Lace Fingerless Mitts

Coats Photo
"Heart and Sole" Mellow Stripes color

Hooray! My pattern for Crochet Lace Fingerless Mitts is available on the Coats Website now.

This is a fun intermediate project that is also quick to stitch up.  Red Heart “Heart and Sole” yarn makes for a colorful pair of mitts.  The yarn is available in 14 different color combos as well as 3 solid colors, so you can find the perfect match to any outfit or mood.

I love fingerless mitts.  Living on a mountain it can be quite chilly, yet having my fingers free while I am typing or crocheting is also handy.  Fingerless mitts are the answer for me.

Sometimes making a pair of anything is a challenge for me.  Seems like I get the first one done and then it takes a very long time for me to even start the second one.  I’ve heard this malady referred to as “Second Sock Syndrome” and the usual solution is to work both socks (or mitts) at the same time.  It’s more unusual to see 2-at-a-time in crochet, but I have managed to do it.

Stay tuned to this blog for my directions on working the two mitts at once!

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The Continental Divide

This past Saturday I attempted to learn how to knit continental style. 

ContinentalDivide-1
The Necessary Yarn

Now the word “Continental” inspires romantic visions of sophistication and elegance in my mind.  This could possibly be due to the fact that I was raised in the wilds of Kansas.  Continental knitting it turns out has nothing to do with elegance, at least not in my hands.

Knitting is not really my talent.  I can sort of knit using the English style, where one “throws” the yarn.  I generally need to have an illustrated knitting book open for prompting each step.

After a bit I am zipping along with basic knit and purl stitches (which is about the time I get in trouble with unintended increases or decreases). I have even been known to make a square that has a close resemblance to a flat four-sided object with 90 degree corners (sometimes by a judicious application of force to reshape the wonky).

I’ve been crocheting for nearly 40 years,  so it has been a very long while since I was at the “just learning” stage.  I am discovering in my knitting adventures that I am at the very beginning, in fact at times I wonder if I am in some twilight region that precedes the beginning.

Being I am a brave and adventurous soul I decided I wanted to get better at knitting.  Many knitters, that also crochet, had promised me that knitting continental style is much easier to learn since you hold the yarn similar to crochet.   This sounded good to me, though possibly I was simply delusional.

I made plans with a friend that I see at The Lamb Shoppe’s monthly Pajama Jam to teach me how to knit continental style.  My ambitious idea being that I would make a hat for another friend’s soon to arrive baby.

I had packed a few sizes of needles from my meager stash of knitting accoutrement into my project bag for the evening.  It was decided after a confab that I would use my Size 7 needles and worsted weight yarn knitted flat then seamed to construct the hat.

Being I did not have a yarn with me that would fit the bill, and was fortuitously in a yarn shop at the moment, it was time for yarn shopping.  For once I did not dilly dally at this most wonderful of errands and quickly decided on Cascade 220 Superwash Paints in the lovely Tropical Seas colorway.

I then cast-on using my crochet hook (I was informed that what I was doing was considered a provisional cast-on, but it would work) and began to knit my first ever swatch continental style.  It took a bit of time, but I eventually was working at a steady clip with knit stitches and accomplished a few rows of garter stitch.

Some of my friends at the table with me were highly entertained at my method of knitting.  One went so far to say that I was crocheting my knitting.  I replied that it was perfectly sensible that I would as I am a crochet designer.  I was beginning to feel fairly happy with my knitting progress, when I was told it was time to learn to purl.

Hmmmm, another word with mental picture issues.  In my mind (and experience) pearls are iridescent lovely gems, and though the word “purl” in knitting sounds similar this stitch is certainly no gem.  When my helper told me that purling isn’t anything to be afraid of I knew I was in serious trouble.

My rows of knit stitch had only taken me about 40 minutes. 2 hours after I had started my first row of purling I finally finished it. Let’s just say now that my friend’s baby is likely to be in kindergarten before I get a hat knit (I may be whipping up a crochet one just in case).

My 3 meager rows of Continental Knitting
My 3 meager rows of Continental Knitting

Ooooo…It is so Cute!

I didn’t blog last week because I was having a week long celebration of my birthday.  And look what I got!

HP Mini
HP Mini

My darling new little HP Mini. It will take me a while to get the hang of the smaller keyboard, but I think Mini and I are going to be very good friends.

It fits in my Project Bag
It fits in my Project Bag

What I really love is how well it fits into my project bag. I can take it with me when I am out and about running errands with my kiddos and anywhere there is WiFi available I have access to Ravelry.

It was already a big hit this past weekend while I was at The Lamb Shoppe for the monthly Pajamma Jam.  Had all kinds of fun looking up projects and profiles on Ravelry. Plus tweeted! I know I can do that on my phone, but I like keyboards.

Frost and Snow

Backyard Forest dressed for Winter
Backyard Forest dressed for Winter

This weather is definitely inspiring me to get out the warm fibers and make something cozy.  Was just thinking this morning that my youngest is outgrowing all his winter gear.  May be time to make up a fun felted mitten pattern.

Anyone else in the Northern Hemisphere feeling the pull to play with the yarn and make something warm?

What If?

I have been asked many times where I get my ideas for my art pieces or crochet designs.  There isn’t really one simple answer. 

Some ideas seem to pop up into my conciousness fully formed.  Other times it is a vague wisp that wanders around in my brain and sketchbooks for weeks, months or years as it gathers more form. 

I have realized recently though that a great way to generate ideas was given to me when I was in college.  I had a professor in one of my writing seminars that said to develop a story one should always ask “what if…” and explore those ideas.

The same exercise can be applied to any creative process.  Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist or creative “type” you can use this.   If you look at a pattern and think, “What would that look like in a different color?”, you have just used the “What If”.

What if I take a tank top design and add this stitch pattern for sleeves?

What if I modify this stitch pattern to work in the round and make fingerless mitts from it?

What if I use these pieces of junk mail to create the colors and texture for a sculptural collage/painting?

What if I reinterpreted that knit sweater into crochet?

Of course “What if” often leads to “How do I”, but that is a topic for another day.