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I’m back home again after almost two weeks in Sydney. Another medical procedure down there, which went well, and this time only involved one night in hospital. I stayed down there longer, though, on GPs advice – because if complications arose afterwards, they’d likely be serious and quick, and we’re just too far from specialist medical services here. Sydney is large and busy and noisy, and the combination of noise and post-operative tiredness meant that I didn’t sleep well at nights, and had to take a nap most afternoons.

I’m on a deadline for a book, so knitting is taking second place, but some is still happening while I stare at the screen. Just before the end of November, I started two socks for the Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous November challenge:

Slip-stitch socks

Slip-stitch socks

I love the colours of this yarn, but in the first sock I started knitting with it, the colours pooled into definite stripes. I needed a pattern therefore that broke up the pooling to give a more mottled effect. One of the SKA challenges for November is slip-stitch, so I’ve used an improvised slip-stitch pattern – 1st round: *slip 1, k3; 2nd& 4th rounds: knit; 3rd round: k2, *slip 1, k3 (thus offsetting the slip sticth from the previous pattern round). I’m quite happy with how this pattern is muting the colour changes, and also with the lightly textured feel of the fabric produced. This was also my first ever toe-up cast on.

Peace socks

Peace socks

Another of the challenges for the SKA group is to knit a design by Wendy Johnson, of Wendy Knits. I’ve had the beautiful ‘Earth’ colourway of Cherry Tree Hills Supersock Potluck in my stash for a couple of months – it seemed appropriate, in the lead-up to Christmas, to knit a design called ‘Peace‘ with the gorgeous ‘Earth’ colours. This was my second ever toe-up cast on – which I had to do from memory, as I hadn’t taken the instructions to Sydney with me!

Crimson lace mitten

Crimson lace mitten

I knitted my niece lacy fingerless mittens earlier this year, but unfortunately stuffed up and they ended up slightly different lengths. I’d promised her another pair, and when she was in Sydney with me in June, she chose this gorgeous crimson yarn for them. I’ve now knitted the first mitten – one more to go before Christmas! The colour is actually a little richer than it shows in the photo.

In the meantime, I’m still working on the Three Sister’s Scarf, and I’ve almost finished the back of a shawl collar cardigan. Yes, I have too many wips on the go. However, I did finish my Komet socks:

Nundle Retro 4ply

Pattern: Komet socks, by Stephanie van der Linden. Yarn: Nundle Retro 4ply

I’ve been suffering a little from some carpel tunnel or similar problem in my left wrist, so I’m alternating between different projects to give my wrist some variety, and also knitting slowly and gently – and sometimes not at all. I don’t think its the knitting that’s causing it, but I’m still not going to overdo things and make it worse – because I still have a book to finish writing in the next few weeks!

I finished the fingerless mittens for my friend Kerry today, and gave them to her. She loved them, and wore them home, so I’m very pleased with them.

20080427Kerrymitts3crop2

Yarn: The Knittery 4ply merino/cashmere
Pattern: my own
The true colour is a little darker red than this – more like that in the previous post.

The first of my friend Kerry’s mittens is finished, and work underway on mitt 2. Next time I make mittens or gloves, I really should knit the left one first, because it would be so much easier to photograph – holding the camera in my left hand while taking a photo of my right is a touch challenging!

20080424kerrymitten1

Kerry’s hand is a little longer than mine, so her fingers won’t be hidden!

Since Dad’s socks are finished, and Kerry’s mittens are almost finished, and my fisherman’s gansey will be finished soon, I’m now planning my next project/s. I desperately need respectable cardigans/jackets for winter; I feel the cold, but sometimes jumpers (pullovers) don’t work as well as cardigans for respectable dressing. Daniele at our LYS ordered in some Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran, and when i was in there yesterday I used the gift voucher I have and bought 10 balls of the quartz shade, and put another 10 balls aside to pick up later.

20080424SilkRoadYarn1

Now I just have to decide what pattern to use – I still haven’t found the perfect one, although I’m seriously contemplating the Bianca’s Jacket, with adaptations – longer, and straight fronts. I’ll knit up a sample in the lace pattern and see what I think.

Dad’s Conwy socks are finished. I’ll post them off to him today.

Dad\'s Conwy socks

Next on my list of projects to finish this month is the fingerless mitts for my friend Kerry. I’m on the first one, and have started the first cables:
Kerry\'s fingerless mittens in progress

I love this yarn. I can see more of it in my future ­čÖé

I finished the lacy fingerless mitts for Lauren two days ago, but only got photos taken today – I needed the DH’s help, as it’s kinda awkward to photograph both of one’s own hands!

Nundle Woollen Mills, Retro 4ply

I’m very pleased with these – other than the slight oopsy of stuffing up the thumb increase on mitten two, and starting it a pattern repeat later than on mitten one – hence one mitt being almost an inch longer than the other. I’m sure Lauren won’t mind – it’s not terribly obvious.

I like these so much that now I need to make a pair for myself!┬á Despite the lacy holes, they are quite warm, which is good, as we’re moving into autumn down here, and winter gets quite chilly.

Details:

Yarn: Nundle Woolen Mills Retro 4ply (pure wool)

Pattern: improvisation as I went along. The lace pattern is the same basic lace from the Veronik socks.

I decided that the lacy mitten gauge was a bit too tight, and after some experimenting, I started again with 3.25mm needles and only 4 repeats of the lace pattern. After using 2.5mm needles, the 3.25mm ones felt huge! Unfortunately I don’t have short 3.25 dpns, so it was a little awkward with only 11 sts on each needle, but nevertheless the first glove knitted up quite quickly and was done in about 24 hours.

Hand knitted lacy fingerless mitten

This tension lets the lacy pattern show more effectively, yet should still be considerably warmer than bare fingers for the frosty, foggy Canberra winter.

I’ve also started Kerry’s red cabled mittens, and have almost finished the 4″ of ribbing at the cuff. (I did 2″ while watching Pirates of the Caribbean last night. I enjoyed the movie more the second time than I did the first time.)

I might have to put Kerry’s mittens slightly on hold for a week or two – Lauren’s birthday is April 4, so I need to finish by April 1 to get them in the post on time, and Dad’s birthday is April 12 (April 9 posting deadline.) I haven’t started socks for Dad yet, so I’ll probably start them today and do the plain knitting while I’m writing, and Lauren’s lacy knitting while I’m watching DVDs with DH in the evening.

Having finished the cabled mitts, I started thinking about knitting some lacy fingerless mittens. I have left over Nundle 4ply Retro from the Veronik socks, and I liked the lace pattern in that, so I figured it would probably be easy enough to make mittens around that idea.

Lacy fingerless mittens Nundle 4ply Retro

It’s my niece’s 17th birthday in a few weeks; if these work, she might get a handmade birthday present – unless I decide to keep them for myself! I haven’t used a lacy tension, so the fabric of these is reasonably thick. The idea is that they’ll be warm, as well as decorative.

I had lunch with my friend Kerry yesterday, and she tried on the cabled fingerless mitts. They fit, and she likes the pattern, so I gave her the choice of the three colours I have the merino cashmere yarn in, and she chose the dark reds. I’ll start knitting hers shortly.

In exer-stash news – well, I’ve been a bit off-colour the past week, as DH shared his cold/flu bug with me. I didn’t get it very badly, but enough to make treadmilling an unwise option. Today, though, I was back on it – 2.5km in 31 mins 11secs, and $2.50 in the exer-stash fund. And I have the extra motivation of the bonus $5 if I walk 7 days in a row, so I’m planning to be good!

Just a fly-by post, since I’m madly finishing the copy-edits for my book, due to posted tomorrow.

The mitts are finished, and I managed not to stuff up the cables or anything else in mitt 2!

Handknitted fingerless mitts

Hand knitted fingerless mitts

(Thanks to my DH for taking the photos.)

I’m very happy with the pattern, and the yarn, and look forward to wearing them when the weather gets cooler.

Now, I’d better get back to the copy-edits… after they’re done, I can start another knitting project, but not before!!

After all the problems with the two goes at the Jaywalker pattern, it’s a great feeling to actually knit something that fits first time!

Hand knitted fingerless mitt

Yes, I still have to knit the second one, and yes, I still have to find out if they’ll fit Kerry (and whether she’ll like them), but for the moment I’m feeling good about this. There’s enough in the skein to knit two pairs, which is great, because I definitely want a pair for myself!

ETA – Okay, it took me a while to see it, despite having photographed the glove and admired it for half of the day. But yes, there is an oopsie in that there glove. Damn. Damn. Damn. Either I get to frog it back (I don’t think I wanna), or that glove will have to become mine… but will the mistake annoy me forever? Or will I be able to achieve a zen-like acceptance of it?

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