FO: Precipitous Cuffs

The kind of yarn you use matters! I used 2 different yarns to make 2 pairs of Precipitous cuffs on the same needles, and got two wildly different finished projects. -  FO: Precipitous Cuffs  |  withwool.com

I’ve been a little lazy updating Ravelry with project details and recent stash enhancements. Part of the plan for this week is to photograph fiber and update my stash catalog. I’m bribing myself into doing the work with knitting on a fun new project which is working pretty well.  As I was scrolling through my project page, I realized that I’ve never talked about the last few things I made as gifts in 2015. That’s the problem with secret knitting - sometimes it easy to forget to talk about it after it’s been given away and the festivities are over. Fixing that right now. So, here’s the Precipitous Cuffs I knit for my Mom and a friend.  

The kind of yarn you use matters! I used 2 different yarns to make 2 pairs of Precipitous cuffs on the same needles, and got two wildly different finished projects. -  FO: Precipitous Cuffs  |  withwool.com

I had some difficult criteria to match while picking out stuff to knit for gifts. The pattern had to be relatively quick to knit ( I was on a holiday gift knitting deadline); use yarn I already had; and be small enough to pack in a suitcase for the flight to visit my folks. Plus, the recipients had to like it too. Enter Precipitous by Hunter Hammersen. I had a dark charcoal yarn which would be perfect. Partway through this first pair, I realized my Mom would like a pair too. While these weren’t the hardest things to knit from almost black yarn, I was glad to make the second pair in golden yellow. They were both pretty quick to knit too even with all the twisted stitches.

The kind of yarn you use matters! I used 2 different yarns to make 2 pairs of Precipitous cuffs on the same needles, and got two wildly different finished projects. -  FO: Precipitous Cuffs  |  withwool.com
My thanks to @HunterHammersen for sharing this blocking trick. Instead of graph paper, I made a template to get the 5 points evenly spaced and sized. -  FO: Precipitous Cuffs  |  withwool.com

After I’d bound off, I knew blocking was a necessity. There was no way the points would be distinct or that the twisted stitches would pop otherwise. Plus it would help even out the stitches on the increase rows and ribbing. I wasn’t sure how I was going to block these until I saw this neat trick using bottles and graph paper on Violently Domestic. Finding the bottles was the easy part. The hard part printing the 5 pointed star template so I could block both mitts of a pair to the same size and angles. Thankfully, the ink didn’t bleed onto the yarn during the whole process. 

The kind of yarn you use matters! I used 2 different yarns to make 2 pairs of Precipitous cuffs on the same needles, and got two wildly different finished projects. -  FO: Precipitous Cuffs  |  withwool.com

It is so easy to see the difference yarn choice can make on a project after both pairs were dry. The gold pair is made from Knit Picks Gloss, a merino/silk blend, and the charcoal pair is made form Knitted Wit Gumballs Fingering which is 100% merino. I knit both pairs on the same needles and, aside from a few extra rows on the cuffs of the gold pair, the two pairs are the same. Row gauge and stitch gauge are definitely different. The gold cuffs have a lot more drape because of both the looser gauge and blend of fibers. The charcoal pair has body and memory because they were made from a firmly spun wool yarn at a tighter gauge. When I took the pair off the blocking rig it held it’s shape, and I didn’t knit bullet-proof fabric.

The kind of yarn you use matters! I used 2 different yarns to make 2 pairs of Precipitous cuffs on the same needles, and got two wildly different finished projects. -  FO: Precipitous Cuffs  |  withwool.com
The kind of yarn you use matters! I used 2 different yarns to make 2 pairs of Precipitous cuffs on the same needles, and got two wildly different finished projects. -  FO: Precipitous Cuffs  |  withwool.com

Of course I had to try them to make sure they would fit. They both passed with flying colors, and now I’m tempted to make myself a pair. Not sure if I want drapey cuffs or a no nonsense kind of pair. Either way, the pattern doesn’t use much yardage and I’ve got plenty of sock yarn leftovers. Just need to pick out the right needle size and get to knitting. 

The Specs

Pattern: Precipitous by Hunter Hammersen 

Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss - Honey and Knitted Wit Gumballs Fingering - Carbon

Needles: 2.75 mm and 3.25 mm circulars

Dates: November 15 - December 3, 2015

@Ravelry 

Button Back Mitts

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Wednesday night, I heard rumors of approaching snow and was quite skeptical. I’ve heard these tales before but this one actually turned out to be true. When I looked out the window Thursday morning, snow was falling at a lovely diagonal. The flakes were so heavy that they didn’t land. They plopped. Dry snow this was not. Still, it’s snow and I took the opportunity to get some photos of knitwear in it’s natural environment.

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Button Back Mitts by Cosette Cornelius-Bates

Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm) 

Dates: December 29, 2012 - January 17, 2013

@Ravelry

This is another pattern that’s been sitting in the queue for ages. I finally decided to cast on for them the last time it got cold and didn’t have anything wooly or long enough to cover my fingers. Putting these mitts on instantaneously warms my hands. I’d like to think that it’s because I’m using my own wonderful 3-ply handspun (it debuted as the sea a few months back) but it’s probably just the thicker than normal layer of wool. Either way, still great. 

The mitts are also extra special because this is the first time I’ve really knit with my own handspun. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I worried about the gauge. I worried about the stitches being too open where the yarn was thin. I worried about the stitches being too bulky and bulging where the yarn was thick. I worried about running out of yarn since this was the only skein I had. Eventually, I just put those anxieties on the shelf and knit a swatch. I picked the needle size that gave me a nice fabric and got to work.  I kept an eye out for problems and tried on the mitts frequently. Know what I found? Perfectly good yarn that knit up evenly and at a consistent gauge. There were no open spots or bulging stitches. There were no breaks. There was just a good, solid yarn that I would love to knit with again. Handspun, I’m officially and unapologetically in love.

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Back to the mitts. The fact that I could knit them long enough to cover my fingers and fold back the extra fabric when it wasn’t needed is what made me queue these mitts to begin with. Cute buttons don’t hurt either. To get the best coverage and the most out of the yarn, I knit the mitts from the fingers down and completely reversed the pattern. Used the same numbers though. 

While I was photographing the mitts, the snow was already starting to melt and turn to slush. See you next time, snow. I’ll be waiting with handspun mitts.

Knitting Review

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I hope you all enjoyed Christmas or your own favorite winter holiday. I know I enjoyed mine even if I was frenetically knitting right up to the last second and only slightly slower once the deadline passed. In fact, this lone ornament, also masquerading as a pair of mittens, wasn't even started until the 26th. Sill, I'm calling it on time since ye old Christmas bush is still decorated. I did actually finish other things in time to go under the bush though.

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Maddox, Albert, and Beatrice by Rebecca Danger

Who knew that less than a skein of Noro Kochoran, some safety eyes, felt, stuffing, and a bit of thread would make 3 totally different monsters? I could hardly believe they were all made from the same skein. 

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Wee Mushrooms by Ysolda Teague

The mushrooms were a last minute addition to the list but were still pretty fun to make. I used the pattern more as inspiration and made each of the 8 shrooms different. Instead of using coins, I put magnets in the bottom to weight them down and make them stick to random metal surfaces. Playing darts with these things was way too fun.

Also, to make realistic looking mushrooms, just barely stuff the cap and then sew down the center using the end. All the mushrooms I made before I figured this out, look more like topiaries than fungi. I would also recommend listening to this song.

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Windschief by Stephen West

Another last minute addition to the queue and how I spent most of my lunch breaks during the week before Christmas. I didn't finish the cowl until a few days later even though I knit most of it in front of the recipient. He's arguing that it's the best gift of the year which makes all that work worthwhile. 

A pair of KIS mitts, some Spring Cleaning cloths, and a Triforce washcloth made the deadline too.

Besides from an unfinished blanket and a yet to be started scarf, I managed to complete everything even if I did have to shorten that list in the final days. Once I knew something wouldn't be finished on time, I stopped worrying about it and reached for something I could finish instead. Still, the rushing and complete takeover of my free time made the process far from stress free. I knew I'd turned a corner when, reading yet another make this in time for Xmas post, my first thought was, "It's the 22nd, just buy something." With that thought, my 2011 Christmas knit list got a lot shorter. I'm not going through this again next year.

On a better note, Happy New Year! I'll see you in 2011.

Pattern: KIS Mitts

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KeepItSimple Mitts | download | @ravelry |

Way,way back in the beginning of September, I started planning the rest of the year's gift knitting. These were grand plans but I thought I could pull it off. As it turns out, not so much. Part of the plan was a pair of lace wristlets for my mom and she only requested them in time for last Christmas. Up until a few weeks ago, I was under the delusion that Christmas was still far off. There was stil plenty of time for knitting and finishing a pair of lace weight wristlets. All the holiday music at the mall set me straight. Those wristlets? Totally not going to happen. Again.

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Enter Plan B. Around this time I was listening to the 150th episode of the Knit Picks podcast and the end of the episode really struck home. In a nutshell, it said: Christmas with all of its crazy knitting deadlines is not the time to prove that you know how to knit. Stick with something simple that you know the recipient will like. The gift doesn't have to be complicated and it'll be loved just as much as something more complex.

I ran with the idea and sketched up a simple color work pattern. I cast on for a pair of fingerless mitts soon after. The first pair, grey and orange, turned out big enough to fit me. The second pair, grey and gold, should fit my mom. On US 7 needles, they both knitted up quickly and didn't take too much yarn. My mom's 7" pair only took a little over 100 yds for the main color and only 12 for the contrast. 

In the end, Mom gets a Christmas present, the knitting list is a little shorter, and there's a new pattern to knit. Sounds like a good start to Thanksgiving to me. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Snow Cat Set

Usually, I don’t put much stock in New Year’s Resolutions but the start of a new decade seems too powerful not to take advantage of. I have my small list of resolutions but, before I can get started, there’s some unfinished business from 2009 to put to bed.

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Pattern: Snow Cat Hat from Cosymakes.com

Yarn: Patons Classic Wool - Burgundy

Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)

Date: Oct 29-31, 2009

@Rav

I thought the Snow Cat Hat was really cute when I first saw it and I was thrilled when I won the pattern. After some obligatory yarn shopping and during a break from Christmas knitting, I quickly cast on. The hat was a fun, quick knit that I finished just in time to wear for Halloween. The only change was an additional .5” to get one more full repeat of the lace pattern.

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@Rav

Since there was half a skein leftover, I decided to make a pair of matching fingerless mitts. The base pattern is my own with the lace and a similar rib pattern added in. I had just enough yarn to make them too but I was a bit worried over the last few rows.

These hat and mitts have become my go-to set ever since, not only do they match my coat, they also keep me warm near drafty windows. You can’t beat that.