Wednesday, February 27, 2008

St. Patrick was not Latvian

I know that, you know that ... but still, I here present to you...

St. Patrick's Latvian Mitten. If the design looks familiar, it's because it's the Child's Mitten/Sampler from the District of Latgale. A lovely mitten to make if one wants to learn to knit fringe, braid, and work with 2 and 3 colors per row; Traditionally it's done in white, red, blue, and yellow. But I'm almost out of white, cream, and even black in my fingering stash. And I'm very uncertain about mixing and matching other colors (not that it stops me much, but still ... uncertainties lurk). I had four greens in my stash, and St. Patrick's day is around the corner ... and so St. Patrick's mittens were born. This one is growing nicely, and may get finished tonight or tomorrow. My other knitting right now is a baby blanket (hibernating until I've got all my handouts for classes prepared) and a second sock.

I bought some yarn this month, and to be fair, I really think I should be adding that sort of thing into my stash. So ... 200 grams of yarn for a baby blanket (which has already gobbled up 200 grams, and should eat up the new 200 very nicely), 350 grams of sock yarn (for 3 pairs of knee highs), and 50 g alpaca laceweight for my lovely Sanquhar gloves. God willing, I will cast on for them in April. I haven't decided which Knit Picks laceweight I"ll use for the dark color. I've got a blue alpaca which would match fibers, and several wool colors. Am I insane for thinking of making my first pair of gloves in Alpaca? We'll see. I got 000 needles the other day just in case I needed them for gauge. Folk Knitting In Estonia was at the same yarn store, so I came home with that as well.

But you know, anything thicker than fingering weight yarn is starting to sound fat. The needles in this mitten feel thick ... and they're 3.0 mm. You can get used to just about anything, they say.

I finished The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel. Reading a bit each day is working for keeping on pace. I will have to stick to it in March, since I'm adding those knitting classes and leading a Bible study. It will keep me delightfully busy, and make it easier not to sit at the computer wandering around the web when I should be doing other things. The other things will be breathing down my neck! There's preparing music for Easter services, too.

We finished reading The Scarlet Pimpernel. Anyone who has tried it and got bored by the beginning ... persevere! The latter half of the book went quickly, and we are going to see if we can find the old film version of it. The new readaloud is The Hounds of the Morrigan (thanks, Shan!) During our break week, I had the children pick new books they wanted to read, one book each for the next six weeks. Filius, not in his teens (and his older sister isn't in her teens yet either) picked Plato, Dante, Shakespeare II, Darwin, and Various Shakespearean Plays. Why, you might ask? Because he wanted to make sure he would pick hard books so I couldn't ask him questions about them, since he wouldn't have understood anything.

The intent of the whole thing was to nudge them out of re-reads , Star Wars DK books, and Calvin and Hobbes. There's lots of good books out there we've not read yet. But Plato? I'm not ready for that yet. He's been interested in Plato ever since he learned Plato talks about Atlantis (he read that in a book somewhere. The boy reads everything in a book somewhere. And that somewhere covers a wide variety of locations. We usually can find them before they're due, though.)

Gulliver's Travel is the book of the week for him, though. Much easier than, say, Darwin. Or Plato.

And, for all of you down south of me who are hogging the snow ... send it north, please. Not too far north ... they've been hogging the snow too. But if due east of here 5 hours has had 84" this year, and we've had around 12" ... someone is Not Sharing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Smitten by Mittens

Catchy title, no?

But really ... before I headed over to write, as I was knitting I was thinking of all the mittens I can make this year. One that is inching it's way up the probability scale is the Sanquhar Gloves. Ah, the beauty. Ah, the fineness of the yarn. Oooh, the teensiosity of the needles. Yes, I can see why these are calling my name. And more twined mittens, and more Latvian mittens, and Rovaniemi-type creations. A year might not be long enough to spend on mittens.

Of course, there's the Sampler Stole, and a dazzling Nordic-style sweater lurking in my mind as well. The last one will wait until fall. It's no fun knitting wool sweaters when it's 85 degrees inside.

An order - this year's first, I believe - from KnitPicks arrived this week. I've added 450 grams of sock yarn to my stash. Three balls of three colors each, all to make three pair of knee-high stockings for a friend. And I also ordered 200 grams of DK Merino Bare so I can finish the baby blanket. As projected, I ran out last Thursday, and started a twined mitten. The mitten used just shy of 1 ounce, so I immediately started in on the next one. I decided to use a contrasting yarn in the cast on, and found some scraps (2 yds or so counts as scraps, right?) or red yarn that I bought in Scotland back in 1991. Most of the yarn went into a Fair Isle for my mom (I should get a picture of that, shouldn't I?), but bits and pieces of it remain. It runs like the dickens.

Heathered colors aren't idea for showing detail, and you can't see most
of the patterning on the mitten (cuff, back of hand, and a cute little diamond on the thumb). Still, for posterity, here's my first twined mitten of 2008. It's mate is growing nicely, and is just about to start the 10 rows of plain knitting before I put stitches on a spare piece of (red) yarn for the thumb.

I finally got the Swallowtail off the green carpeting where it was blocked, and in the same room as the camera to get a photo. I'm not particularly enamoured with the finished product, but it was a nice knit, and used some yarn I had handy. It'll make a nice gift come Christmastime, unless Filia snags it first.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Weekly Check-in

The Endpaper mitts were finished in plenty of time for show and tell, blocking, and drying, and they are now happily living with Beth. Black makes a MUCH better seam stitch than does light pink, and this pair only took 38 grams, so my 34 grams of green (yes, that's a heathery mossy green) was plenty. I like these mitts, and wouldn't be averse to making more.

But first, I'm going to be teaching two knitting classes in a month, my First Knitting Classes Ever, and I need to prepare. So, no Endpaper mitts at the moment. One of the classes is for a Two-Color Twisted Hat, and since neither my husband or mother are willing to give up their favorite hats in the middle of a Minnesota winter, so it can be stuck up on the wall of the LYS, well, I had to knit another one.

It's so cute! In retrospect, I should have put a black line above the first set of rectangles, but it's still cute. I've gotten the outline of my class materials written down, so for that class, I just need to encourage my pattern tester (Filia) to make one for her American Girl doll, and put together illustrations and written explanations of the technique, plus a chart or two with sample motifs.

Next week is my week to put together materials for my other class, on Latvian mittens.

In the meanwhile, I'm working away on a stash-gobbling baby blanket. It did such a good job eating up the two hanks I had alloted it (a third hank went to the edging, lurking in Filia's room) that I had to order two more hanks. After I finish the yarn on hand (tomorrow is my guess), I'm going to use some yarn from my grandmother's stash (Bernat Pringle, anyone? 79 cents for a 1 oz skein? No gauge, yardage, needle size, or washing instructions mentioned?) to make a Twisted Mitten in one color. And depending on how much yarn it uses, I may even make two mittens! I've got 3 ounces, and it looks to be fingering weight. It could be close.

The Swallowtail shawl is finished, but I haven't unpinned it from the carpeting yet. The final pinned-out size is a bit smaller than the pattern stats, which means it is VERY small. Still, it's a lovely little purple thing, and I am sure it will find a home. The nupps weren't a problem for me at all. Must be the Boye Needlemaster tips.

Reading in The Mystery of Providence is proceeding apace, but with much less delight than The Bruised Reed. Reading of Beverly Lewis' books in the Annie's People and Abram's Daughters series has been going along as well (and much faster). The Scarlet Pimpernel, our readaloud, has finally gotten to a point of exceptional interest, and that's about it for my current reading. If you ignore knitting books, that is.

Our switch from Saxon Algebra I to Singapore NEM 2 has gone very well. The struggling child is struggling no longer, and the child who doesn't like to write things down now has material sufficiently complex that doing it in the head isn't remotely feasible. "If 3/4 of one of the acute angles of a right-angled triangle is 15 1/4 degrees larger than 1/6 of the other, find the acute angles."

Just two days ago, Filius was wondering where the word problems had gone. Upon request, they appeared!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Bowl Knitting

Our church has a Super Bowl party at a member's house each year, and a good chunk of the church gathers to watch the game and talk. I tag along to knit and talk. But this year, my only project OTN was the Swallowtail shawl -- not exactly ideal for a potentially not-well-lighted corner. And the Endpaper Mitts weren't quite a good fit, either. So, when we left for church in the morning, I was toting both the Swallowtail Shawl and Filius' sweater that he's outgrown in length. I have no idea how many stitches I picked up at the bottom (knit bottom up), but I picked up a goodly number of them, then snipped a thread and started removing the garter welts at the bottom.

I ended up helping my husband in the nursery at church, but it was pretty quiet so I pulled out the gansey to work on ... and one of the children in the nursery wanted to work on it. She actually ended up doing a good portion of a row, and while she was doing that, I pulled out the shawl. It actually got to row 3 of the last chart before church was over. Then we were off to a friend's house -- no sense in driving 30 miles home, staying 2 hours, and driving 40 miles back to watch the Super Bowl, so we descended upon a friend who lives closer to town -- where we munched, chatted, and of course, knit.

Then I left Interweave Knits there, and have no clue what to do on the Swallowtail next. It was almost a knitting crisis, since the gansey was going so well. Whatever would I do during the football game if I had No Project? But all worked out well. I wove in the last tail of the 6" longer gansey with less than a minute to go in the game, and that was that.
Monday promised to be a day of snow, and the kids were dragging after a late night, so it became a Snow Day. I cast on for an Endpaper Mitt, finished it Tuesday, and am ready to start the thumb gusset of the second one. The colors work well together, and black is much nicer as fake seam than pink was.

I'm still admiring my Rovaniemi mitts. There was an error in the pattern, so if you are planning to make them, watch for the errata from Piecework. It was minor, so if you don't find it and come across a troubling p4, go with your gut instinct. I wonder what color combo I should use in my next ones?

Puritan reading is trotting along nicely, as is harp practice, and playing with my new computer. Life is going smoothly. Whatever is around the bend?

I shall leave you with a quote from Flavel's Mystery of Providence:
It was well observed by one that, 'as God hath stretched out the expansum or firmament over the natural; so he hath stertched out his Word over the rational world.' And as the creatures on earth are influenced by those heavenly bodies, so are all creatures in the world influenced by the Word, and do infallibly fulfil it, when they design to thwart it."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Rovaniemi and Puritans

I love these half-mitts. The technique is sublime, the working of it lovely. If you despise Intarsia and don't have the coordination for handling two colors at once ... this is still a viable technique. Only one color is in the hand at a time, and the mitts are worked in the round. They're lovely. I'm not sure how I will keep from wearing them until after the State Fair (or if the fair accepts half mitts in the mitten category), but I will try.

Now, on to the next thing. Beth's Endpaper Mitts. And back to the Swallowtail Shawl. And figuring out what to knit in a dimly-lighted room full of Super Bowl watchers. And what to bring along as a food offering.

Last month, I read The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. This month the book is The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel. It's not online, as last month's book was, but Monergism has online several books by the same author. Charity is what sticks in my mind from Sibbes. I look forward to learning more about Providence this month.