October 3, 2010

Wooly Weekend

I spent this past weekend buried in yarn. It was fabulous. Lots of peaceful knitting time, listening to an excellent audiobook,* with a couple of breaks for important things like a good movie and some cookie-baking. Want to see what I worked on?

Predictably, the Sprig Mittens:

These things reproduce like rabbits.

Knitting Fever (distributors of Araucania) has fantastic customer service...when I messaged them about the wonky skein of navy they quickly arranged to have a replacement sent to me. Yay! I officially love them. Their yarn rocks pretty hard too. And the gauge of the replacement skein is spot on (see the two mittens on the far left).

Since that photo was taken I've finished the thumb on that second navy and tan mitten. I just have to weave in the ends and I'll have a FO to show you! But I am so easily distracted by other projects. For example...

The Forgotten Shetland Triangle

did you miss me?

Geesh. I just checked Ravelry and found out that I started this shawl in October of 2007. At the time I wanted something fancier, so I started a different one in silk thread and left this plainer Cashsoft 4 Ply version to languish, assuming I'd frog it eventually.

Fast-forward to this summer when I pulled it out just to have some simple lace to work on...I've been working a few rows here and a few rows there...nothing intense...until yesterday I realized that it was actually getting pretty large. So I got busy with the edging and I worked the last row of the chart last night before bed. All that remains is the bind off and a nice blocking. You'll be seeing this one soon!

Grove Mittens


At my current rate of a few rows a day, maybe these mittens will be finished by the time the snow arrives. I love this pattern but I just can't seem to memorize the charts, hence the slow-going. But they're so pretty that I couldn't resist throwing in another picture.

Lemongrass socks


My current toe-up Plain Old Socks. If you've been around for a while you may recognize the yarn as the stuff I originally used to cast on for a pair of ill-fated Jaywalkers. The yarn was a tad too bulky though...much better suited to some plain socks. And plain socks are the ultimate movie-knitting. Especially when subtitles are involved.

I switched to 1.5mm dpns for the calf, which is why the striping on the yarn changes further up the leg. I'm still trying to decide if it was the right choice. But I'm assuming that the recipent of these socks will just squnch them down, so it really won't matter.

That's it for my weekend! I hope yours was as nice as mine! How's that fall knitting going?

*The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins. Fall is for listening to mysteries!

September 22, 2010

The Mitten Report

One week. More mittens than you can shake a stick at. If you have very bad stick-shaking skills.

Mitten Project No. 1: GROVE

After posting the Sprig Mittens last week I was all set to knit them up in the new colors...but then I had a thumb crisis. What if the side-gusset thumb isn't the best thumb construction out there? I needed to do research. Very important research that involved knitting other mitten patterns with different sorts of thumbs. Enter Jared's Grove mittens:

Hello there. I have a sexy palm gusset, but it is feeling modest right now.

It should be noted that this turn of events has nothing to do with my very short attention span. Nope. Surely not.

Mitten Project No. 2: CLASSIFIED

This is what I spent most of my weekend working on. I can't show you. Don't even ask. You wouldn't want the Mitten Mafia coming after you, would you?*

Mitten Project No. 3: SPRIG v1.2

I finally cast on for these with the new color yesterday. Hooray, right? Except that the new blue Azapa is noticeably heavier than the other colors. Knitting with the two together is like walking with a different kind of shoe on each maybe a clog and a kitten-heeled pump. It's possible, but it just feels wrong.

Greetings. I am unbalanced.

Anyway, I e-mailed the nice yarn peeps to see what they have to say for themselves. So this one's on hold for a little bit. Good thing I have more yarn on deck for another pair of these. Because I am full of surprises like that.

Sorry. Not the same gauge.

In other news, I misplaced my Unusual Toys to Knit and Enjoy pamphlet. Did I lend it to you?

*crap. now I totally have to make myself a Mitten Mafia t-shirt.

September 14, 2010

Color Fail

Today, a little glimpse into the brain of Elli.

Question: How long will I knit before I accept that the colors I picked out just don't have enough contrast?

one mitten?*

nope. 1.9 mittens.


On the bright side, these knit up ridiculously quickly. It's like I sneezed and a couple of mitten appeared. Also, I really really really love this Araucania Azapa. It's soft like a baby's butt and has a lovely sheen. Not surprising as it's merino/silk/alpaca...yum, yum! So yum, in fact, that I ordered another skein:

Hello there. I am here to save the day.**

I see more contrast in my future.

*pattern = Sprig Mittens. Something I charted up for fun...probably will be available eventually if there's any interest.
**Araucania Azapa, colors Sea Green (808), Tan (802), and Cadet (811).

February 6, 2010

New Design: Birdcage Mittens!

Hello again!

Here's the second installment in Elli Designs Yet More Mittens! If you missed yesterday's post, the quick summary is that I have two new mitten designs in 60 Quick Knits: 20 Hats, 20 Scarves, 20 Mittens in Cascade 220, which will be out in April. Yesterday was superwash kid's mittens, today I have some classic 220 ladies' mittens to show you!

clearly there are never enough knitted birds in my life.*

I don't know if I've ever mentioned much about my design process on the blog but, for me, the easiest part of every project is designing the main theme for the front of the mitten. Once the idea is approved I then spend (what feels like) forever trying to come up with the perfect palm pattern. When I FINALLY get that sorted out, I spend just as long trying to find a good thumb to tie the whole thing together.

Which then explains why, even though I'm generally quite fond of all my mitten fronts, I feel disproportionally proud of the palms. And, of course, books and magazines rarely show that side! You're lucky if you get a glimpse of a coy palm peeking out from under the other mitten. The above photo is remarkable in that you can see almost all of the palm, even if it is (what I think of as) upside-down.

Here's the full palm shot so you can drink it in:

ah, that's better!

The palms are patterned to evoke trailing branches and tall grass. In my imagination it's early morning and it's a little misty, and there is dew dripping from the branches. The little bird is glancing over his shoulder and considering flitting over to check out the situation in the trees..but he's uncertain, because it looks a little damp.

go for it, little dude!

Yarnwise, this is as fabulously basic as you can get. Just a skein each of two colors of Cascade 220! These colors are both heathers (#2440 vinci and #9489 red wine) but I think solids would work equally well. Time to raid your worsted stashes, peeps! Well, not quite yet. We have to wait until April. *sigh*

{twiddles thumbs impatiently...}

In the mean time, ravel it!

*Photo by Jack Deutsch, from 60 Quick Knits: 20 Hats, 20 Scarves, 20 Mittens in Cascade 220.

February 5, 2010

New Design: Child's Octopus Mittens!

Ho there!

Just a little entry to show you the first of two new designs that I can finally post about! This time I'm really and truly in an actual book! With a binding and a library of congress number and everything! How fancy is that? (hint: totally fancy).

Both of these pattens will be in 60 Quick Knits: 20 Hats, 20 Scarves, 20 Mittens in Cascade 220, which doesn't come out until April.* I am proud to represent 1/10th of the mitten portion! You may have noticed that I do love a good mitten.

Mini Mitts!**

This is my first child's mitten pattern and I had so much fun designing them! I find the little details the most the increases for the body of the mitten warp the corrugated ribbing just a little so it looks like sea grass waving in the current. Also, I designed the palm pattern to mimic the suckers on the underside of an octopus' arms...because if I were a kid I would totally dig that.

slorp slorp!

I made the cuffs a bit on the long side. My strongest childhood mitten memory is the feeling of snow creeping in under the cuffs. There will be no chilly wrists if I can help it!

Size-wise, the mittens were designed to fit the measurements of a four-year-old child, but I think there should be a bit of leeway there. I've listed the measurements on the Ravelry page if you're uncertain.

full frontal octopic

As far as yarn goes, these just take one skein each of two colors of Cascade 220 Superwash (#886 citron and #812 turquoise), so they're a super-affordable project! Yay! You probably already have suitable yarn in your stash.

And if that weren't enough incentive to make these, they knit up SUPER FAST. Seriously. They're small. They're worsted. They're colorwork. You won't believe how quickly you'll have a pair of little cephalopod mitts. Now, if the book would just hurry up and come out...

Stay tuned for more new mittens tomorrow!

Ravel it!

*but there's always pre-order for you impatient types!

**Photo by Jack Deutsch, from 60 Quick Knits: 20 Hats, 20 Scarves, 20 Mittens in Cascade 220.

January 26, 2010

Thumbernil & Indexonia*

Here's a project that's been in the works for over a year: gloves for Thunky's birthday! That's on February 8, if you're counting. I'm designing them myself, with lovely fingering alpaca he brought back from England expressly for me to use to knit the perfect pair of man-gloves. What can I say...the boy knows what he likes.

So far, I have a swatch, a thumb, and half of an index finger.

1.5 fingers down, 8.5 fingers to go.

Nothing like a little deadline to keep my needles moving!

*on a long-ago road-trip, my sisters and I each named one of our fingers. I left out Fingerlee but, as you can see, there are only two fingers in that photo.

January 19, 2010

The Mystery Mitten Challenge

Well hello there! Thanks for the warm welcome back! Let's jump right in and get down to it, shall we? I have a little mystery that I need help solving. I was at my favorite thrift store a few months ago and happened upon these wee cute little kid-mittens:

We are so leetle! And only cost 50 cents!

The photos don't really do them justice...they are small and adorable and you can tell that some kid's mama made them wear these at least a couple winters since the palms are felted up a bit, there are a few holes, and little remnants of yarn where the strings used to be tied on (anyone who grew up in a cold climate knows what those strings are for).

I immediately fell in love with the colors and the large-scale graphic colorwork and, let's be honest here...they are just begging to be copied. But first, I need to figure out if the pattern already exists. I spent a little time searching for these with no luck. But I'm HORRIBLE at finding things on the internets, so it's more than possible that they're out there. This is where I'm hoping you'll help me.

These are the facts:

1) Gauge = 7 sts/1 inch.
2) Palm circumference is about 6 inches.
3) They are 6.5 inches long.
4) Tab thumb

To be completely fair, there are also a couple factors that make me think that the person who knitted them might not have used a pattern:

1) The person who knitted them avoided carrying unused colors across the palm by inserting extra rows into the mittens. In one spot on the palm there are five rows to the three on the back of the mitten. It's actually a little brilliant, and easily done on dpns.

2) There are a few spots where the knitter improvised the pattern a bit (again mostly on the palm). Nothing drastic, just a little wonkiness that indicates that charts may not have been consulted.

This sort of free-spirited knitting leads me to think that patterns might not have been all that important to our mystery knitter, but they could also just fall into the "I mostly followed the pattern" camp.

have you seen me?

Here is your challenge:

This pattern is probably out there somewhere...maybe online, maybe in an old pattern pamphlet. If you can find it for me, I will send you a lovely little surprise package (contents yet to be determined, but guaranteed fabulous).

The prize goes to the first person who leaves proof of pattern-findage in the comments. If the actual pattern eludes you, Pretty Close patterns will be considered, but I reserve the right to decide whether or not they are close enough to be useful. The contest will remain open until I have a winner and close the comments.

Good Luck!

January 10, 2010

New Design: Tree Mittens

I've left this a little late, but I have a new pattern in the latest Vogue Knitting! I'm sure that you're not shocked that I've done another pair of mittens, but I'm rather fond of these ones so I hope you are too.

Have you noticed themes in my knitting yet?*

Yes, it's trees again! And I got to knit them in very Elli colors. This might surprise you, but the most difficult part of the designing process is getting the perfect yarn to fit the idea in my head. Since I'm ridiculously particular about color, more often than not that's the part of the process I get hung up on.

As far as the design goes, while I am pleased with the tree chart, my favorite bit is the mosaic repeat on the palms. If you wanted to shake things up a bit and do something less pictorial, you could easily knit a pair with just that pattern on both sides.

There are a few of you who will be relieved to find out that this is the largest-gauge pair of mittens I've ever designed and therefore a nice quick knit. If you've been dying to do some colorwork mittens, but don't relish the thought of fingering-weight and size ones, these are for you. Enjoy!

-The preview for the whole issue is here!
-Ravelry link is here!

{Coming soon...the Christmas knitting!}

*photo courtesy of SoHo Publishing

January 21, 2009

Snow Maiden Gloves

Hello there lovelies! I've been dying to introduce you to the last of my Summer design work. Meet the Snow Maiden Gloves (aka #23 Opera Gloves...gotta love those names)! This one is in the new Vogue Knitting Winter 2008/2009.

cheer up sweetie; I'll let you take them off in a minute. (photo courtesy of SoHo Publishing)

The Skinny:

My first pair of proper gloves! If you don't think you have any need for opera-length gloves, just take a peek in the closet and think about how nicely they'd go with that 3/4 sleeve coat. See? Everybody needs a pair! Seriously, they're not as difficult to knit as you might think.

I designed these to be knit from fingertip to elbow because it's so much more fun to try them on as you go. It's the glove equivalent of the toe-up get the finger-knitting out of the way at the beginning and the rest is just twisted stitchy goodness! If you run out of steam (or yarn) you can always make them a tad shorter.

The inspiration came from flipping through the Barbara Walker treasuries and seeing the pattern for Exploded Ribbing, a great twisted-stitch cable that reminds me of Russian onion domes. And to take the Russian thing a little further...since these are opera gloves...the name "Snow Maiden" seemed appropriate.

A Note on Sizing: The pattern lists the hand circumference as 7.25," which is true, but they are intended to be worn with a little negative ease. The gloves were designed for someone with a hand circumference of 7.5." Finger-length, of course, can be easily modified.

So this design wraps up the 2008-09 mitten/glove designing season for me! I hope you like them!

{Ravelink here}

November 23, 2008

Rainy Day Fingerless Gloves

So remember when I said I spent most of the summer working on design projects? Let me introduce you to Ms. August:

Hola! We are not mittens.

I know...the shock, right? When Tanis over at Knit.1 asked for a "dream project" for the story they were putting together on bloggers, this idea fell together pretty quickly. I love fingerless gloves. I love color (especially yummy, semi-solid, hand-dyed, wooly/silky color). I love buttons, and I especially love a good fast knit.

I'm really excited about this pattern! Excited enough that I'm looking forward to the magazine coming out (December 16 is the official release date, if you're counting) even though I'm a little nervous about the blogger profile part. I happen to be Very Bad at talking about myself without completely over-thinking things. Have you ever noticed that I don't have one of those "100 things about me" pages? That's why. I tried a couple of times but I got bogged down somewhere in the low teens.

Anyway...not going to think about, la, la...

bloggers_crop.jpg cover_crop.jpg

Now for the really cool part. If you've been poking around Knit Blog Land (and chances are, if you're reading this, you have been), you've probably run into some of the other super-talented bloggers who have patterns in this issue. If you want the whole list, here's a little cheat sheet for you:

Cookie A

I feel like a bit of an underachiever compared to that lot (not having written a book or inspired a Ravelry fan club), but I'm incredibly excited to be included!

Ok, I think that's enough for today. In summary: new pattern, Knit.1, lots of cool bloggers, woo-hoo! Oh, and the full preview should be up on the Knit.1 site on Monday the 23rd.

p.s. Ravelink!

November 17, 2008

Lotus Leaf Mittens

Heyya! I know I'm a little late with the news, but the winter Twist Collective is up! I'm totally and completely thrilled to have a pattern included in this issue, especially considering all of the other brilliant talent that is represented.

Would you be surprised if I told you it was a pair of mittens? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Hello world!

The observant among you will have noticed that the blog was a bit quiet this summer. Well...this was the project that dominated July. August and September to be unveiled soon!

The Deets:
I used Schaefer Heather in the colors Indigo and Clara Barton, but most fingering-weight semi-solid or solid sock yarns will work. I was super-excited that I finally got to use a red/blue combination...that's my current color combo crush!

Other than that, they're pretty standard Elli-mitten fare: colorwork on size one needles with a thumb gusset on the side. This seems to be a good fit for most people and has the added bonus that you can use the lotus pattern (topside) or the leaf pattern (palmside) on both sides of the mitten. Because everybody loves a little mix and match!

Ravelink here.


If you do nothing else, make sure you check out the fabulous watercolors that Eloise Narrigan did for the story. I'm particularly fond of my chipmunk, but they're all really cute!

September 9, 2008

Mittens! (and a praying mantis)

Hey look! It's knitting that you haven't seen before!

hello there

That happens to be the beginning of a Druid Mitten (ravelink) in Dream in Color Gaia. The color is Blue Lagoon (or as I like to think of it, *cue creepy voice* Bloooooooooooo Lagoooooooooooon). The yarn looks gorgeous, but it feels surprisingly unremarkable for a merino. This may explain why they discontinued it.

While I was outside this evening photographing the aforementioned mitten, I may have run into one of my mantis friends. The wee buglettes hang out on my morning glories, which are right next to the little front patio where I take a lot of my progress photos (which explains why I'm constantly taking pictures of them). It was starting to get a little dark, so I decided to use the flash. I think I may have pissed him off.

dude. stoppit.

So cute. {sigh}

July 29, 2008

Finished: Pop's Birdwatching Gloves

This is my Dad. He's a bit obsessed with birding.

The Specs:
-Pattern: a hybrid of Knucks, by Pamela Grossman, and Bird's Eye Mittens, by Martin Storey, from Knitting For Him.
-Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed; less than one ball of shade 133 (blue), and a bit of 156 (natural).
-Needles: size 4 dpns, and size 3 (3mm) dpns for the ribbing.
-Start to finish: mid-June to early July.
-For: Pop. A rather belated Father's Day gift.

I inherited many good qualities from Pop, not the least of which are a) fair skin and b) my ability to completely immerse myself in a hobby.

The idea for these gloves was hatched last Christmas when my Dad tried on my brown Knucks (which fit him nicely) and also pointed out that he liked the Bird's-Eye Mitten pattern. Since those mitts don't have individual fingers, I though it would be nice to combine the look of the Bird's-Eyes with the excellent design of the Knucks. To cap it off, the fact that both patterns use Felted Tweed was just too good a coincidence to ignore.

Combining the patterns couldn't have been simpler. I was planning on having to modify the Knucks a bit to accommodate the colorwork, but the men's size has the exact same number of stitches in the hand portion as the Bird's-Eyes. So I just knitted up a pair of Knucks that incorporated the simple colorwork. Easy peasy!

My camera is not this large.

The Pattern: This is the third time I've knitted a pair of Knucks and I stand my my original opinion of the pattern: top down fingerless gloves = brilliant.

Final Verdict: Pop likes them. I am a happy knitter.

Ready to track down something feathery

July 18, 2008

In Vogue

The preview for the fall issue of Vogue Knitting is up! Guess which pattern is my favorite?

photo courtesy of SoHo Publishing

Project details later. I'm going to go have a celebratory grape soda now.

February 13, 2008

Finished: Coral Herringbone Mittens

The camera, it is still broken (sadness, woe, etcetera). But now it is absolutely, completely broken. This is different from the sort of broken it was before (which was just kind of halfway broken). There are still a few photos hanging around from before the world went dark for my beloved Crapshot 2000, including these ones, taken Saturday.

Howdy. We are Pomtastic

The Specs:

-Pattern: Herringbone Mittens with Poms, by me! Pattern here.
-Size Knitted: Medium
-Yarn: Cascade 220.
-Skeins: Less than one skein each of Coral (7830) and Natural (8010).
-Needles: Size 6 dpns (size 4 for ribbing).
-Start to finish: October 2007 - February, 2008.
-For: Recipient as of yet unknown (which explains why I wasn't really in a hurry to finish these).

Upside-down mittens! I really know how to shake things up.

You probably thought I'd finished these already, since one of them appears in the pattern and has been paraded around blogland for all the world to see. But that was just the single mitten I knitted up to test out the smaller size. Now there are two and, as someone's wise mother once said, mittens really are better in pairs.

Not much new to say about these. If you really want to read a full FO report, you can take a gander at the last one, which is here.

Final Verdict: neat-o complete-o!

November 7, 2007

For you...

So I’ve been off in a world of my own lately. Granted it’s a very nice world with lots of yarn and hot cocoa and an imaginary Gregory Peck* rubbing my feet, but it’s about time to snap back to the Land of Blog before you think that I’ve gone and pulled a lonely-tourist-Charlotte-Charles on you. Hi there. Not dead! Just changing seasonal gears and getting my cold-weather knit on and working on that gift I promised you.

You may have noticed that making presents is one of my favorite ways of showing affection and expressing appreciation. Which is to say...I think you guys are the nicest bunch of blogreaders on the planet. Here, have a prezzie:

I'd like to give the world a Pom.

Download your very own copy here**. I've proofread the pattern about 10 bajillion times, but do let me know if there are any errors I've missed, and send me pics if you make a pair!

Hugs and Keeses,


*Roman Holiday-era Gregory Peck, please.
**Requires Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded for free here, if you don't already have it.

October 24, 2007


Today this blog turns two. Mwah, mwah, etc.

there are more than two needles in this picture

I'm making you a present, but it's not done yet. Want a hint? Here.

p.s. it's cold out. and I'm a little grumpy. i'm going to go make cocoa. but imagine that I got all sentimental on y'all, ok? thanks, you're the best.

October 22, 2007

Sammamish blog-down

I've been back from Washington for almost a week now, but it's never too late to share a few pics. All told I got to see my two lovely sisters, the wee nephewling, my parents, and my cousins Jessica and Liz. So there was much fun and maybe a little less knitting than expected. The knitterly upside is that the cool, drizzly weather meant that we could break out the handknits. See if you can spot them all!

child_prodigy.jpg couslings.JPG
Krick learns a thing or two from Elliot, child prodigy; couslings!

corn.JPG E_pumpkin.jpg
Pop and E. brave the corn maze; drooly baby punkin goodness.

Mum, a crisp chardonnay, Baby E., yours truly, and Sam the dog.

E_street.JPG jessi_knits.jpg
Elliot street; Monster Jessi Knits!

mushroom.JPG rainy_seesters.jpg
An excellent mushroom; a familial handknit extravaganza.

Knits featured in this post: knucks (still waiting on a FO report), the as yet unblogged twiggy bobble hat (hmmm...Spun Mag seems to have let their domain expire. I'll leave the link though, in case it comes back. Who can fathom the mysteries of the internets?), the garter stripe scarf, the mossy baby sweater, and Kricket's Luna Park Socks. Oh fine, you can't see the socks in any of the pictures...but I swear Krick was wearing them. And while we're at it, I got to break in my plain old socks as well.

For those curious among you, the couslings and I did squeeze in a trip to Cultured Purls (right after the trip to the salmon hatchery) in Issaqua. Souvenir yarn and needles were dutifully purchased.

October 14, 2007

Almost, but not quite

For those of you curious about these things, here's how eleven hours of traveling breaks down into fingerless gloves:

0:00, some Rowan Felted Tweed. Yum, yum.

2:06, Indianapolis airport

4:50, Minneapolis/St. Paul airport

11:02, in the car somewhere between Seattle and Sammamish

By the time I'd reached my final destination, I'd executed a tubular bind-off on glove number one and begun the ribbing on glove number two. So almost, but not quite, finished. Not too bad, right?

Especially since the project made my flying time about one thousand times more enjoyable. Delayed plane? No problem! More knitting time for me. Sullen, silent seatmate who makes me move so that he can use the lav. three times on a three hour flight and puts the armrest up so that he can encroach on my space while he snores? No biggie. My knitting keeps me sane.

And deadline knitting (even the self-imposed type) is great for steering you clear of those sleepy pockets that exist only on airplanes. You know...the ones that make you take accidental naps from which you wake with a buzzy head and toxic breath. So even though I didn't quite get to the end of the project, I AM A WINNER!!! Yes indeed.

October 12, 2007

in-flight entertainment

So today I'm hopping a plane to Seattle to go see the fam. As we all know, there is nothing quite so boring as hanging around airports and being stuck in narrow seats...especially when traveling alone.

Hello. We are unrelated to this post.

In an attempt to spice things up a bit, I'm giving myself a knitting challenge. Here are the details:

Who: Me.
What: One pair of knucks, exactly like the ones I knit (and lost) last year.
Where: In any car, airport, or plane between Bloomington, Indiana and Sammamish, Washington.
When: Today!
Why: Because it's going to be cold out there.

Think I can do it?. See you on the other side!

p.s. thanks for all the needle advice. I'll let you know how things work out.

September 26, 2007

Finished: Herringbone Mittens

Look! Mittens!

Does looking at herringbone make you dizzy too?

The Specs:

-Pattern: An Elliphantom original.
-Size Knitted: Elli-size (read: biggish).
-Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted.
-Skeins: Less than one skein each of Deep Charcoal (M-06) and Silver Sliver (M-130).
-Needles: Size 7 dpns (size 6 for ribbing).
-Start to finish: September 9 - September 25, 2007.
-For: Me!

From the bottom up: ribbed cuff; eyelets to accommodate crocheted cord and large pom-pom; striped thumb; herringbone goodness.

I've wanted to knit myself some mittens ever since the too-small-squirrel-mitten incident of 2006. So a few weeks ago I grabbed some leftovers from the stash, took some inspiration from the thrifted herringbone fabric, and got cracking.

Improvements I've made since the squirrel mittens:
-These fit! It's a nice touch.
-Worsted-weight yarn for a quicker, thicker mitten (heh. that rhymed).
-A ribbed cuff for extra snuggyness.
-The traditional thumb. I've determined that my thumbs are too, how should I put this...drumstick-like for a tab thumb).

Other than that, they're pretty similar to the squirrel mittens. (read: they're fair-isle and the tops are shaped similarly).

The Yarn:
The mohair content in the yarn makes it ill-suited for a lot of projects (too itchy), but it might just be made for mitten-dom. Lots of fuzzy snuggliness inside these double-stranded babies. If they full up just a little bit over time they'll be darn near impervious to wind and weather.

Respect The Pom.

Final Verdict: I'm so pleased. La, la, la...

September 10, 2007

A little bit of everything

I went into the weekend thinking that I'd see how much of the Chicago cardi I could crank out, but I got a little sidetracked. What's new? I did finish the back though:

Hello. I am soft and smooshy.

Saturday morning was devoted to thrifting:

Fall colors and fabrics!

There is enough of the blue and white herringbone to sew a nice-sized project (am I crazy to want a jumper?) and the tweedy orange wool is destined to become a cushion.

And just when I thought my days of bringing home odd balls of thrifted yarn were over, two skeins of vintage alpaca/nylon found their way into my basket (they're sneaky little things). I reskeined them and gave them a nice wash to get rid of the fusty smell and now they're ready for action...whatever that may mean. Then there were some vintage pattern pamphlets and zippers that didn't make it into the picture. A darn good trip for $4.83, wouldn't you say?

Inspired by the fabric, Sunday afternoon I decided that I had to knit some herringbone mittens. Here's where I was by 5pm:

Hello. We are fuzzy-wuzzy.

The yarn is some leftover lamb's pride worsted and I'm making things up as I go. We'll see if it works!

July 23, 2006

Finished: Knucks


The Specs:
-Pattern: Knucks, by Pamela Grossman.
-Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed
-Skeins: Less than one skein (35g) of shade 143.
-Needles: size 4 dpns (size 3 for ribbing).
-Start to finish: July 8 - July 22
-For: Me (still the summer of knitting for me...)

Notes: I made the men's size (just call me Elli of the huge hands) and they fit pretty well...maybe a little largish, but then I didn't think about the potential usefulness of negative ease in gloves. If I were to make another pair, I would probably go down a needle size.

The Pattern: Top down fingerless gloves. Brilliant.

Mods: I shortened them a bit by skipping a few of the plain knit rounds near the end of the thumb decreases. I also left off the embroidery (I know, boring...but I want to wear these at work. If I were to embroider something on them it would be "I'm cold” as that’s how I feel ALL WINTER).


Final Verdict: We loves them. Yes indeed.

P.S. All this planning ahead for winter is making me think about Christmas knitting already. Don’t hate me.

P.P.S. Is it just me, or are my pinkies abnormally short?

July 12, 2006

Progress Report

Heh. It's been a week since I last posted. Anybody else feel like their summer is passing at warp speed? Here's what I've been up to:


Yeah I know...weird name. But if you can get past that, they're pretty awesome. Every winter at work I just about lose my fingers to frostbite but I’m always way too busy with the xmos knitting to knit myself any F-less Gs. So when I saw the pattern in the new Knitty I jumped on it. I'm all about doing things early this year. If that isn't enough to impress you, I'm using the required yarn (rowan felted tweed) which I already had in my stash thanks to the generosity of the v. wunnerful Angela.


I have the pattern mostly memorized, I've made my peace with the KSH, and I’m one-third of the way finished already...all is right with the world.

New Yarn! (Installment 1):

I’ve been pretty good about not accumulating too much new yarn this year, but I’ve been slipping lately. The first of it is eight skeins of Briggs and Young Regal, from Schoolhouse Press, for the Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardi pattern I bought last spring to make for the Thunkster. This was going to be his Christmas sweater, but then I just bought some more yarn today for a completely different “Christmas sweater". Not sure how that will work out. Let's just say I'm not having any trouble finding cute manpatterns lately.

That's it for now. I'm going to go eat toast now.

March 23, 2006

Guess what I finished?

The mitten pattern!


Just to warn you, I changed the pattern a bit to make them a little longer. It turns out that, when it comes to guessing how long mittens for women with small hands should be, I stink. They were too short. They didn’t even fit my friend Ginny who has lovely short little fingers. So if you notice that the picture looks a little different from the instructions, you’re right. Follow the pattern, not the picture.

If you do decide to knit them, which I know isn’t highly likely with spring here and everything, feel free to drop me an e-mail at elliphantomknits(at)yahoo(dot)com with any questions. I proof-read it ten bazillion times, but it’s entirely possible that I’ve missed something. Oh, and you’ll need version 7.0 of Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the pattern. (free download here).

The pattern is here: Squirrelly Swedish Mittens

In other knitting news, I’m planning the spring line-up. This spring and summer is going to be devoted to knitting for me. I only have three gift-knits planned and I am going to try not to add any more (you can laugh all you want…I’m serious). More on that later.

February 28, 2006

Finished: Squirrelly Swedish Mittens


**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.

Surprise! The thumbs are stripey inside!

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

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.

February 20, 2006

Feeling Squirrelly

Folks, we have a mitten:


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.


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?


-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.

January 18, 2006


Mittens: part I

I am going to knit a pair of Fair Isle mittens. Yes, indeed.

I joined Stephanie's Knitting Olympics. If you haven't heard about it yet (which would be difficult as it seems everyone in knitblogland is doing it) go over there to read the rules. Since just thinking about Fair Isle makes me go all clammy, I figure it will be a good challenge for me. And, in the spirit of destashing which is also sweeping knitblogland, I am going to use a book I already own and some sock yarn from the stash. How's that for frugality?

The book is The Swedish Mitten Book, by Ingrid and Inger Gottfridsson (how cute is it that their names match?). I think this is the modern day equivalent, but I'm not sure.

I have until February 10 to learn to knit continental with two hands. Wish me luck!

Mittens: part II

I've wanted to show off these mittens that my friend Janis knitted for a while now. Janis is the most modest person I've ever met...I had no idea she'd finished these until weeks after the fact. As friendly revenge, I'm showing off for her.


Cool, huh? The yarn is some that I dyed (trying to match her scarf there) back in July. Hooray for collaborative projects!