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Brewer Burns

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Sunday Update

Latvian Mitten Project stats:
Pattern: Chart No. 53 from Latvian Mittens
Yarn: Drops Alpaca in cream and pink (I used about 3/4 of each ball)
Needles: Size 1 dpn's
Mods: Omitted the fringe on the cuff because I hate fringe and substituted a full braid for the half braid on the cuff, to prevent rolling.

This mitten went pretty well, with a couple of exceptions. I would like to take this opportunity to add to my Latvian Mittens directions:

5. Center your chart pattern on the back of the hand.

if you're planning to do two full repeats of the chart then this may not be necessary, but still, it can't hurt to check. I did one thing with this pair of mittens that proved to be a very good idea. If you read the patterns in the book then you will learn that the author recommends that you work the top decreases on the mitten and the thumb with alternating colors. In other words when you work the decreases you: knit two togetherwith the contrasting color, knit one with the main color, then knit two together through the back loop with the contrasting color. There are many advantages to this technique. First, you are alternating colors at a point in the mitten where some wonky gaps can tend to develop. The alternation of the colors helps pull these three stitches together and correct that. Eventually you're going to end up working the decreases around a dpn join. Alternating the colors makes this easier and less likely to pull together unattractively. Third, it looks pretty, and like you planned it that way. I also succeeded in continuing the pattern around the top decreases, a definite aesthetic plus. And next time I plan to make one more improvement to my mitten-kung-fu. I will place the beginning of the round (the part that always looks like ass) at the side of the mitten instead of the middle of the palm. It occurred to me while I was knitting this pair that, really, no one looks at the side of a mitten, unless its to admire hte way you alternated the colors on the top decreases. All in all I'm ridiculously pleased with the mittens. And it's a good thing too since I was starting to think about poking my own eyes out with my dpn's. I was really, really ready to be finished with these mittens.

Which brings me to another observation. I'm working hard enough at my job that I have a lot less energy for knitting (and other things) when I get home. It's an interesting sensation. And a good one.

One of the reasons that I wanted to finish up the mittens so badly is that I have had two other projects on my mind. Really, I have had two other yarns on my mind. At my last expedition to Holy Threads I picked up two skeins of solid colored sock yarn, one for me and one for Stephen. This is my first solid sock yarn purchase. This is my first solid sock yarn purchase because this is the first time that solid sock yarn has been available to me locally. I know that I can buy it on the internet, but I would really need to plan ahead, find an online seller that I trusted and that had what I wanted and then purchase. And then wait for it to come in the mail. Anyway, I haven't done that yet. Instead, I bought two skeins of Opal sock yarn solids, one in navy blue (for Stephen) and one in dusty pink (for me.)

I didn't have any particular plan for the navy blue, other than to make socks for Stephen. I did, however, have a specific plan for the pink. Namely, Eunny Jang's Bayerische sock (which can be found here: http://www.eunnyjang.com/knit/2006/09/bayerische_sock_part_ii.html.) I love this sock! I generally salivate whenever Eunny puts something up on her blog, but this sock is really amazing, and even better, the pattern is free! I love this sock but it's obvious that knitting it in a multi-colored sock yarn would be worse than a waste of my time. It would be an insult to Eunny's brilliant pattern. So, I had decided to wait until I could find the right yarn to make it. The Opal seemed like the perfect fit. It's a fantastic sock yarn in a solid color. I swatched up the pattern last night and this morning and as soon as I finish Stephen's new socks, that's going to be my next project.

And Stephen's socks? Finding men's sock patterns are always a bit of a challenge because I don't have that many and I don't like making the same pattern over and over again (although this would make him perfectly happy.) I swatched Roza's socks from the new IK. I also have some other ideas. I like Roza's socks because they are a simple pattern, with a twist. These are the brain child of Grumperina (www.grumperina.com/knitblog,) and are basically a 3x3 rib with a brioche stitch thrown in. They're nice and not too feminine, I think. I haven't completely made up my mind yet but I will probably do so today.

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