I’ve done nothing but watch the Olympics and knit green yarn.

I’m really happy with the way the first one turned out, except for the size. I have an 8.5 inch hand circumference, and (as I’ve discovered) a brain cloud when it comes to designing this type of mitten. In retrospect I can see that I severely underestimated the number of stitches I’d need in the hand to compensate for the lack of thumb gusset. My hand is big. My mitten is small. We’ll chalk this one up as a learning experience.

Still, I’m extraordinary pleased with myself for figuring the whole Fair Isle thing out. On to mitten number two!

February 15, 2006

Catch Up

I feel like I'm running behind on everything knittish lately. For example:

The Knitting Olympics: Where am I? Still swatching.

Squirrels.jpg

I've been v. inspired by Adrian’s squirrels lately (these, and these) so I went ahead and decided to chart some of my own to include in the mittens. I accidentally used the knitting graph paper sideways and the squirrels came out a bit on the tall side, but I like them anyway. I just need to chart out the rest of the mitten and, you know, actually knit two mittens in the next 10 days. La, la, la...

Thunky's ex Christmas ex Birthday Sweater
: This is the reason I haven't gotten going on the mittens. I am almost finished--just a little knitting on the collar, sewing in ends, and then sewing in the zipper. I will be so happy to finish this one. You have no idea how it has tormented me.

Dog Yarn Questions: Better late than never, eh?

puppy_2.jpg

-Both Chris and Carola were wondering about doggy odors. Thunk and I conducted a smell test a few nights ago (I got the yarn wet and we both sniffed it) and it didn’t smell much. Mostly it smelled like the woolite I used to wash it. I would compare it to smelling wet wool…you can tell it came from an animal, but it’s not repellent. I think once any oils get washed out of the fiber it pretty much stops smelling like anything.

-Yuki was wondering if the dog hair was slippery or tricky to spin with. I don't think so. I spun with the fluffy underneath hairs, not the glossy top coat, so once things were carded it was actually a lot like spinning wool. However, you should know that I did the actual spinning almost a year ago…I might have suppressed any memories of difficulties.

-*Karen asked if it would be possible to get variegated yarn from my multicolored dog. I think so...if I had wanted to I could have separated the colors out instead of carding them together and then alternated colors as I spun. That would just require a bit more forethought.

For more info on dog yarn (or chiengora, as some like to call it) check out this site or this one.

February 13, 2006

Finished: Garter Stripe Scarf

Finished_GS.jpg

The Specs:
-Pattern: An Elliphantom Original
-Yarn: Plymouth Yarn's Baby Alpaca Brush
-Skeins: 1 skein each of 2 colors
-Needles: size 9 Lantern Moons
-Start to finish: January 30 - February 12
-For: Me!

Notes: Lovely mindless knitting. I knitted quite a bit of this on Saturday Night when Wendie was over. The rest was knitted while avoiding other knits, watching the Olympics, and at stoplights. Knitted with yarn from the stash.

The Yarn: I love the Baby Alpaca Brush. It's soft. It comes in lovely colors. My only complaint is that I used two (supposedly) 50g balls to knit the scarf and the resulting scarf is 88g. I had 4g of orange left over at the end, which brings the total yarn weight up to 92 grams, but where are the other 8 grams? I love my scale, but sometimes it causes me heartache (the kind of heartache you get when you're afraid that a yarn company you trust is secretly trying to rip you off).

The Pattern: CO 20 sts with yarn A, knit one row *Knit two rows with yarn B, Knit two rows with yarn A* repeat until you run out of yarn, cast off on the second row of a color so that the stripe is the same thickness as the others.) Easy Peasy. I think y'all could have figured that out.

Final Verdict: La-la-love it!

February 8, 2006

Shetland Yarn

Guess what? I spin! It may be a detail I've neglected to mention on the blog. I've got my own wheel and everything--Thunk and my Mum got together a couple birthdays back and got me a lovely Ashford Traditional. I still have miles to go before I'm a pro, (ratios? I can't even name the basic parts of the wheel yet!) but hopefully all I need is a bit more practice, and to spend some time with other spinners so that I can pick up some tricks.

In an effort to empty some bobbins for the Curry and Spinning Night that Wendie and I have planned for this weekend, I plied this yarn:

SamYarn_2.jpg

Recognize the fiber? It's Shetland...Sheepdog. The fiber is from my pooch Sam, who lives with the parents out in Washington State. My Mum (who I suspect encourages eccentricities in her daughters so that she has more exciting gossip for the Aunties) considerately saved up a whole bag of Sam fiber for me when I asked last year.

Sam (pic courtesy of my fiber enabling Mum):

Sam_backyard.jpg

The resulting yarn is a nice light heathery brown and pretty soft and fuzzy. There are some coarser guard hairs spun into the mix as well. I only have 37 grams, so I might have to spin up some more before I have enough to make anything. But then again, what would I make out of dog hair? A hat? Maybe something for my Mum...

SamYarn_1.jpg

In other news, it's Thunky's birthday today! Happy 27th to my favorite boy!

February 6, 2006

Sleevage

The deadline I set for myself to finish Thunky's (v. belated) Christmas Sweater is drawing near (Feb 8), so I finally got my act together and finished the sleeves. See?

H_Sleeves.JPG

(In a strange guilt inducing coincidence, the gift I was supposed to give T. for Christmas is blocking on the gift he gave me for Christmas...early.)

In other news, I did not watch the superbowl. I did however go to the opera, invent a delicious shrimp soup, and learn how to make samosas from scratch. A good weekend. And now, if you will excuse me, I am going to get back to doing whatever I want. I love taking personal days.