Branch Out ... A Simple Colorwork Pair of Mittens

Ok I will admit that I'm scared to death of colorwork and intarsia.  Why, I haven't a clue but I am.  With that being said, I have decided it is high time to try a simple pattern that really isn't to scary to read and understand.

For my very first every colorwork project, that also includes intarsia,  I've chosen Jagged Ridge Mittens by Kiyomi Burgin.  I ordered my Lettlopi yarn from The Woolly Thistle, which arrived this week and I'm so excited to get started.

Courtesy of Kiyomi Burgin

From the Designer's Page:  These mittens are great for the knitter looking to explore different methods of colour work and finishing techniques all in one project. Think of these mittens as a sampler project in colour work techniques! Use scrap yarn for the CC colours in contrasting or monochromatic shades, and these mittens will keep your hands toasty from winter through to early spring.  Mittens are worked flat and seamed down the outer side. The tips are grafted with kitchener stitch, and thumb stitches are put on waste yarn and worked later in the round. The band of diamonds at the wrist are worked in stranded knitting while the medallion near the tip is worked using intarsia and duplicate stitch

The colors I chose for this project are as follows:

MC:  #1419 Barley   

CC:  #0053 Acorn Heather  
CC2:  #0086 Light Beige Heather  
CC3:  #9427 Rust Heather  

From the Woolly Thistle's website:
Lettlopi yarn is famous and loved for it's lightness and warmth. Lettlopi is ideal for knitting garments that will be comfortable to wear both indoors and outdoors.    This yarn is worsted/aran weight that is 100% new Icelandic wool and comes in skeins of  50g/approx 109 yards.

I've never knitted with Lettlopi, so I think this will be a fun project and one to ease me gently into colorwork before I start something larger, like  Tecumseh.

Until next time ~ be creative!


A Finished Spinning Project

This week has been a wonderful week filled with knitting and spinning.  I'm so happy that I finally finished my Hello Yarn Targhee in the colorway Shadows Parted.  I started spinning this 4oz of fiber in February.  Before I started spinning it though, I split my roving it into 2 oz, which was split into 12 little buns each of fiber ready for spinning.  My first 2 oz I achieved 164 yards of fingering weight (shown on the left)  and my last 2 oz (finished this week) I achieved 189 yards of fingering weight (shown on the right).  I chain plied both amounts and I couldn't be any happier with my results.

Initially this fiber was being spun for socks and as I mentioned in an earlier post this isn't going to happen as I'm head over heels in love with the finished skeins.  I'm thinking this will be perfect for a shawl or even a cowlette.

I also spun up my small amount of Abundant Earth Fiber in the color Blood Orange.  I found this wool was very interesting to spin as it has a rustic texture about it.  I ended up with 14 yards of fingering weight that was chained plied.  I plan to spin the other two bumps I received in the colors  Deep Water and Citrine.  I also ordered three more colors from Abundant Earth Fiber in the colors Forage, Skylight and Sugar Snap.  

I'm thinking this will be an experimental spinning project for color work.  I really love the rustic nature of this wool and it reminds me a bit of Shetland wool.  My goal is to spin the remaining bumps, including what I ordered, in fingering weight and chained plied.

Until next time ~ be creative!

On the Needles: Socks and A Sweater

Courtesy of Heidi Kirrmaier 
Now that I've finished my recent sweater (Modified Chica) and have casted on Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier using Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy in Snow Leopard, which is a very pale silver gray.  

For those of you not familiar with Hempathy, it is a DK weight yarn in a blend of 41% Cotton, 34% Hemp and 25% Rayon, with each skein measuring 153 yards.

I've casted on for the XL size using a US 4 circular needle.  I don't often check my gauge but have done so after reading several project pages regarding this design and the use of Hempathy.  So far, I'm spot on and hopeful this will turn out perfect for me.  I'm not really liking the look of my raglan increase stitches as they look very loose to me but I'm hoping that after blocking they will smooth out and look better.  Other than that, I'm enjoying the pattern and the yarn.  This is going to be perfect for the hot Arizona summers,  office and weekend wear, as well as summer comfortable for traveling on vacation.

I've made decent progress on my toe up modified Socks on a Plane and plan to use this a a carry along project in my hand bag just in case I need it for slow days, etc.  It's always good to have a project on hand to keep ones hands busy.

Until next time ~ be creative!

Time To Say Goodbye and Finished Projects

Sometimes you just have to  let go of certain projects and say goodbye.  I recently came to that conclusion with three of my knitting WIPs.

My Leaflet - I truly love the pattern but the yarn just wasn't doing it for me.    The content states it's a blend of 55% Merino, 33% Acrylic and 12% Cashmere goat and with this blend, I honestly I expected the yarn to be super soft.  Instead (to me) it's very "commercial" feeling, stiff to the touch and almost feels like there is too much acrylic in it.  So, the yarn is off to a new home and I've frog the cardigan.

Snow Cone Cup of Tea Socks - So either it was me, the yarn or the needles, and maybe even a combination of the three but after four attempts with the pattern, I have given up and moved on.  I'm keeping the yarn and plan to use it for socks, just haven't found a pattern yet.

With my stash of Merino Handspun, I have tried the Big Waffle BoomerangClose to You and Multnomah.  Yes, three patterns tried and all three frogged.  I hope that I have finally found the right pattern for my handspun Kernel by Bonnie Sennott.

On a brighter note, I did finish two projects this week.  My crocheted Half Granny Square Shawl that I turned into a cowl and a crocheted Venus Shell Slouch Hat.  For both of these projects I used my stash of Berroco Millefiori in the color Azalea.  For the finished cowl, I used a total of 1 1/2 skeins of yarn and for the hat, one complete skein of yarn.

The shawl design is fun to make, and I've made several over the last few years.  When I started this one, I had the full intention of making a completed shawl but due to the weight of the project, I decided to stop where I was and create a cowl instead.

In the picture below, you will see that I took both ends of the shawl and crossed them to form a closure.  I then used a mattress stitch on both sides to keep the edges neat and in place.  It turned out really well and I'm quite happy with the results.

For the shell hat, I followed the pattern until it was time to make the brim.  In place of double crochet on the brim, I did a single crochet, which gave the effect of a woven piece.  I love the hat, very slouchy and vintage looking.  Both pieces will be fun to wear in the cooler months and the colors are perfect!

Do you find that you need to send things off to the frog pond at times too ?

Until next time ~ stay creative!

When Speedy is Key !

Do you like super quick knitted projects ?  I love them, especially when they call for size US 15 needles and super bulky yarn.

On my needles this week is the Speedy Chica by Taiga Hilliard.  I'm still trying to stash bust and found I had just enough skeins of Lion Brand Yarn Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Blackstone for the project.  The pattern is well written and super easy to follow, with a stitch pattern that is memorizable.

I will be making one modification, which will be for the sleeves.   The pattern calls for a bind off of the sleeve stitches after separating them.  I have elected not to bind off but put the stitches on a holder so that I can knit a few more rows and add a garter stitch band to match the bottom of the cardigan.  
The yarn color is black with flecks of gray, blue and burgundy.  Since this will be a short sleeved cardigan, I can see wearing this piece over a solid gray blouse and a pair of dress pants, or a teeshirt and a pair of jeans.  It definitely will be a versatile piece for my wardrobe.

Until next time ~ be creative!

A Bit of Crochet Now and Then is a Good Thing

Sometimes in life your creative side gets steered into a new direction.  I’m an avid knitter and pretty much take my knitting with me everywhere I go.  It’s usually a small project,  like a sock or hat,  that can be tucked inside my purse for those  moments that I need to have something to keep me busy.

When I purchased 4 skeins of Berroco Millefiori in the colorway Azalea (photo below right), I had the intention of making a shawl using the pattern created Amy Christoffers called Kveta (photo below left).  The design of course only calls for 2 skeins but for some reason I bought 2 additional skeins for that “just in case I needed it” reason.

I guess my reasoning for the additional skeins paid off.  When summoned for jury duty I found out that I could not take my knitting with me as knitting needles were listed in the sections “items not allowed in  court” area of the court I was being summoned too.  As a maker, and a knitter, I was totally bummed. I knew I could take a book but I wanted to keep my hands busy while waiting.

So I decided to take a crochet project with me and chose my stash of Millefiori as the perfect compliment to the pattern,  Half Granny Square Shawl by Anastacia Zittel .  I’m loving how the yarn is looking and the colors are gorgeous!  I'm also finding that this project is a nice change of pace to knitting and a very soothing one.

When I came home, I continued to crochet as it was really hard to stop.  Just look at those colors!!!  I'm truly in love with this yarn and I'm so happy I decided to use it for a crochet project over a knitted project.  This finished shawl will be perfect for fall and I'm hoping to have enough yarn left over to make a pair of matching mitts.

What project to you like to carry with you at all times ?

Until next time ~ be creative!

April Breed Study: Gotland

This month's breed study is Gotland for the #spin15aday Instagram spinners and Ravelry Group.

I purchased this particular fiber a few months ago as part of breed study collection but haven't done anything with it, so this is perfect timing.  I also purchase the full quarter study from Sherill at The1764Shepherdess so I should have 2 oz to spin.

I had to learn a little bit more about this particular breed from my favorite source, The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson.   I truly love this book and it's a great one to have in your spinning/fiber library.

I learned that this wool is somewhat unusual as it resembles a fine mohair or English luster long wool, is comfortable to wear next to the skin, it can be spun smooth or heavily, it's feltable and the predominant colors is a wide range of grays.

My first reaction to the feel of the Gotland was "course,
stiff, dense and not soft".  After further reading I discovered that when it is commercially processed, it becomes coarser, which explained quite a lot.  It will be interesting to learn how this particular wool spins up and how it will feel once it's plied.  
I plan to start spinning this wool on my Schacht Matchless and since I have a total of 2 oz,  I will spin woolen and aim for a nice even fingering single to be chain plied  (Navajo Plied).

Until next time ~ be creative!