Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Love Mittens!

Mitten Blocker and mitten
Clun Forest Mitten pattern by by Carol Huebscher Rhoades in Spin-Off, Spring 2009

I know this is turning into a knitting blog. I didn't really plan on this, and frankly I preferred things around here when my inspirations were a bit more fanciful. But since I've had the shop yarn is pretty much what I do, what I talk about in the podcast and what I work with morning, noon and night. So, since yarn has taken over my life, it's only natural that it would take over the blog. I'll try to start thinking about some other things, though, so as not to be too obsessive. And boring!

The mittens above are done, blocked with the delightful mitten blockers I talked about in the last post, and have been much appreciated during the wintery weather we just keep on having here in Meadows of Dan. After a few days of blissfully warm weather in which I made an idiot of myself trying to wash a fleece, we had another ice storm on Thursday that kept Greenberry House closed on Friday. This entire weekend has been drizzly, foggy and now rain is falling. Great day to curl up with the cats and knit. But since I'm at work, I'll just stay cozy behind the computer and watch the world splash by.

Tweed Beret and Clun Forest Mittens
Tweed Beret by Kristen TenDyke, Interweave Knits Accessories 2009

I love the mittens and the pattern, which has a sort of architectural flare on the cuff. I'm not so happy with the hat, made in the same lovely yarn from Foxfire Holler Farm. It's not the designer's fault; my gauge was way off. I thought it would be smaller rather than larger, though, so I added some stitches and it turned out huge. I took it down to Spin A Yarn when we went to record the podcast with the intention of frogging it. Three expert knitters vetoed that idea at once. So I brought it home and followed their advice, which was to "stomp it" to full it. I did, standing in a big bucket in the bathtub while reading the entire "Knight's Tale" from The Canterbury Tales. You'd think that would shrink it, huh? Nope, it grew! To 13 inches around. So I threw it in the dryer for a couple of rounds and got it down to 11 inches. It's still not the perky little beret I had planned and Ron still says it looks like a potato sack but I've been wearing it. Cozy and the yarn is beautiful. Maybe I'm just not a perky beret kind of girl.

I had better luck with the Tahoe hat by Jill Smith-Mott in Spin-Off Winter 2009. This was done in scraps and left-overs from other projects, which is very satisfying. I also finished blocking the subway mittens mentioned in the last post and I'm very happy with the way they turned out. Natalie says it's a good thing I fixed them, as the picture of the unblocked mittens in the previous post looks like I'm making a rude gesture!

Green and Gold Yarn
Lovely Linda Handspun Yarn

I'm trying to clear the wheels for two big projects: I want to spin the CVM fleece for Ravelympics and also have to spin 300 yards of black angora as a special order. So I was glad to finish up this hand painted roving I bought last summer at Coffee Buy the Book in Pulaski, Virginia. I know lots of people that know Linda Akers, who raised the wool and hand-dyed the roving. The colors are lovely and I really enjoyed spinning it. About 260 yards in a sport weight and it's for sale at Greenberry House. Now I'm busy spinning up a Mystery Bump from Still River Mill that Chris gifted me with on her last visit. I think it's also going to be lovely.

New books!
New (to me) books!

My aunt in Connecticut sent riches! Barnabas leaped into the box as if he thought the books were for him, but he's shown no interest in literature since I took them out. I have a stack of mysteries and other great things by my reading chair and I'm longing to dive into Rex Stout and Sharyn McCrumb. But they will have to wait for a little while.

I've just started another project that will be cutting into my knitting time. In 1997 I helped create a Shelor family history book that has been out of print for years. Now that technology has advanced, the family and I have decided it's time to do a second edition. So I've been busy scanning photographs and typing. The first chapter is done: thirteen more to go, plus indexing. Why do I always think I'll catch up during the winter?

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