Tuesday, September 30, 2008

FO: Kiehkuralapaset


Kiehkuralapaset/Swirly Mittens (chart)
Designer: AnneL
Origin: Kultalankaa/Golden Thread
Yarn: Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift in Old Rose and Black (1 skein each)
Needles: US2, dpns

The Technical
The charts for this were nice and clear; the rest of it is my own number crunching. I worked a row in Old Rose for the cast-on before switching to black for the ribbing, and switched again to Old Rose for the bind-off. For the thumb gussets, I worked m1 increases in alternating colors until they reached the height I wanted, then bound off and continued. It makes for a very sturdy gusset, a little like knit armor. I worked different segments of the chart on each glove, so the spirals are 100% different from each other.

The Fluff
My knitting is not always practical. I mean, sure, socks and sweaters are imminently useful things. Even gag gifts have a use... the expression I'm awarded after handing someone a bacon scarf can keep me coasting happily for days-- it's like therapy in a tiny knitted package. kier1

Occasionally I want to do things that don't have uses; that's to say, I will love every moment of knitting them but never, ever wear them, and never, ever gift them, because I know no one who will wear them. This means these knits will lurk in my closet, which I'm rather afraid of because that will soon mean knitted items will lurk in the 250 or so square feet of the rest of my living space. Elaborate traditional raglans are one of them. Scratchy colorwork gloves in Latvian or Scandinavian traditions are another one... a major one. They're tiny, right? So knitting lots of them can't do anyone harm-- they weigh a lot less than a sweater!

Except that I live in a temperate climate. And even when it is ostensibly cold out, I stick to gloves.

These are my compromise. They fulfilled that colorwork itch (I try to imagine what kind of colorwork I'd wear on a regular basis and my horrible sense of color combos comes up with... grey on black?). I cut them off just at the knuckles instead of knitting up the entire chart for a traditional mitten shape, so they're perfect for drab but not harsh days, and for typing in on very cold days. The chart is awesome-- kind of punkish modern in these colors. Chic. And I tailored them so they fit my hands like, well, gloves.

I think they and I will get along well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FO: Manos, Scarf of Cables


Pattern: Cabled Lace Scarf
Designer: Meg White
Origin: The Kninja
Yarn: Manos Silk Blend, black, two skeins
Needles: US 10

This is actually a coworker's design and a shop pattern. It knit up quickly -over the course of two days, and I wasn't particularly trying- and the reversible cables have a great dimensional vitality that I think is emphasized by the lacy lattices in-between. The final dimensions are 8 inches by about 6 feet. It needs blocking but I'm reluctant to squish the cables.

Yes, the scarf is hanging out between the legs of a sculptural support. I was surprised I managed to pull off such a well-detailed indoor photo; I absolutely could not do that in my own apartment.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

FO: Flight Mitts

snowflakes1 I was down in California scoping out art schools for the sister with my family a couple weeks ago, and decided I needed a good quite autumnal project for the flight. Unfortunately, I forgot that teeny tiny keychain pocket knives are apparently flight risks.* They really push you to mail those things home for $12. I checked my luggage instead so I didn't have to lose the sentimental value of a $8 scissors/emery board/tweezers set my grandpa had given me.

This means, of course, that I got impatient on the plane and ended up working the fingers of the gloves by splitting the yarn with my teeth (classy). Ultimately I redid all the fingers on that one glove, because it turns out that plastic needles are inadequate for weaving in fingering weight ends. Which I suspected from the outset, but I'd already finished my book because I read to quickly.

The pattern was entirely worthwhile, though. Straightforward, easily memorized lace pattern and nice gussets. I worked it up exactly as written.

Pattern: Snowflake Fingerless Gloves
Designer: Chris O'Brien
Origin: http://squeakyweasels.blogspot.com/
Yarn: Panda Silk, black
Needles: US1s, dpns

*I keep trying to picture this and fail; every time I visualize attacking some unfortunate flight attendant with the knife attachment, it bends in half on contact and then she flings me over the refreshment cart and proceeds to batter me with cans of soda. My house keys are more threatening.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hello, September


I stepped outside this morning to take these pictures and the sky was evenly grey from one end of the horizon to the other-- that kind of pale mist grey that probably won't rain on you, but just might. Nothing irregular, but there's been a definite autumn twinge in the air for the past week, even when it's sunny and technically warm out. Fall's coming in a little quicker than normal.

I love this weather. I do feel like I didn't get a summer, though; I barely made use of my fan at all, and it's probably safe to pack it into its box for the year and pull out the space heater. My apartment walls didn't lose their natural cool until nearly the end of August.

I can't say whether Frida Kahlo* would have embraced this weather as much as I do, but she certainly posed patiently while I attached clothes pins to her and found a good backdrop. I was feeling headachy yesterday so I stayed at home and cut some cheap chiyogami paper into strips that I glued and sealed onto the pins. I might go find a varnish or lacquer later, but the craftstore I went to didn't have anything I was certain wouldn't discolor the paper.

*If you get a chance, go see the exhibit of her work that's traveling around right now. It's a good sampling of her art and shows a lot of the mixed media effects that you can't see in reproductions-- she often painted fresco style or on metal, and occasionally made frames part of her paintings as well. It's also accompanied by some comprehensive photo galleries about her life and her acquaintances.