making progress on Elle Melle (for me!)

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Being silly with my knit-in-progress.

I’m making good progress on my me-sized Elle Melle now that I don’t have the Fiddlehead Mittens as my object of obsession. Generally speaking, I’m a serially-monogamous knitter, though I’ll make exceptions for having something small like a baby hat or plain mitten or easy cowl on the needles for on-the-go purposes; the Fiddlehead Mittens, with their colorwork, did not fit this bill and so became my one-and-only for the time I was knitting them. But now, my attentions are back on the Elle Melle sweater, and I’ve got a front and most of the back finished!

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I’m really loving how this is turning out – I’m using the pattern as a guide, but redoing the math to yield a size that’s a bit bigger around, but less long in the body, than the biggest size in the kids pattern. I’m also making a few of my characteristic adjustments, like the way that I edge knits when I’m planning to pick up stitches for button bands or sleeves:

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I slip the edge stitch, and then do a single stitch in reverse stockinette next to it, which creates a lovely edge, especially if I pick up from the outer leg of that little column of knit stitches running up the edge. The slipped stitch looks so nice nestled between the body and the button band, or along the raglan line, between the solid-colored sleeve and the striped body. This means I have to adjust the decreases, but I think it creates a nice line when they’re done a bit further from the edge.

My only complaint about the knitting so far has to do with the yarn. I’m using Classic Elite Mohawk Wool, and while the yarn itself is perfectly fine (it’s no Beaverslide Sport/Sock, but it’s nice enough), for some reason, my black skeins were utterly FULL of weak spots; I kind of think that the yarn got nicked by a box-cutter, because there were a lot of spots that looked like all but one of the plies had been cut. So I ended up with lots of little balls when I wound the yarn from the skeins, and then while knitting, discovered more spots (and often had to unknit back to give myself enough of a tail to weave in). So many ends!

Look at all those ends. I don't know if my skeins of black Classic Elite Mohawk Wool got knicked by a box cutter or what, but there have been SO many breaks in the yarn, where only part of one ply was holding it together. Very frustrating!

I think it’s going to be a great sweater in the end, and I don’t even mind end-weaving all that much, but gosh, if I’d’ve known…well, I might’ve gone for the Beaverslide Sport/Sock instead. I had gone back and forth about it when I was planning this sweater, and decided to try the Mohawk in hopes that the nylon would give it a bit more sturdiness (and also because the Mohawk was on sale!), but alas, all I’ve got is a mess of ends and no chance of the glorious blooming that happens with the woolen-spun yarn. And for a woolen-spun yarn, Beaverslide Sport/Sock isn’t even THAT delicate, I think thanks to the mohair that’s blended in. Ah, well, they can’t all be winners, and I’ve got some Beaverslide Sport/Sock for a me-sized stripey pocket sweater, anyway, so I’ll get to knit with the good stuff again :)

Fiddleheads: Finished!!

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Loving my new mittens

Last Wednesday, while my upper-level writing students did group work, I finished the lining of Fiddlehead Mitten number two, and this Saturday I was able to take Real Camera photos of them. I could not possibly be more delighted with how they turned out!

Fiddlehead Mittens!

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Fiddlehead Mittens, by Adrian Bazilia
Yarn: the entirety of 1 skein of Lettlopi in “Glacier Blue Heather”, plus parts of 5 mini-skeins of Bartlettyarns Worsted from Rhinebeck 2016, plus a little over one skein of Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light in “Pea Soup” for the linings.
Needles: size 3 dpns (yes, that did make for a really brutal i-cord cast-on with the Bartlettyarns!)
Time to knit: a little more than one month

Pretty Pretty Mitten!

In all honesty, the Fiddleheads were essentially knit on a whim – I noticed my little bag of mini-skeins, thought they might be nice for a colorwork mitten, and the Fiddlehead pattern immediately sprang to mind. I wasn’t sure what to use as the background color yarn, but I really liked the look of the pattern sample that used light blue, and I thought of the Lettlopi from the Lopi Affection cardigan I started and then abandoned. The pairing worked out wonderfully!

Showing off the lining

For the lining, I did some stash diving, and found some Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light in “Pea Soup”, which didn’t exactly “match” any of the colors in the mitten, but I think it coordinated quite well…and it let me stick to my stash-busting intentions!

Standing up!

The dense knitting (Bartlettyarns on 3’s is no joke!) means that my mittens stand up on their own (and conveniently, this makes a “W”, my initial! Also, holy moly do we ever need to repaint our porch!)

Happy with my new mittens!

They are so warm and comfortable, and I just couldn’t be happier with them. True story: when my daughter saw me trying on the finished mittens, her first comment was, “mama, you should make a sweater with that pattern!”

I swear she hadn’t heard me plotting, but kiddo, I agree 100%! And the yarn is all ready, and the charts are looking good, and the math has been done, so all that remains is to find some time when I can cast on!

The Lopi for the Fiddlehead-inspired yoke sweater I'm dreaming up arrived! (The Glacier Blue is from my stash - already have a sweater's worth for the body!)
Future Fiddlehead Yoke Cardigan!

mitten progress!

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I finished knitting the outer Fiddlehead Mittens last weekend, and I could not be more delighted with how they turned out!

Doing silly poses, at M's direction.
(M was behind me in that picture, encouraging me to make silly faces for the camera!)

End-weaving took awhile, with all those colors, but I was pretty charmed with how my pile of ends looked in the end.

End-weaving complete.

The next step was to knit mitten linings…and I almost didn’t want to, because look how gorgeous those floats are on the inside of the mitten!

Inside out.

I’ve had some pea-green Ultra Alpaca light in my stash for AGES, and decided to use it for the mitten lining. It doesn’t match any of the colors in the outer mitten, but I think it coordinates nicely:

Using Ultra Alpaca from the stash for lining. It doesn't match any of the colors, but it coordinates nicely.

On Thursday, one of my classes had a work period, and since it’s early the semester, I didn’t have any grading/feedbacking to do while they worked, so I knit the thumb section of the mitten lining:

My students had a work period this morning, so I was able to do the thumb increases on my mitten lining!

I did a bit more knitting in my office yesterday…

Working on my Fiddlehead Mittens, in my poorly-lit office.

…and by this morning, I had finished the lining for mitten number one!

Finished the lining for mitten number one!

I’m hopeful that by next weekend, I can have a finished set of lined Fiddlehead Mittens!

The state of the world and particularly of my country is still weighing very heavily on me, and knitting is one of the things I can do to soothe myself. I don’t intend to soothe myself into inaction – very much the opposite, I hope to be able to keep myself level enough to be able to actively resist what is happening. Speaking of the combination of knitting and resistance, if you have not yet see Bristol Ivy’s amazing Peace de Resistance mitten pattern, go check it out. She’s contributing the proceeds to a rolling list of social justice organizations, and has already raised an impressive amount of money. I’m so proud of what our community of socially-minded knitters can accomplish together. I’d like to knit a pair for myself, and just need to find the right stash yarn for the job. I’ve got some hot pink Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock that I haven’t found any other use for, but I’m not sure what I’d combine it with for good contrast. Time to go stash diving.