One of the designs that’s been kicking around my head for some time is a pair of convertible mittens in fingering weight yarn so that they’re not super warm and so that your fingers have maximum dexterity. I know I want them to be textured, but I can’t decide if I want to do cables or a simple knit purl design. While I still have to figure out the details of the design, I think I’ve got the gauge and sizing figured out.
Christmas 2012 I wanted to knit a gift for the woman who always hosts our family for dinner and makes amazing delicious food and really just goes all out. Don’t believe me? This is how she sets the table:
Unfortunately, and I say this with love, she has giant hands for a woman. The mitts I made were way too small. They were knit in fingering weight yarn on size 1.5 needles and they were lovely (see them here) but way too small.
Have you ever looked down at your knitting project and thought: why am I knitting this? I don’t remember ever wanting to knit this. I don’t know how this ever made it on the needles. I was thinking that this evening as I was working on my creatively named #08 Cabled Scarf. I started wondering how I ever came to be knitting it in the first place. As far as I remember, this is what happened.
A long long time ago (December 2008) I got my hands on the Holiday issue of Vogue Knitting and must have added the pattern to my Ravelry queue. I must not have loved it too much, because it stayed in my queue mostly forgotten until late 2010. At that point, Knit Picks decided to close out the Robot color of it’s Gloss DK yarn. I decided that I had to have some of it before it disappeared, but felt like I needed a “reason” to buy it.
It is all gift knitting all the time in my apartment. I’ve decided that while I’m at home I should be working on my gift knitting exclusively so that I don’t have to give too many gifts on the needles this year.
My mom is getting a set of BYOBs for her birthday this year (December 21) and as I’ve been working on them, I’ve come to appreciate the construction of the handles immensely. They are so cleaver and so utilitarian.
First, you cast on the number of stitches your handle is going to be and you knit a little strip of stockinette four rows tall.
Next you fold the strip horizontally with the purl sides together so you have a double-thick strip of stockinette only two rows tall. knit across the row knitting each live stitch together with one of the cast on stitches (which, since you’ve folded your fabric is up near your needles. (The pattern has you cast on using a provisional cast on so that you are knitting two sets of live stitches together. This is totally acceptable, but I find a provisional cast on slow and my way gives the exact same result.) Here is my handle strip half knit so you can see what I’m talking about.
The stitches on the right have been folded and knit together with the cast on row, the stitches on the left haven’t been worked yet. Here it is from the back.
(Stitches on the left have been worked together, stitches on the right are waiting to be worked)
Once you’ve finished folding and working all your stitches across you have a double-thick round uber-squishy handle pad. (From the front then the back)
Once you’ve made your handle pads set them aside until you’re ready to knit your handles. Bind off the number of stitches your handles call for. Then on the next round, instead of casting on over the gap as most patterns have you do, simply knit the stitches from your handle pad. The rolled double-thick cushion really makes a difference if you’re carrying a loaded bag. It really cuts down on the way that handles can sometimes dig into your hands and makes the handle feel more substantial and less “fragile” than some bag handles feel.
The BYOBs come out huge, and I think a smaller size would really be more practical as a shopping bag, but even if I don’t make the pattern again, I will definitely use this handle trick on future bags. Genius.
Recently, I’ve been cruising right along on several projects. I’ve got… eleven… current projects and over the past weekend I think I managed to work on 7 of them. Part of the reason I was able to work on so many was that I kept running out of ^*$# yarn. First, I decided to work on the market bag I’m making for my mom.
That’s BYOB by Moria Ravenscroft from the Summer 2008 Knitty. I’m making it with Knit Picks new cotton yarn Dishie. It feels like a great yarn for market bags, dish towels, scrubbies, etc. but I would never make something like a garment with it–too stiff, it would never drape. Soft, but stiff. The pattern calls for two balls of a yarn that is 207 yards per ball for the main color. Dishie comes in balls of 190 yards. As you can see, those extra 34 yards are critical. All I have left to knit are the handles. An emergency ball is on the way and hopefully I’ll have the bag done soon.
After that disappointment, I picked up a project I haven’t worked on in quite a while and got pretty close to finishing.
That’s the Op Art blanket by Melissa Dominguez from the fall 2008 Knitty. (Clearly 2008 was a good year for Knitty). I started this when I first moved to Oregon way back in July 2009. Mostly, I started it as a way to use up the two huge skeins of Carron One Pound I was given by a well meaning family friend. I figured two POUNDS of yarn would be enough to finish a moderate-sized blanket. Imagine my extreme frustration when I ran out of yarn 9 rows from the end. Since the size of the stripes matters, I can’t just stop where I am and bind off. I could go back to the last whole stripe, but I really wanted it to end on a white stripe… My own weird aesthetic. That would mean going back a whole strip and a half and would leave me with quite a lot of left over yarn, thus defeating my plan to use up all the yarn with this blanket.
Ravelry to the rescue. Another kind knitter used this yarn for a project and had about 4 ounces left over. The yarn is coming to me as we speak. I love living in the digital age. I could not function in a world without “the cloud”….. mmm instant gratification, instant information, instant organization.
Had I not run out of yarn on these two projects I probably would have given them each some serious dedicated work and maybe had a few FOs to show for my weekend, but as it is, it was nice to revisit so many of my current projects and get back in touch with why I love them.