A Tale of Two Mittens

July 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

With only two weeks to go until I have to hand in my Bachelor’s thesis, I’ve been experiencing a serious case of startitis. And a bit of finish-it-up-itis, which is nice.

In the course of this, I recently finished a pair of Gryffindor mittens, nothing fancy: I did some corrugated ribbing for the wrist, took the chart from the House Bag pattern, and continued the checkerboard pattern on the palm. They’re awesome and I can’t wait to wear them, but I also learned a couple of things from them, and when my roomie and a good friend of mine both asked for a pair of House Mittens, I figured this might be a good opportunity to document my designing process, on the off-chance that others might be able to learn from my mistakes.

So, I present you with the first installment of:

A Tale of Two Mittens

Part One: Gathering wool. And books, and some more ideas, and general information.

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Alle warten auf den ersten Schnee

November 29, 2010 § 2 Comments

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In unrelated news, my WordPress dashboard informs me that my Top Searches include “glee encourages people to overcome discrimination and bullying”.

Money, fame and fortune never could compete

November 29, 2010 § 4 Comments

Playing with my Macbook, I discovered that uploading my photos from my camera and uploading them to Flickrs was easier than ever, so here’s a long-overdue picture post!

I shall start with today, proceed reverse-chronologically, and illustrate (quite literally) some random items along the way. Yay!

Anyway, this weekend is Thanksgiving weekend as well as the first Advent Sunday, so I decided to throw a Thanksgiving dinner. I might have overdone it slightly…

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… keep in mind that this is for four people! Although somehow, miraculously, we have a surprisingly low amount of leftovers. What was on the menu? Rosemary goose (mostly following these instructions), Burgundy Mushrooms, Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, Buttermilk Biscuits, Cornbread Stuffing, Creamed Corn, Pumpkin Pie, Hard Sauce, and I think that was it. It was beyond awesome, and totally worth the spending two days in the kitchen.

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After dinner, we took a walk along the canal to aid digestion. It’s been cold here the last couple of days, and it’s even snowed – it feels kind of early for snow, but then again, I keep forgetting it’s almost December. Oh, wait, I don’t forget that: I purposefully push it out of my mind. Oh god.

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Incidentally, this was the first time I wore my Vespergyle mitts outside! The right mitten hasn’t been steamed yet and it shows a little if you know what you’re looking for, but I’m absolutely enamored with these mittens: big enough to fit my hands, comfy, Argyle… lovely, just lovely.

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Anyway, the pumpkin pie with hard sauce was kind of the highlight of my evening. Lovely stuff. I really like this photo for some reason.

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In other, less gluttony-induced news, I’ve been spinning! That’s 50g of New Zealand Lamb, dyed by Sandy at Alles Handgemacht, bought at the Bunter November event at the Strickcafé. I bought a bunch of stuff, including two skeins of BFL yarn and some red laceweight, but the thing I love most is this gorgeous 150g skein of merino from Handgefaerbt.com:

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I kid you not, it’s the most beautiful yarn I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how it’ll look knit up, but it’s rich, and subtle, and earthy, and vivid, and soft, and brilliant, and just so, so gorgeous! In every stage of winding, too, which is something I see rarely:

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It’s one of these yarns I’m not sure I’ll ever knit up, because it’s so hard to live up to something that gorgeous.

So, yeah. In other words: nothing new in my corner of the Land of Knitting. I’m trudging along on my Christmas project and getting my instant gratification through cooking and baking. (Two days of cooking are instant gratification?! Somebody help me!)

If I go crazy then would you still call me Superman?

November 9, 2010 § 4 Comments

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As always, I can count on my desk to be a pretty accurate snapshot of my life. Mostly because I just pile stuff on there, pull things that I need from the bottom to the top, until everything’s arranged in a kind of organized chaos.

My life seems to be a pretty even split between knitting and Spanish right now. Which… is kind of what it’s been for the last year, to be honest. Except now it’s more fun and less fun at the same time – more fun because I read books in Spanish now, even if my dictionary is never particularly far – less fun because my Spanish course kind of sucks, for several reasons I won’t go into.

But those rather vague lumps in the picture, that’s top to bottom: Henry scarf (for Adam), Vespergyle Mitts (for me), Watson sweater (tan-colored lump, for me), Girl Friday (grey, for my sister). Featured in the background: Thermal sweater, for me, which I haven’t touched in a while due to, well, the big pile in the middle.

I’ve tried rotating working on them by day, which was a veritable shipwreck due to my project ADD, so I mostly work on each of them every day. Which sounds like I’m getting a lot more done than is actually the case.

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Which is weird, because I’m actually more lazy recently than in a while. I love knitting, but with Christmas at the door it’s mostly a low-level stress factor, along with something that kind of feels like a chore. Plus I have Smallville and Psych to supplement my usual shows, so more knitting time there. Plus I ordered a webcam the other day and it should get here this week, which means I can knit while webcamming with Adam.

And gosh, doesn’t that sound naughty.

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Take a look ahead

November 1, 2010 § 2 Comments

It’s not like I’m not stressed, with Christmas only 53 days away – especially since I kind of randomly decided to knit a Henry for Adam. On the plus side, I’m almost done with the backside of the Girl Friday for my sister, despite my incredible slackerdom when it comes to that thing.

I’d much rather work on Watson (also only about 15cm to go on that back), or the Thermal (started a sleeve, back done, half the front also), or my Vespergyle mittens (halfway up the thumb on the second mitt), or Saskia’s Super Secret Christmas Present (finished, booyeah! but I’m considering making matching mittens). I’m also done with the Brambles beret and scarf, even if I haven’t gotten around to wearing them. I have a feeling I’ll have to run some kind of elastic through the brim of the beret, since it’s pretty loose, but I’ll wait till after I’ve actually worn it.

In conclusion: I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Making progress. Which is important for my sanity, since uni doesn’t exactly evoke the same feeling at the moment.

Also, it’s kind of hard to get really stressed out if the foot of my bed looks like this most evenings.

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Yes, I also got my other roomie to join us on the dark side. She’s making a hat. Which she was half done with, then discovered a mistake two rows down from where she was, and subsequently… frogged the whole thing. And started over. I’m still kind of flabbergasted.

Speaking of flabbergasted. I’m making good on my resolution to go to the knitting café more, and lo and behold. I was just hanging out there on Saturday, very content indeed about just having bought truly luscious yarn for Henry,

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(Bremont Camino Alpaca, fingering weight, 60% merino, 20% alpaca, 20% nylon)

… and then Christine plunked an armful of yarn on the table in front of me. Not just any yarn. Wollmeise.

I tried, for about three hours, to discourage myself from buying one. I failed. Mostly because I didn’t really have any good arguments except for how it was kind of expensive (€17.50 for 150g, which… isn’t that bad, but not that cheap either), but then I had that exact amount in my wallet and that must’ve been a sign.

It was kind of hard to decide, because all the colors were gorgeous. No kidding. Even the ones I usually can’t stand. ALL. GORGEOUS. But I settled on this beautiful green, Grashüpfer, and my photo doesn’t do it justice.

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Also, it’s so tightly twisted that the 150g look like 100g, and you could probably bludgeon someone to death with the skein. Death by Wollmeise. There’s worse ways to go.

Ad-mitt-ing defeat

September 6, 2010 § 3 Comments

A couple of days ago, I started a mitt. It was a thing of beauty, clever and gorgeous on the palm as well as on the top; even the thumb gusset was delightful.

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And even though the outside was great, I loved the inside even more, for all the cleverness and how you could see the pattern reflected in the floats.

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It was also too tight. I’m not really a tight knitter with most things, so it always comes as a complete and utter surprise when I do colorwork and suddenly my gauge pulls in by a quarter and I can’t get anything to fit. And stretched colorwork just looks silly. Not to mention I’d really like to retain blood flow in my hands this winter.

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So I frogged it. Well, down to the cuffs, because surprisingly enough my wrists are smaller than my hands, and the cuffs don’t stretch out. I’m slightly frustrated, but to be honest, not as much as I could be. If Girl Friday and Balmoral have taught me anything, it’s that ripping back to do it properly will pay off every single time.

Oh, speaking of which. Girl Friday?

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I’m wearing it right now.

And my favorite part, even better than the bold pattern, or the huge collar-slash-buttonband I knit no less than four times (yes, four), or the way it fits me perfectly and looks so damn cool… is the little ‘Handmade’ charm Saskia gave me a bunch of last Christmas, hanging proudly on  the edge of my collar  where everyone can see it.

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The more we find, the more we see

August 12, 2010 § 6 Comments

Today, I wanted to start on my paper.

Today, I also I duplicate stitched a P on my Weasley sweater, cooked, cleaned the kitchen, started my first pair of Christmas socks, taught myself two-handed stranded knitting, watched the first episode of Castle and decided I loved it, and… contemplated the meaning of life. Or something.

Damn rain. I’m blaming it all on the rain, and the need for a sweater, and then I pulled out the initial-less Weasley sweater, and it went all downhill from there.

But hey, at least now my Weasley sweater is a proper Weasley sweater. Despite the terrible yarn.

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I swear, if I had the long needle, I would’ve finished the damn Girl Friday cardi today from sheer boredom and procrastinationg. I’m also sick of having it hang around on my chair and mocking me. I wanna wear it, damn it!

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These are the first Christmas socks of the year, and I’m pretty much keeping my trap shut about those on the blog, since I don’t want to risk spoiling the surprise. I’m keeping my knitting restricted to times when I’m alone, etc. All very hush-hush, but I’m having a great time on them. There’s slightly more info on Rav though, so, yeah.

What else… yesterday I turned this

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into this

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with a heavy heart. I put so much work and love into it last winter, but then I had to face the fact that the contrast between the colors wasn’t prominent enough. It looks fine in the photo, but trust me, you had to know there was a pattern to see it. Which is the reason I abandoned it, and that yarn really deserves better. So I ripped it, but I’ll restart the Ruba’iyat mittens with the brown yarn and… I haven’t decided, actually, either white or light blue.

I’m still vaguely stumped by how much I’m looking forward to winter this year. Well, to be perfectly honest, I’m more looking forward to fall, but right now I’m romanticizing winter so much I’m ignoring the fact that especially towards the end of January, it’s my least favorite season.

In other news…

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I have a shawl drawer now. For the laceweight shawls. The sockweight ones still hang from hooks, the scarves hang in my wardrobe, the hats and gloves have their compartment in the sideboard, the socks are in a big box, and in none of these places was space for laceweight shawls. Somebody fucking stop me.

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