saturdays are for blogging

January 21, 2012

i’ve made a promise to myself
that i must knit at least an hour every day
and i must blog at least once a week
because i love myself,
and i love my blog.

i haven’t been doing so well with the knitting every day promise
but i refuse to fail on the bloging once a week.

so i here i am,
setting aside my huge pile of work
to show you some progress.

for a long time now,
i have been admiring the work of spillyjane.
there’s something about her designs that i just love.
if i had to put my finger on it, i’d say it’s her color combinations.
i feel pretty comfortable saying they aren’t typical, and yet,
they totally work.

it’s been pretty easy for me to resist casting on one of her designs.
for one, i have a terminal case of second sock syndrome,
which can easily evolve into second mitten syndrome.
but also, while i love her designs,
i just didn’t see myself wearing any of them.
i love them and thought they’d look amazing on other people.
just not me.

that is until i saw these bad boys.

one look and i was harassing her to publish the pattern already.
(really. i emailed and tweeted her. i was pushy)

a copy found it’s way into my mailbox
and away i went.

here where they stand:
and here are my thoughts:

1) i love colorwork. i. love. it.

2) i love this pattern. i am thoroughly enchanted with the chart. more than once, i have talked to it with a kind of cutesy voice i use to show affection to mo or other adorable mammals. i am not ashamed.

3) i’m glad i went up a needle size. otherwise the mitten would not fit.

4) this does have me worried about row gauge, however. i hope they don’t end up too long. i refuse to do them math to find out.

5) i have some concerns about the thumb construction. i have very strong feeling about how mitten thumbs should be worked. however, spillyjane makes her living on mittens. i do not. i’m gonna let go and let god on this one.

6) the lighter of the contrasting colors could be little more contrasty. however, i did that on purpose. i love the fact that there’s enough contrast to tell that those are skulls without having my mitten scream, “look here! skulls on a mitten!” sometimes my plans work out.

7) i’m knitting them two at a time (on separate needles) in order to avoid second mitten syndrome. so far, it seems to be working. it has instilled in me a kind of “race” like feeling where i can’t let the other mitten get too far ahead. weird? yes. but it’s working.

8) a while ago, i wrote a post in which i listed my concerns about shelter. i decided it was high time i actually tried it out, and the fact that spillyjane used it to knit these mitts seemed like the perfect excuse. now that i’m knitting with it, i have some opinions:

a) i love how it looks. the color is impeccable and the subtle rustic heatheryness of it speaks to the old school knitter in my heard.

b) however, i’m not a big fan of it’s hand when i’m knitting with it. yes, it’s very light, and while i usually love the feel of a wooly yarn, something about this particular blend . . . well i just don’t care for it.

c) it’s also very easy to break which makes me worry about how it will hold up with wear. it didn’t actually break while i was knitting with it. i don’t cut my yarns to switch colors, i just break them. and shelter breaks with very little effort. i’m hoping the fact that the mittens are knit at a very tight gauge will help with the ware factor.

d) i do like the fabric this pattern creates with this particular yarn. it’s knit on much smaller needles than one would normally use. i think it works because the yarn is so lofty. and quite frankly, i feel like shelter would knit more accurately to a dk gauge than a worsted anyway, another reason i think this pattern/yarn combo works with such small needles.

e) i don’t know if d) can be said to be representative of how the fabric will feel for other projects knitted at the recommended gauge.

f) my hypothesis is this yarn would be great for an old school textured sweater, but i doubt i can afford it at this point. american made ain’t cheap!

g) all that being said, when i try the mittens on, they feel comfy and warm. i plan to use them as my driving mitts. i do not regret buying shelter for this project, i think they’re beautiful, and i recommend other people spend the cash to give it a go at least once. but i just don’t see myself buying it again.

9) do you think jared flood will blacklist me for this?

10) have i mentioned i love these mittens?
(i think the back is my favorite part)

i’ve also got this little lovely going:
pattern: spruce forest by nancy bush
i have a serious love hate thing going on with this shawl.
this is the story:

for about a year now, i’ve wanted to design/knit a lace shawl in marine silk sport in my absolute favorite blue moon color way, ‘spruced’. i wanted it to be a triangular shawl and i wanted it to be a kind of ‘tree’ shaped lace pattern. the fact that i am not a designer and don’t yet intuitively understand how lace works meant that i was seriously struggling to realize this dream. then along comes fucking nancy bush and designs a perfect fucking shawl. (i am not above thinking that somehow she stole the idea using some kind of psychic probe while i was in her sock class). i hate that it’s a bottom up shawl and that, because it is, all the trees will point upward exactly as they should.i hate the nupps that make it so fucking adorable and perfect that i can’t help but be delighted every time i purl 5 together on the ‘resting row’. despite the fact that they totally slow me down and are frustrating, i hate that i love them. (and hate that i would never have thought to put a nupp in shawl, even though they are clearly amazing) i hate that there is a solid garter border because i absolutely believe in a thick garter border and bam! there it is.

and god damn i hate that there’s a perfect looking slip stitch edge so that when i have to pick up stitches for the lace edging, it will be a snap.

god damn nancy bush and her perfect fucking shawl pattern!

i shake my fist at you in gratitude, bitch!

i’m knitting this shawl as a present for someone who i really like and i think deserves to have it. really, i shouldn’t be blogging about it, but shit, i need all the material i can get. i don’t have time for secret knitting!

so that’s what’s on the needles bitches.thoughts?

** ps i am thoroughly annoyed with the fact that i am unable to capture the true color of ‘spruced’. it is much greener than the photo, and has a subtle blue hue in it. my guess is it has to do with the silk and sea cell content being all reflective. any help from my photography peeps?

20 Responses to “saturdays are for blogging”

  1. misa Says:

    Snob. Of course you’ll be blacklisted. 😉 I haven’t tried Shelter or Loft yet. I do have the color card and I have knitted with other Harrisville yarn, I wonder how different they are? Harrisville Shetland is rough and has VM in it like people say BT yarn does, it also breaks easily. BUT, it softens really nicely when washed and will wear like iron because it is WOOL. Hooray for Spilly Jane mitts!

  2. Anna Says:

    You have made me laugh and laugh.

    That effing shawl had better be for me.

  3. Nicole Says:

    You are such a good boy. My blog is very, very neglected. But my needles are on fire! I am having a hard time putting them down to post… it just takes too long!

    Your knits are gorgeous. The mittens kick ass, and now I want to make a pair, even though I have eleventy-billion other things I need to make with all the yarn I already have. So I will live vicariously and I very much appreciate the details about their woolly goodness.

  4. Deborah Says:

    Such beauties!

  5. Julie Says:

    Love the yarn bowl! Who makes it?

  6. Natalie Says:

    Nice mittens. I haven’t used Shelter after the first time purely out of a concern about cost, but I loved working with it. I’ve no idea how it wears, so I’ll be interested in how your mittens last.

    I totally get the shawl love/hate. Sometimes I think I’m paranoid for trying to rush a design because I’m afraid someone else will do *exactly the same thing*. Thanks for letting me know my paranoia is not for naught.

    Oh, and gorgeous yarn bowl, of course.

  7. Yvonne Says:

    Oh, how I miss you. I have to say that I’ve not knit with Shelter, but Anne B. used it for a cabled wrap thing (that is also a BT pattern), and I thought that while there was excellent stitch definition during the construction, after the blocking (in which BT has you block the ever living shit out of the wrap), the stitches became flat, even unrecognizable in some places.

  8. spillyjane is phenomenal. she has some amazing patterns, that I would love to knit, but colourwork just isn’t my cuppa tea. I get one strand of yarn tangled easily enough, I wouldn’t want to add more to that mix.

  9. Calvn Says:

    Try doing your Nupps with a crochet hook on the knit. Here’s a video on YouTube on how to do it. I used this technique when I did the Swallowtail shawl and it worked like a charm.

  10. Calvn Says:

    Sorry, I didn’t know the link would actually put the video there.

  11. Anonymous, too Says:

    Well, at least I got the guess at Fair Isle-type colorwork right!

    The mittens look good. They look like they will be very warm, esp. once they’ve been washed. I can’t comment on Shelter’s qualities, since I’ve never used it.

    I’m sure Mr. Flood will not blacklist you as long as you DO buy one of his patterns every so often. Knitting that pattern in 100% Day-glo Crapcrylic might be another story. . .;-)!

    Many photographic processes have a problem capturing blue-green shades accurately. This is why pencils and markers in a specific shade of pale blue turquoise are used for marking up camera-ready copy — the shade won’t reproduce in Xerographic (yes, the copy machines) and similar processes. (That same shade is often used in printing other countries’ currency, because computer scanners can’t capture it.) This could be the reason your camera won’t reproduce the shawl’s color accurately.

    Still, the shawl looks wonderful! Can’t wait to see it blocked. And the yarn bowl is beautiful and appears to be very functional too. Don’t want to panic the manufacturer, but the pattern easily lends itself to all sorts of dinnerware and household items! Where did you find it??

    (PS: Please give Mo some ear or tummy rubs on behalf of one of his fans.)

  12. Sally at Rivendale Farms Says:

    You’re actually the one who introduced me to spillyjane, so I hold you responsible for my fascination with her designs and thought processes.

    1. absofuckinglutely gorgeous
    2. I laughed so hard I spewed coffee out my nose. Off to get the Windex.

  13. Nancy Paris Says:

    You da man. Thank you for your dedication to your blog.

    I am right there with you on the color work thing. I ordered a Shimmer Blue hat and scarf kit and it is coming “the middle of next week”. It might be my waterloo, I am seeing a lot of frogging in my future.
    Thumbs on mittens. I am on my third try with my Voh-gue color work gloves. gr.

  14. Adrienne Says:

    My new catch phrase is “I shake my fist in gratitude, bitch.” Thank you.

  15. Sarah Says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about how easily Shelter breaks re: your mittens. I’ve been wearing mittens almost everyday that are knit out of Shetland Spindrift, which also breaks very easily. The stuff sticks together and gently felts to itself, so your mittens should be fine.

  16. Amy Says:

    Thanks for the honest insight on Shelter. I have been mulling over buying some to make a shawl for my mum (She fell in love with the JF pattern Celes and since she was a New Englander for a good part of her life, I thought knitting it out some Loft would add that extra feeling of being from home) I think I may pick up a skein to test it out before jumping with with both feet.
    Love the skull mittens, I just finished up a Jolly Roger cap for my son and the mittens would make a nice companion.

  17. Audry Says:

    I love your description of the shawl. It does sound perfect. But it’s Nancy Bush, so I’m not surprised.

    As for capturing blue greens there are several things you can try. One is photoshop. Another is to photograph the shawl near things that are blue green. If you take a picture of it near, lets say a plant of some sort, sometimes the greens in the plant will help draw out the greens in the yarn.

  18. Sally at RivendaleFarms Says:

    I just remembered, I did have a photography tip: get Franklin to take the picture. 🙂

  19. […] to design something. i’ve had exactly two design ideas in my entire life and, as we all know, nancy bush stole my other one. this cowl isn’t going exactly as planned, but i still think i like it. if the next part goes […]

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