Sunday, January 24, 2010

mittens! & a knitting-book review

These mittens, knit for my sister, were sort-of finished in time for Christmas, but now they are really finished (i.e. blocked, with large snaps sewn on to secure the finger-flaps).

The pattern came from a lovely book called "Handknit Holidays: Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice," by Melanie Falick. This book has many inspirational ideas, but I cannot exactly vouch for the patterns themselves, as I changed the pattern so much. I used the instructions for the thumb gusset, as I had never before knit a gusset (it was fun), and I used the basic stitch count, changed for my gauge, to start off with, but I changed the type of yarn, the gauge, the colorwork (which I invented), the thumb decrease, and the way the finger flap is shaped and finished (the original pattern calls for a [Skp, knit 2, k2tog] type decrease, but I like the simplicity and look of k3tog, with the raised "chain" of stitches along the seam that it creates, so I did that instead).
The yarn I used is baby alpaca, knit with size 5 and 4 double-points. If you would like more details you'll have to comment, as that's all I've noted for the moment.
Another note about the book: my aunt is also working on a pattern from the book, a double-knitted scarf which she was working on with a knitting class. Again, the design served as inspiration, but apparently the instructions were so confusing for this method that they used another reference to learn the mechanics of the method required to create the double-faced fabric. So all in all, a great book to get one inspired to make all sorts of knitted gifts, but maybe a book better treated as a jumping-off point than an exact reference. It's not too early to get started on gifts for next winter! I have enough wool left to make a hat to go with these mittens... hmm...

(Thanks to Harvey for being such a good, handsome kitten mitten model!)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

a new creative project for the new year!

I've been saying to myself and remarking to others how I am looking forward to doing some painting and sketching during my vacation. In an effort to transform declaring into doing, I had the idea to launch a new creative project: one sketch or painting a day during my vacation to South Florida. Though I will not be able to share these with you immediately, I'll scan and upload them when I return.
Meanwhile, I am cleaning my paintbox and getting my small painting and sketching kit together.
In light of the recent terrorist activity and expected tightened security, Mike and I are attempting to fit everything we need into our carry-on luggage. I like this challenge to pack succinctly, it makes me feel self-sufficient.
If you'd like a postcard, leave a comment or email with your address.