It's amazing what five hours of knitting will get you. What's not amazing is the progress made after a couple of subway rides.
The sleeve looks little different than when we last had a look. My goal here is to finish this sleeve, and then to put down this knit for a while. It's not that I don't find this sweater anything but a guilty pleasure. I owe someone mittens. I haven't forgotten about that. But, I don't want to leave a half-finished sleeve on my needles. I know myself too well. I know that I'll forget where I was in the pattern if I let things go for a week or two.
I found myself on the bus. I have to admit that it was a step down from my usual Acela Quiet Car, but for a tenth of the price (if that) of an Acela round trip one cannot complain too loudly. And, really, for a tenth of the price it wasn't that bad, if it was bad at all. I had my knitting, I had my iPod. I even had chocolate. When one has chocolate, things are not too bad.
And neither was the knitting. I discovered that if I sit in the aisle toward the front of the bus I am no longer prone to motion sickness. This was a good discovery. I don't need to look at this project too often, so I could watch the road ahead of me, thus avoiding the sideways motion at the corner of my eyes--bad in a motor vehicle, not so much in a train (yes it's a mystery). Despite a couple of small frogging episodes (one at Hartford, another at New Haven) I finished the back by the Bronx. By then it was too dark to think about starting something new, so I just enjoyed the remainder of the ride.
On the way back. I had nothing more to do but knit my sleeve. My seatmate wasn't chatty and neither was I, so I sunk into my iPod and my Jo Sharp.
There's no such thing as Sleeve Island with this sweater (hey, remember I wrote that when I'm complaining about the second sleeve, 'kay?)! I don't know if it's the yarn or the gauge or both, but clearly I'm enjoying the simple stockinette.
Over the weekend there was much progress on Shannon's sweater:
The front is finished. In her pattern, Shannon used shortrows for the neck shaping. I've done shortrows for heels, shortrows for chest shaping, and shortrows for shoulder shaping, but I this was my first time doing shortrows for neck shaping. It's a very nice detail, and I think that I will incorporate this technique into all my crewneck and turtleneck sweaters from this knit forward.
15: Minutes of fame.
105: Comments left for my original mitten post (the most ever for a single blog entry).
100: individual donations to Rosie's Place.
$1,625: total amount of donations, in US dollars. That's sixteen hundred twenty five US dollars in case you need it spelled out. I'm swooning as I type this.
1: Handknit hat
First, we had the drawing for the mittens:
The winner of the custom-knit pair of CharlieCard Mittens is Miranda of Wilmington, Delaware!
Second, we had the drawing for the shawl pin from Leslie Wind
The winner of the Leslie Wind Pin is Kris of Longwood, Colorado!
And third, we had the drawing for the shawl pin from Chris at Scotts Mountain Crafts
The winner of Chris's Pin is Laurie of Clarkson, Michigan!
[Thanks to William, who pulled the names and served as hand model for these photos.]
Congratulations to all the raffle winners. I'll be in touch by email to arrange further details.
As a last word to all this: thank you! Thank you to everyone who read my blog and spread the word about these mittens. Thank you to everyone who left a comment or kind word. Thank you to everyone who donated to Rosie's Place. You all raised over $1,600! That's a lot of money, no matter how you slice it, and it's going to support an extremely worthwhile organization in my city. Wow!
Have a great weekend everyone; I'll catch you on Monday.
People I am spent! It's been a long week, and I cannot think of a more creative title than this one. Sorry you're stuck with it for today--or quite possibly the weekend, as I might give the blog a little weekend vacation. Shannon's sweater is going swimmingly well. But, really, I think that with this particular project you (the reader) would rather see huge dramatic leaps in progress and not, knit three more rows, knit three more rows, wow, did four today, for post after endless post.
Here's the thing: this sweater seems anything but endless. No offense, Shannon, I had expected a mostly stockinette sweater to start to drag by about now. But this one is not! Perhaps I'm just so eager to have my own version to wear while the weather is still cold. Or, perhaps I'm just in need of some happy knitting.
Now, "Happy Knitting". That would have made a fantastic title for this post.
Happy knitting to all this weekend! I'll be back just after noon today to announce the raffle results.
[Final raffle update: my charity raffle ends today at noon (12:00 EST). So far you wonderful readers have donated just over $1,400. Wow! I can't believe it. Remember, if you give to Rosie's Place in any amount via the PayPal link on my blog you are entered to win your own pair of the Amazing CharlieCard Mittens, custom knit by moi or one of two beautiful shawl pins by Leslie Wind or Chris at Scotts River Crafts. Each of these ladies kindly donated an example of her metalworking to my raffle, and I appreciate it very much.]
By all of you and my new camera. Raffle donations to Rosie's Place are hovering just below $1,300. I cannot thank all of you enough for supporting this charity. Haven't donated? You still have the opportunity. Click on the PayPal link in my sidebar, and if you have any questions please email me at colleen[at]subwayknitter[dot]com.
Wow, things have improved in the five plus years since my old camera came into existence! The new one is smaller, lighter, and easier to use. It'll consume less space in my bag, thus I won't think twice about carrying it when I'm traveling light.
Plus, there's this neat-o stabilization feature. No more blurry pics in dim lighting conditions!
(I wrote nothing about good pictures in dim lighting conditions. It is January.)
Okay, back to the knitting.
Well, frogging and reknitting didn't take too much time. I'm in the mood for a large-gauge stockinette project these days and I love knitting when I don't need to look at what I'm doing. It's much better on the eyes.
[Raffle update: Donations to Rosie's Place now total $1200! I cannot believe it. You are are blowing past my goal, and I'm so thankful for it! I'm especially grateful for all the donations that have come from out of state. Amazing! We have two and a half days until the Friday deadline. Could we do $1,500? If you're interested in giving but have questions, please send me an email at colleen[at]subwayknitter[dot]com. If you would like to donate, please click on the PayPal button on my right-hand sidebar.]
Back to the knitting:
Picture this (because I can't show it to you today): I'm knitting along, following the pattern (which I have painstakingly adjusted for stitch and row gauge) and I'm thinking "Wow, this looks too long. How much knitting can be left before the armholes?" So, I did what any sensible knitter would--I measured the piece.
What the.... How could it be that I'm almost to the correct length, but I'm nowhere near the arm shaping? With my trusty tape measure I also checked my gauge. Stitch gauge good. Row gauge... Hey! Wait a minute!
Look, there is photographic proof that I swatched. I measured, I counted, and I knew what the row gauge was. Despite that, row gauge had other ideas for my sweater. Another check revealed that I had somehow achieved the pattern's row gauge. almost never, ever match a pattern's row gauge. Oh, it's not for lack of wanting, it's usually because--like here--I'm not using the yarn specified in the pattern. But now, when I didn't wanted to get a different row gauge (and planned accordingly) what happens? Yeah, it's dead on to the pattern.
What's a knitter to do? Not much. I frogged back about ten rows, respaced two decreases and finished things off so that I could begin the arm shaping. As long as I copy this same, um, design element on the front, I should be all set.
People: you have done it! The total donations have just cleared $1,000!! This, however, is no reason to stop giving if you're still on the fence about it. There's no reason that we can't give Rosie's Place more than that.
In other less-exciting news the ancient SKDigiCam (that's my digital camera) is suddenly giving me fits. This should come as no surprise at all given that the camera is more than five years old and is used almost constantly. The only surprise should be that it's lasted this long when I drop it once a week. Cameras have improved in function and dropped in price markedly during the past five years, so I should be able to pick up a little point-and-shoot without breaking the Subway Knitter bank account.
At any rate, I think that I can easily cobble together some digital camera services for a while--until I can get a new one. It's not as if it's a laptop or anything.
[We're hovering below $800 raised for Rosie's Place. See my sidebar for more information about how you can donate. Please help me make my goal of $1,000 raised by Friday January 26th.]
After the progress of an entire day spent in knitty pursuits, the letdown of a normal day's knitting is hard to avoid.
Still I powered past the first set of back increases, and I'm just past the second pair here. The Jo Sharp is knitting up well, and so far I've encountered only one knot in one ball (I'm always annoyed to find a knot in a ball of supposedly first-quality yarn. I didn't pay mill-end prices, why am I getting mill-end quality? This reason alone keeps me from buying Debbie Bliss yarns. Her yarns are notorious for being full of knots.)
[Raffle Update: We're over $700! You are an amazingly generous bunch of readers. Remember, if you donate you're entered into the raffle to win your very own pair of the Amazing CharlieCard Mittens or one of two gorgeous shawl pins. We're getting closer to that $1,000 goal, and my fingers are crossed. For general donation information, please see my sidebar to the right. For any questions, please drop me an email at colleen[at]subwayknitter[dot]com.]
I had most of the day free to do this. WIth a cozy down throw, snuggly bed jacket, and a large cup of herbal tea by my side, I stayed warm while I knit and knit and knit and knit.
You can tell I'm excited about a project when I don't want to put it down. I took small breaks to refill my teacup, and I ate lunch and dinner, but otherwise I knit for most of the day.
I even took my knitting to bed (Wild times chez Subway Knitter, eh?) and worked a few more rows before I felt my eyes slipping shut. I dropped off to dreams of yarny things.
Shannon, I'm lovin' this!
[10:26am, EST, ETA: Over $600!]
Huzzah! You people rock! Since I announced my charity raffle, and since Mac Daniel wrote about it in yesterday's Boston Globe readers have donated almost $600 to Rosie's Place. Six. Hundred. Dollars. That's incredible! Dare I set a goal of $1,000 by next Friday?
A few local bloggers also posted about my raffle, and for that I am very thankful. I myself am always a little ho-hum when someone says "Hey, post this on your blog." It's my blog sweetie, and I'm gonna post what I wanna. But these bloggers took my request to heart. Thanks guys! (Guys, right? Men write each of these blogs, no? If I'm wrong, I know that some kind reader will let me know.)
Haven't donated yet? You still have a chance. Not only will you be entered into my raffle for a (custom made) pair of the Amazing CharlieCard Mittens, you might also win one of two amazing shawl pins. Leslie Wind and Chris at Scotts Mountain Crafts have both generously donated examples of their handmade shawl pins. And, really, what could be better on a cold windy day like today than snuggling up in your handknit shawl and securing it with a work of art? Nothing, that's what. I'm touched by your generosity ladies, really and truly touched.
Meanwhile, progress on Shannon's sweater continues, although it has been minimal this week. Not a soul recognized me on the Orange Line yesterday (and thank goodness--I do need my knitting time) so I knit in peace. Pictures and an update tomorrow.
[3:43pm, EST: ETA: Leslie Wind has generously donated one of her shawl pins to the Rosie's Place raffle. If the mittens don't move you to donate, perhaps one of these will (Follow the link; they're beautiful.) Thanks Leslie!]
It began with this.
Which led to this.
And we finally ended here.
It's a wee bit of a shock to see one's face front and center on boston.com before one's through her first cup of morning coffee. Looks okay, though, and I'll have you all know that the scarf I'm wearing is the first thing I ever finished as a knitter (Notice that I didn't type "knit". I wonder what dark secrets lurk in Subway Knitter's past. That sounds worthy of a Globe Special Report.)
Seriously, it was a lot of fun chatting with Mac Daniel from The Boston Globe and Lisa Poole (by whom the above picture was taken) was very kind about composing a decent shot. Thank you both.
People seem quite taken by these mittens, and a few people have contacted me about commissioning a pair. Want a pair of your own? Here's the deal. What Mac Daniel wrote about my charity drawing was true. See the "PayPal" button on the sidebar, to the right? It's to make a donation (via a PayPal link) to Rosie's Place. You know Rosie's Place, right? It's a vital resource for Boston's poor and homeless women. It's been a favorite charity of mine for years, and I can think of no more fitting a tie-in for this mitten giveaway. If you make a donation (of any amount) to Rosie's Place via my PayPal link I'll enter your name into a drawing for a pair of custom-made mittens. You pick the color, give me your size, and I'll do the knitting. The drawing begins today and will continue for one week: until Friday January 26th at 12:00pm EST. I'll notify the winner by email (so make sure that the address connected to your PayPal account is current). If you win, you'll have new mittens to keep your hands warm. If you don't win, you can still feel warm and fuzzy knowing that you've helped keep others warm this winter. Thanks in advance!
You'll get an email from me (rosies[at]subwayknitter[dot]com) after you donate. If you donate and don't get my email then PLEASE contact me at colleen[at]subwayknitter[dot]com. Your donation will appear on your credit card as ROSIESSBWAY. That's me.
Special thanks to Claudia who kindly shared the code she uses for her annual MS fundraising ride.
Last Sunday, I found myself at Knitsmiths. I'm a devoted Knitsmither, but lately my attendance has been spotty. Some very fortunate developments in the personal-life department have lead to some very unfortunate realities in the knitting-group department. Luckily my fellow Knitsmiths are understanding and supportive to a fault.
I digress. It was Sunday afternoon and I was at Knitsmiths. Who else was there but May! Now, if you follow the Knitsmiths' blog, you know that May is a champion crafter. More often than not May (or one of her daughters) will be wearing this fabulous sweater (or skirt, or jacket, or pair of pants--you get the idea) and you'll ask May "Did you make that?" and the answer is always "Yes." I'm in awe of May's skill and patience with all things fiber.
This Sunday was no different. May whips out this amazing bag, finished with oh-so-cute handles and a thoughtfully inserted lining.
May's skills extend beyond the item's production. She also has great attention to detail. Take the lining, for instance. In order to prevent the woven fabric from peaking through the knitted one, she attached black fabric to the lining's outside. A simple solution, but one that I probably would not have though about doing myself.
A few of us hatched plans to swipe May's bag while she wasn't looking :-). No not really. But what a few of us did do was hatch plans to knit our own versions.
May used this pattern (you need to email Kate to get a copy of the pattern) and she made some changes to it. I love how May's bag tapers slightly at the top, and the alternative handle choice she made.
For me, a slightly smaller version of May's Fake-a-Gamo would be a cute spring/summer bag. May advised that you knit this in cotton, and I agree, but I was also wondering about Berroco Suede. May's yarn (she used Idean Almedahl's Cotton Lux) seemed to be less of a spun thread, and more of a woven one. It was almost like a thick, but non-stretchy, ribbon yarn or a cord.
Let's just put this on the project list.
Oh, and it would seem that my CharlieCard Mittens have caught the eye of many a transit blogger. *Blush* I'm so flattered! A recent Live Journal thread contained this helpful suggestion from Lizzie Girl.
I would make a modification - place the button at the other end of the pocket, so that if it comes undone your charlie card doesn't fall out and make you extra sad (extra sad because now you've wasted money on these mittens that didn't work righh AND lost your charlie card.)
Friggin' brill! Why didn't I think of that? I wonder, however, if it would make slipping one's mittened hand into one's pocket more difficult, because the flap might get snagged on the edge of the pocket. What do you think?
Wow! I'm glad that you all liked the Charlie Card Mittens. It was a simple alteration to a common knitted item. If you want a pair--go for it. The reader scanned the card through the pocket just fine.
Guess what? My knitting plate is very clean. It's time for my next helping of knits!
How fitting was it that I had the opportunity to see Shannon last weekend and fill her in on my upcoming project? So far I have had to adjust the pattern for my gauge (Shannon wasn't surprised), and add a little length to the body. Not big changes. I want my sweater to look just like the one in the picture (and to fit me just as well).
I'm using some Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran that I've stashed for at least a year. Do you want to know its name? Casket. Seriously. It's not such a strange name for yarn if you know that "casket" can also mean a small chest or box for jewels. But still, I (and probably many others) think of it as simply a synonym for coffin. What a weird name for yarn.
Get ready to follow along.
Yesterday, I found myself with a rainy, solitary day on my hands. My gym was closed. The housework was done. It was a holiday. I had no excuse but to sit around the house and finish some knitting projects. After the T-Strap Shoes, next came the mittens.
Here's the Boston commuter's newest secret weapon:
I know what you're thinking. It's a mitten with a pocket. Big whoop!
But not just any pocket, my friends. It's a Charlie Card Pocket!
Without further ado, and just in time for today's cold snap, I present to you the Amazing Charlie Card Mittens! Those of you not from Boston might need some background. The T has recently completed an upgrade to its fare-collection system. Gone are the days of T passes and tokens. Starting in 2007 we're using a new system of rechargeable stored-value cards. I guess that it's a lot like the Oyster card on the London Underground. The cards are passed close to a card reader mounted on the front of the turnstiles. For those of you who don't know, you need not press the pass directly to the card reader. It just needs to get close to the reader.
"Ah, ha!" you're thinking. Exactly! Why not store the pass on my right hand, so that when I get to the turnstile I need only to wave my hand in front of the reader (located on the right side of the turnstile) to gain entry? Why not, indeed! So, when I finished knitting the mittens, I measured my Charlie Card (about the same size as a credit card) and knit a pocket for it that's slightly bigger. I knit a flap and attached a cute button. Now you might understand why it was so important for me to keep these mittens from getting lost, and why I knit the string to keep this pair in my coat.
Pattern: use any ol' mitten pattern you have lying around. Mine is from Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.
Yarn: Cascade 220 (about a hank and a half)
What I changed: Well, I attached the pocket to the front of the right hand, then I knit a loooong i-cord string so that I could tether the mittens to my coat.
Would I knit these again? We'll find out--today's the big test.
Upon seeing the most recent photo of my T-strap booties a friend's daughter commented that they looked like robots. After she mentioned it I had to agree.
Good thing that they didn't stay like that for long:
I'll admit that I put off finishing these until the last minute, and I mean the very last minute. Who knew that you could attach buttons while riding the Green Line? Gearing up for finishing takes me a long time. Once I begin, I find that I'm sucked into the rhythm of seaming, but getting myself in that chair with darning needle in hand can take some trickery. Here, the thought of being the only person at the shower without baby booties in hand was a huge motivator.
Pattern: Simple T-Bar Shoes from 50 Baby Booties to Knit by Zoë Mellor.
Yarn: Lucy's fabulous merino-tencel hand-dyed sock
Will these booties be more better than the last pair that I knit?
Who the heck knows? I hope that you all can see how the shoes will take shape. The "sole" is at the bottom of the piece. The "upper" is knit above it. I'll seam the back of the upper, and then join it to the sole (or vice versa--I don't know right now what the instructions say.)
I have a few ideas for these mittens (please note that the thumb is done and all ends have been woven in--yay me!).
First, remember those strings that your mittens came on when you were a kid? Why can't we have those as adults? Why should kids have the lock on mitten-loss protection? Hmmm?
My thoughts exactly. So, with help from an assistant (Yes, Subway Knitter has a knitting assistant. You got a problem with that?) I determined that I measured 52 inches from wrist to wrist. Or was that 53? Or 60? The assistant's results weren't very consistent. I was told that it had something to do with the fact that I wouldn't stop moving my arms long enough to get the same measurement twice. Whatever.
I have a lot of i-cording to do. Yes, this will be an i-cord...um...cord. I started with a crochet chain, but it seemed very flimsy. Then I started a three-stitch i-cord with US8s. Holy i-cord, Batman! Even a two-stitch was too chunky. So, I switched to US6s and cast on two stitches. I-cord bliss!
Now, I need to knit for 52 inches. Or 53. Or 60. Where did that assistant put my tape measure?
Hey, remember when I used to knit lots of stuff? After the technical brilliance that was the Wavy Cables Scarf (and Hat) it seems like I'm coming down off of a small fiber high. Oh, don't worry, the knitting's still happening, it's just happening on a much, much, much slower basis than before.
January's the perfect time for me to kick back and relax a little bit with my knitting (some feel it's the right time to knit lace). And knit a thumb or two.
A few of you asked if I have a favorite mitten pattern. I have a mitten pattern--Ann Budd's pattern from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns--and I don't know if it's my favorite because it's the only one I have ever tried. It seems to work well; why tinker with what works?
Dude, what is up with this New England weather? Right now, as I type, it is 68F in my apartment. That's good, right? Yes, it is. Especially when I can achieve this by setting my heat at only 55F. This would not be so amazing were it May and not JANUARY. I'm not complaining (much), except to note that I had not realized how essential winter cold was in keeping my allegies at bay. It's January and they're still bothering me. Aaah-chooo!
Anyway, with this in mind what the heck am I doing knitting mittens?
Well, you see, it's like this. Last weekend I found myself on a train. On a train and toting an incredible amount of luggage with me. Why complicate matters further by carrying along a big project like a sweater? And (I'm embarrassed to admit this) I'm fresh out of mittens. Yup, you read that correctly. I, a knitter, have no mittens to call my own.
This situation must be corrected. So, I threw a skein of Cascade 220 [Colorway unknown. You think that I might have copied it down before tossing the lable, but no. This blog is not Mensa Knitter, apparently] and my DPNs into my bag and away I went for a crazy weekend in the Big Apple.
Upon my return I had almost an entire pair of mittens, a very warm apartment, and a new knitting bag.
As promised, here are the details of the two secret hats.
Double-Knit Snowflake Hat
Yarn: Valley Yarns Deerfield. Two balls, one in Burgundy and the other in Frost Grey.
Pattern: Alison's Doubleknitski Hat.
What I changed: I modified the pattern for a different gauge and slightly different measurements. I also added some colorwork by using five, self-designed snowflake charts. Johanna oh-so-kindly lended me her Fair Isle pattern book to me for inspirational purposes. It worked. I had a lot of fun with a pencil and some graph paper.
Yarn: Valley Yarns Amherst. A smidge more than two balls of Burgundy.
Needles: US8s, 16" circulars and DPNs
What I changed: I modified the pattern with the Wavy Cables motif that I used for the scarf. Instead of a four-stitch cable, like the scarf, the hat uses a six-stitch version.
You stay up to 4am New Year's Eve and it's bound to screw up everything for days. At least that happens when I stay up to 4am on New Year's Eve. Judging from the number of nightclubs that stay open until the wee smalls, there are people who do that every week. Now that's just hard core. Or insane. You decide.
Anyway, it is time to get this blog back on a schedule! Much progress was made on the T-Strap shoes.
Right now they look like two pieces that someone cut off of a sweater, but trust me that these are supposed to be a pair of very cute baby booties. I can't remember who commented last week about the ends, but yeah. For such a small project there are an insane (there's that word again) number of ends to weave in.
So, before I begin that step, these pieces need to be blocked flat. Finishing these booties before blocking would be a disaster. Or insane. You decide.
That Subway Knitter, she's full of secrets. You all know about the Wavy Cables Scarf.
What you didn't know is that all along, despite passing it off as a knit for myself, it was really a gift. Hee, hee.
And, there were a couple of things that happened decidedly off-blog the past several weeks.
First, we have this:
Or, would you prefer it in red?
And, which snowflake is your favorite? No two are alike, you know. I had a request in for a new hat, and it was the perfect opportunity to try out my newly honed double-knitting skills. I took Alison's Doubleknitski Hat pattern, and adjusted it for my gauge. Then, just to make things more interesting, I decided to add some snowflakes. To make things really interesting, I designed five different snowflake charts to be spaced evenly around the hat. I'm not a huge fan of Fair Isle knitting, but I could really get into colorwork in double knitting.
Using some yarn leftover from the scarf, I made this:
I modified Nik's pattern with the Wavy Cables pattern. And, just so the hat and scarf weren't too matchy-matchy I used a six-stitch cable on the hat, instead of simply copying the four-stitch one used on the scarf. I whipped this up in about a day, and I completely fudged the crown decreases.
Stay tuned for details about both hats.