Horatio and Oren Mittens

I’m not even doing any actual Christmas knitting this year, but I’m knitting like I am.  This week alone, I’ve finished 4 projects.  I think my favorite is this pair of mittens.

Horatio and Oren Mittens

Pattern: Horatio and Oren by Barbara Gregory
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Tweed in 5302 (ivory) and Rowan Scottish Tweed DK in 007 (charcoal)
Needle: size 2.5US for the mitten and 3US for the thumb
Gauge: 21 sts = 4″, so larger than the largest adult size in the pattern

Horatio and Oren's Butts

I changed these a bit to suit my fit taste and the yarns I had on hand.  Without even realizing it, I chose an Aran weight yarn for the contrast color.  It looked like it was the same diameter as the charcoal, but it’s nowhere near as squishy.  So, I ended up with a larger gauge and figured I’d line the mittens.

Since the mittens were quite large and I wanted them to stay on well, I cast on fewer stitches (4/5) for the ribbing and increased before I started the colorwork.  They’re actually really comfy like they are and stay on fine, so I think I’ll leave them as they are.

Do you do like I do and use a larger needle for the thumb?  I could see in the pattern photos that the sample knitter had the same issue that I do- knitting a very small circumference makes for a much tighter gauge than knitting a larger one on the same needles.   I went up half a needle size for this pair and could have gone up more.  I went up two full sizes on mittens I’m currently making and that did the trick perfectly.

The pattern is very fun to knit and the product couldn’t be lovelier.  I recommend it!

Tree Cutting

The mittens are shown laid out on our Christmas tree, which we cut yesterday at the coolest farm. The people at Pieropan Christmas Tree Farm practice “stump culture” to grow trees repeatedly from the same stump.  Some of their stumps are more than 50 years old!  Isn’t it strange to see someone cutting a tree that starts at eye level?!  It was so interesting to look at the landscape that’s created by these trees growing on trees.

 

Handspun Baby Clothes

Handspun Outfit of Wooliness

I love it when a fellow wool person has a baby and I can make hand washable baby clothes without worrying that they won’t be loved.  In my book, there’s really nothing better than a fat baby tummy covered in smushy wool, so cover babies’ tummies I do.

I can’t say enough good things about these overalls.  I mean, could they BE any sweeter?  The pattern is clear and simple and the end product is a delight.  After I made these, I was shown a blog post about knitting a crotch gusset, which can only be a good addition, when one considers how much diaper sits in between a baby’s legs.  The more room there, the better.  These are knit at a pretty loose gauge, though, so the fabric is plenty stretchy to function well as written, I suspect.

Handspun Baby Overalls

Patterns: On the Go-veralls and Top Down Bonnet
Yarn: worsted weight 2 ply, 8 oz. and 558 yards- half the skein made both the pants and bonnet
Needles: US size 7 for the overalls and 3 for the bonnet
Size: I made the 6-12 month size in the overalls, but a bit stubby. They’re 16″ tall, including straps. SO TINY.  I made the baby size in the bonnet.

Handspun Patchwork Yarn

I’m really pleased with the random coloring of this yarn. It’s made from scraps of at least 4 different colorways of Hello Yarn fiber.  One ply is super soft stuff like Merino and Rambouillet, and the other is stronger stuff like Falkland wool and Corriedale.  I chose the fibers based on color and had no problems with the combination of breeds. I figured if the shorter fibers puffed up, that ply would just be chubbier.  The yarn was finished gently, with just a soak in lukewarm water and no agitation.  I spun and plied it it a bit loosely, hoping for a light and puffy yarn, which was the result.  The fact that I got a whole pair of overalls and a bonnet out of 4 oz. attests to that!

Handspun Baby Overalls

Oh, hey, and there’s a whole new website!  I’ve tried to move all the important stuff over from the old one, but I did ditch my blog posts from before 2007, as it really wasn’t that interesting back then and I doubt anyone ever looked.  If you notice something that you loved is missing, let me know!  Something happened to the blog categories (as in, they didn’t make the transfer).  I’ll work on that.  All the patterns you used to be able to download from my site are now available only on Ravelry.  You can access them through the Pattern menu above.  It seemed redundant to host them here as well as Ravelry and an informal Twitter poll indicated that pretty much everyone thinks that is exactly what Ravelry is for.

I plan on blogging a whole bunch, including about the building of our new studio.  If you’d like to read about it, you can update your RSS feeds over in the sidebar.

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Combining Colorways in Handspun

Amy from Spunky Eclectic is running a spin-along in her Ravelry group and kindly included David of Southern Cross Fibre and me, as well. The deal is, you spin a yarn combining different colorways, at least one from one of our three shops. I love combining fibers, so hopped right in as soon as I got back from my trip to SPA in Maine, which was totally awesome and all kinds of fun, by the way.

What I thought was just a lark turned into a bit of an education about combining fibers and colorways. I tend to throw all caution to the wind when combining different wools. (I do draw the line at mixing regular and superwash wool, but someday I’ll do that to and report back.) Everything worked out just fine, as you can see. I haven’t knit with the yarns yet, but past experience with mixing wools like I did tells me that there will be no problems. I have lots of older projects kicking around that are made from mixed wools and since we wear our woolens half to death around here, I’m confident these yarns will stand the test of time. How these yarns work for you will depend, of course, on your needs and expectations. If you’re spinning for a fine drapey sweater, by all means stick to a fiber that will provide the yarn for that job. I tend to spin the yarn and find the project later, after I see how the yarn behaves, so don’t suffer from much inhibition!

Combo SAL Yarn & Fiber 1

Left to right: Hello Yarn “Sweets” Polwarth, Southern Cross Fibre “Wide Awake” Polwarth, Spunky Eclectic “Eclectic Jam” BFL/silk

Yarn is one ply of each fiber.

Worsted weight, 374 yards, 6.3 oz.

Mashup Yarn #1

This one was made up of three fibers that were pretty similar in value so that the yarn, while made up of a bunch of different colors, is a pretty steady medium value with no bits that scream “LOOK AT ME!” over the rest of the yarn. The yarn as a whole may be screaming just that, mind you.

Combo SAL Yarn & Fiber 2

Left to right: Southern Cross Fibre “Coorong” Polworth, Hello Yarn “Shaking Leaves” Finn, Spunky Eclectic “Mordor” Corriedale

Yarn is one ply of each fiber.

Heavy worsted weight, 334 yards, 6 oz.

Combo SAL Yarn 2

This yarn was made from one rather dark ply, one that varied, and one rather pale ply, resulting in a crazy mixed up skein.

Since both yarns are 3 ply and I stripped the tops into finger-width strips, the colors are nicely mixed up and distributed throughout the skeins. These will make great socks. :D

Awesomeness:

* If you’re ever in Portland, ME, go to Duckfat. Have poutine. Thank me later.

* After that, go to KnitWit and look at all the Quince and Co. yarns in real life glory!

* My pie plate broke and I found the most wonderful replacement by Roundroof Designs on etsy. It’s wonderfully made stuff and suddenly I feel the need for a toad house.

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