Handspun Susie’s Mitts

Yay! I made these a few weeks ago, from yarn I spun from that llama-fiber batt I got at the local fiber festival, but I was too busy with work to post them then. The pattern is Susie’s Reading Mitts, and it’s free! My friend Shayda brought a Susie’s-Mitt-in-progress along to the fiber festival, which is how I learned about the pattern, so it shouldn’t be surprising that it came to mind when I was spinning this yarn.

Here’s the finished yarn before I knit it up:

I named it “Under the Apple Boughs” after Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas, which is one of my all-time favorite poems. I love how rustic the yarn looks, and the splashes of color among the brown just sing spring to me. I was worried that it would come out scratchy, based on how ornery the fiber was to spin, but it’s very, very soft!

I had these mitts in mind the whole time I was spinning the yarn, but when I finished it, my “good sense” told me that I didn’t need another pair of brown mitts, since I already have one. So I started knitting it into a scarf, but after a few days of scarfage I just could’t take it anymore and ripped it out to make these like I’d wanted to all along. Good sense be damned!

The pattern is really easy, once you get your head around the hemming at the top and bottom. I whipped these up in about three days! The pattern calls for DK-weight yarn and size 5 needles, and my yarn was definitely fingering weight, so I planned some adjustments. I wished I had size 3 needles — I only had 2 and 4 — so I decided to knit the size medium on 4s even though my hands are definitely size small. But even with the smaller yarn and needles, it rapidly became clear that size medium was too big! This is partially because my hands are very diminutive, but I think it’s also because the pattern, as written, has more ease than I really wanted. (I wanted, like, no ease.) In retrospect, maybe I should have switched to 2s and continued knitting the medium — since these are a little loosely knit — but what I ended up doing was staying on 4s and knitting the small. Which came out just right!

Yay, spring flowers! In just a day or two I’ll be back with some pictures of a new pair of socks — this is what happens when you get behind in posting!

Spring Lace

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Ah, spring lace. My skinny Elm Row has been a real between-projects project; using up leftover yarn from my Orchid Lace Mitts (seen below) and picking up the slack between other, more ambitious knits.

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I was going to get to the Orchid Lace Mitts eventually in my flashback series, as I finished them about two weeks before I started this blog, but at the rate I’m going with those flashback posts it was going to be a long while. And I wanted to photograph them together with the scarf, anyhow.

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Yes yes, how charming. The yarn is Fearless Fibers Laceweight Merino, in the Brunette colorway, and it was fantastic. Both patterns are from Anne Hanson, and they are lovely. I knit the mitts over winter break and found the lace interesting, but not so difficult that I wasn’t able to watch movies with my family & my visiting boyfriend — Return to Oz in particular is forever associated with knitting them. I had quite a bit of yarn leftover, so I decided to cast on for a skinny version of Elm Row — the pattern calls for four repeats of the lace pattern, and I only did two. Near the end, it became clear that I really could have cast on three, but I rather like the scarf long and skinny, and it’s more decorative than functional in southern California anyway. I began my Elm Row while on a Buddhist meditation retreat, thinking that my increased powers of concentration would benefit such a complicated lace motif, but it didn’t turn out to be nearly as complicated as I thought. It’s only a 10-stitch lace pattern, and while there are no all-purl “rest rows,” 10 stitches is still not so much to keep track of that it’s impossible to do in front of the TV. There were occasional bouts of tinking and swearing, but I never had to do any serious frogging. Here are some close-ups of the stitch pattern, on the blocking board and in the wild:

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What’s still giving me guff is my orange Woodsmoke Sock. I ripped out the whole thing (I only had about 3 inches done) and started over again with the aid of my brand-new chart keeper, but it still requires much closer attention than a TV knitter is capable of paying. It’s spending some time in the naughty corner at the moment, but I may work on it in the car over my impending spring break. What’s at the top of my priority list right now are some socks for the boyfriend — I’m not going to link to the pattern right now because he reads this blog, and though he’s going to see me knitting them I want him to be at least a little bit surprised by the finished product!

ETA: I have just discovered a Ravelry group for “Knitters Who Like to Knit While Walking and Singing Sea Shanteys.” What?? I am tempted to join said group, but I think that would make me a poser. They appear to be serious, with discussion threads on topics such as “best clothing for walk-knitting.”