Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Clearing the backlog...

Eeesh! I keep intending to write various and sundry things up in a blog post (or two)... so get ready for a major mish-mash : )

1. Pay It Forward

Last month (I'm a little behind here) I sent out little gifts to the first 3 knitters who expressed interest when I posted about Pay It Forward way back when. In addition to some snickerdoodle cookies, I sent Leslie (and her kitty Perry!) two felted catnip mice:


...and Jenn and Sarah each a snowflake washcloth:


I think they all enjoyed their gifts : ) Here are the details:

Felted Catnip Mice Kitty Knits: Projects for Cats and their People by Donna Druchunas (very generously given to me by Laiane)
Berroco Jasper, color "Copper Silk," 100% Fine Merino Wool (98 yards / 50 g per skein), 0.22 skeins (for gray/brown mouse)
Morehouse Merino Gator Yarn, color "Chartreuse," 100% Merino Wool (220 yards / 57 g per skein), 0.19 skeins (for green mouse)
US 10 (6.0 mm) double pointed needles

Originally, I knit up a gold mouse and a green mouse. Here they are pre-felting. Aren't they cute together?

Moana wonders who steamrolled the mice.
Bug cannot believe he's modeling mice destined for some other cat. Humph....

Upon hand-felting them in the sink, I discovered that I hadn't... ahem... read the label of the yarn I used for the gold mouse very thoroughly. Evidently I am extremely stubborn, because it took me a good 20 minutes to accept that the floppy yellow critter I was alternately beating senseless in a bath of soapy hot water and shocking under cold running water was indeed made with (gasp!) superwash yarn. Doh. I'm a genius - what can I say?

Henceforth, this little guy continues to look pretty much like this (except a little "rattier" due to all the agitation):


Because the mice are a quick knit (and I wanted Perry to have a pair to play with!) I decided to use the leftovers from my husband's hat to make another. Here it is pre-felting


Both the mice felted wonderfully. Because I think they're so cute, here are a few more photos:


And now for the washcloths:

IMG_2307.jpg unblocked
IMG_2318.jpg blocking
IMG_2384.jpg blocked
IMG_2397.jpg backlit
IMG_2592.jpg both together!

Snowflake by Norah Gaughan
Pakucho Organic Cotton, color "cream," 100% organic cotton (88 yards / 37 g per skein), 0.75 skeins (for "Cream" colored cloth)
Bernat Organic Cotton, color "Hemp," 100% organic cotton (84 yards / 50 g per ball), 0.6 balls (for "Hemp" colored cloth)
US 6 (4.0 mm) Knitpicks Options circular needles (for "Cream" colored cloth)
US 5 (3.75 mm) Knitpicks Options circular needles and dpns (for "Hemp" colored cloth)

I knit the first one ("Cream" colored version) back and forth as directed, but for the second one ("Hemp" colored version) I went down a needle size (to achieve a denser fabric) and converted the pattern for knitting in the round to avoid having a seam. I thought both yarns were nice, but I especially enjoyed working with the Pakucho.

2. The Knitter Project

Months ago I signed up to participate in the Knitter Project, Elizabeth's ambitious senior project. Here's a short description of it:

"The Knitter Project is a collaborative effort by nearly fifty knitters from all over the world. Each knitter has been asked to knit tags into their work, and write a short journal entry on each tag. The finished pieces will be a rich self-portrait of who knitters really are."

Here is my contribution:


Marsan Watchcap by Staceyjoy Elkin
My own handspun yarn, color "Denim," made from Ashland Bay Merino (~100 yards / 90 g per skein), ~1 skein + some unplied singles held double
Berroco Jasper, color "Copper Silk," 100% Fine Merino Wool (98 yards / 50 g per skein), small amount for stripe
US 6 (4.0 mm) Denise Interchangeable circular needles and double pointed needles

I made the smaller size. My cooky thick and thin yarn made a very dense hat. It should be nice and warm... though I haven't gotten to try it out yet because it was mailed off to Elizabeth in Philadelphia : ) While knitting, I started to get concerned that I wouldn't have enough yarn, so I added a stripe of Berroco Jasper (the last of the leftovers from my husband's hat). It turns out my fears were justified, as I ran out of yarn with a few rounds to go in the crown - however, I had a bit of unplied singles of my handspun left over, so I held that double and was able to eek out the rest of the hat : )

IMG_2039.jpg the fiber
IMG_2163.jpg the yarn
IMG_2727.jpg isn't perspective fun?

As you can probably tell, I had to work to keep Bug from biting the tags.

3. A Little Gift For My Spinning Mentor : )

I thought the very generous woman who helped me get started with spinning deserved a little gift. Originally, I intended to spin some fun yarn and then knit something out of it for her. It wasn't happening... so I decided to make her something with millspun yarn from my stash that looked like handspun yarn I would like to make.

On Ravelry I had noticed a (free!) pattern for simple yet beautiful fingerless mitts in a broken rib stitch - so that is what I made.


Bainbridge Mitts by Amy Goodstine
SWTC Karaoke, color 285 "Intensity," 100% Fine Merino Wool (109 yards / 50 g per ball), 0.75 balls
US 3 (3.25 mm) double pointed needles

I made these pretty much as directed, however my gauge was way off initially, and I made one huge mitt before I fully comprehended this (luckily it fits someone I know, so I'll be making it a mate soon). I love the yarn... and you can bet I'll be trying to spin up something like it soon.

Speaking of which... this sounds like a good segue into:

4. Spinning Update

I spun up the 8 ounces of gray Icelandic wool that came with my spinning wheel.


Although I plied the singles last night, I haven't gotten a photo of my 2-ply yarn yet.

I went to the bimonthly meeting of the Nutmeg Spinners Guild on Saturday. I took my wheel with me and got a bit of spinning done. They had an interesting program and a number of great local/regional vendors (as well as a hoard of wonderful spinners - it was so nice to meet you guys). I bought spinning fiber from two of them.

Some soft and springy hand-dyed Cormo from Foxhill Farm (Lee, MA - no website):


The individual fibers are so fine and crimpy it's hard to actually see them. (I'm having great fun trying out various types of wool - it's amazing how different they are!) I've already started spinning some of this up:

IMG_3063.jpg Bug looks on...

I also bought these lovelies from The Painted Sheep:


The white and the blue/green/amber/burgundy mix are both Bluefaced Leicester while the fiber in shades of green is a lovely mix of alpaca, merino, and silk. I look forward to spinning them all!

5. Knitting Update

The Andrea Dogwood Blossom Wrap for Schaefer is coming along. Here it is about 20% done:


I made nearly all of the first Endpaper Mitt, but decided it was turning out huge (except for my cast on edge, which was too tight).


I didn't have a set of 5 dpns of the right size, so I ended up ordering this set from KnitPicks. Even though I've got to rip it out, the mitt gave me some good practice with two-handed stranded colorwork (which is slightly easier for me now). I'll get back to this project soon.

The Endpaper Mitts were meant to be a warm up for more colorwork, so while I was waiting for the dpns to arrive, I went ahead and started Norah Gaughan's Serpentine Coat from Knitting Nature. Here's a photo from the book


I am making a shorter "sweater-length" version using the same yarns called for in the pattern. I decided to convert the pattern for top-down knitting in order to make the body fit well (I'll be able to try it on as I go), so I started with the ribbed collar and have progressed into the yoke:


I wasn't daring enough to knit this in the round with steeks (I also thought it would be hard to try on, which defeats the purpose of knitting top-down), so I'm learning how to do two-handed stranded colorwork on the "wrong" side, too.

...........Ok, that's (more than) enough for now. I have a few more things on my mind, but they'll have to wait until my next post (which will hopefully be sooner than this one was)

Have a great week!


Disentangled said...

Great projects as always! And those little mice are too cute!

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

Busy, busy! You have been quite the knitting machine recently...and Bug seems to have mastered the "I'm so over you" look;)

sulafaye said...

Whoa! Those mice are the cutest, and I can't wait to see your beautiful new Norah sweater (although with this much goodness I should be satisfied for a little while, right?)

Tammy said...

Wow! All of your work is always so beautiful! I can't wait to see your Norah Gaughn sweater!!!

jennsquared said...

Wow. You sure are busy!!!! All the projects are awesome, as always!

Plum Texan said...

Your Knitted Stuff on My Cats photos always make me smile. Great mice, too!

SJ said...

Wow, you've been busy! (Or maybe it just seems that way, all condensed into one post, but still.)

Those mice are adorable! Would it be weird to knit some for myself? (I don't have a cat, or even a dog.)

Jenny said...

That's quite a bit of backlog! I love those little mice. And, Yay! Painted Sheep is one of my faves! :)

Queen of the froggers said...

Love the mice, your handspun hat, and the yarn you are spinning! Bug looks great as usual too :)

Lisa said...

Those mice are really cute!

I've admired that coat from Knitting Nature for a while. Looking forward to seeing your finished one - it looks great.

Marlena said...

Those mice are too cute! I like your cats' cat bed too. :)

Jana said...

All of your projects are gorgeous! I want to try that snowflake washcloth, it's so pretty. And I can't wait to see how the serpentine sweater comes out!

Michaela Dollar said...

Wow! You've been busy! Your hand-spun yarn is turning out really great. And I LOVE the mice!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful knitting, as always! And your spinning is divine!

Sunflowerfairy said...

There's a Second Sunday Spinners meeting at Dudley Farms in Guilford this Sunday at 1pm. I guess it's turning into a little fiber fair too, there's going to be a small selection of vendors.

Great job on everything. Foxhill Farms has amazing stuff. I always spend way too much money when I see them anywhere.

LizKnits said...

Wow... you have been busy! Love those little mice. Isn't it amazing how the smallest things can be such nice FOs.

Kasia said...

Love your projects! But Mice are my personal favourite! Lovely work, like always!

Deenz said...

I just love how the brown and blue look together! And, at least with the Endpapers? You now know that the blues are definitely contrasty enough, also!

Laiane said...

Your mice turned out beautifully! I haven't been able to make mine look round and plump after the felting, stuffing and sewing up, but thankfully my kitties don't seem to object.

As to spending 20 minutes attempting to felt superwash yarn: Knitters are a tenacious, stubborn bunch of people. I'm sure I would have done the same thing, and tried beating it with rocks, too.

Knittymuggins said...

Wow! You've been so busy! Everything looks great and I can't wait to see more of your handspun :)


wildtomato said...


Nice looking yarn and FOs! Thanks for the International Cat Hat suggestion and pictures. I think Greaseball would make a very attractive Mongolian wrestler.

Madge said...

Such a busy grrl you've been. Whew. Gotta say those mice are super cute, and the Dogwood Blossom lovely.

Aah, you're so inspiring!

Beth said...

Right when I start to look at your pics, my low battery light flashes so I WILL BE BACK! Before I go, please pop by the blog. Could you or someone you know help me solve this pattern at my blog? Your are much better at knitting than myself and I just can't make heads or tails of it. I don't have knitting pals online (except one woman) and would just be grateful for a translation of this pattern. I can't figure out how many pieces, if I cast on (doesn't mention it), or what size needles to use and I feel like I'm either missing something or completey batty. I'll be back. Laptop now beeping at me!

Beth said...

I took the time to read and look at all your beauitful photos before posting. I just have to say, I'm always left speechless by your talent -- both with knitting and photography. I'd love to learn to spin one day, but I really want to become a better, more intelligent knitter first. lol

I also want to thank you for helping me with the irish fisherman's knit sweater. I have been banging my head against the wall for weeks with this one. My e-mail address is perfectneurotic at yahoo dot com. Thank you again! I'm so excited to actually understand this pattern!

SzélsőFa said...

Beth (as above) has suggested visiting your site. I have no talent for knitting nor am I wishing to pursue it in the future, but your photos and work with knitting is simply delicious.

Those mice are so lovely they would surely fit as a toy for kids. Or souvenirs for adults :)))

Cheers from Hungary

Oiyi said...

I love the mice. So sute! And your Bainbridge Mitts are lovely. Thanks for the pattern link!

MRS MJW said...

The mice are GREAT and such beautiful kitties. I'm going to have to post pics of my kitties now.

Anonymous said...

Holy moly you are a busy gal!

I love all of your projects! I don't know if I would want to wash my face with those pretty wash cloths.

Your spinning is gorgeous! What kind of a wheel do you have? A Lendrum?

beth (big geek)

Laurie (Moo!) said...

That's a whole lotta update! The coat collar looks amazing. Mice are really cute and Bug is a great supervisor. Very pretty mitts and washcloths.

All together - Beautiful!