Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Fix For the Fickle Finger

When we last met, I was telling you about my poor blistered finger, an overuse injury from a weekend's worth of knitting. And how I found knitted help for it on Ravelry, the Finger Protector. Well, here it is:

Made not in cashmere, as I initially planned, but in a tiny remainder of a sock club yarn. Merino, I believe. As you can see, you don't exacerbate your injury much in making this solution, and it really works!

And so, with my digit safely girded, it's onward to the next project--the Sixareen Cape for which the Kep was but a swatch:

414 stitches around this rascal. Three vertical repeats of the fair isle pattern. This is not going to be a fast knit. But I've got a long time to work on it, as I intend it to be a keeping-warm-around-the-house-in-winter type of thing. Warm shoulders while knitting or reading in bed is my motivation. And big piles of snow outside the windows to the contrary (this is late April, right?),  it will be a few months before I seriously need it.

Meanwhile, a photography footnote. This is the first picture I took:
See how messed up the colors are, especially the brown edging? I took the picture close to the window in the best daylight I had on this cloudy day, but the camera refused to meter anywhere but the light center of the circle, making the brown look blue or maybe navy. So a brown background made brown yarn look better. Not my first intuition. And a real life example of how colors on your screen may not represent the actual colors.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Full Retreat

I'm just back from another wonderful weekend knitting retreat with my knitting group at an Undisclosed Location in the Alaska wilderness. For the most part, What Happens at Knitting Retreat Stays at Knitting Retreat, but I think it's ok if I show you one thing:

A display of Hats for Huts created or donated by/to our group for the auction. How could you possibly acquire for your very own one of these exquisite chapeaux, you ask? Come to the group's annual meeting. Bid often and fiercely! You could get yourself a Sixareen Kep or an Alaska Punk hat. Or one of many, many more amazing, delightful, and cosy hats. But especially the Sixareen or the Punk or the Fornicating Moose. I'm just sayin'.  Hey, it's my blog and I can shill if I want to.

Now a lot of people might think that a bunch of women holed up for a weekend in a remote cabin just use knitting as an excuse to eat great food, talk all day long, laugh their tails off, and drink the odd glass of wine. Or Screech. (Check the link. That's Screech, the knitter's rum, not screech, the high pitched noise.) But I'm here to tell you that I knitted so much I got blisters! Three of them, as a matter of fact. And the ever-resourceful Ravelry has an answer for the problem. A knitted answer, of course. The Finger Protector--take a look. I'm knittin' me a fistful of those bad boys. In cashmere. My hard-working fingers deserve nothing less--and so do yours!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Eight Stars of Gold on a Hat of Blue...

Alaska Punk, may it be to you...

The third hat for the Hats for Huts auction. An Alaska Flag style hat based on the Pretty in Punk book mohawks. Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride Bulky yarn, 'cuz it's the feltin'-est. Colors M-79 Blue Boy and VM-240 Prairie Goldenrod, if you're interested. I've made this pattern a couple of times, and the LP works out just perfectly. Shrinks the right amount, and the mohawk fringe stands up beautifully. When I made a previous one of these, I embroidered the stars on. This time I bought some plastic ones and fabric-glued them on. The Sparkle looks great in the sunlight!

And the model? Willa Cather at the library. Chosen for the assignment because her domelike head was perfect for the shape of the hat.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

HAT, Two, Three, Four.......

'Ten-SHUN! (oooo, knitting pun! 'tenshun, tension, geddit?)  Hats for the Alaska Mountain Hut auction are on the march! Here is my second one:

A Sixareen Kep, (almost) as designed by Kate Davies, and made in the specified yarn, Shetland Heritage. It uses all the current colors of this new yarn, made of 100% Shetland fiber, and spun in the worsted manner instead of the modern woolen, then dyed in traditional colors to recreate the material of historic knitted items in the Shetland Islands.

To explain the "almost" above: In the fair isle section, 3 rows too late, I discovered that I omitted a change from the brown to burgundy. Rather than rip that far back, I just carried on, repeating the error in the top half of the pattern in order to stay symmetrical. To me, this seems to look ok and not a big deal. 2 other changes were intentional. The lozenges at top and bottom of the fair isle were one stitch off of symmetry with the center design. I pondered and pondered the situation, and could see no purpose, aesthetic or structural, served by this offset, so I moved it over one. And then to balance my color blooper, I made the i-cord bindoff at the bottom in burgundy. (It was supposed to be brown.) All in all, I think it looks very much like the designer's original intention, but I hope Ms. Davies can find it in her heart to forgive me if it's not.

I learned some things in making my kep--never done Turkish Cast on before, but I really like it. It made it very easy to extend the lining when it proved too short, and seems like it would be good to use with toe-up socks, shawls, and in other situations. I had used attached i-cord before (see Viola), but never for the edge of a hat. Works great!

Best of all, making the hat was a sort of exaggerated swatch for what I really want to make for myself, a Sixareen Cape. And I not only have got gauge (or 'ten-SHUN!), but will be more wide awake with color changes.

But before I do that, there's at least one more hat to make for the auction:

Can you guess what it is?

P.S. What's a sixareen? Look it up and see one in action.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Effing Moose Hut Hat

Herewith on its blocking ball, a hat created for The Hats for Huts auction, a silent auction to take place in May, a fundraiser for Alaska Mountain and Wilderness Huts Association. Check them out--their ultimate goal is a string of huts around Alaska that are a wee bit posher than your average public use cabin. They've started with Manitoba Cabin, and if you want to make a personal acquaintance with an Alaska Mountain Hut while knitting a Hat for Huts, there will be a knitting and spinning weekend at Manitoba Cabin April 26-28, 2013. If you're interested, leave a comment, and we'll connect you with the organizer.

Meanwhile, back at the hat:
It's one of the many, many interpretations of the Fornicating Deer Chart altered to look a bit moose-ier than the original caribou (thicker antlers on the male, none on the female) and, what the heck, some beaded snowflakes/stars in the sky. Dale Hielo yarn with Cashmerino lining band. Instructions said provisional cast on, make the hat, rip out the cast on and make the inner band. Nuts to that. I reverse engineered it to start with the band, then keep going, turn the purl edge and do the hat. Why knit and rip if you don't have to? Works out fine.