The Knitted Frau

Adventures in knitting, and other things too.

Busy Hands

Leave a comment

Ahhh… so, since my last post I got married, went to Maine on my honeymoon and am currently settling into married life! It’s pretty fun. And it’s so nice that things are settling down… turns out planning a wedding is a lot of work that cuts into my knitting time. But it’s all over now (did I dream it?!), I have a lot of time on my hands and a lot of work to do, so back to blogging!

It seems like every year about this time my hands get extra busy… It is, after all, Christmas knitting season! Time to buckle down and make my needles fly.

I have, however, been pretty busy before today. 

One of my brothers (the middle one) has never gotten a hat from me. If you asked him, it’s because he’s the middle child and no one ever does anything for the middle child. Everyone ALWAYS forgets the middle child. Boo hoo. Very sad.
So, for my poor neglected brother, I designed the very first ReagaNation hat. (FYI When you come from a family of nine kids which came from two families of 9 and 6, you basically are your own nation.)

Here is is, in all it’s glory:

Image

And on the inside of the brim, there is this surprise!

Image

 

I had a lot of fun designing and knitting this one… all those color knitting books I have on my bookshelf paid off! I looked through a bunch of them for pattern inspiration.

The yarn I used was Berroco Vintage Chunky in Oats, Chana Dal and Pumpkin. It is a super soft & squishy wool blend that can go in the washing machine, which is great since he is currently going to ranger school. I have a feeling that thing is going to need a serious washing in about 3 weeks. I had enough yarn left over to make him a quick neck warmer, too! Ranger school gets cold, I hear.

Even before I started designing that hat, I finished my new brother-in-laws wedding stocking! The two of them turned out great. I used the same pattern that I created in Excel but switched the colors. All the yarn was Cascade 220 colors, with a few random yarns thrown in from my left-overs from different projects. Image

Image

Here is both of them together:

Image

 

I have two other stockings to knit for Christmas presents, and I can’t wait to start designing them!

I just got started on a pair of mittens for a Christmas present, which are coming out great! I designed the pattern for my meditation teacher. One of his oft-used sayings is “you can’t fight the waves, but you can learn to surf them.” It rings pretty darn true in life, so I used that as my inspiration for the mittens. I’m using (again) Cascade 220 colors. That yarn is perfect for fair isle with size 5 & 7 needles. I keep trying different yarns thinking they won’t be that different, but (shocker) they are. The Cascade yarns make such a light, soft, and flexible fabric. Good thing they are everywhere. But I digress. here is the first mitten:

Image

It’s not blocked yet, so forgive my dimpled fabric.  I just cast on for the second mitten today and can’t wait to get those puppies blocked and send them on their way! (Do I really have to wait til Christmas?)

Oh, and did I mention that somewhere in all of that flurry of knitting I knit MYSELF a hat?! It’s crazy, I know. For all the things I make, I have nothing nice for myself. Every time I start making myself something, I get the idea that it’s time to experiment on the fly. This, inevitably, means that the final product is oddly shaped, a weird size, or generally less desirable than what I give away. (Does anyone else do the same thing?) It’s all very depressing for me. Until a few days ago!

Image

I indulged on the Maine honeymoon and went to Halcyon Yarn in Bath, ME. My honey-buns helped me pick out some Peace Fleece yarn for myself, which was so much fun! I’m so used to shopping for other people. The next day, we were aimlessly driving around Norway, ME and stumbled upon Fiber & Vine. It is a little yarn shop that also sells really good wine. No, I didn’t make that up. Yarn AND wine in that same shop. WHAT! I was in heaven. HEAVEN.

We ended up taking home a bottle of mead, The hubbster picked out a delightful bottle of hopped mead from Maine Mead Works and some yarn for a future pair of mittens for him. I found some really cool yarn on the (really great) sale shelf by Jojoland Yarns. It is a “Rhythm” colorway in Red Blue Berry, and it matched my Peace Fleece perfectly! I used it in the pattern above the brim and love how it turned out. Luckily I bought 2 skeins so I can play with it some more!

So, yeah, I’ve been productive lately. And it feels so good! Soon I’ll have 2 stockings, at least 1 pair of mittens, and who knows what else to show you. Til then, happy knitting! And I’ll leave you with this face, from my tiny awesome nephew:Image

 

Lovies!

 

Advertisements

This gallery contains 0 photos


3 Comments

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!

20130126-151358.jpg

20130126-151410.jpg

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.

20130126-151920.jpg

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!

20130126-152807.jpg

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

20130126-152959.jpg

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…

4 Comments

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!

image_2            image_1

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:

image_4             image_3

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!

This gallery contains 5 photos

Fair Isle Oak Mittens DONE!

3 Comments

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

fair isle mittens, mid-blocking

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

image_3

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:

image_2

Blocked and unblocked mittens.

image

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


Leave a comment

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:

IMG_1279[1]                        IMG_1280[1]

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:

IMG_1296[1]        IMG_1297[1]

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?