The Cashmere is Mine

I’ve had to fend off attacks from various cats to maintain a claim to my blue cashmere mitts.

kitty with knitting

But, they are mine.  All mine.  I love them, and I love knitting with this fine Mongolian Cashmere.  It’s über soft, even for cashmere.  Although I am bad to get a case of second sock (or in this case, second mitt) syndrome, I cast on for the second one as soon as I finished – minus the thumb – the first one.

Second mitt in progress

I’m hoping to finish them up today.  They’re just right for some late winter hiking over the weekend if the weather cooperates, and the cats keep their distance.

another kitty with the blue mitts

[Mitts knit with one skein of Elliebelly Coventry Cashmere in “Lady Mary.”  Available here.]


Works in Progress

The week I go back to work after the holidays is always a bad week for knitting (as much as it is good to be back with good friends and getting the job done).  I manage to get in a bit of knitting when I wake up and a bit at night, so this week wasn't a total knitting loss.  But progress was slow.


Thea Coleman's  Vodka Lemonade pattern is my most challenging project at the moment.  It's a sweater pattern knit in The Plucky Knitter's delicious Crew yarn, a merino/cotton blend.  That is the collar that you see above.  It's knit in seed stitch. I'm in the decided minority of knitters who enjoy knitting it.  It's slow going and time consuming, but it's very pretty.  At this rate, it will take me quite some time to finish the collar before I get on with the body of the sweater, but I don't mind at all.


Paddle Mitts are a Tin Can Knits pattern.  Like the other patterns I've knit from this designer, the pattern is straightforward and the finished item is utilitarian.  And I have managed to create a small disaster with what should have been a simple project.  I decided to use my favorite skein of yarn, this beautiful skein of Plucky Scholar, which is a worsted weight blend of cashmere and merino in a rustic spin.


That would have been just dandy, had I seriously contemplated the fact that Scholar was a bit heavier than the yarn the pattern was written for and sized down, but no, I did not.  That was okay in the body of the hand, where the ribbing made it work.  But there was drama with the thumb and I overcompensated with rapid decreases after picking up the stitches for it.  I've pulled that all out and am starting over for a thumb that works with the rest of the mitts. This will go into the man-sized pile for gift giving, darn it.  I hope I have enough yarn to do a second pair for myself.


When The Plucky Knitter introduced her first collection of patterns, All Bundled Up, last weekend, I enjoyed looking them over and admired several enough to add to my Ravelry queue of patterns to knit this year.  I even contemplated buying yarn for one of the sweaters in the near future.  But then it hit.  The Sugarloaf Infinity Scarf pattern was so tempting.  It was written for my favorite yarn, Snug, and it just so happened I had the perfect colorways for it in my stash.  So on my needles it went, and it's unusual little rib was an enjoyable knit while we watched a move on TV last night (The Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou, which you should watch if you haven't seen it and like slightly snarky, self-indulgent humor).


I have plans this weekend to work on my Olivia wrap, and I wanted to get in more work on Vodka Lemonade's collar, but I'm afraid Sugarloaf has captivated me, and may end up as the attention-getter in whatever time I have this weekend.  Fortunately, it's cold outside and there is a lot of appeal to sitting inside where it is warm and this is hot tea and I can knit.


Bad Things Happen When I Go Away

I should have known it was going to be a bad trip, right?  For openers, within minutes of my getting on the first plane, husband sends a series of photos that demonstrate that my months of careful training of the puppy are all going out the window.  Immediately.


He taunted me with photos all week: dog on table, dog on bed, dog in the trash.  I should have known it was going to be a really bad week.  And it was, at least in a knitting way, because this is the last photo we're every going to see of my Ferryboat Mitts, knit in my beloved Plucky Knitter Trusty yarn in Corduroy.


I finished the first mitt and started on the second the night before I left, hence the fabulously bad hotel room lighting photo.  But they were lovely.  I couldn't stop trying them on in progress.

IMG_2436 (1)

(Airplane lighting, even worse than hotel room lighting).  

I answered a work-related call in the Atlanta airport as my flight home was boarding.  Typically, I would have had better sense than to combine those two, but it was an important call.  By the time I sat down on the plane, I realized I didn't have my knitting.  A kind stewardess told me I had time to run back and get it. The gate agent wouldn't let me off, but said she would go get it.  Predictably, she came back 30 seconds later, telling me it wasn't there and that I had to get on the plane.

Despite the efforts of some kind Ravelers and other friends to track it down, my knitting is nowhere to be found.  So RIP wonderful mitts that would have kept me warm, along with my favorite copper stitch markers.  Somewhere around gate T3 in the Atlanta airport, my knitting is cold and lonely.  I feel sure it misses me.  And I feel really sad.


New Works in Progress

I'm down to knitting sleeves on Ellie's Tiny Tea Leaves Cardigan and Ollie's Ragman, but, through whatever quirk of knitting adhd I seem to possess in great supply, I've detoured onto two small projects.  I'll get back on the sweaters next week, and finish them in time for the advent of cooler weather.

symmetrical braided gauntlets elliebelly road to china

These cabled gauntlets are a fun, quick knit.  Not overly challenging (unless you are totally incapable of reading and then remembering a simple, well-written pattern as I seem to have been on the first one).  I love these and the yarn, a lovely blend of Alpaca, Silk, Camel and Cashmere.

elliebelly sea wool storm cloud shawlette

This is the start of my Storm Cloud Shawlette.  I love the elongated garter stitch, and although I told myself I couldn't start one more project until I finish the sweaters, I succumbed to the allure of this simple, comforting knit and the pretty colors of the Sea Wool that had been at the top of my list of yarns I wanted to knit with.  When I stretch it out, as though blocked, the colors look like a cloud of rainbows.  It's going to be hard to avoid knitting this one straight through.

elliebelly sea wool storm cloud shawlette


Cabled Scarf: Finished, with a Surprise

I finished the Reversible Cable Scarf, that I started earlier this week, last night.  There was just a bit of the second skein left — enough to add a small pair of fingerless mitts.  The mitts are short and bulky, and altogether wonderful.

Rasta set

The yarn, which continues to be onf of my all time favorites, is Malabrigo's Rasta.  This is the Indecita colorway.  It is really, really soft.

The scarf is completely reversible, which is accomplished through the simple device of knitting through out, including the 12 stitch cable, in a 1×1 rib.  The yarn is lovely and bulky, and this makes for a very warm scarf, with a lot of visual interest.  The cable is simple enough that it doesn't compete with the colorway, but it does make the scarf fun to knit.

Pattern note on the mitts:  I cast on 16 stitches and knit 6 rows in a 2×2 rib.  Then I knit 10 rows in stockinette before doing a stretchy cast off.  I liked the rib so much I decided to use it up on the fingers.  Here's what you should probably do differently if you knit something like this:  The rib really does need to be at the wrists for a better fit (I will probably rip the seams and turn these around, although I do love how the poufy part looks on my fingers).  If I knit another pair of these, I think I will try either a 1×1 rib, or two knit stitches to one purl as the rib.  I'm tempted to do the entire mitt in 1×1 and do a total of 30 rows, which would put these just at my elbow.  Also, I think they would be greatly enhanced by a decrease of 2-4 stitches around row 13 where the hand begins to narrow into the wrist.  Finally, these would be lovely with a silk ribbon woven through the wrist as I did on Ellie's Victorian Gauntlets, so I think an eyelet row in that area would be a nice addition.



Knucks is a pattern written by a wonderful knitter, Pamela Grossman, for fingerless mittens.  I remember when the pattern was first published, because my dear friend Elizabeth Thompson knitted and embellished a pair for the write up.

[Elizabeth once knit this absolutely incredible pair of baby pants for me, and I have to digress to show them to you…


Aren't they amazing?]

So, Knucks.  I've been in search of just the right pattern for the fingerless mitts my six year old wants.  He wanted partial fingers, rather than the style that just wraps around the hand.  In the middle of searching Ravelry for a pattern, Knucks popped up.  Why hadn't I thought of them earlier?  And, predictably, Pamela had included a child's size in her pattern.

I was all set — ready to swatch them in some Alpaca I had dyed in Ollie's favorite colorway, Eco, a shading of greens.

Yarn ball 

I swatched on the way to a Labor Day picnic.  It was a long drive so I swatched further than I normally would have.


When I was done, I realized it was a total disaster.  This yarn was much bulkier than the yarn the pattern was written for, and taking it down to a needle size that would have made it close would result in a fabric so dense there would be no give in it.

Fortunately, we had a long drive home.  I promised Ollie a pair of Knucks as soon as I could make it to the store toss my stash (really!) to get a more appropriate yarn.  And, in the meantime, I knit a second swatch and apologized to him for making something that wasn't exactly what he wanted.


Not much too it — just two squares.  I took a bit of extra care when doing mattress stitch to match up the edges to let the stockinette roll, and left about 3/4" unstitched for a nice little thumb hole.  He seems quite taken with them — and fell asleep wearing them.

But, next on my list is a pair of knucks.