Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

A Folkcat First – Random Friday

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 5:22 pm on Friday, November 18, 2005

Don’t ever let it be said that I won’t steal a useful idea from other people’s blogs. It seems that the things I have to blog about today are varied, slightly numerous, yet not too huge individually. Still, there they are demanding to be cleared from my head (and my camera card). So I present to you Folkcat’s First Ever Random Friday.

1. Thanks are due:

To my readers, who are very accepting people and very kind to a woman who yesterday, was more publicly vulnerable on this blog than normal. You are all wonderful people. Thank you.

To all of you who have signed my Frappr map. It’s fun to see who and where you are! Thanks!

To everyone who’s trying out my Freedom Mitts pattern. It’s exciting, wondering when I’ll first see what someone else knit from my work! Thank you for supporting my humble efforts!

2. There’s a Monster in my refrigerator:

Every year, the plastics manufacturing company that Gryphon works for gives a Thanksgiving turkey to each and every employee. Frozen, 20-lb. turkeys, on the Friday before Thanksgiving. (Reliable sources among his co-workers confirm for us that allows sufficient thawing time in the fridge.)

20-lb. turkey in the Folkcat & Gryphon Fridge
The Monster in the Fridge
Thanksgiving is just Gryphon and me. We don’t go elsewhere for dinner, and we don’t have friends in. (We have such a small apartment and it’s so overstuffed with things, we’d have no place to put them.)

Gryphon was working at the same place last year, and received a huge turkey then, too. But we still had a bead store at the time, and our staff (besides ourselves) included a woman, Dragonfly, with a family who we loved dearly. Rather than overdo the turkey dinner thing ourselves, we passed our plastics company bonus turkey on to Dragonfly for her family to cook. It was perfect.

This year, no bead store, no staff, and our lives have moved in a totally different direction than Dragonfly’s. Plus, we’re so broke this time that we can’t afford to turn down 20 lbs. of free turkey. So Gryphon and I, two fairly moderate eaters, are going to cook a 20-lb. turkey for Thanksgiving. We’ll probably carve out one breast intact to put away in the freezer for Christmas dinner, we’ll slice up enough for Thanksgiving, and the rest will get frozen in pieces and parts for quick meals and turkey soup.

I’ll be relying on my old faithful companion, the 1975 edition of the Joy of Cooking, for the roasting instructions. I’ve done it once before – something like 20 years ago, I think – and I can cook, darn it.

It’s just that it’s so…..big.

3. Knitting Around (in Public) starts to catch on:

Blogless Judy from Hudson was able to join Bea and I last night at Panera.
Bea and Judy enjoy the fire at Panera
(L. to r.) Bea, wearing a Peace Shawl and Knitting a prayer shawl; Judy, wearing a 2004 Rhinebeck sweatshirt and knitting a summer top

The evening counted as something of a first for me – Judy spotted me in line at Panera and recognized me from the blog! Makes me feel a little more real somehow.

We had a great time chatting away and knitting. Bea has taken inspiration from my Wearable Hugs, and is knitting her own version, which she calls “Huggables”. She’s taking the same approach I do – trust that you’ll know who the recipient is by the time the Hug is ready to give. Judy worked on two pieces – a Feather-and-Fan scarf in a marvelous green hand-dyed wool, and a bright pink cotton top that she says will be perfect for beach wear.

We were so engrossed in our chatting and learning about each other that we eventually realized the Panera staff was mopping the floors behind us! I take that as a sign that we really clicked. We’re all looking forward to getting together again – and remember, you’re all invited if you’re in the area! Next Knitting Around (in Public) will be a week after Thanksgiving, on Thursday evening, again at Panera on 101A in Nashua. The time to gather is between 5 and 6 p.m. – I usually arrive closer to 6, but Bea is there as early as 5. And if you get there first, just grab the seats by the fire – we’ll be along!

3. Magic Loop – still not my favorite, but I can do it now:

My knitting project for the evening was a hat for Gryphon. He still likes the hat I made him 2 years ago from Homespun, but he has been watching me do this new burst of creative knitting this year and started feeling cravings for a new hat. I’ve recently been seeing Ryan at Mossy Cottage Knits talk about the Dulaan Cloud Hat she’s been knitting from worsted yarn and mohair, and I realized I had a bunch of both in my stash. Great!

So a ball of navy blue worsted, and a partial skein of royal blue mohair, went with me to Panera to be wound into center-pull skeins and knit into a Cloud Hat for Gryphon. But then, on the way to Panera, I stopped at Jo-Ann Fabrics to pick up some button thread, and I found one of their “exclusive” yarns called Angel Hair. A close look at it revealed – get this – a single ply of worsted weight yarn, twisted with a strand of a mohair-like yarn.

Hmm. Someone’s already put the yarns together for me! Of course I bought a skein ($4.99, 100gms, 110 meters), and began knitting the hat.

Of course, true to form for me, I changed the pattern already. The Cloud Hat was done in stockinette with a rolled brim – I knew Gryphon would prefer a ribbed cuff. The pattern called for 10 1/2 needles, I only had 10. So I fudged the stitch count up slightly, and began knitting.

Modified Cloud Hat in Progress
Magic Loop Works – But I Still Prefer Two Circulars

I actually finished the hat in the wee hours of the morning while Gryphon slept, and was able to surprise him with it this morning. Total time from purchase of yarn to finished object: under 11 hours.

The one other important point here is that, having only one size 10 circular with me, and that too long to do a hat on in the usual way, I was forced to figure out Magic Loop once and for all. I’d tried it before with socks, and hadn’t liked it, turning successfully instead to the 2 circular approach.

But I now have it figured out, and while it’s not my preference, I can do it where necessary. Good for me!

I’d show a picture of the finished hat, but Gryphon wore it to work tonight. Soon, though!

4. Sometimes, it helps to know that someone else had a worse day than you:

Not that I wish anyone to ever have a bad day. But, you know, stuff happens and you get to look on as a bystander and realize, maybe your day isn’t too bad.

This afternoon, while Gryphon was out picking up our monster turkey from work, I was sitting on the toilet when I heard sirens going by. This is not an unusual occurrence – we live about 2 blocks down Main Street from the Wilton Fire Department. But this time, I heard the sirens pass by in back of our building, then stop.

Of course, now I’m rushing to finish peeing, wipe off, and get my pants pulled up so I can find out if I have to evacuate the building. I manage to get to the kitchen door, look out, and see this:

Car Fire, Wilton FD responding
I’m Glad It’s Not My Car (Touch Wood)

Someone in the buildings was parked by the dumpster, and somehow their car caught on fire. I didn’t trouble anyone for details – they were busy, after all.

But I got my “someone’s having a worse day than me” moment from it.

5. Fisherman in the Granite State are well cared for:

Last Sunday, on a whim, Gryphon and I paid a late visit to the Milford Fish Hatchery on North River Road, Milford, NH.

Milford Fish Hatchery Sign, North River Road, Milford, NH
Domed Tents Cover Fish Ponds
Domed Tents Cover Many, Many Concrete Ponds
Fishermen (and women), try not to salivate, but those ponds are almost all filled with trout of various species. Including some monster rainbow trout that I couldn’t get a picture of because of glare on the water.

Folkcat Knits with Trout
Folkcat Knitting Around with Trout
Wearable Hug 13 (WH13), the Divine Diva, got pulled out of the knitting bag. The colorway is called Adirondack, and now she’s being knit with fish being bred for seeding the rivers and lakes. Is she a nature girl?

Trout in Open Pond Leaps for Insects
This Picture Took Forever To Get
One of the open ponds had many, many large trout in it, and as it was nearing dusk, they were feeding actively on flying insects over the water. It was astonishing to stand there watching leap after amazing leap. Some managed to walk on their tails halfway across the pond.

I kept trying to press the shutter release on the camera faster and faster, hoping to catch a fish in the air. I have several dozen photos of a small ripple of water on the pond where the fish landed. Finally, I think I got lucky, and a second fish jumped immediately after the one that triggered my shutter finger.

6. Phew! It adds up, doesn’t it?

But that’s all for this week. Really, it is. I suppose everything above could have been expanded into a full-sized post of its own, but really – I post five times a week, and that’s five items I came up with to blog about in just one day! (Never mind that the Knitting Around thing has been waiting for attention since Sunday!) If I didn’t combine subjects now and then, I’d have a huge backlog of posts laying around.

And so, I offer a final Thank You for your indulgence in my slightly longer, hodge-podge of a post today. Now I’m free to come up with completely new topics for next week! *grin*

Thanks again, everyone, for paying a visit here. I love knowing that I have all these virtual friends to chat with. You’re great!

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Things I Wonder If You Wonder About – Folkcat Exposed

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 3:18 pm on Thursday, November 17, 2005

My apologies in advance if you came looking for fiber content, there isn’t much today. All I have to report re: WIPs is that Wearable Hug 13 (WH13), the Divine Diva, is well underway, and I’m about a quarter of the way into the second of three skeins of yarn. No pictures, I’m afraid.

I’m now going to do something I don’t do very often here – expose you to some of my musings. If you don’t want to deal with them, please feel free to skip on to the next blog on your reading list, I won’t think any less of you at all. Do be sure to come back tomorrow, when I’ll be reporting on Knitting Around with Fishes at the Milford Fish Hatchery.

Folkcat’s Musings

I admit it. Even though I do some slightly outrageous things – like asking permission to sit on the sling of a trebuchet while knitting – I am actually frequently riddled with feelings of extreme insecurity and shyness. I’ve sometimes wondered if I have a mild form of bipolar disorder, since I have days I feel great and seem able to do anything, alternating with days I feel vulnerable, weak, and afraid.

Part of me is sure that it’s just normal for any human being to feel that way. On my down days, though, it seems a little too easy sometimes to suspect that I’m not normal.

But maybe that itself is normal.

On the down days, I often wind up wondering what other people think about me. Again, I’m sure that’s fairly normal. I think. As a blog reader and writer, it’s too easy to find myself comparing my life as blogged to what others do and blog about.

Some of the things I wonder if you wonder about me in comparison to other knit bloggers:

1. Why doesn’t she ever talk about her kids, or other family?

Because Gryphon and I don’t have any children. We married fairly late – I was 32, he was 42 – over 12 years ago, and we once thought that we wanted children. So we let nature take its course. Nothing happened. With budget always having been tight for us, aggressively exploring fertility issues, or even adoption, was simply never an option.

Eventually, having put our energies into growing as individuals and a couple, and finding lots of things that we enjoyed doing and participating in, we came to a conclusion that having children probably would change our lives so much that it wouldn’t be fair to either us or the children. Around the same time, I had health issues that turned out to be a huge ovarian cyst and severe endometriosis, requiring surgery and removal of an ovary. The surgeon’s assessment of my remaining ovary is that it’s severely deformed. Even if we felt having children were an appropriate thing for us to do, it’s unlikely that we’d ever be able to have our own.

Enough time has progressed that I’m now 45, Gryphon is 55. I know lots of people have children or adopt that late in their lives, but we still feel that our life as it already is provides enough of a daily struggle – we don’t quite have enough income to live without serious budgetary stress, and we have no extra for savings. Our cars are currently uninsured, which is legal in New Hampshire, but it makes me uneasy when I have to go somewhere. Even if we wanted to add children to our lives now, how could we afford it?

As for other family – Gryphon’s is all in New Jersey, and he doesn’t have a close relationship with them at all. My family is mostly in Syracuse, NY, where I was born and raised. But we were never much for talking on the phone. My sister, the computer geek in the family, is online, but has such severe MS that she is only able to dictate at most a sentence a day, and she needs assistance to use the computer to read or write e-mail. My mother and father don’t want to introduce a computer into their life – my father would never use it, and my mother knows herself well enough to realize that she’d get sucked into doing nothing but playing games and browsing the Internet all day, so she just doesn’t want to bring the temptation into the house. My brother lives in Los Angeles, and he’s online, and has even written e-mail occasionally. But he goes into long phases where he doesn’t feel like communicating much, either.

All of which makes it hard to share much news about my family. Gryphon and I get to Syracuse to visit maybe once a year (though when we had the bead store, we weren’t able to get away for three years), usually right after Christmas when his company closes down for a week anyhow. We’re hoping to be able to afford the gas to travel there this year, which will be the first time I’ve visited since I began blogging. So you may hear about them at last around January.

2. Why doesn’t she talk about any pets? She’s a knitter, isn’t she required by law to have at least one cat or dog?

It sometimes seems like that, doesn’t it, as you go around the knit blogs?

Our lack of pets is not for a lack of interest in having any. Fact is, we’re renters, and it’s hard to find an affordable apartment in decent shape, in a good neighborhood, that allows cats and/or dogs. We would love to have a cat for companionship, or a small dog, but it’s just not possible where we are now. The stress of searching for an apartment, coming up with money for first/last/deposit (when we have no savings), and then actually engineering the move of all our piles of things into the new place is not something we’re prepared to deal with for some time.

I have faith that all things come in their proper time, though. I grew up in a family that always had at least one or two pets around. I know there will be a cat or dog for me again, when we’re able to deal with it.

Meanwhile, I can live vicariously through all you knit bloggers who share pictures and stories about your furry family members on your blogs. Please don’t ever stop doing that, it means a lot to me!

3. If money is so tight for them, why don’t we ever see her talking about a job?

Me working outside the home is a tough issue. I have asthma that reacts to perfume and cigarette smoke – even to the residual aroma of someone who just stepped outside for their smoking break. If I wind up in an office working alongside someone who wears scented products or smokes (or, ghu forbid, both!), I’m likely to wind up having to go home sick from the asthmatic coughing fit that will ensue.

After a few such incidents some years ago, Gryphon and I concluded that we were better off with me working as “homemaker and hearthkeeper” for our family of two. My highest skills are actually in areas that apply to that job. I’m talented at bargain shopping, and can find the clearance corner of any store I walk into for the first time within mere minutes. I’m an inventive cook, and can make very tasty meals from the most inexpensive of discounted produce and day-old bakery goods. I am an extreme multi-crafter, and if we need a home decor item, or frequently even if we need a specialized tool, implement, or organizer, I can make our own that’s better than anything you can buy, and less expensive, too. As I get better with my knitting, too, and as we can find money in the budget to buy me the yarns to work with, I can knit our own garments to the degree that we want knitted clothing in our wardrobes.

All of these things greatly enhance our home life, and make it more possible to live on a single income. But they do take time – time that I wouldn’t have if I had to go to a regular job outside the home.

Working outside the home adds extra expenses to the budget, too. I’d have to have a wardrobe good enough for an office dress code; we’d put extra miles on the car on a regular basis; I’d have to be able to pack nutritious foods for meals at work.

So, I do talk about my job. Only it’s not a paying job outside the home like so many of you have. Instead, my job is to continue making our home life function, as effectively and inexpensively as possible. If I can eventually find a way that my crafting can earn me some money, too, that’s icing on the cake.

I’m Done Now

Okay, I’m sure that’s more than enough. I hope I haven’t scared you off. If anything, I hope this helps you understand a bit better why my blog isn’t as filled as others with the daily dealings of having to care for kids, pets, driving around on errands all the time, squeezing doctor’s appointments into a lunch break, and so on. It’s just Gryphon and me to take care of, and our needs are pretty simple.

Thanks for indulging me these moments of wondering. It helps a lot to be able to voice these thoughts. I promise, I’m still knitting, and you’ll hear more about it soon.

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Eats, Knits, and Leaves – a (Slightly) Belated Knitting Group Report

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 3:50 pm on Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I didn’t have a lot of time to post yesterday. At least, that’s my excuse for not putting up the pictures from Monday night’s Eats, Knits, & Leaves gathering at Toadstool Bookshop in Milford, NH. And I’m sticking with it!

Eats, Knits, and Leaves November 2005
Eats, Knits, & Leaves, Nov. 2005
Clockwise from bottom left, this month’s knitters are; Vicky, Bea, Beth, Patty, Janice, Jane, Carol, and Julie.

For a group that’s only four months old (and only meets once a month), I think we’re gelling nicely. It helps that a lot of the other ladies know each other from kids that go to the same school, or living in the same neighborhoods.

But even those of us without pre-existing common bonds other than knitting are finding the conversation comfortable. We’ve been gathering long enough that we can start to build from previous meetings. We’ll look at what someone’s knitting this month and say, “Oh, is that the bag you said you were going to knit last month?”, “Say, that’s coming along nicely,” or “How’d those socks you were working on come out?” And we do a pretty good job of remembering to bring along finished projects that we’ve worked on at group before so people can see the results.

Janice Lets Her Yarn Untwist
Janice, (Un)Twisting the Night Away
Janice was working with Lamb’s Pride Yarn (if I remember correctly), which is a worsted weight single-ply. She was constantly having to let her knitting hang down to untwist, and everyone agreed that was one of the pictures to take for the record. She says this is just the way that single-ply yarns behave with her, and she seemed to take it in stride, while the rest of us derived amusement from the vision of spinning fiber and needles.

Janice and I made the interesting discovery that we have both worked on fingerless mitts since last month. Each of us looked at online patterns and rejected them in favor of creating our own; each of us worked the thumb as a modified buttonhole. The major difference: I knit from the fingers down, in a multi-colored bulky yarn with a 2×2 rib, she knit from the cuff up in solid color worsted weight, with (I think) a 1×1 rib.

It just goes to show that the really worthwhile ideas are all out there, ready for any of us who dare to pluck them from the ether and bring them to reality. It was fun to compare our mitts and to realize how differently the same notion can be executed by two different knitters.

The real show-stopper among the show-and-tell items, though, was this piece of modular knitting that Carol brought in. Carol has been a weaver for a long time, but has only been knitting for around a year, if I remember correctly.

Jane and Carol Discuss Carol's Modular Knitting
Jane and Carol Discuss Carol’s Modular-Knit Tapestry
Tapestry is my choice of words to describe this piece. Carol isn’t quite sure what she’s going to do with it, though the majority suggested hanging it on the wall as art.

Here are some close shots of some of the more interesting patches. As always, click through for a larger image.

Carol's Knitting, Detail 1Carol's Knitting, Detail 2Carol's Knitting, Detail 3
Of course, there’s always the disappointment that pictures on the web can never adequately convey the colors and beauty of a piece like this.

I worked on Wearable Hug 13 (WH13), aka The Divine Diva, on Monday night. With crafty gatherings to attend both Monday and Tuesday this week, I really can’t say I’ve done any other knitting than that. But that’s okay – it’s still progress on a knitting project I want to accomplish, and that’s good enough for me.

A good time was had by all – in fact, we got so absorbed in our knitting and chatting that the bookstore staff had to come ask us to pack up and leave at closing!

On a note for the future, it’s been decided not to get together again until January at Toadstool. Bea and I, however, have extended an invitation to the other Eats/Knits/Leaves knitters to join us at Panera any Thursday evening they’d like (except Thanksgiving), so there’s no need to go without Knitting Around opportunities over the holidays!

So, to any Eats, Knits, and Leavers reading this, in case I don’t see you – May the Holiday Season Bring You and Your Families Peace, Love, and Joy!

And Happy Knitting!

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Freedom Mitts Pattern – Updated

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 1:12 pm on Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I’ve updated my Freedom Mitts pattern already. The new version is the one you’ll find for download now at:

http://www.folkcatart.com/PDF/Freedom_Mitts_Pattern.pdf

The change is a small, but I think important, one. I found the name for the style of cast-on I recommend for the mitts – Twisted German Cast-on. I have now included a URL for an online tutorial for Twisted German Cast-on in the “Resources and Links” section of the pattern.

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Scrounging Components for Beading

Filed under: Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile — folkcat at 12:23 pm on Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Last Tuesday at Craft Circle, we saw a good example of how all us beading Craft Goddesses – Bea, Judith, Vicki, and myself – tend to scrounge almost anything we see to incorporate into beadwork somehow.

We were joined for the first time by local knit blogger Kat, who I fear may have been a little overwhelmed by our beady craziness.

Kat Knits While Vicki Snips
(l.to r.) Kat, Vicki, Judith.
The funniest thing that happened was Vicki showed up with these plastic “bead” curtains that she’d bought on clearance at Target. (I say “bead” because it turns out the plastic components are molded onto the string.) In turn, each one of us beaders – Judith, Bea, and I – related how we’d looked at those on the shelf and considered buying them to cut apart for beading! None of us went for it, though, because when we looked they were still around $10. Vicki was the lucky one – she found the under $3 clearance price!

Judith and Bea Laugh Along While Vicki Cuts Strings
Vicki Cuts Apart the Plastic Bits; Bea Sorts Them for Divvying Up; While Judith Looks on in Amusement
There turned out to be two styles of the curtains – one with a series of circular and square “rings” in several neon colors and sizes, the other with either large pink solid squares or small brown ones. All four of us had looked at these and had notions of beading around the rings, and drilling holes in the edges of the solid squares to make charms!

Cutting Up Plastic Bead Curtains
Dividing the Loot
It’s going to be interesting to see what we come up with from these components.

Bottle Cap Charms Update

I’m still heavily in Materials Acquisition Mode on these. I keep hoping to pick up a 1″ punch to make cutting all these circles easier. And now I’ve figured out that the optimum size to put a circle on the outside of the cap is 7/8″, so naturally I want one of those punches, too. Budget hasn’t allowed for these purchases yet, though, so I’m still spending lots of time with the scissors.

And now, I’m distracted by the “bead” curtain components above, and want to play with ideas for them…

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Where Do You Knit Around?

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 11:04 am on Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Check out our Frappr!

Okay, I’ll bite…this Frappr thing that’s going around the blogs now actually seems really cool. So here’s my map – please drop by and add yourself to it so I can see where we’re all Knitting Around!

Freedom Mitts Pattern – Now Available!

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 6:39 pm on Monday, November 14, 2005

Only a short entry today – I have to leave in a minute, and I’ve spent most of my blogging time working on this:

http://www.folkcatart.com/PDF/Freedom_Mitts_Pattern.pdf

Yes, folks, the Freedom Mitts pattern is now available as my first Free Pattern offering! These are the fingerless mitts I made last week that people took a liking to – now you can make them, too.

I’ll be setting up a section in my sidebar tomorrow where the pattern can be found on a permanent basis. In the meantime, the link above will take you to my PDF which you can download to your computer or print, as you choose.

Please note – these haven’t been tested by any other knitter yet, though they are accurate to the way I created this first pair of mitts. I will be extremely grateful for any and all feedback you can offer if you decide to try them out.

Gotta dash now – I’m running late! More tomorrow!

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Re-Design for I Knit Around

Filed under: Retired - Jenny Kubeck on the Web — folkcat at 1:38 pm on Saturday, November 12, 2005

I’ve been with Blogger for about 3/4 of a year now, and I’ve long since gotten tired of seeing the same old templates for our blogs. Modifying the template is possible, of course, but it’s risky to make those changes without damaging things like items you’ve added to the sidebar, etc.

I was inspired this week to create yet another blog – but this one isn’t a public one. It’s called Folkcat’s Test Blog, and it’s nothing more than a laboratory for me to mess with a Blogger template as much as I want to get things right before I implement the re-design on an actual live blog.

Today’s task was to re-create the look for I Knit Around, my knitting and life adventures blog. I’m pleased with the result. It may not be as elegant as a more experienced and professional web designer could have created, but it’s colorful, it’s readable, and it’s distinctly mine.

And the bonus – every time I tinker with one of the blogs or my web pages this way, I understand the process a little better for the next time!

Freedom Mitts and Fine Feathered Friends

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 11:45 pm on Friday, November 11, 2005

Quicky Blog Update Note

Yes, the header is new! I loved the colors of my new fingerless mitts (see below) so much, I took a good close photograph of them, and cropped it down to an appropriate header size. I like it!

Warm Hands Indeed

Knitting Around (in Public) [KA(iP)] last night at Panera was quite productive. I completed the second of the fingerless mitts, and even wore them home for their first action test.

They work! My fingers were warm and comfortable all the way home. I had just enough yarn left in the skein to knit a 20 stitch by 20 row gauge swatch – by my estimate, if I’d wanted I could have gotten about 3/4 of an inch in additional length to each of these mitts.

Freedom Mitts
Look, Ma! I’m a Hand Model!
Gryphon and I popped out to the Rivervew Mill in Wilton to take this picture. There’s a dam on the Souhegan River by the mill at this point, and just beyond the dam in this picture, you can see a little cataract coming down the banks into the river.

The next two pictures aren’t as good as I’d like. I should have chosen a different fabric for the backdrop – I didn’t realize how close it was to the purples in the mitts!

Finger Freedom Mitts
And Now for the Details:

Yarn: Berroco Foliage, Color #5930
Needles: Addi Turbo circulars, size 8 – one 24″ and one 40″ (because those are the lengths I had in my stash).
Gauge: Stockinette stitch on size 8 needles – 4 stitches and 6 rows to the inch.
Pattern: My own – I call them Freedom Mitts. I made this one up as I went along. I’m going to work it up as a PDF and make it available here real soon, I promise.

Notes: These were a quick and easy knit. Except for a modified buttonhole for the thumb, and a small bit of shaping below the thumbhole, it’s a straight 2×2 rib from end to end. The mitts are knit from the top (finger) edge down.

Why Freedom Mitts?

I call them Freedom Mitts because I have the same issue with my hands that I do with my feet – I don’t like them being all closed up in fabric, especially my fingers. Ordinary mittens keep the fingers loose, but you can’t manipulate anything with the mitten on. Gloves allow the fingers to articulate, but you wind up with a double thickness of knitted material between each and every finger, and I find that very uncomfortable.

This why I wanted to knit fingerless mitts. I looked around the Internet at the multitude of patterns out there, and decided many of them had features I didn’t want – like the beginnings of individual sleeves ringing each finger. Or they were made with a yarn I knew too little about to figure out a substitute. Or….well, let’s just say that I didn’t figure that creating my own pattern would be hard, especially since it could borrow from the skills I’ve developed at knitting socks.

Finger Freedom Mitt - Thumb Detail
Two Ribs Merge to One Under the Thumb
I knew I couldn’t just create a straight tube and put a slit for the thumb and expect it to work. Our hands get a little bigger where the thumb joins the palm, and the thumbhole needs to accommodate that. So I had to figure out how much extra to add to go around the thumb, and then how to shape with decreases after that. I also discovered a point in the thumbhole creation that was prone to leaving an extra, unwanted hole around the edge, and I worked out how to make that go away.
In actual wear, the mitts are very warm. I did find the Berroco Foliage yarn to be mildly itchy in contact with my skin, but not so bad I can’t tolerate them. I’ve read on someone’s blog about washing yarn with Palmolive dishwashing liquid to soften up the wool – I think I’m going to see if that helps. I’ll let you know.

Pattern to Come Soon – I Promise, Candace!

And Candace, thanks for your kind words about the mitts in your comment!

I need to spend some time writing out how I made these, then cleaning up the text and putting it in a nice PDF format. I suppose I could charge for the pattern, but you know what – no. It’s actually a very simple pattern, and it’s not like there’s a shortage of other patterns for fingerless mitts out there. So I’ll make it available as a free PDF, and I’ll create a section on the sidebar of the blog for Patterns.

Stay tuned, I’ll let you know when that happens.

Incidental Fun at the Photo Shoot

Fine Feathered Friends
Fine Feathered Friends
(l. to r.) Sussy-Rose Shields and Pam Nowell
When Gryphon and I popped down to the Riverview Mill to photograph the Freedom Mitts by the river, all the resident artists were busy getting ready for a special Open Studio event tonight. We caught Sussy-Rose, a silversmith and jewelry artist, and Pam Nowell, a pottery artist, trying out some hats from the vintage clothing shop. Personally, I think the pink feathers looked great with Pam’s chocolate brown outfit.

Sometimes I wish that fantastic hats like that would come back into style. They made putting an outfit together more than just putting clothes on – it was an art form, creating a look that was capped by a magnificent headpiece.

Yeah, I know….I’m waxing nostalgic for the good old days! The only thing I want to know – why am I always reminiscing and longing for time periods from before I was born?

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Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 5:39 pm on Friday, November 11, 2005

Testing because Blogger seems to be having FTP issues again.

Edit – 11:15 p.m. Eastern time: And the fact that you’re seeing this message means they’re resolved. I’ll go work on today’s real post now – thanks for your patience! And a big fat razzberrie to Blogger for repeated FTP problems. Get it fixed, guys!

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