Fact: I’m way overdue on this post.
Fact: I’m way overdue on lots of other things (see my ever increasing library fine).
Fact: I’m dealing with it by consuming large amounts of beer and holiday cookies.
Fact: I’m not drinking and blogging… much.
There was a reason why I signed up for this retreat again. And now that it’s said and done, I can add another reason why I’ll probably do it again: Spinning pretty much rules; Judith McKenzie pretty much rules. This retreat was all about color, how we view it, how we use it, which ones we love, which ones we hate, and even learning how to like the ones we hate. I still dislike pink, but that’s not for lack of trying.
Stephanie got us designing and charting fair isle. She taught us about hues and values and how to put colors together in a sensible fashion. Tina, the color genius, got us to sort of embrace our most hated color by using it as a base in at least one of our skeins. Turns out pink isn’t so bad when you combine it with other colors. And Judith showed us how to make batts on drum carders and how to combine colors when we spin. My first attempt at plying at home before the retreat produced some really ugly shit. But I swear, there’s something about spinning and plying in the presence of Judith. All of a sudden your skills transcend into another dimension and you start churning out boucle and other amazing yarns. Also, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t totally excited that she touched my wheel. Yup. I said it. Well, at least I didn’t stutter and act all crazy fan girl like I did last time…maybe.
It’s hard to convey in words what it feels like to be around so many like-minded people. The weekend goes by so fast, too, that it’s hard to even register half the things that are going on. Maybe it gets easier the more you go, but I can’t imagine that it does.
I thought I had taken more pictures, but turns out I didn’t. I posted the rest of them on my flickr page. The photo of me dyeing was taken by Tamara (who if you remember, gifted me some luscious silk at the last retreat). She was also a more diligent photographer and you can see more retreat photos from her here.
I don’t even care that it’s Spring. Weather in the Pacific Northwest is predictably unpredictable with cold mornings and rainy days. I have a feeling I’ll get some use out of these mittens before next Fall.
I wouldn’t recommend peeling oranges while wearing these mittens. Just FYI.
Pattern: Peerie Flooers by Kate Davies
Yarn: Rowan Fine Tweed, in Arncliffe, Muker, Hubberholme, Bainbridge, Nappa, Richmond, and Leyburn (less than 1 ball each)
Needles: US 2 for cuffs and lining, US 1 for mitten body
Modifications: Knit two less bands of flower repeats and added two additional rows at top of mitten to achieve correct mitten length. Used smaller size needles to obtain correct gauge.
Notes: Cast on using Invisible Cast-On, which normally works great for straight projects but it was messy trying to join in the round. In the future I will go back to my tried and true method of provisional crochet cast on using waste yarn. Used Make One Left (M1L) stitch to create increase stitches right after the cuff. For the thumb gusset, I increased by knitting through the front and back loop to avoid the stitches from puckering. Used kitchener’s stitch to close top of mittens. The pattern doesn’t specify, so I did a 3-stitch I-cord for the cuff edge.
Recommend to a Friend:Yes (even though weaving in the ends was a pain in the arse). This fair isle project is perfect because the pattern repeat is simple enough to remember and the yarn is great to work with. Always remember to swatch and pay close attention to your row gauge!
Sometimes when I tell people that I ripped out a whole mitten/sweater/scarf/etc and started over again, people look at me like I’m crazy. Like what I did was the hardest thing every imaginable in the world of knitting. I guess it’s a hard decision to make, but in reality all you have to do is grab one end and pull. Easy peasy lemon something.
No, the hardest part about knitting (I think) is the part right after you stitched your last stitch and right before you adorn yourself with your newest creation. Before you wear anything handknit, you have to take on the mundane tasks of weaving in ends and blocking. Sometimes these tasks aren’t too bad. Sometimes they seem like hell on earth. For instance, this mess of yarn ends…
I love a lot of things about knitting, like detangling yarn, winding center-pull balls, and seaming to name a few… But if there is one thing that I absolutely despise doing, it’s weaving in ends. And, as you can see, these mittens are not without an overabundance of loose ends.
What do you have on your needles? What’s your least (or most, if you really don’t dislike anything, in which case, I think you’re a weirdo) favorite part about knitting? Also, I’m joining other knitters at Tami’s blog for WIP Wednesdays. Head over to see what other knitters have in the works!
Can we talk about shopping for jeans? I don’t look forward to shopping for jeans. It’s really a lot of work, huffing and puffing in the dressing room as you pull on these “skinny jeans”. What the hell are those about anyway? I can never find the perfect pair of jeans that fit my awkwardly shaped body. Jeans have a way of looking good on either my waist, my butt, or my thighs. Never all three at the same time. And they’re always, always, too long. I recognize my unique build and that’s why I hate going shopping for jeans.
Knitting on the other hand lets you control the fit. You make the decisions on how a garment fits you. And when all is said and done, you have a perfectly fitting garment. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Right now, with these mittens, I feel a little bit like Goldilocks.
This one is just a tad too long…
And this one is just a tad too short….
Why the difference in size, you ask? I read many tales on ravelry of these mittens being notoriously long. So, I adjusted accordingly by knitting one less band of flowers. But it just didn’t seem like it was enough. So the second mitten was made with two less bands of flowers (you know, so I could compare). However, as evidenced by the above photo, that just isn’t going to cut it. I have to decide if I should add a couple of rows to the second mitten and adjust the decreases or repeat the first mitten and deal with the mittens being a little bit too long. It’s just that there’s nothing I can’t stand more than a mitten that’s too long. Well, except maybe jean shopping.
PS. If you look carefully, both top bands have only a single flower. You won’t get that if you just omit a single band of flowers from the pattern. I achieved that by shifting all the flowers over by half a patterns worth of stitches (ie 3 stitches). I really just wanted the lone flower at the top of the mitten, because I like symmetry… and unnecessary complications in life.
This weekend in pictures:
Sitting cozy in a warm cabin, knitting and playing cribbage, while the snow fell softly outside.
I started my second mitten (although haven’t technically finished the first) and am close to being done. Hopefully I can get some progress photos and notes up soon. How was your weekend? Did you start a new project? Spend some time outside?