Hey -- it's not a mitten!

It's my birthday today! Here, look at a tam!Moreover, it's a tam that has two things going for it -- it went up in two days and allowed me to cull the Noro Kureyon population in my stash. That yarn -- of a long-forgotten and indeterminate colourway, and if you know which one it is I'd be happy to hear it -- had been hanging around for ages. The contrast colour is good old Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in Golden Bark. I love how the warm tone of the Golden Bark adds richness to the otherwise too-saccharine-for-its-own-good Noro. If I was getting married next week I would go with the bright blue and bronze colour combination that's happening on the underside of the tam. I'd also have peacock feathers everywhere (and actual peacocks since we are currently operating in the realm of fantasy,) but that's beside the point.

I did the tam in this morning while (ostensibly reading) and obviously listening to Andrew Bird's new record Noble Beast. Mr. Bird is almost ridiculously talented! I have tickets to see him this spring, and oh my crap, the show can not be two full months away, can it? Yes, it can -- I have no choice but to endure. This is helping immeasurably:

I've cast on for a new sock today as well. Pictures will happen later when there is more sock to see. But yes, it's another of my own designs.

The best part about today being my birthday is that in a matter of hours I'm going to be staring down the loaded barrel of a table covered in Korean BBQ (and bi bim bap. Can't forget the bibimbap.) If only every Friday could be so lovely!

NaKniMitMo, pt. 12: The wrap-up

What a month for mittens -- and what a great KAL! I'm pleased to report that NaKniMitMo was my first true (and successfully completed) KAL, and I had a great time participating. I finished my Bloom mittens this morning:They took me one week exactly, from start to finish...and I had more than enough yarn. I'm always worried that I'm going to run out and I never do (this is a very good thing!)

Those of you who keep track of such things will note that I've bottomed out at 3 1/2 pairs of mittens this month:Of course, that's a family portrait of Bloom, Give A Hoot, Wurst and Bavarois, all together at last.

So that's it for me for NaKniMitMo 2009 -- somehow I think seven mittens is plenty. Plus, I'm almost out of January! This is not an entirely bad thing as 30 January is my birthday.

Don't be fooled just because I cast on for a tam today -- there are more mittens on the way. You're shocked, I know.

NaKniMitMo, pt. 11: It gets WURST

It's out! Go on, do your Wurst!Now you can have your meat and wear it too! Happy little sausages trail down both the front and the back of these unconventional mittens. Pick the pattern up here on Ravelry or here in my Etsy shop.

Want more Wurst-info?

The pattern is a clear, concise, 4-page .pdf file with large charts and images which I will send via your PayPal email address as soon as I possibly can!

Size: Women’s Medium (or any hand that is 8” in circumference.)

Gauge: 9 stitches = 1 inch (2.5 cm) in Stockinette st.

Yarn: One ball of Knit Picks’ Palette (231yd / 50g) in each of the following colours: Suede (Main Colour -- MC,) and Salsa (Contrast Colour – CC.) Alternately, any other fingering yarn in these colours or colours of your choice may be used. A 15” piece of waste yarn of the same weight in a contrasting colour to hold the thumb stitches is also required.

Needles: One set of five (5) double pointed needles in US 1 (2.25 mm) or size necessary to obtain gauge.

Notions: A stitch marker to mark beginning of round (optional,) and a sewing needle to weave in ends.

Skills Needed: Knitting in the round, chart reading, twisted stitches, colourwork, and grafting.

I expect to finish my Bloom mittens today! Look out!

NaKniMitMo, pt. 10: The home stretch

NaKniMitMO may be almost over, but there's still time for one more pair of mittens!I finished the first of the Bloom mittens the other day while reading and listening yet again.

Here's the palm:I tweaked several elements of these mittens, but I won't bore you with the list here (unless, of course, you'd like to be bored by the list, in which case I will be more than happy to oblige.) The important thing is that I've already cast on for Bloom mitten no. 2, and that if all goes well it will be finished long before the 31st.

In other mitten news, I am going to attempt to release Wurst today. Fingers crossed!

NaKniMitMo, pt. 9: You know you want it

...or at least I hope you want it."It," of course, being the pattern for Bavarois. Say it with me now: "bah-vah-wah!"

Bavarois is an elegant pair of sport-weight mittens with an elaborate (but shockingly straightforward) Bavarian twisted stitch motif running from cuff to fingertips.

You can get it, of course, here on Ravelry, or here in my Etsy shop.

The usual suspects:

Size: Women’s Medium (or any hand that is 8” in circumference.)

Gauge: 6 stitches = 1 inch (2.5 cm) in Stockinette st.

Yarn: Two (2) skeins of Filature Lemieux Québécoise (210yd / 100g) in colourway 84 or the equivalent amount of any other sport weight yarn. A 15” piece of waste yarn of the same weight in a contrasting colour to hold the thumb stitches is also required.

Needles: One set of five (5) double pointed needles in US 3 (3.25 mm) or size necessary to obtain gauge.

Notions: A stitch marker to mark beginning of round (optional,) a cable needle (also optional,) and a sewing needle to weave in ends.

Skills Needed: Knitting in the round, chart reading, twisted stitches, cabling, and grafting.

Oh, and the charts are large and clear and have been meticulously colour coded for ease of reading. The charts in black and white were making me go cross-eyed! What this means is that the charts are there to make your (possible) introduction to the Wonderful World of Bavarian Twisted Stitches as painless as possible. Just another of the Spilly-services that we provide here at SpillyJane Knits.

NaKniMitMo, pt. 8: Wurst mittens ever, among other things

Wurst is history:Look at all those happy little sausages dangling down the mitten! If you're hungry for your own pair, watch for the pattern's release the week of Sunday, 25 January 2009.

Of course, there's another pattern in the works, and this one is coming out this week:Yes, it's Bavarois (which hasn't been officially added to the Ravelry pattern library yet,) which might be my most-photographed pair of mittens ever. I just can't get enough of that colour! Here they are next to my current favourite beverage (Perrier with lime) served in my current favourite glass (from Ikea's Busig series) sitting on one of Heather's quilted coasters (I told you I used them, lady!) I can not wait to get this pattern out there -- I am still in love with these mittens!

All Bavarois aside, I don't think I could have picked a better day to finish off Wurst because look what arrived here today:It's Riihivilla's Aarni Bloom Selection -- a sort-of mitten kit meant to be combined with the Bloom Mittens. Of course, a big selling point of the yarn (for me) is that the purpley reds you see above have been dyed with cochineal. I've been mad for cochineal ever since I read Colour by Victoria Finlay, so you can imagine how excited I am to have the chance to work with this yarn. I can see this stuff becoming a...habit.

To oblivion (and beyond)

The swatch (from yesterday has grown. It might even be uglier than it was yesterday.I keep telling my brain to shut up about the aesthetic value (or lack thereof) of the swatch. There is no point in getting attached to how it looks at this point in the game, since when it's all over it'll look nothing like this (hopefully it will look like a handmade bag that you would be happy to carry on your arm. We'll see.) All I know is that I have to knit it BIG so I have lots of "it" to play with once it's fulled to within a half inch of its life.

That's the part I can't wait to see -- the post-fulling. I want all those crazy slip-stitch garter stripe ridges to meld into each other until the finished fabric looks like a tangled, tweedy mess, and just thinking of it is exciting. Now, it's been a long time since I've messed around with fulling garter stitched fabric, and I just hope it works as well as I remember. I can't see why it wouldn't, really.

All I know is that whatever this swatch comes out looking like, either pre- or post-fulling, both my brain and I will make do with what we're given. Yes, we are throwing caution to the winds and knitting A Something that might turn out to be Nothing Like We Pictured It Would Be. This is half the fun, right?

The other half of the fun is the fact that we're using up the bits of yarn that aren't large enough to do anything else with, meaning we're going to have to repopulate the stash with new utility yarn. I think we can handle that.


What I'm supposed to be doing:Clockwise from top: sewing the ends in Helgi's mittens (aka. Nana's birthday present this year, and I'd better get moving since the party is in a couple of hours;) finishing that first Wurst mitten; sewing the ends in and writing up the pattern to Bavarois.

What I'm doing instead:Knitting a large, random swatch that I am going to abuse in several interesting ways until it does what I want it to do (and I'm still not quite sure what that is, but I'm fairly sure it will be some sort of bag, case or pouch.) The results will be liberally applied to my Etsy shop. This is serendipity at its finest!

Now I have to go sew ends in. Fun.

NaKniMitMo, pt. 7: The slow process of sausage-making

Wurst mitten no. 1 plods on:As you can see, I'm well past the thumb (that's that red/green stripe on the left-hand side of the mitt) and I'm closing in fast on those finger decreases. So why does it feel like this mitten is taking forever?

I know that colourwork actually seems faster than plain knitting, and it's true -- it seems that every time I stop and glance down at my work there's a whole new row of happy little sausages smiling back up at me. It just feels slow for some reason.

As far as I can recall, I have experienced this effect once before -- with Swedish Fish, of all things. Now, I suspect that that's because both mittens feature a simple, very short (row-wise) motif that's easily memorized and quickly worked. As such, I suppose that the problem is with me expecting the mitten to grow at a crazy-fast rate (as opposed to the normal rate, at which it is currently growing.) Combine the two together and there you have it -- one slow seeming mitten. At least, that's how I see it.

Do you think the KAL would let me weasel out of knitting Wurst no. 2 immediately after no. 1? Or should I just force myself to get it out of the way while I have the chance (and no excuse?)

I have ideas for other mittens! Let's see if something comes of them!

NaKniMitMo, pt. 6: Everything is orange

I finished my Bavarois mittens last night! KALs are good for me, see?It feels so good to have knit both of them right in a row. Half the time when knitting mittens I knit the first one and then just make up excuses about why it doesn't need a mate. But since I plan on wearing these (and yes, because it's NaKniMitMo,) I'm feeling particularly efficient (or masochistic, take your pick,) so full pairs are the order of the day.

The pattern for Bavarois should be available in the next couple of days, for those of you who are waiting for such things. You will be notified!

Has anyone noticed that practically everything I've knit lately has been orange or gold or at least a warm shade of beige? This is easily spotted if you take a peek at my Ravelry projects page. I have no idea where this sudden orange obsession is coming from or how long it's going to last, but I suspect it's far from over just yet. Unsurprisingly, there is much orange yet lurking in my stash (I looked.)

Which leads me to my next NaKniMitMo mittens:Meet the new mittens (working title: "Wurst.") Because I just can't bear to live in a world where stylized sausage links have yet to appear on colourwork winter wear, and I know that some of you just might feel the same way, too.

NaKniMitMo, pt. 5: first one done

The first Bavarois mitten is history!This means it's time to start the second one, a prospect that is not seeming all that bad. Usually I run from second mittens, having (most likely) burnt myself out on the first one, but these ones are different. The nice stretch of plain Stockinette on the palms takes the edge off all that twisting.

Here it is flat:I was going to go with a gusset thumb but I bailed at the last minute. Going with a peasant thumb is another one of the small mercies that these mittens have to offer. They're not so bad!

If you're eyeing these hungrily, I am happy to report that I'm in the process of writing up the pattern. I mean, if anyone wants it.

NaKniMitMo, pt. 4: Bavarois!

The new mittens grew a bit today -- look!They've also acquired a name: Bavarois. Yes, that's a a dessert -- here's a recipe. Yes, I would like to try some.

Back to the mitten. I am in serious danger of actually finishing this mitten tonight! At the very least, I will polish it off tomorrow. And then...the second mitten. Wow, if there's one thing that this NaKniMitMo KAL is good for, it's getting me to actually knit the mates to my mitts. This is not a bad thing! It's nice to put a project "to bed" every once in a while!

NaKniMitMo, pt. 3: Bavarian delight

So now that the Give A Hoot mittens are behind me, I've moved on to my next pair. "Big needle mittens" won out over "little needle mittens," but as far as I'm concerned, "big" is a subjective term. To me, 3.25 mm is a BIGNEEDLEMITTEN that I can cram a crapload of pattern onto. Observe the fruit of today's labours:This is as far as I got on my new mitten pattern this afternoon. What you're looking at is the cuff of a mitten that is going to end up sporting a whole lotta Bavarian-style twisted stitches. This technique, if you're not familiar with it, features a lot of very tiny, very twisty cables which just happen to be the tiniest, twistiest, loveliest cables you can find on any side of the Black Forest (the Black Forest being where all those hams and cakes roam free.) I, for one, am impressed that I made it this far into a twisted stitch pattern this quickly, even if I was a little twitchy afterward. It's not so bad, and definitely worth the results.

And yes, for those of you who are fans of eyes on owl mittens, I dug through the button stash today. Is this better?Please note that the eyes are not actually attached to the owls, but they should be soon.

NaKniMitMo, part 2

It turns out that I wasn't just playing the wishful thinking card after all, because finished my Give A Hoot mittens today:And, since I finished the second mitten (incredibly) in one sitting I now actually know how long it took me, from cast on edge to tip of thumb! The grand total is four hours -- while reading (and listening; yes, I am a Jane of many talents.) The point is that the first pair of NaKniMitMo mittens is done and now I can move onto one of my own (new!) mitten patterns.
The question now is "big needles or little needles?", as I have a pair of each in the works, but have yet to start either. "Big needles" will go up faster, but "little needles" is colourwork and that just flies off the needles once I get started. I'll have to see what I'm in the mood for.

ETA: Ah, but are the Owl mittens only truly complete when they have button eyes? This is the question!

NaKniMitMo, part 1

Never let it be said that I'm not up for a good ol' KAL from time to time, especially when that KAL involves mittens. Ok, those of you who know me well know that there's no better way to turn me off a pattern than a KAL, replete with deadlines and stress and other fun things like that (why does the Mystery Stole 3 KAL of a couple of summers ago come to mind?) This one, however, is different, mainly because nearly every month is NaKniMitMo around here. A whole month devoted to the celebration of the mitten? I didn't have to be asked twice!

I have a wealth of mitten projects lined up for this month (yes, including TWO NEW SpillyJane patterns,) and so far I'm moving along at a good clip. Let's see how many I can bang out in a month!

Just last night I started Give A Hoot and this afternoon I polished off the first mitten:I suspect that this is a new personal best for me: a mitten in less than 24 hours, with eight of those taken up by sleeping? Amazing! Oh, the things that are possible when one is using 5 mm needles and not teeny 2 mm ones. But a mitten in less than a day? I can get used to this.

With any luck, the mitten's mate should be turning up in some form (hopefully completed) tomorrow. Watch, now that I've said this, I won't even make it past the cuff. We'll see!

Also: check the new user pic! Check it!!