Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Handwarmers

Last year I knitted an alpaca scarf for each of my brother's three daughters, and had fun trying different combinations of reversible cables. This year I decided  matching handwarmers might be fun, and I found some worsted weight alpaca that matched the colors of the scarves. Over the summer, I  had participated in BadCatDesigns Summer SwatchMe project ( http://www.badcatdesigns.blogspot.com/ ) , so I have a wealth of lovely  14-stitch lace patterns to play with. I decided to use the same dimensions for each set, but vary the lace, so here is my generic formula:
Fingerless Gloves: Worsted Version: 7 inches long
Aslan trends Alpaca; 100gm/220 yds. Need 40gm, or about 100 yds for a pair.
Size 6 Double pointed needles, and size 4  DP needles.
Cast on 42 sts ( 3 reps of 14 sts)

Knit one round,
Purl one round

Start lace pattern.Repeat 3 times around ( once for each needle)

Work 40 rounds (e.g. 2 1/2 reps of 16 rows).
Bind off 8 sts, continue around
Cast on 8 over the bound off sts on next plain round.
Work another 8 rounds ( e.g.½ rep).
Switch to size 4 needles and work K2P2 for 8 rounds. BO in pattern.

I decided not to make thumb gussets, so these can be pushed down to the cufffs if needed for extra wrist warmth when you are wearing gloves with them.
I hope they love these as much as I do!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


What is it about knitting that so appeals to me? I think it is all about transformation and possibility. I love the idea that I can start with an image in my mind and then , through the slow and steady application of a skill, involving problem-solving, geometry, chemistry, or just plain magic, gradually see my imagined idea appear in reality. The transformation of a hank of soft, lovely yarn into a fabric has been very captivating, and I know I'm not alone because there are at least a million folks out there who love this metamorphosis activity so much that they have joined Ravelry.
A few months ago I was invited to participate in a design challenge with Andrea of BadCatDesigns, who blogs at http://www.badcatdesigns.blogspot.com/ , and designs the most gorgeous lace shawls. I have been following her for some time now, and last summer participated in her Summer Swatch Me project. So Andrea and I are now collaborating on a lace  knitalong idea, which will debut on January 1st, and be called Metamorphosis KAL!
Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Holey Cowls

It has gotten cold here in New York, and I wasn't happy with any of the scarves I have. I needed a cowl. What is a cowl, you might ask? I think it is like a big snuggly turtleneck, or maybe a circle of warmth that you pop over your head. Like a scarf, but not dangly. The wool goes where you need it most! It shouldn't take much to make it, so I thought perhaps I could design one quickly. I remembered I had a skein of electric blue Big Wool which I had purchased for $3 at the LYS sale in the summer of 2009. The largest needles I had were 13s though, and I didn't think I wanted to run out in the cold to buy some 15s. Pencils were even too thin to use for DPNs. In the end I went with knitting really loosely on the 10.5 DPNs I had, and switching to my 13 circular when it was big enough.

This idea was a welcome break from the secret project I've been working on, which involves fingering-weight yarn, lace and much smaller needles.I thought it might be fun to make another one, so I got out the Noro Cashmere Island  I bought a while ago. That yarn has long color repeats, as is a feature of Noro yarns, and it was so pretty  that I had been saving it for something special. I thought it might be fun to double strand it  and see how the colors interacted. Plus I could knit on large size 11 needles and have another really fast project.
I decided to call these "Quick Leaf Cowls" although I thought of them as Holey Cowls, but that name has already been used!

The Cashmere Island yarn is 60% wool and 30% casmere with 10% nylon, so it is soft and warm. And my cat loves it! He likes anything Noro, and carries little balls of it around if he gets the chance. I forgot, and left a ball of grey on the table, so it ended up in my bedroom this morning, in a tangle on the floor!
I've uploaded the pattern to my Ravelry store in case you need some instant gratification, too...Now it is back to the Winter Project...