On the third Monday of the month a group of enthusiastic knitters meet in the Resource Room at the Duxbury Free Library. From 6:00 - 8:00 you can find knitters of various skill levels with yarn between their fingers. We would love you to join us. If you can't, follow us here!

Monday, January 26, 2015

How much snow is coming??!!

Well in the northeast we are closing down the hatches and getting ready for a 'storm of historic proportions'. EEEK!! What does that mean??!!

The way the forecast is going . . . . there might be enough snow to go outside and be creative. 

Maybe there'll be enough for this . . .

Although I think I'll stay in and knit.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber. (Unless you are in the northeast, then keep your fingers in your hand-knit mittens!)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Don't Get Bent Out of Shape . . . Just Get the Right Needles for the Job!

At the end of the day . . . when dinner is over . . . when the dishes are done . . . when the coffee is made for the next morning . . . there is nothing better than sitting down with my knitting, a glass of wine (in my favorite wine glass which was given to me by a special person), and relaxing. 

Well, I thought I was relaxing!!

Then I put my knitting down for a second, and holy shamoley! Look at my needles! They were straight when I bought them. They were straight when I started knitting all these fleece-lined mittens. But now, after a few pairs of mitten cuffs . . . well, at this rate I will have the first pair of bamboo circular needles!

I knew I was using a smaller sized needle for worsted weight wool . . . and I knew the mock cable was a little tighter than a K2P2 ribbing . . . but wow. 

If nothing else, I guess the 'experts' are right. Sometimes if you are having trouble with a project, try switching your needles. Different types of wood will have different gripping capabilities.  I love my Addis for lace, but my KnitPicks double-pointeds are my favorite for socks. 

And yes, as you can see,  bamboo needles have a give to them and are easier on your hands!

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Whispering Mittens

In my quest for the perfect mitten pattern, I came across The Mitten Book by Inger Gottfridsson. The book contains patterns that were first preserved and published by Hermanna Stengard  in 1925. Before I even looked through the book I decided I loved it . . . just based on the quote by Stengard in the front of the book.
click here to place a hold

"How would it look, do you think, if everyone, old and young, would sit down together and knit for awhile? Laughter and merriment and riddles and questions and folktales and anecdotes from each person's life would blend together in the stitches. Then later, when you recalled these events that have gone through your own fingers stitch by stitch, they would speak their own quiet language: Do you remember? Do you remember?"

It just struck such a chord with me. Haven't you done that? Knitted something and then whenever you wore it . . . you remembered where you were in your life at that time. 

I have my first two-color Norwegian sweater sitting forlornly in my cedar chest. I never wear it anymore, but I can't bear to part with it. I made it when my kids were just toddlers - sneaking literally a row, or maybe two, each night after they were asleep. Then there's the green scarf from a skein of yarn I found one weekend when my husband and I went away . . . the shawl I made went I went through chemo treatments . . . the scarf I made from a kit that I purchased when I went to my first Stitches East Convention . . . the mohair coat my mother made from yarn she purchased on one of her past yearly visits to my aunt in Maryland. It goes on. So many knitted pieces gently whispering "Do you remember? Do you remember?" when I open my closet door.

Go ahead, look through the book. Imagine knitting a pattern that was also worked about 200 years ago by another knitter across the world. The patterns may be more work than you care to put into a pair of mittens . . . or maybe not. You could thread a little love into your skein of wool . . . knit them up . . . then cherish them for being a reminder of how fortunate you are today . . . right now . . . in this quickly changing world. 

I think Hermanna may be on to something.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mittens . . . Mittens . . . I'm Still Knittin' Mittens!

Seven Day Forecast
Brrrr . . . .maybe this is why I am mitten crazy! 
It's down right chilly in the Boston area! 
It was 4 degrees at my house this morning.
 Mitten weather!

After knitting a couple of pairs of mittens, I have become kind of obsessed.

The first couple of pairs I did were 'okay' . . . but I wasn't really happy with the way the thumbs came out.
I had to do a little 'creative weaving' where I picked up stitches to join the thumb to the hand. They were also generic mittens . . . meaning either mitten could go on either hand.

The obsession kicked in and I began pulling out all my patterns and looking through all kinds of books. I'm starting to take pieces from each one and combine them together in my search for 'the perfect pattern'.

In my last pattern scouring, I found a classic pattern, but this one is 'hand-specific'. I gave it a try with some royal blue yarn in my stash . . . and since I still have a supply of fleece . . . they are of course fleece-lined. 

This time when I went to work the thumb, I picked up more stitches than the pattern called for. (Then on the next row I just decreased down to the amount called for.

I also did the mock cable over 2 stitches instead of 3 (MUCH easier!!). 

Perhaps the next pair will reach that near perfection status. I'll let you know if they do. In fact, I'll give you 'the perfect pattern' when I achieve it.

Until the next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mittens . . . Step #4

Okay, are you ready to stuff it?!

The cuff to my mitten is done and I am ready to knit the body of the mitten. My fleece is separated and I'm going to insert a piece into every fourth stitch. So here goes . . . 

I knit 4 stitches . . . then I picked up a strip of the fleece and twisted it . . . 

. . .  I started to knit the stitch, but before I wrapped the yarn around the needle I folded the twisted piece of fleece in half and placed it over the needle.

Then I finished knitting the next stitch. When I wrapped the yarn around the right-hand needle it anchored the fleece in place. 

Here is what it looked like when I slid the stitch off the needle.

See how it's a little loose?

Give it a little tug . . . just make sure you have both ends so that you don't pull it out completely!

Finish working the row and insert a piece of fleece after every fourth stitch. 

Then work four rows, and on the fifth row insert the fleece again. This time instead of knitting four stitches, knit two stitches and insert a piece of fleece . . . then knit four stitches and insert another piece . . . and continue inserting after every fourth stitch. 

Keep working in this method . . . insert fleece after every four rows . . . and stagger between inserting the fleece after the fourth stitch and after the second stitch. This will spread the fleece throughout the mitten.

Here's an inside view of the mitten. Cozy looking , huh? It's pretty puffy looking right now . . . but after they have been worn a few times the fleece will flatten a little and start to felt against the mitten. 

Don't forget to add fleece when you work the thumb!

I used size 3 and 5 needles . . . a little smaller than I would ordinarily use for worsted weight yarn . . . but I wanted them knit at a tighter gauge to keep the fleece in . . . and the cold out!!

Here it is all done.

I finished them on Christmas Eve . . . they were all wrapped and ready for Babby to open on Christmas morning.  

(Of course she loved them . . . just like I
told you she would!)

Here it is turned inside out so you can see all the fleece. Don't you want to just wiggle your fingers in it?

(If I added some googly eyes it could probably pass as a Muppet!!)

I think I'll make the next pair royal blue with white fleece. 

How about you?? Did you start your pair yet?

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mittens . . . Step #3

I made a few mitten decisions. I decided that since I have some bags of fleece that have been in my stash for an indeterminable length of time. . .  (that's code for: I've had it so long I don't remember where or when I got it) . . . that I would use some of it to line my mittens. Since my mitten is bright purple and the fleece is emerald green, I also decided I would give the mittens to my mother.
Here she is fresh out of nursing
 school! Do you remember the days

 when nurses looked like this?!

Why my mother? 

Well, Babby . . . (that's code name for: my nephew's strange pronunciation of grandma) . . . was a nurse for about 37 years. She started back in the day when nurses wore white caps, white uniforms, white nylons and white shoes. Needless to say, when she retired she became a fan of color. 

Babby also walks a lot, she's always cold and since she's a knitter she'll know the work that went into them . . . she'll also like them since her 'baby girl' made them for her. (I of course would be her 'baby girl').

On to the fleece . . . 

Here it is. Fresh out of the bag that it's been sitting in for-who-knows-how-long. It's really compacted and needs to be gently loosened.  (It's also really, really green. Really, really bright green.) 

But . . . if you wore white for 37 years . . . 

I just gently pulled on it to loosen it up and spread it out. 

This is only a small portion of the clump . . . here's what it looks like once it's been loosened.

Next I'll gently take a smaller clump and work it into a strip that is about a half inch wide and about 5-6 inches long.

Have you picked up on the gently? You want to keep the fibers intact so they keep their length. So . . . no scissors!!

Here's what they look like. 

One row of knitting will need about 10 or 12 strips, so get a few ready.

Go ahead. Get some fleece. 

If you don't have some hiding in your yarn stash . . .  and if you don't have any sheep in your back yard . . . you might have to visit a yarn store. . . or go on-line. If you go on-line, Google 'fleece for spinning'. If you just Google 'fleece for mittens', you'll get fleece material.

Stay tuned for Mittens . . . Step #4. I'll show you how to knit the fleece in.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mittens . . . Step #2

Here is the cuff of my mitten . . . just as I promised!

I must confess, I'm not sure the mock cable pattern is worth it. I think it would have been just as easy to actually work a cable. (Or to just work the traditional K1P1 or K2P2 ribbing).

To work the mock cable, you go into the third stitch on the needle and knit it . . . but don't slide it off.

Keeping the stitch on the needle, you then knit the first stitch and slide it off, and then knit the second stitch and slide it off . . . along with the third.

It's easy enough to do mentally, but physically . . . I gotta tell you, I can feel my bamboo needles bending a little from the tension.

I think next time I'll save my fingers and just work a cable.

Or maybe a mock cable but over two stitches, not three.

Next I will start the body of my mitten . . . but first I have to decide if I want to line them with fleece. I'll let you know.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.