January was a month for knitting. That’s not to say I haven’t been spinning as well, but although I started the month with all sorts of spinning plans lined up, I ended up with needles clacking away almost non-stop.
This is remarkable only because I’m generally more called to spinning, at which I’m proficient. The spinning wheel is one of my happy places; where I am able to feel relaxed and at peace while still being productive.
A sense of purpose is the best way to get through January, I’ve always thought. The purpose itself doesn’t matter – just that you have one.
Having said this; I consider myself a fairly mediocre knitter, most comfortable with simple patterns and small projects. I do enjoy knitting – my brain just struggles with complicated patterns including such intricacies as lace or cables. Give me a nice stockinette or ribbed pattern and I’m happy as a clam.
Not long after Christmas, a friend asked me to knit a pair of fingerless gloves for her husband. She offered up suggestions as to his favorite colors and glove size and left everything else to me.
What fun! I had plenty of yarn in my yarn stash, but decided to delve into my fiber stash instead. Hand-spun is always more special. I pulled out a bag of soft, black Merino roving, setting aside 2 ounces to spin up by itself.
Then I weighed out one more ounce of black Merino, as well as an ounce of royal purple Corriedale wool. The Corriedale would give more strength and body to the gloves.
I striped the two colors onto my drum carder carefully, running them through just once to blend lightly while keeping the colors fairly distinct.
My plan was to use the super-soft black Merino to knit the top half of the ribbed cuffs and a band along the finger edge, and use the purple and black blend for the rest.
I was chagrined to discover partway through the first mitt that I had completely forgotten how to knit a thumb gusset, which is an important part of the pattern. Several rows of tinking followed. Ohh … that’s right. Place markers, do knit front and back increases. Now I remember.
Dang, it was a good thing these were dark colored mitts. I also totally spaced the “lean right or lean left” part of the knit increases.
Happily, they were a big hit – and I was bummed I had forgotten to take a picture of the finished gloves.
As soon as I had delivered the manly black and purple fingerless gloves, I started another pair. It was mid-January and Jer’s birthday was right around the corner. When I asked what color or colors he would like, I was surprised when he promptly responded with “Orange”.
Orange?? Yep. Orange. Jerry has taken up curling this winter (in a senior sort of way), and wanted the extra warmth of a pair of warm, woolen fingerless mitts to cover the light gloves he wears out on the ice. And, of course, he wanted them to coordinate with his orange curling helmet.
Having absolutely no bright, solid orange in my stash, neither fiber nor yarn, I chose a tweed yarn that would wear well and not show dirt. Not totally orange, but close enough.
This pair worked up much more quickly than the last. For one thing, it’s lighter colored yarn, so I could easily knit well into the night. I had thumb gussets sorted out now, so no delays there. It was also yarn I had spun years ago, so I was able to use hand-spun without taking the time to start from scratch.
Next, since I was on a knitting roll, I decided to see if I could remember how to do the spiral decreases necessary to knit the neat crown of a hat.
This meant pulling out my double-pointed needles, which have always been a challenge for me.
OK, let’s start small … maybe baby hats? Oh, perfect! I had some colorful nylon and acrylic, (store-bought) sport-weight yarn I’d picked up at our local yarn shop, “Fiber & Ice”. Super soft and machine washable. A must for baby hats.
Hmm … I quickly realized these hats would be too small to make full use of a self-striping yarn. Silly me. But it seems I can create two totally different looking hats from the same single skein of yarn. What fun!
Managing to evenly space the spiral decreases to create the crown of this tiny hat with my four double-pointed needles was challenging, but the result was worth the effort. I only had to tink out a couple of rows.
By the way, for my non-knitting friends and followers; “tinking” is the term we use for going backwards and un-knitting to get to where we’d made a mistake. Sometimes it’s just a few stitches (if we’re lucky), but sometimes it can be several rows. The word TINK is simply the word KNIT in reverse. 😉
I finished off my month of clicking needles by knitting up a simple ribbed cowl for myself. I’d spun the luscious fiber back in October (I think?).
It was one of those impulse purchases that happen when your eyes fall on something beautiful and you just have to touch it. My mistake. I really should leave my wallet in the car when I visit the yarn store, “Fiber & Ice” in Wasilla, but really – what’s the point? It would just mean an extra trip to the car. 🤷🏼♀️
It was a 4 ounce braid of 90% Polwarth wool blended with 10% silk. Love at first sight.
Since I’d already decided this soft, squishy, sport-weight yarn was meant to be worn against the skin, I chose a simple ribbed cowl pattern. This would keep the squish factor and knit up in short order.
It doesn’t look like much laying flat on the drying rack, but I can easily envision it snuggled or doubled over around my neck with a pair of jeans and a simple, pale gray sweater or a long sleeve top in one of these shades.
Perfect for February in Alaska. Which just happens to have started, so it seems I finished up just in time. Wow, January flew by this year. I guess what they say about keeping busy has merit.
Now to come up with a purposeful plan for this month …
2 thoughts on “Knit1, Purl2 … Tink Tink”
Oh bravo! Splendid knitting. And I love the long cuffs on the orange mitts. (I call them glove cozies – like a tea cozy for gloves.)
Yep, it was a specific request. He reasoned that if he didn’t want them long, he could turn cuffs up. But mostly, he thought he’d like longer rather than shorter. 🤷🏼♀️