Selbu-itus (or one mitten-itus)

So as I mentioned in my last post, I was working on some gloves from Selbuvotter. I finished one, but it was smaller than I'd hope. It fits my hand though, so thats ok. I picked up some Palette in Bittersweet Heather and Salsa Heather to start a newer, bigger pair, Annemor #15. I also went up a needle size. I stupidly bought the Susan Bates needles because they were the longest the store had, even though I am sure the longest in the other brand was more than adequete. These needles suck! The joins are so rough and catchy and the cable is so stiff. I love the pattern though. These are going to be some nice mittens. I seriously want to knit every mitten and glove in the whole book, but will probably stop at one more (some moose mittens or gloves! In bright orange and yellow mohair blend!) I must say though that the sizing is really wonky. The last one I did was supposed to be a men's medium, but the current ones I am doing are a men's small but have more stitches on the same needles and with the same yarn. Oh well, these ones should fit their intended recipient. 

I have three and a quarter mittens (or gloves) that need friends. So that is what I am going to do over the next couple of weeks. I also picked up some more Noro Kureyon (in the most boring colourway - light beige and medium beige with a bit of light tan) to go with some Noro in my stash for some other mittens I am going to design/make. I am addicted to mittens. No more starting anything until I have three pairs! I do have a shawl (with lacey bits!) and sock pattern in my future, I just want to get all these mittens done first.

The boys are doing great. O has a tooth and is standing up holding on to things more. And I can't just put him down, he just rolls and rolls all over the place getting into trouble. B knows his right from left way before I ever will. Is there such thing as directional dyslexia? I can't think in direction. Even something as simple as flipping a pattern or figuring out where north is takes me a lot of thinking. The other day I swear I spent an hour trying to figure out how to place thumbs on a mitten, and trying to figure out which side would correlate to which hand (and I still got it wrong). 

B and I make cookies every Tuesday evening. Usually we make our special recipe M&M cookies. Seriously, they are the best M&M cookies ever. But this week, we are going to make cut-able rainbow chip cookies because I picked up these awesome cookie cutters from Superstore. I had been looking for larger alphabet cutters, because my fondant ones are not so good for cookies. Or even fondant really. So when I saw these I was so excited. And they were only $4.99. Tomorrow is going to be a fun cookie night. 


Memento Mori Mittens

My new pattern, Memento Mori Mittens, is up! It's a fun mitten to knit with a lot of detailing that starts right at the cuff all the way to the tip. And flowers everywhere! I spend a fair bit of time reading about various imagery and customs related to death when working on a series of photographs, and found it as a whole quite interesting.  I recently came across some working sketches I did and liked what was going on. I wanted to do something more with them, so of course I thought mittens! I decided to use a really colourful sock yarn (Marks & Kattens Fame Trend in Party  - #653) as the background colour to stress that these are not a sinister mitten. Skulls aren't all doom and gloom! Even if the title does implore you to consider your own mortality. I really like the patterning on the palm. I wanted to echo the flower detail on the back of the hand, so I decided on simple flowers and started framing around them, which eventually turned into the pattern you see.

This pattern is a great way to use a beautiful soft sock yarn. Pair a bright or vagrieated yarn with a dark solid, or two contrasting colours together (even better if they are tonal-dyed!) for a mitten that really pops. Think golden yellow with grassy-green, icy blue and red-orange or inky black with bright purple. If you are wearing something everyday for half a year (at least up here), you want it to feel and look good.

You need about 200 meters of fingering weight yarn for the background colour, and about 100 meters of fingering weight for the design, size 2 (2.75mm) needles, a bit of waste yarn and a needle to weave in the ends. If you have not tried using the Magic Loop for mitten knitting before, I really suggest trying it, as I find my colourwork to be so much more even compared to when I use double-pointed needles. Techniques used in the pattern include stranded colourwork, knitting in the round, increasing and decreasing and my favorite mitten cuff decoration, the Latvian Braid (you can find a tutorial here if you need one). 


Latvian Braid Tutorial and other such stuff

So my new mitten pattern should be going up in a few days. Memento Mori Mittens if you have not yet seen them. I am just fine tuning the pattern and making it pretty. In the pattern, I use a technique that I had never done before, which is possibly my new favourite mitten cuff stabilizer, the Latvian Braid. So much more attractive than basic ribbing in a colourwork heavy mitten in my opinion!

Basically, a Latvian Braid is inside-out colourwork. You purl with the yarn (I use two strands in the example, but you can use one, or three, or whatever you want) on the outside, using one strand each stitch to knit, and floating the other in front which creates the braid. Does that make sense? Don't worry, I took pictures.

I've used this a few other times now, and this is how I like to set up a Latvian Braid cuff. This tutorial is going to go through how to make a left-leaning braid, and explain how to use these same steps to make a right-leaning braid.

First, cast on however many stitches you need.
Row 1: Knit across
Row 2: Purl across
Row 3: Knit, alternating your colours (in my case, it was red, white) to the end. This is important, because these stitches show up in the braid, and you are going to be purling into them with the same colour. If you are doing something other than alternating two colours, set up for it in this row.

Row 4: Bring both strands of yarn in front to purl. Make sure the first yarn you want to purl with is on top of the other. Make sure you bring the same colour yarn on top as the stitch you are about to purl into.

Then purl while floating the other yarn (in this case the red) in front. You've now done the first stitch! Everything gets easier from here.

Continue doing this throughout the row, always bringing the yarn you are about to purl with OVER the yarn you are going to let float. Make sure to purl with the same colour as the stitch you are knitting into. That stitch makes the little bump you see in the middle of the braid, so if you use the wrong colour, it won't look quite right. The direction you bring the yarn controls which way that row of braiding leans. When you are done, you should have a row of left-leaning diagonal stripes with a little bump on top.

Row 5: In this row, you are going to do the same thing as the previous row, except you are going to bring the working yarn UNDER the float (in this case, the red yarn goes under the white).

Then bring that yarn up over the needle and purl, holding the float (the white yarn) in front. Repeat this action throughout the row, alternating colours, making sure you are purling into the same colour you are holding. In this step, you are creating right leaning diagonal lines.

When you are done the row, it should look like this:

At which point, you can continue on in your pattern. To make a right-leaning braid (as the mittens call for) you reverse the two rows so. You bring the yarn under in the first braid row, and over in the second. Easy-peasy as Jamie Oliver would say.

Other than the mittens, I've been busy, the boys and I went to the library today where I picked up Selbuvotter. So excited. I cast on Annemor #10 (this is one of the first photo results I found searching for it - here is the Ravelry page for the pattern if you can see it.) immediately in grey and black. This is my first glove attempt. I am optimistic! B got a book about the toilet. He loves books about toilets. O mostly slept. Ooh! I finally finished the Manda Ruth hoodie for O. I finished all but the sleeves in just under a week, and then did one sleeve a month ago, and finished the other yesterday. What is it with me and sleeves? It's a good thing I did finish it, because it's a lot smaller than I thought it would be and fits him now instead of in the winter. Which is ok. It's adorable!

Tomorrow we go to the Farmers' Market. I am excited. Mostly for the perogies. They make them with New Bothwell cheese, and also have Mexican and Pizza Perogies. So good. And the bread made with apple cider, oh my! And I hope to finish up the mitten pattern to post up by Sunday or Monday, depending on how much life intervenes.



I keep meaning to write a post, but between teething and the beginning of summer, I've been too busy! I just finished typing up the PDF for a pair of mittens I designed. I still have to knit the second mitten, but I figure I'll get some people testing the pattern for me while I knit the second one.

So what have we been up to? Well, this past week, we went to the zoo for Canada day, which was fun but TOO HOT. We got to the Farmers' Market yesterday and got lots of delicious food (fresh peas! swiss chard and kale! perogies! tiny strawberries!). The weekend prior we went to Grand Forks where I got to indulge in some maniac shopping. Mostly for the boys, as B needed a lot of new clothes (and O needs nothing, and it is so so so hard to pass on the cute baby clothes). I might have boughten 1 or 2 (or 10) bottles of nail polish (one was for my sister). Walmart down there has a way better selection of cheap nail polish. I also got Grape Pop Tarts and Cupcake Pebbles. I heart junk food pretending to be breakfast. I also finally got around to getting myself some "office" supplies (the office being the coffee table, or if I need to be really productive, the dining table) including the cutest binder and file folders I could find. On the way home I FINALLY got a photo of the Team Zissou sign that I have only been trying to get a photo of for 8 years now. I just always forget where it is and get my camera out too late. This time, I was testing my new camera and took them by accident. Win.

 B has exploded with language. Things he say make more sense and have more correct pronouns and such. It's neat. And little O is getting giant! He is pushing himself and rolling all over the floor. He keeps trying to get into the kitchen. I think he knows where all the food is.

We've been getting out in the area more. Everything is 30-45 minutes away on foot, which is not necessarily a bad thing. We've gone on long walks to the bank and the library and home from the store, and in the process found lots of little parks and such. My favorite walk is the one to knitting group on Mondays because I can relax and listen to This American Life or Wire Tap on my iPod. Everyone is on holidays or gone the next while I think, but I will probably still go, just to get out.

Knitting wise, I finished the Prairie Boots. I just have to buy buttons for the left boot. I stupidly only bought six buttons, forgetting that each boot needed six. I hope they still have more buttons. I LOVE this pattern. I am going to make at least one more pair. Possibly a shorter pair. I'd also really like to make a pair for O for the winter. But I have other things to knit first, and another mitten idea in my head. I've become addicted to knitting dishcloths. Total instant gratification. If only I knew more people who liked knit dishcloths. As I stated above, I finished the first mitten from a pattern I designed. I really like colour changing yarn. I bought this yarn to make some grey and rainbow striped socks, but when starting this pattern, I really felt it would work for the mittens well, which it did. And I should have enough left over to still make the grey and rainbow striped socks.