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March 23, 2006

Guess what I finished?

The mitten pattern!

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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

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**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.

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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.
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February 20, 2006

Feeling Squirrelly

Folks, we have a mitten:

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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.

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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?

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-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 31, 2006

Old Dogs

So you may be wondering how the Fair Isle training is going. Well...over the weekend I sat down with my Fair Isle swatch and taught myself the Continental method and the English method. Then I taught myself how to combine the two. Then I futzed around a bit and figured out a way to hold both yarns in my right hand at once so that I can knit the way I usually do. Guess which method won out? You got it. The Elliphantom Special.

While this means that I'll have to take an automatic deduction from the technical judges, I know that this is a good move because it's going to make me like knitting Fair Isle, which is really the point of this whole exercise. Besides, I have no business getting squeemy about using the wrong technique now, as it's never really bothered me in the past. La, la, la, knitting rebel, la, la...

In celebration of my newly liberated knitterly self, I started a new project. Sometimes you just need a little Garter Stitch to take the edge off. Besides, my life currently lacks cute accessories.

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This will be a completely mindless, purely tactile knitting experience. What could be nicer than knitting with lovely soft yarn on my new Lantern Moon needles? Yum.

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January 26, 2006

Back to the basics

I learned to knit way back when I was a little kid. I still knit exactly the same way--I grab the yarn with my right hand, and I move my whole right hand to wrap it around the needle. This method is so unsophisticated that I don't think it even has a name.

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This isn't going to work for the Fair Isle. I already knew that it wouldn't, but I tried it anyway. Aside from making me feel like a big knitting loser, it made a big tangly mess out of the yarn and I found myself spending a lot of time unsnarling things. This weekend I'll try the real way. The way that fills my heart with dread. I'll let y'all know how that goes.

In happier news, I won Angela's stash guessing contest!

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Sweet prize, eh? If you can drag your covetous eyes away from the delicious yarn, you will notice that she also sent chocolate and little trial-size samples of things to slather on myself, with scents like chamomile and buttercream—yum! Thanks, Angela!

January 18, 2006

Mittens

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.

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

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