Syllabus

I’m teaching three classes at the yarn shop this month. The first is a class to help people get started with the Dream In Color Club kit for October. Each month in the fall and winter, Dream in Color releases an exclusive yarn and pattern. The shop I work at has decided to do a class for each of the projects to help people with any tricky parts of the pattern. This one involves a provisional cast on and grafting, so that will be the focus of my class.

This is their promotional picture. I only got the yarn 9 days before I’m supposed to teach the class, so I’m frantically knitting, but I don’t have any pictures.
The next classes I’m doing for the month are stranded knitting and intarsia (offered as one 2-part class.) For the stranding class I’ve decided to focus on mittens since they are a relatively small, low commitment project. I gave my students the choice of Winter Twilight Mitts (which I’ve made before), Douglass Mittens (which I will show you friday), Freja (still need to whip one up), and Cotton Reel Mitts which look like this:
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Since this is destined to live at the shop as a store sample I only made one. As you can see, it’s a bit oversized on the hand model. That is a combination of the fact that the hand models are freakishly tiny (not even children have hands that slender) and that the pattern seems to run a bit big. Looking at all the pictures on ravelry, these look a little roomy on most people.
I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that Ysolda suggests a US 3 needle for fingering weight yarn. I have small hands, so if I wanted to make a pair that fit me, I would probably drop down to a US 0. If you have large hands you’ll be fine as written. For an “average” hand I would probable drop down to a US 2.
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They are also meant to come down your forearm a ways which the hand model doesn’t allow for.
The yarn I used is Spud and Chloe Fine which is a seriously good yarn. It’s 80% wool 20% silk fingering weight. These colors are goldfish and anemone.
As always, Ysolda has thrown in some amazing construction elements. These start with a 7-stitch i-cord that forms the bottom of the cuff. You then pick up stitches from the loose stitch in the back of the i-cord to begin knitting your mitten. This snugs up any looseness and leaves you with a great double-thick cuff.
I would absolutely make myself a pair of these (on smaller needles) if I wasn’t so buried under other projects. Oh, did I mention that the new knitalong starts on Friday?

New Pretties

Hi! Remember how I blogged every single day in January and siad how it was challenging but fun and I wanted to blog more often if not every day… well turns out if I don’t have some sort of deadline or mental challenge kicking me in the butt every day, I can get a bit… let’s say “distracted.”  Partially, it’s just that my knitting has been really boring.  All I’ve really done is finished these:

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I’ve showed them to you several times at various in-progress stages and until I finished them I was basically putting in 10-15 rows a night and not working on anything else (damn school taking all my knitting time.)  I didn’t really want to show you a picture every day of my next 10 rows.
These are Winter Twilight Mitts by Laura Rintala which is a free download through Interweave’s Knitting Daily.  They are supposed to look like trees (that have lost their leaves) in twilight, but I have had several people tell me that they can’t see the trees.  The lighter color is the trees and the darker color is the night sky as seen through the trees.  I think the problem is that some people are looking for the trees in the negative space.
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I had a bit of a problem because the pattern assumes that you will use a very dark color for the trees (like black) and a sunset type color for the background (like reddish-purple.)  Because of this, the cart for the pattern charts the trees in black and the background in white.  Since I was using a light color for my trees and a darker color for my background I had some trouble reading the chart and inverting the color associations in my head.  Something to keep in mind if you want to make a version with light trees.
The yarn I used is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light.  I used this yarn for the first time on my shawl from the Westknits Shawl Club Sharktooth.  I loved it and ran out and bought some for these mittens so that I would have a chance to knit with it again.  The lighter color is Antique Lace and the darker color is Clematis.  The colors are so deep and the yarn is so soft.  And it’s a single-ply and I love working with single-ply yarn.  It’s jockeying neck and neck with String Theory Caper Sock for the title of “Melanie’s Favorite Yarn.”

Most of a mitt

My Winter Twilight Mitts have been trucking along nicely.  All that is missing from the first one is the ribbing at the top of the thumb.

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My Christmas gift to myself this year was an iPad.  One of the best apps I’ve found so far is GoodReader.  It is a PFD reader and editor and it is great for knitting patterns.  I can “mark up” a PDF of a pattern, highlight the size I’m making, or follow along in my chart.  I can draw a line on the chart and move it as needed when I complete a row.  It’s been so helpful for keeping my place as I pick up and put down this project.
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Since I can’t really watch TV while I work on these, I’ve been taking them to knit-chat or working on them while listening to an audio book.  I just finished listening to the Hunger Games and loved it.  It’s very similar to Battle Royale (which I also loved) plot-wise–bunch of kids forced to fight to the death by a ruthless government.  If you don’t like violence/are squeamish I’d advise against picking this one up.  Otherwise it’s totally enthralling from about 20 minutes (couldn’t tell you in pages) onward.  I really want to start the next one, but it’s only available in hardcover (don’t like buying hardcover books) and I don’t get my next audible credit until the 22nd.  Resisting the urge to just buy it anyway.  I got the book per a recommendation on the Yarn Harlot’s blog then 2 days later learned they are making it into a movie.  I can’t wait to see how true they stay to the book.  They did a great job with Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, so I have a bit of faith in Hollywood right now.