After a few unusual days of warmth we’ve had quite a thaw in Madison. Most of the snow is gone from our streets and yards, so it was quite an experience to feel the chill come back in full force and to visit a frozen lake.
It was amazing to see such a big body of water frozen, and to see ATVs and people out in the middle of it! But I am glad to be safe at home and back in the warm. Which is always a pleasant experience when you have plenty of wool around.
This is Cascade Eco + in Lichen for the first of my IntSweMoDo2011 challenge, a seamless saddle shoulder sweater (a la Elizabeth Zimmerman) for my Dad. It is a popular one on Ravelry and I totally understand why, this is probably one of the best work horse yarns around. With nearly 500 yards per skein it is super economical and knitting with bulky yarn means this will be a speedy project. Knitting up a sleeve in a day means I don’t feel bad casting on another very small project before starting the body.
Stonehedge Shepherd’s Wool is a yarn I stumbled across when looking for something for my sister-in-law. It is made by a small mill in Michigan and is a wonderfully soft worsted wool. Perfect for the Thermis cowl I’ve had my eye on for some time. The colour should go nicely with my Ringwood gloves, finished just in time for the return of the cold.
Even though it comes year after year I am always amazed how overwhelming the holidays can feel. Thanksgiving week included both Dougie’s 2nd birthday and a trip to Chicago to see David’s sister and her family. Despite us all being sick with cold we had a wonderful time. The knitted gifts went down a treat, and I even managed to squeeze in a quick Turn a Square for my dearest nephew.
My only complaint would be that it was too brief a visit, though I suppose that is always true with people whom you love and never see enough of. Coming back home took a lot of adjusting. Dougie gets quite attatched to people and is affected by separation as much as us adults. With any luck we hope to be seeing them all again very soon.
November was a surprisingly productive month (though you’d never tell from this blog *cough cough*) and I managed to finish Cobblestone for NaSweKniMo. It was a spur of the moment decision to make it a goal, but it really kept me going through all those rows of garter stitch in the round! An early solstice present that was finished just in time for the snow.
I loved knitting this, but then again I don’t mind endless stocking stitch as long as it’s in the round. I even made sure to do several swatches, which was good because I had to knit this on 3mm needles to get gauge. The Harrisville Highland is a remarkable yarn, it bloomed and softened up a lot after a good soak. I’ve read that it’s a yarn that won’t pill and I’m hoping it lasts for many years to come.
I have a lot of hopes and dreams for this jumper. I hope it will be worn when we get our first chickens. When he chops down his first tree. That it will last through rainstorms and winters. It’s a jumper knit with a different lifestyle in mind, and one I hope will hold a lot of memories.
For now we will keep dreaming of that life and that place, and it will keep him warm while the snow falls.
Have a couple of hours of spare? Some spare worsted weight yarn? A pair of small hands that need warming? Then you have to knit these.
While snow still seems a long way away (it’ll prove me wrong) the days are getting chilly enough to warrant gloves and mittens. Desperate to use some of my Cascade 220 stash these extra-toasty mittens use yarn doubled, and are so quick that I finished them over the course of one movie. Talk about instant gratification.
These are his first mittens and his first truly snowy winter. He seems to approve of them too, proudly wearing them (and nothing else) and demanding a trip to the park. They will be perfect for those sledding, snowballing, and hot chocolate days to come. I enjoyed autumn immensely but am equally excited for winter to come this year.
(Um, take 2?)
I knit very loosely, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My hands stay very relaxed and I can knit for hours without any fatigue. But getting gauge can be a terrible pain.
I bought this Madelinetosh Worsted (which is really a much lighter DK weight) from a fellow blogger and Raveler to make Ringwood gloves for my mother. The colourway, “Kale”, is a beautiful blend of purple-grey tones dyed in a salt and pepper effect. It is great to knit with, but I am having no end of problems with my gauge.
The pattern suggests 24 st/4 inches in the ringwood pattern and the designer used 4mm needles. I am reliably loose so I always go down one needle size. I started off with 3.75mm, then 3mm, and am now down to a 2.75mm which makes the name “Madelinetosh worsted” sound like a cruel joke. Luckily my mother’s hands are larger than mine (which are like a small child’s) so I’m hoping I will have success this time around.
If I was a tight knitter I’d have more options, you can always size up more easily than size down, in my opinion. Which is why sock knitting is more a chore than it really should be. When I go down to size 00 or smaller my hands give up.
Which is why I will make sure the next project I knit will be made on reasonable sized needles.
Thank you so much for the get well wishes, after a bit of rest I feel back to my normal self and projects have been flying off the needles.
With barely a yard to spare I managed to finish Idlewood with only 760 yards of Rowan Cashsoft Aran. Thank goodness for blocking because it was very nearly a crop top. It’s still a little on the short side and I am sad that it doesn’t have the pocket, but all the more reason to knit another one.
It was such a surprisingly quick knit, about a week from start to finish. The Cashsoft yarn is warm and soft as a kitten, I’ve even survived our first freezing wintery days wearing it with my autumn jacket. While knitting I found it funny that the cowl is almost bigger than the rest of the garment, but I love snuggling up under it. Plus, it looks cool.
I declare it the ultimate autumn layering garment, and will still be wearing it long after the snow falls.
It’s always refreshing starting a new month, and already it is a far cry from the lingering summer warmth we had in October. Most of the leaves are gone and it is decidedly chilly but no less beautiful.
These early evenings give us a chance as a family to take walks as the light fades. So perfect for taking atmospheric photos.
It’s also perfect for knitting cozy giant-cowl pullovers.
Idlewood is one of the patterns I fell in love with the moment I laid eyes on it, and managed to buy yarn for it during the crazy cheap Fabric.com sale. Unfortunately I miscalculated yardage. Instead of 850 yards, I bought only 760 yards. I could do without this sort of anxiety while knitting something I so desperately want to wear.
I also have a few goals in mind for the new month.
- Ringwood Gloves for my own mother in gorgeous Madelinetosh DK
- Hat and mittens for Dougie
- Ripley for me in Quince and Co Osprey
- Fingerless mitts for David
- Spend more time knitting than Ravelry
- No more yarn! (for November)
Back in the days before Ravelry things were so much simpler. You had to buy a pattern book or magazine and wait for the next issue. The downside to the instant gratification and endless supply of patterns online is that I am constantly in search of the my next project and the queue starts to heave and stash accumulates. Eventually things get so old I don’t even want to knit them anymore. By keeping myself knitting and not surfing I’m hoping to get more done, buy less yarn, and simply enjoy making things. We shall see.
With only days left in the month I completed Habitat, my fifth finished object of the month.
The finished project is fantastic, I love the cables and the polished look the decreases give, but my hands really suffered from this one. I’m not sure if it was simply the tension of all those cables but I felt wrist pain near the end of this. David’s already requested one for himself, but it’ll have to wait until I’ve done a few mindless knits in softer yarn to recooperate. I think the colour and pattern will look great on my brother-in-law.
Overall, it’s been a very productive month. I have finished:
- Andrea’s Shawl for my mother-in-law
- Drive-Thru for Dougie
- Scrap-happy Celebration for David
- Lovisa Armwarmers for sister-in-law
- Habitat for brother-in-law
I didn’t manage to finish my Socktoberfest socks, but I did learn something valuable: I hate knitting socks. I love wearing handknit socks, but I get so bored after the first one. To save myself time and anguish I will never knit socks again (watch me forget in another month).
We also managed to visit some awesome places this month, and I feel we made the best of the Indian summer we had. It’ll be sad to go back to our “normal” routine.
For November I am going on a yarn diet. My stash is not huge, but I definitely have more than I can get through at the moment and feel I treated myself more than enough in October. I hope to knit some more gifts before December, but also something for myself for a change. If I can manage to go a whole month without buying ANY yarn (even sale and sock yarn) I will consider it a great triumph.
I love that after two days of very leisurely movie knitting I end up with something as lovely as these.
These Lovisa armwarmers should be just the thing for my gardening sister-in-law. While I think they turn out to be drapey and rather elegant knit in a sportweight yarn as intended I really like the snug warmth when knit in Cascade 220. The brown and cream colouring reminds me of traditional nordic ski sweaters and hot chocolate with marshmallows. All that’s left is to find the perfect pair of buttons to finish them off.
Mitts are so nice in that they gives you total freedom of movement in the fingers (great for knitting or planting fiddly seeds) but keep your hands warm at the same time. I am very tempted to knit everyone in the family a pair of these.
And just what is it that I’m knitting? The next in my line of holiday gifts, something for my brother-in-law.
Jared Flood’s Habitat hat using Blackberry Ridge medium weight silk blend in forest green. Blackberry Ridge is a fairly local mill that prides itself on sourcing wool from the midwest. I bought this at the Woodland Studio in Stoughton and couldn’t pass up such a local yarn, with plenty of yardage. With any luck I should be able to knit this hat and a cowl from one skein.
The pattern is one that I’ve been coveting since it’s come out. I am a sucker for cables, despite the extra work involved. Unlike the mitts this is not a project for mindless movie watching, as I found out after having to start over twice. Now that I’ve got the cables started properly it’s going very smoothly and am feeling like a gift knitting machine.
After nearly a whole month of uninterrupted sunshine we’ve finally had a typically cloudy, chilly, rainy autumn day. To be honest, I am thrilled. It is perfect pie weather, and it just has to be pumpkin.
My failed pumpkin pie a while back must have just been a sign that it was too early for autumn baking. This time everything went without a hitch. I used the recipe from “The Art of Simple Food”, a really easy and genuinely tasty rendition of the classic. There aren’t any bells and whistles with this recipe, and it really lets the pumpkin sing. I’ve been particularly lazy this year and ended up using Trader Joe’s organic canned pumpkin, but it wasn’t any worse for wear.
I also couldn’t resist starting another project. Something about socks feels more monotonous than even knitting a large sweater. Maybe it’s the tiny needles, but I had to break my own commandment and start a little something to keep me going.
These are Lovisa armwarmers knit up using some leftover Cascade 220. I had to modify them slightly due to gauge, but they are a beautiful and satisfying knit. I finished the first in a matter of a couple of hours while watching a film. They are a gift for my garden loving sister-in-law. Something cozy to pull on while feeding chickens or pottering around the shed. Now, I just need to find the perfect buttons to go with them.
I am pleased to say that the temperature has finally dropped enough here in Wisconsin to pull out the sweaters again. With a choice of either fair trade cardigan or the drive thru my little boy proudly chose “Mama knit jumper!”
It still takes a little sleeve rolling but otherwise it fits like a charm and should last him through the winter into spring. We’ve already received a few nice comments on it, but what I love most of all is how he runs around shouting “Mama knit!”. What more could a mother ask for?
If I made this again I’d love to use something a bit softer against the skin, like Rowan Cashsoft Aran since he does complain a bit about the itchy collar. Not annoying enough to stop him running around, playing in leaves and having toddler fun. I am so looking forward to many cooler days to come, just so we can put this on.