Sunday, November 30, 2008

Knit Lit

I have a respectable collection of books related to knitting. I have a small shelf dedicated to it - I have Vogue Knitting (required reading for how-to's), three Elizabeth Zimmerman's and an assortment of Nancy Bush, Meg Swansen, Alice Starmore, Gladys Thompson, Sally Melville and more...just to give you a sense of my appetite for knitting content.

I have been knitting since 2004 (somewhat fanatically) and I have just learned about a whole new genre of reading related to knitting (new to me that is) - murder mysteries set in a knitting environment. Once I stumbled upon it, there's so much out there. Truth be told, I was unaware of the number of murder mysteries with a theme.

Pins and Needles by Monica Ferris - I love murder mysteries/detective stories and this was good. The book takes place in my hometown - Minneapolis/St. Paul - so I liked that. There was a shop called Crewel World in the book, which sounds great. I wish I had a shop like that...there was an antiques roadshow vibe when someone's will was being execute and enjoyable characters. I picked up two of these at the library and will start the other one later tonight (Framed in Lace).

Most overrated book I have read lately - in any genre, knitting related or otherwise is Friday Night Knitting Club. Gadzooks, this was soooo telegraphed. I can get into a sappy story, but this was a really obvious story. The review said 'just like Steel Magnolies', so I knew what I was getting into, but I just didn't like the main character that well. I didn't dislike her, but liking her was critical to this story being effective. I even imagined Julia Roberts as the main character - because of the Steel Magnolias review and because I had heard she'd attached herself to the film version of this book - and that didn't even help. I knew what was going to happen, but it didn't stop me from groaning when they got around to the inevitable end.

There as many more knitting related mysteries by Monica Ferris. I also see some by Mary Kruger. And then there are the mystery bookstore mysteries, the chocoholic murder mysteries, coffeeshop murder mysteries....who writes all of these??? who reads all of these??? I am sure I will burn through many of these and then move onto to something new.
Work in progress:
Knit Down, Made to Measure Jumper from Sally Melville

Needles: Clover circs, size 8
Yarn: Cestari in blackberry

I've made this sweater before from Nature Spun worsted and it is a quick knit. I've had this Cestari in my stash for awhile and was wondering what to do with it. I am curious to see how this washes and wears. It has a rough feel to it, but I've read on other blogs that it gets softer after washing. If that's the case, I will make the cobblestone pullover in Navy for my husband. I picked up this yarn at $4/skein when my LYS marked it down for a quick sale.

And check out the great beer in the background of the photo. Ommegang Chocolate Indulence - wow, this was an amazing treat - dark chocolate, dark malts, a fruitiness to it. Chocolate and beer lovers - this Belgian treat is for you!

I am still working on the Sea Mineral Mittens below and they are going quickly. The pattern is available for free on Spillyjane's blog. My second mitten looks better than the first. It has been awhile since I have done stranded knitting and the key is LOOSE CARRIES! Spillyjane also has some great other mittens - Polska Mittens are beautiful.

I found a great website: Twist Collective. This site is an online magazine with beautiful photography and patterns. Two cool thing's about this site - you can buy online (not that novel, but convenient none the less) and the designers are compensated more fairly than in other venues for their patterns. I want to make a number of patterns from this site: Gytha and Postwar Mitts. I'd like to find a brick and mortar store where I can find Dale of Norway Baby Ull for the mittens, but I have struck out so far.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sea Mineral Mittens

The Sea Mineral Mittens are very fun to make. The pattern is simple to follow and changes frequently enough to make it interesting. And I love the colors.

I don't usually end up with puckering on stranded knitting, but I am noticing it a bit on these. I think it might be because of the gauge. I've used sport weight for fair isle before, but on a size four needle and on a much larger scale (yolk of a sweater). I am trying to be conscious of carrying LOOSELY - and my joins could be smoother. I think I am going to revisit Estonian Knitting and Vogue Knitting to refresh my memory about the best way to join new wool for this.

We had our first snow today - we had a little accumulation this morning, but it didn't stick. I have been wearing a lot of my knitting lately, but that's the only thing I am enjoying so far. The days are so short and it gets more and more difficult to get any exercise. hmmph. I will try to be positive - I have a party tomorrow with friends. Three couples are bringing meatloafs! and the other two are bringing other food and the hosts are boasting 8 gallons of homebrewed beer. I seriously hope we don't make a good dent in it, or I might be sleeping over at their house. Should be fun. And we have lots to celebrate this week with the election!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Mittens

Here is a newly finished pair of Woodman's modified sock:

Pattern: Woodman's Socks from Opinionated Knitter
Needles: size 6 dpn Clover Bamboo
Yarn: one complete skein of Raggi in the varieted (just a teeny bit left) plus leftover cream Raggi from a previous pair

And I started a new pair of mittens from Spillyjane - they are called Sea Mineral Mittens. I can't believe this pattern was available for free - it is a beautiful pattern and so far I also think it is beautifully written. Very simple to follow.
I am using Nature Spun sport weight in bamboo, eucalyptus, natural, nervous green and plum line.

Pattern: Sea Mineral Mittens by Spillyjane
Needles: size 0 addi turbos
Yarn: Nature Spun Sport Weight

Here is an abandoned swatch with different colors: bamboo, nervous green, storm, French clay...I thought the French clay (an orange) would be a great splash of color, but with the scalloped edge these looked too much like curtains from the kitchen I grew up with.