Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pattern: Gathering of the Clouds (fingerless mitts)

Link it on Ravelry!
Google Cloud Link!

The winds have picked up here in Portland, and the mornings have been turning cooler. As I watched the leaves turn bright and swirl off the trees in the wind lately... I sat and wrote a pattern for fingerless mitts. A style that is always my favorite for easy accessibility when driving kids to school in the morning (buckling seat belts!), checking emails on my smartphone, and generally keeping my wrists and hands cozy and warm during Fall and early Winter.

I ended up starting this pattern, thinking of the colorway that I was using. It was "The Gathering of the Clouds" and was part of my Hobbit yarn club from last year.  I finally found just the right pattern to showcase this cloudy Hobbit colorway.  It begins with Hobbit Holes, which is just a simple yarn over lace pattern, and then uses stockinette to allow the beauty of the greys and blues to come to life.  For those of you that have this colorway, it is a perfect pattern for the colors! If you don't have that, any artisan yarns will look lovely for this pattern - all of it to gear up for The Hobbit movie coming out soon!

If you happen to not be a Hobbity person, I know that you will still appreciate the simple beauty of a wonderful hand-knit fingerless mitt to keep those Autumn winds and chills away! So come, sit by the fire, or the heater!, and relax and knit something cozy and useful. They take about a weekend to knit up, so you can have something new for the week or a quick gift knit.

As always, please email me [cartwrightx7 at gmail dot com] with any questions, or comment below. 

Gathering of the Clouds

8 sts per inch

Materials Needed
  • 2 Circulars (16”), or 1 long circular needle - size 0 (please use whatever size gives you gauge! I knit loosely)
  • Approximately 200-300 yards Winding River Fiber Arts, Little Owl Organic (fingering weight) yarn (one skein will have lots leftover)
  • Small length (12”) of waste yarn

Cast on 58 sts, join in the round, being careful not to twist. [Note: To make the “Hobbit Holes” lace border it is easiest to have 30 sts on one needle, and 28 on the other]

Begin “Hobbit Holes” lace border:
Purl one round.
Next round - *k2tog, yo*; repeat from * to end of round
Purl next round.
-End of lace border-

Knit each round until piece measures 3.5” from cast on edge.

Waste yarn section
Next round - Drop working yarn, with waste yarn, knit 8 sts, drop waste yarn, then continue to knit with working yarn for rest of round.  (Note: For other mitt, you can begin this round by: knit to last 8 sts of needle, drop working yarn, with waste yarn, knit 8 sts, drop waste yarn, then continue to knit the rest of round with working yarn)
If you have not done this type of thumb before, this is a peasant thumb, and one of my favorites to do. By knitting those sts with the waste yarn, you will create a “zipper” you can “unzip” (undo) later, resulting in live sts you will use to begin knitting the thumb.

Knit 5 more rounds [Note: if you moved your sts, you will need to now move one st over to the next needle so you have 29 sts on each needle. This will make your decreases in the next section evenly spaced.]

Begin decrease section
Next round, *k1, k2tog, knit to last 3 sts on needle, ssk, k1*; repeat once more (54 sts total now)
Knit next round
Repeat these two rounds once more (50 sts total)
-End decrease section-

Knit each round until piece measures 8.5” from cast on edge.

Begin ending ribbed cuff
*k1, p1* until end of round
Repeat above round 9 more times
Bind off loosely.

Carefully remove waste yarn from 8 sts, putting those live sts onto needles. There will be 15 live sts. Knit around, picking up 3 sts on each side of thumb sts (21 sts).
Knit 1 round.
On next round, knit round, decreasing 1 st (from side sts you picked up). (20 sts total)
Knit 10 more rounds
Begin “Hobbit Hole” lace section from above.
Once lace section is complete, bind off loosely.

Soak, block, and enjoy your cloudy mitts!

Copyright, Christina Cartwright, Winding River Fiber Arts.  Pattern is for personal & charity use only. Please contact me if you’d like to use it otherwise.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Age of Brass and Steam... kerchief/shawlette... in...Steam Trunk

This was a project I started in February so I could have something simple as take-a-long-knitting while Miss M was in her yoga class. I had been wanting to cast on for it anyhow, and this was the perfect reason to get started on it.

Want to see my project on Ravelry? Click here!

Overall, the pattern is really easy to follow and you can easily knit it while watching TV or doing any number of other activities since the pattern is quick to memorize.  I made it to pattern, which gives it a nice neck scarf, shawlette size, but if you want it bigger, just keep knitting more repeats!

I had seen this pattern on Ravelry and I had this sudden inspiration for a purple, black, and goldish toned colorway that should complete it. The colorway is called Steam Trunk, but the yarn base was a sample I was trying out from my supplier, so I'm not sure if it's one I'll be carrying in the future or not. Either way, I love how both the colorway and the project came out! I'm really wishing now that I had dyed up more of this colorway so I could have made a hat and mitts to match. It's lovely....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A felted bag and January keeps spiraling along

January is flying by! I've got three projects on the needles currently. I know I probably shouldn't have started a new one, but it was a tempting reason to use my new Harmony Interchangeables that I got for Christmas.... I decided on a felted dice bag for my husband - to hold his Magic: The Gathering dice.  It's handy and useful for us when playing MTG and a fast project to work on as well for a little fast knitting satisfaction.  Pictures will be added when there's more project to display...

My Postwar Mittens are coming along great! I haven't knitted them in the past few days, but I have one almost down, just needs a thumb. Then it's on to the next mitten and then my Chullo.  I'm trying to stay on task because this year already feels like it's going by quickly like I had said, so I don't want to get behind. If our rain ever converts to something a little prettier, like snow, then I'll be glad to have them with me.

I always try to use January as my catch-up month as the start to the year, and so far I feel like I'm doing good getting knitting (and other) projects under way.  Knitting always seems like such a great way to enjoy Winter months indoors... especially since the rewards you reap are beautiful and practical items created by your craft.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Hobbit and other tales

So, the kids are back in school again (well, there's Peregrin at home, and Gabe's only half day, but you know, *mostly* in school) so I'm finding myself getting back to a somewhat schedule.

Yesterday I sent out my last shipment for The Hobbit yarn club.  I immensely enjoyed being able to re-read through the story and get a little lost in inspiration as I would sit down to research colorways for the club.  I'm a little sad to see it go, but I have a feeling that some Hobbit colorways might show themselves as I do some new dyeing and re-stocking in the upcoming months.  There's just far too many good things and concepts to let things go so easily.  The club colorways were exclusive though, so those will not be reproduced for my shop.

Thank you to all who joined in for the club, and I hope you enjoy knitting your Hobbity yarn! I have already used the first month's colorway to knit myself some socks in the Aragorn pattern.  It is an amazing pattern, with beautiful columns and cables and looks so much more intricate than it really is to knit. Here are my Aragorn socks, knit in Little Owl Organic in the Hobbit colorway, Gandalf, Goblins, & the Misty Mountains.

Monday, January 2, 2012

January knitting & new blog location

As part of my fresh, new energy I'm feeling in 2012, I'm starting up a new blog. I'll be working on moving over my patterns at least to this blog after I take a look into that. I've had some wonky internet connections this weekend, which, is becoming habit of my ISP unfortunately. However, it's up right now and so I'm getting blogged while possible.

I've got two projects on the needles right now. The Polar Chullo and my Postwar Mittens. They both happen to be by the same designer, Mary Ann Stephens. I fell in love with both patterns as they seem to bring out a very comforting emotion in me with the way the fair isle is comprised.  I've used my Little Owl Organic 2 ply and it's working so well for colorwork because of it's gentle 2 ply construction. It's also very soft so it's going to make for a much-loved set of mittens and hat.

I wanted to keep with the tone of the original chullo colors, but I used more blues, and less grey tones.  Here's what I dyed up

For the postwar mittens, I was inspired by tones of purple and grey, but loved the contrast of the yellow/mustard-like tone in contrast to the purple. I wanted to knit the "box" chart for the mittens, which looks like flowers to me so the color composition just seemed natural in this way.  I have a picture taken of the cuff, and also the inside to show how the cuff was knitted and attached before continuing on the cuff chart. This actually did work out very well, and there's no finishing work involved with it this way.

I discovered that I really wasn't getting tight enough gauge on the Polar Chullo with using two circulars. Partly because one is a size 0 and one is a size 1.5, but also with the 16" it's snug around so it's easier for me to knit at a tighter gauge, consistently.  I put the chullo down while waiting on a pair of 0 bamboos that I ordered from an Etsy seller, Rachael Made.  Her package arrived Saturday but since I was already going along pretty well on the mittens, I didn't want to stop on them just yet.  Back to the package - I was so inspired by her beautiful and creative way in which she did the envelopes that I will have to give that route a try myself.  What a great use for re-using paper bags! Not to mention, she also included an extra circular since they're so tiny it's easy to break them.  Check out this lovely package!

This looks to be a paper bag cut to size, folded double and sewn closed. I absolutely loved getting this in the mail!

I will be continuing my work on both colorwork projects this month, as well as adding them to the Ravelry group "12 in 2012". I haven't joined in with group knitting too much in the past, but I love having goals to get done because it always inspires me to complete new concepts and freshens up my thinking.

Note on my conversion to a new dye:
All the dyes I use for my yarn bases (organic and traditional) are professional acid dyes like other dyers use, with one huge difference. They are a innovative and unique pigment base because they have NO heavy metals in them. Heavy metals are toxic to people, animals and the environment. I no longer get a sore throat every time I dye yarn, I don't add toxins to the ground water from runoff, and you aren't knitting items worn against your skin that are toxic. The result is beautiful yarn, with a beautiful intention.  It really is for inspired indie knitter.

As for my shop, I'll be updating that within the next 2-3 months as I move towards some new structures within my business. Look for my new organic yarn bases as well as some older favorites like Twisted Sock.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Buttony Sweater Pattern ~ or the Tweedy Fall Cardigan

I have fallen in love with short-sleeved cardigans! The weather was rainy and cloudy yesterday, cool and in the 60's... Perfect for trying out my new buttony sweater! And oh, was it fun to wear. I can't wait until the next time I wear it, it really does it's job. It kept me warm and cozy, but it was lightweight in feel, and because of the short-sleeves it wasn't bulky. Quite amazing how it all fell together.

I kept notes of what I did as I knit it, and I would say it turned out to be an xsmall-small size. If I could knit it again, I would definitely start with less stitches (I would give it about 2 inches more negative ease) and start the decreases about an inch sooner (although if it was slimmer probably wouldn't need to do that). The yarn is very stretchy, the tweed yarn that I used I mean, so it really has a lot of spring and sproing and give.

Check out the buttons I found! I really love these... these are stones from a beach in southern California. Hand-drilled to make them into buttons. The organic energies of these buttons feels so great on my sweater! When you touch them, you can almost feel like you hear the waves splashing gently on the shore...

You can find these buttons by a wonderful Etsy artist, Made For Fun . Not only are her stones reasonably priced, and well-made, but they came packaged & wrapped beautifully, and with a couple of extra buttons to boot!

I love to buy local when I can, and definitely hand-made when I can... I'm always on the lookout for local or other hand-made artisans of every type, buttons, beads, fibers (I love finding great yarn/roving bases for dyeing!), or anything else. Drop me a line if you are a hand-made artisan so we can talk :)

OK, so onto the rest of the pattern and pictures.....

I'm very happy with the fit around the wait and hips

Perfect Fall outfit is complete with this quick and cozy knit...

Now... onto the pattern I ended up working out for this sweater. You can find the original pattern here on the web, and here on Ravelry. I looked over Raptwithfiber's notes and then started off on my journey on making it fit for me.

I choose to use two worsted wools held together:
Araucania Nature Wool & Plymouth Tweed
I started with a size #10 needle, but switched to a #9 needle. I would suggest using the #9 for the whole way. I just didn't want to tear it all back out again and thought it would be OK like it was. Knit back & forth on circulars. The edging with the buttons/buttonholes is knit in garter stitch, so you will be knitting the last 6 sts no matter which side you're on (WS or RS).

WindingRiver Buttony Cardigan