Tuesday, December 29, 2009

mitten love and the skating pond

Bunny Love mittens

Girl Thing loves her mittens, I think they make her feel special. She told her grandmother what a great knitter her mother is. Two points for me, I'm going to stash them away for the teen years. Vital stats: Pattern: my own, Sized for a small girl with chubby hands, Yarn: Rauma Finullgarn, Needles: size 1.

Now that the shopping craze of Christmas is over, I'm finally starting to enjoy myself. The skating pond was so much fun, a wholesome good time that seems like what the season should really be about. The great thing about the pond on Chebeague is that one kind man floods his property and there are plenty of donated skates, sticks, and a nice fire going in the warming hut. People also stock the hut with hot cocoa and other goodies and help maintain the ice. It's such a great place for the kids to go and everyone is grateful and follows the rules, no D&D (drinking and drugs).

catching snowflakesskating involves falling down 50% of the time
doing doughnuts on the skating pondthe skating pond

Clockwise from top left: Girl Thing catching snowflakes, Boy Thing spends just as much time on the ice as skating on it, view of the pond with the hut on the right, The Huz and Girl Thing doing doughnuts on the ice.

White Fang mittens

Making progress on Boy Thing's mittens, I hope to have them done for New Year's. He wanted a dog and I gave him a white one like White Fang, since he went through a Jack London phase last summer.

Tomorrow we're off to visit the in-laws for Xmas part 3. Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

self-portrait in gingerbread

self portrait in gingerbread 2009

Self-portrait in gingerbread 2009. Not all that different than 2008, though the ladies seem to have become more prominent. Anatomically correct gingerbread was big in Boy Thing's decorating too.

Sunburn Dad

The pink gingerguy was known as Sunburn Dad, everyone wanted to eat him. The blob at his groin was apparently his speedo.

my yarn is bigger than a boatBoston Harbor

We spent the weekend in Boston and thanks to a nice snafu, ended up with in a room with the most glorious view of the harbor. Popped into the ICA and really enjoyed the Damian Ortega show, which was a cross between sculpture, installation, and conceptual, all with a bit of a humorous twist. The piece that I really fell for though was a Tara Donovan work called Nebulous, made of bits of scotch tape coiled over and over until what was on the floor could have been a pile of chiffon, or a topographical map. Click here for a close-up of the piece. The repetitive, meditative quality of her work connects for me with knitting, needlework, weaving, and so many other traditional handcrafts.

The kids were semi-monstrous at the hotel. Why do they seem so loud and ill behaved when they're out of their element? They did swim in the pool, join in the mayhem at their cousin's holiday party, eat too many sweets, and stay up too late. But then again so did we all, so maybe I was semi-monstrous too.

I don't think I'll be able to finish Boy Thing's mittens by Christmas. Do 9-year-olds accept IOUs?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

bunny love mittens 2.0

The Uhlan Cap prize is open ended, so there's plenty of time to get in on it. Kim is threatening to make one, go Kim!

Bunny Love mittens

Finished Bunny Love Mittens.
Vital stats: Yarn: Rauma Finullgarn Needles: size 0 dpns, Pattern: my own. People keep suggesting who I should give them to and I just say back off, OK? These mittens will find their Cinderella.

Bunny Love 2.0

A second pair to fit my little girl's big hands involves recharting. For Bunny Love Mittens 2.0 I added a bunch of stitches and have gone up a needle size to size 1. Knitting with 0s or 1s produces a nice dense, mitteny fabric, but it's also rough on my needles, I've snapped my wood 1s. My LYS was out of wood or even metal 1s as replacements, so I bought they only 1s they had, Kollage square needles. There is no way I would have bought those needles normally because they seem kind of weird, but I was desperate. Guess what, I love them!! Who would have thunk it, they are comfortable and have relaxed my knitting a little.

PS. The lettering of LOVE reminds me of Robert Indiana's LOVE.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

fishermen's gear (and a prize!)

Chebeague Island Fisherman's Mittens

Over Thanksgiving, Diane Calder of the Chebeague Island Ladies' Aid was kind enough to share the Chebeague Island Fishermen's Wet Mittens pattern with me and my mom. She described how as these mittens are worn by lobstermen and are continually felted as they are dipped in and out of the sea as they pull out their traps and warm their hands up on the exhaust pipe of the boat. The lobstermen also wear the mittens double and even though their hands are wet, they are still very warm. Knitting with raw wool is essential to the felting process. Diane uses Bartlett Yarns 3-ply in natural and was laughingly sorting through all her balls to find whites that matched perfectly to finish the mittens that she was working on. These very firm and felted mittens would be great water resistant, insulated mittens for anybody.

The pattern for these mittens can also be found in Favorite Mittens by Robin Hansen. The Chebeague Island Ladies' Aid shared the pattern with Robin Hansen when the book was originally published back in early 80s. Diane said orders for the mittens flooded in to the Ladies' Aid from all around the country and she was even asked to do workshops on how to make them. Demand for the mittens has dropped and many of the Ladies' Aid knitters are getting older, so there is a real worry that the art of knitting these mittens may soon be lost. They still take special orders once in awhile and can be contacted through the church website. I would like to make a pair this winter and I'll report back on how it goes. My mom also wants to knit a pair, but I could see a scared look in her eyes at the thought of knitting on double pointed needles. She did go home with a little bit of Diane's wool to cast on with and some dpns. Come on Mom, you can do it, especially if Diane is helping you.

Sailors Uhlan Cap

The Huz, who is good at finding things, found me this pamphlet with knitting instructions for the above Uhlan Cap for sailors. It was published by The Woman's Seaman's Friend Society of Boston and I'm hazarding a guess that it might be from the turn of the century. There are also instructions for Comfort Bags (?!!), Woolen Mufflers, Woolen Wristers, Mittens, Sailors' Curtains, and Finger Stalls. "Ladies having any of the above-mentioned articles can send them to the Woman's Seaman's Friend Society, 287 Hanover Street, care of Miss Frink, who will at once put them to good use."

The Uhlan Cap looks pretty styling even by modern standards and I would love to do a knit-along for this. Is anyone up for it? The word Uhlan seems to come from a Tartar word for brave warrior and I suppose the cap does look Central Asiatic when it's rolled up. I uploaded the entire pamphlet to Scribd as Seamans Friend pamphlet and you can download it from there or below. Please let me know if you knit something from here, I would love to know how they turn out.

PRIZE: There will be a special yarny surprise for the first person to knit an Uhlan Cap and send me a picture of it!

Seamans Friend pamphlet