Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Mittens

I have conquered thrummed mittens. I started this mitten three different times. On the second try I probably had half of it done, then realized it was going to be a couple sizes too large, so I ripped it all out and started again. I could probably still go down one more size, but they'll be fine as they are.

The pattern I was given was for a double knitted mitten to be worked on on two needles. Knitting the hand wasn't much trouble, but it got more complicated when I got to the thumb. I had no directions on how to knit it flat and join it to the body, so I knit it on double pointed needles and sort of made it up as I went along. It was a feat of sheer perserverance and patience to knit the thumb with the thrums inside.

Here is a pile of thrums waiting to be knit into the mittens. I tear off a wisp of wool from my roving, fold the ends to the middle, and then twirl it between my fingers to sort of felt the middle. That did make them easier to work with.

This is what the mitten looks like on the inside. All these little wool bits will eventually mat together and form a nice, soft liner.

The other mitten is now well underway, and felted mittens are next on my list. My good friend Sherry is also going to show me how to make a pair of mittens from an old sweater and some fleece, a two-layer mitten that sounds incredibly warm.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Knitting Nights

Yesterday it flurried off and on for most of the day here in Maine. By late afternoon it was snowing more heavily, and this was the landscape this morning when I woke up--about three inches of snow on the ground. The leaves haven't even finished falling off the trees yet. In the seven years we've lived up here, I can't remember that it ever snowed this early in the season, and I sure hope this isn't a precursor of what winter is going to be like this year.

I haven't worked on my September Sun any more this week, but I have been doing some knitting. November marks the beginning of a new challenge in my Knitting Nights class--mittens. We are making two styles, mittens with thrums and felted mittens. For those who may not know, thrums are tufts of unspun wool that are knit into the mitten. On the outside they look like little colored V's in the pattern. On the inside, all the fluffy bits of wool are exposed, and eventually they'll all mat together and make a nice thick cozy mitten. This is the beginning of what will be a thrummed mitten. ......Actually I suppose this looks like the beginning of a sock too.

October was more a month of knitting rather than quilting finishes. I finished up this little yellow sweater from the September class, size 1T. We've done baby sweaters before, but this was knit from the top down, all in one piece, all on a circular needle. The idea behind the top down sweater is that when you're done knitting, you're done. No seams to sew up. I LOVED this method.

I also finished the fishtail lace scarf I started in class several months ago, made a nice thick scarf for one of my sons, and made a beanie for the other one. Now I'm working on a beanie for my husband along with the mittens.

The burgundy scarf was a trip to make. My son wanted it really long so he could wrap it around his neck, so I used a super bulky yarn and size 13 (big) needles in a K1, P1 pattern. The fishtail lace scarf took weeks for me to finish. I knitted 6 feet of the burgundy scarf in 4 days. I had so much fun with it I may have to make one for myself.

Who'd have thought I'd be needing hats, scarves, and mittens in the beginning of November?

Did you know you can wind a whole ball of yarn on your thumb? As a beginning knitter, I recognized that I couldn't knit from a hank because it would get tangled, but I had no idea how to wind a ball of yarn. The automatic winders are silly expensive to me, so I googled it and discovered several methods for accomplishing the task. My favorite was this one. The idea here is to wind it in such a way that you can pull from the center of the ball when you're knitting, which I think is just so cool.