Monday, December 15, 2008


Thorpe and Super Mittens
Originally uploaded by JRoKnits
That's about all there is to say today. Right now, at 9:13 a.m. CST, it's -8 with a -28 windchill. That's up from a -35 windchill when the kids left for the bus. Eek.

So yesterday I made Thorpe, thinking that a Fair Isle 100% bulky wool earflap hat would be just the thing to keep me warm.


I'm still a rookie at stranded knitting so apparently I must not knit as tightly when doing color work as I do when knitting plain stuff. If I'd known that, I would not have gone up a needle size.

Everything went along very nicely and the hat looks great, but it's a bit too big. Which is weird since I measured gauge and was afraid it wouldn't be big enough.

The patterned section is a big too long and loose and the garter stitch is waaaay too loose. The cold air is flying right through those bad boys.

It is so cute though and I'm not willing to give up on it just yet.

Those mittens, on the other hand, were a huge success! They are the Super Mittens from Weekend Knitting - my first and possibly forever favorite knitting book. I had bits of 3 colors of Lamb's Pride Bulky leftover from my kids' felted clogs. When I knew the deep freeze was coming, I decided to cast on and see how far I got. Lo and behold, I was able to get two pairs out of the leftovers - one for me and one for a boy, any boy.

The mittens are fantastic. So fast, so cute, and so warm. They are, indeed, super!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Clogs Abound!

All the clogs
Originally uploaded by JRoKnits
My twin brother showed up this past weekend for a visit. Yay! Even though he often is an arrogant jerk, it was nice to see him and the kids adore him. Want an example of arrogant jerk-i-ness?

Me: Would you like me to make some coffee now?
Him: Yes, please.
Me: Do you want regular, French vanilla, or cinnamon spice?
Him: Regular. (then after seeing that it was Folger's) Uh, wait, maybe this stuff will be ok (the cinnamon spice).

No, Jamie, I am not a coffee snob. I do not have the luxury of being single. Here's another example...I made an apple pie and he did not want any when the rest of us had some. A short time later...

Him: Hey, can I have some apple pie now?
Me: Sure.
Him: [blank stare and awkward moment] Umm, ok, I guess I'll get it myself.
Mom: Your arms aren't broken! Get up and get it yourself!

Now for a normal person, I would probably be the good hostess and serve the pie myself. But my brother is a jerk who thinks everyone needs to wait on him. He's 35 years old. Nope, not me. He can get his own darn pie!

Now the story of the clogs. I heard about Bro's visit a couple weeks before the fact. I thought a pair of clogs might be a nice gift for the kids to give him. I asked him if he'd want some, what colors would he like and what is his shoe size. Sure, he'd like some and how about MN Wild colors? That's our hockey, green, gold.

Wait, what the heck is his shoe size? Darn brother! I sent another message (because forget trying to reach him by phone) but I had a good idea of his size so I went ahead and bought the yarn. I got Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted in Red Fox and Elf Green. 2 skeins each. I already had a nice gold at home that I'd dyed myself.

I bought the yarn on Wednesday. Got a text that night that Bro is a US size 9.5. Ok, good. Thursday got another text saying that he actually is more like a US size 9. Oye. I decided to go with the mens size medium and figured if I could get these suckers knit on Friday, I'd felt them early Saturday and pray the dryer would get them dry enough to give to him Saturday afternoon.

I knit like a madwoman on Friday, working just enough to satisfy my company that I wasn't slacking off. Soles and cuffs were done in green, two rounds of gold before the short rows of the foot, then red for the main part of the foot. I wove in the last end just before bedtime on Friday night. Whew!

At 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, I consulted a few sock books and the tables with shoe sizes and foot lengths. I found the right length and got to felting. These felted up so nicely and got to the right size at the same time. I put them on the dryer rack and set it to medium heat. Got it all done in time to go watch my daughter's basketball games.

I kept the clogs in the dryer all afternoon. It was still running when my mom and brother arrived around 4:45 p.m. After saying hello and all that, the first thing he said was "so where are my MN Wild slippers? Huh? are they done?"

I walked silently into the laundry room, emerging with the perfectly dry and wonderful MN Wild Felted Clogs. They fit perfectly and he loved them. It also felt good that I didn't give him any ammunition to pick on me because I didn't finish something.

Not that it's ever happened before...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hourglass turned Equinox

Yay for me! Rah rah rah rah! Wheee!

Finally something I can wear and be happy with!

As you may remember, I knit the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts last November-December. It went smooth as silk, looked fantastic, fit perfectly - except for one problem. The hemmed neckline was touching my neck and I hate that. HATE.

I have not worn it and did not want to wear it so I set out to figure out how to make it into something I could love again. My yearning to do fair isle led me to the decision to rip out the yoke and do some kind of circular pattern using the EPS.

I was nervous about ripping the neck hem but last Wednesday I needed something to do while on a conference call for work (shhh, don't tell) so I grabbed the sweater and a scissors and started to rip. I took out the entire raglan yoke back to a round above the sleeve join.

After an exhaustive search through my patterns, I decided that the Equinox Yoke Pullover by Michele Rose Orne from the Fall '06 Interweave Knits was the best fit, needing a decrease of only 2 stitches to make it work.

Recently I discovered where Walmart hid the Lion Wool - in the clearance aisle for $2.50 a ball! I bought the remaining 8 skeins of Winter White and went to town with the Kool-Aid and Wilton Icing Dyes. That little dyeing spree, plus another a couple months prior gave me plenty of colors to choose from. I grabbed a few that I knew would look nice with the Sapphire Heather main color and dove in.

The colorwork went surprisingly smoothly. This was my first attempt at fair isle in a garment and only the second time ever. I find it funny that I can't knit Continental, yet I can do fair isle with two hands no problem.

Another thing I liked about this yoke pattern was that it incorporated the main color and had perfectly spaced areas of straight knitting with the main color. The EPS worked supremely well with this design. I did a 25% decrease for the 1st decrease round, 33% for the second, then instead of another 33% for the 3rd decrease, I did 25% to leave a slightly wider neckline. After the last decrease, I did 2 rounds of 2x2 rib, then bound off in rib.

I love the result! I have the great fitting sweater body from the Hourglass Sweater, and the great fitting yoke using the EPS - and it looks gorgeous because of the lovely Equinox pattern.

The one thing that I'm not sure about is the neckline and the only thing there is that it's the same on the front and back. I would rather prefer it to be higher in the back. Wish I'd thought of that before doing the yoke, but live and learn. I may take out the bind off and try to add some short rows, but we'll see.

In the meantime, I'm quite proud of how my first fair isle project turned out!