FOFri #25: Difficult Beginnings

I try not to use this blog as a venting space for Real Life Things because, honestly, who wants to read that? We’re all here for the yarn, the creativity, the inspiration, the joy, the fiber adventures. However, I feel a bit weird just going on blogging without acknowledging the scary news my family received this week, so please indulge me briefly. This week my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m not ready to call it bad news just yet, we’re still waiting for her to meet with the surgeon to determine the stage and severity of what we’re dealing with, but it’s certainly scary news no matter what and it’s going to be impacting our lives in some unexpected ways. So there it is, the big ‘C’, waltzing on into our lives. In the past few days we’ve been doing lots of research and hearing so many stories of triumph and strength that we’re all just trying to stay as positive as we can until we know more. Of course, I immediately ordered some yarn to make my mom a shawl because damnit if I can’t be there to comfort her, something I made with love in every stitch sure as hell will be… as soon as the yarn arrives. In the meantime, I’m going to continue blogging and sharing my love of knitwear and yarn with the world because happy distractions are good.

Fittingly, the knit I finished this week is a lovely pink color:

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This is a modified version of the Millwater cowl that I was comissioned to make. The yarn is Malabrigo Twist in Damask and it made a great, squishable fabric. I hope the recipient loves it.

I also finished a cowl for myself:

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This Ingot cowl designed by Lisa Mutch is a really simple but effective piece. Knit in a silk blend like Codex it becomes really stunning. I’m planning to wear this to Stitches East this weekend (and get better photos of it) so I can spread the Codex love around the Verdant Gryphon booth!

Finally, I started some wonderfully soothing spinning:

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This is a beautiful, self-striping “bullseye bump” from the Loop! etsy shop in all my favorite colors ever. Teals, greens, olives, aquas, silvers — yes, please. I’ve never spun from a center-pull batt before but I’m enjoying it so far, the fibers are light and even, almost predrafted already for a smooth spin. The bumps are a little bit on the expensive side for spinning fiber but this was a ‘congrats on finishing your manuscript’ gift to myself and I feel now is a good a time as any to indulge a little bit.

That’s all I have this week. Check out  more FOs at Tamis Amis.

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FO Friday #10: Hootenany

I present to you the adorably woolly face of evil.

Hoot?

These little owl faces represent five hours of work… for just the eyeballs and the beaks! Each mitten had about 20 or so ends to weave in, too. However, they did come out darn cute and they are pretty much exactly what my coworker commissioned for her little daughter so hopefully the little owl-obsessed girl loves them!

The one on the right looks extra surprised.

I used Cascade 220 superwash in an appropriately owl-y color for the body of the mitts held double. I knit most of one mitten before deciding I needed to cast on a few more stitches because although 2-year-old hands are tiny, they do grow and the fabric was extra thick so I wanted to give a little more room in there. But the rest of the mitten knitting went fairly smoothly and I followed this blog’s tips for making the white ‘brow’ part at the top. I felt like a mitten-knitting-genious… until I hit the eyeballs.

Attempt #1: single crochet circle. Attempt #2: knit in the round with lots of increases.

 

I even have crochet the old college try for this project (a.k.a. an hour of internet searching when I should’ve been doing other things). This only confirmed for me that I still hate crochet. It feels entirely unnatural to me. Even the basic chain stitch comes out all wonky and as I’m using my fingers to pull the loops over the hook, I can’t help wishing for an implement to help in the process… like another needle. Knitter to the core, I suppose. So then I tried knitting a tiny circle in the round with lots of increases but that was too ruffly. Finally, I cast on 4 sts to a DPN and did short rows within those 4 sts until I had a curved strip of knitting long enough to kitchener the two ends together into an approximate circle. Phew! I don’t keep a lot of superwash yarn lying around but I had some Bugga mini-skeins that I used for the brow and the irises, Cascade 220 sw for the pupils, and Socks that Rock Heavyweight scraps for the beaks. In sum, these mittens are quite cute and came out just as I’d hoped but I will likely never make them again… the finishing was far too fiddly.
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