The Knitted Frau

Adventures in knitting, and other things too.


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Finished some mittens, now on to hats.

So, I’ve finally finished my purple dogwood mittens. There were a few stops and starts, some dumb mistakes made while knitting tired, and one frogging incident, but here they are!

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The pictures aren’t great but I don’t have them with me to rephotograph right now. The one on the right is blocked and the one on the left us not.

They came out a little bigger that I thought they would. I didn’t think the yarn I used was thicker than my previous mitten yarn, but apparently it was by a little bit. Oh well, someone with big hands will appreciate them I hope.

So, I’ve started my first hat of the series. I wanted to stay with the leaf theme and recreate the shape of a really great hat I made for my sister a while ago, so I took a look at the basic design I used for hers and thought about a leaf design that would look good in a circle. Vines? Repeated leaves? A leaf/flower design? LAURELS! Golden laurels, to be exact.

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I had a tiny ball of really pretty golden Madeline Tosh merino left over from a previous project that works perfectly as the leaf color. For the brown and white, I used some really wonderful alpaca I got from a local alpaca farm, Alpacalachin Farm. The yarn is dye-free and incredibly soft. Like, softer than I thought alpaca wool could be. Jen, the owner, knows her stuff. I love that she does not dye her wools. The natural alpaca colors are so wonderful. The white is creamy and radiant and the brown is so warm and inviting, like creamy coffee. I also have some darker brown and black yarn to work with from her farm and I can’t wait to use it. It just feels good to have between my fingers! It’s going to be unbelievable over your ears. Whoever buys these hats is going to be one lucky duck.

I realized with this hat how much I REALLY don’t like working with more that two colors. Messing around with three colors is just so slow and frustrating. I mean, look at the inside of this!

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Awful! But it does look so nice on the outside. I can’t wait to get it done and blocked.

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I have a really cool idea for mannequin heads to photograph my upcoming hats on, and if it works out I think I’ll post a tutorial on it. We shall see. Til then, happy knitting!

Second Fair Isle Pair DONE, Third on the Needles…

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So, I’ve designed, knit, and completed my second pair of fair isle mittens in preparation for opening my Etsy store. I’m very happy with the result, and here they are!

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I have been having a lot of fun designing these mittens. I have been looking at many traditional Nordic mittens and have been trying to get a touch of the traditional in my mittens, while taking motifs from local trees. My next pair will be dogwoods. I’ve just finished the first one:

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I’m excited to get the second one done and blocked! This is also the first three-color design. I think my next pair may be more complex color-wise. I have a little experience with three color knitting, and know what I’m in for. We shall see! I’ll keep you updated on this pair’s progress and the next design.

Cheers!

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Fair Isle Oak Mittens DONE!

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Hello again! I just took my oak leaf mittens off the needles, and I could not be happier! Here is the result:

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The palm side of my fair isle mittens, mid-blocking

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The back of the hand.

It is amazing what blocking can do. I’ve actually never blocked a thing… I just never felt the need. But now that I am doing so much fair isle, I thought I would try it out. The mittens were so puckered and slightly uneven, I figured I had to in this case. And holy cow, all those people who told me I really should take the time were correct.

I had actually blocked the first mitten as soon as I was done so I could see the second one side-by-side. The difference is amazing. Here they are next to each other:

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Blocked and unblocked mittens.

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Isn’t blocking AMAZING?!

If any of you ever have any question of whether or not you should block you project after it comes off the needles, DO IT. It is so easy and so worth it. The fabric becomes a cohesive, professional-looking fabric in 4 small steps. Get it wet, press out the water, shape & let dry. Glorious.

Anyhow, these will be the first item available in my upcoming Etsy shop. Now just 7 more things to knit before I can open it… I’m hoping to be up and running in the beginning of February. I am getting more ideas daily for products. I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

Cheers!

This gallery contains 5 photos


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Fair Isle Mittens, halfway done.

Hello all, and happy New Year!

On the first of the year, after whipping up a few small projects for my little brothers, I decided to get crackin’ on some fair isle mittens. I have been itching to knit a pair of fiddlehead mittens on Ravelry.com after seeing a pair that the owner of Spun Right Round in Cortland, NY made (pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fiddlehead-mittens). Before deciding to start, I looked around at other patterns and came to the conclusion that I’d rather design my own.

I estimated my gauge, graphed out a design, and got to work. This was the result:

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I liked how it came out, but I did make a few beginners mistakes on it. For one, I underestimated the gauge. I didn’t knit a fair isle swatch to find it, and the actual mitten came out way to small for my hand. I could put it on, but I had to fight it a bit. I also didn’t decrease quite right, but I fixed that in my next attempt. The cuff is corrugated rib, and I was thinking it would be too loose so I did twisted rib as well. It came out WAY too tight. I also wasn’t completely happy with the design as there were some lines that came out differently in yarn than I thought they would on paper and I thought I could make a better leaf. So yesterday, I tried again. And this was the result:

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Needless to say, I’m MUCH happier with my second try. I love how it turned out. This mitten is currently being blocked and I just started the second one this morning. I can’t wait til they are both off the needles and dry! I used Cascade 220 in aran weight (I think, I can’t quite remember).

I am thinking of doing a series of mittens along these lines and finally opening up my Etsy store. I’m currently exploring different product ideas, and soon I should be up and running. I’m shooting for the end of the month. I just need to keep knitting like a mad-woman, get a logo designed, figure out how to legally run a small business, get some wholesale yarn accounts set up and orders in. Wish me luck!

So while I’m talking about my future store, does anyone have any advice? Product ideas besides hats and mittens? Words of warning?