Friday, January 9, 2015

FO Friday - Shades of Gray Infinity Scarf

Silver, steel, and charcoal altogether in one snuggly scarf and set off by a lovely wine-coloured edge.
Let's face it, knitting brings so many wonderful pleasures: it's relaxing (when it's going well!), it's creative, and it's social (how many of you belong to the Knitting Club in your local yarn store?). But no matter how much you already know, there's always more to learn. I love that! 

This project started after I found three skeins, each of a different shade of gray, in our local yarn store They were gorgeous and the softest yarn ever. I knew I had to have them. The yarn is a blend of 70% alpaca and 20% bamboo. It has the best of both those fibres: Incredible softness and springiness (loft) from the alpaca with the tiniest bit of sheen from the bamboo. 

And as is often the case, I didn't have a pattern in mind for this yarn, but I knew I had to make something that could be worn close to the skin—it's just so darn soft! I did find a pattern in a magazine that I adapted: simple garter stitch using three shades of gray and edged in a lovely wine colour.And that book seemed to be making headlines everywhere, so I arrived at the name easily.

Because the pattern was so simple, I didn't mind trying some new skills: the pattern called for a provisional cast-on,  a three-needle bind off, and a crochet edging to finish. I was so excited to try all of these (I did practice the provisional cast-on with some junk yarn first . . . I wanted to make sure I wouldn't do anything to the lovely alpaca yarn!). I was even more thrilled when I was successful with the cast-on and bind-off methods.

I never did get around to learning how to crochet though: Shelagh finished the edging for me. So this scarf really is a family product.And I guess I'm going to have to learn how to crochet sometime soon.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Thrums!

The yarn project and the yarn bowl were Christmas gifts from my family.

This Christmas I received two Fleece Artist kits to make Thrum Mittens from my youngest son! I was excited as I had never made these before but had always wanted to. No excuses to not make them now!

Thrum mittens are knit with wool and roving, which is the unspun wool. In these mittens, the roving sits on the inside and small portions pulled through to the outside. It makes the mitt full and incredibly snuggly and warm.

I read through the instructions and pattern a couple of times to make sure I understood everything, then started trying to pull apart the roving into the strand sections like the instructions described. Not as easy as it sounded. I did divide the roving in half, figuring I needed to have enough for the each mitt, but was still rather thick and difficult to "lightly tug out" the required strand. I did a couple of lengths of this and then tried to "gently twist to similar thickness of the yarn" as instructed. It was still too thick when twisted and trying to knit it into the stitch.

I frogged my first attempt.

Second attempt; another cast on. After my first try, I realized my sizing had to change and knew that the adult small would be a better choice this time.

With my second attempt underway, I knew the roving was still too thick to work with properly. So I decided to ask my Knit Night Ladies about the issue. They are a wealth of information and all so willing to share and help when you feel you need it! So I asked and received lots of info: just the feedback I was looking for. Thanks ladies!

I frogged my second attempt.

Third attempt; third cast on. And--hooray!--I am almost done my first mitten! I'm excited to see it coming together finally!

Although I am following the pattern given with the yarn, I'll see what I think of it as a whole once I finish the first kit. For the next kit, I might adapt the pattern a bit: maybe I will add a larger cuff (I do feel a bit of a longer cuff is better for mittens and gloves). Or maybe I'll try a different pattern altogether.

Have you made Thrum Mittens? What pattern did you use? Were you happy with it? We'd love to hear your stories.