Knitting

Dude, what’s with all this YARN?

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As I said, it’s been a pretty busy and hectic few months, during which a bizarre urge to play with yarn took hold of me. You might recall, dimly, that this used to be a primarily yarn-based blog, way back when, and you might even know that I still have knitting patterns for sale. I wasn’t especially good at coming up with designs though, and it’s a crazy-flooded market – and I just gradually lost all yarn-related mojo.

I haven’t really knit for, I dunno, a couple of years, maybe? I wasn’t even sure if I could remember what to do with this weird fuzzy, fat thread. Do you wrap it around those pointed sticks in some way??!

I have no idea where the urge to knit came from, except that I do always crave a good wooly project in times of stress. When my Dad was in the hospital for a few weeks, years ago now, I knit about five cowls. It’s something my hands know how to do without any coaching or guidance.

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And, of course, what else would you do when you can’t keep up with your to-do list or your heaving stack of half-finished projects? The only sensible solution is to cast on for a new cardigan (pictured) and a pair of socks and return to a long-lost laceweight crochet shawl and revive an abandoned pair of mitts and buy some new yarn for a project unknown. Yup, that’s just about the only thing you can do.

I don’t have too much luck with knitting sweaters – I mean, they come out nice and they fit and all, but they rarely end up being something I really, really want to wear – but I’m desperately hoping this Calligraphy cardigan (pattern by Hannah Fettig) will be the perfect everyday throw-it-on sweater that I really need. Fingers (or maybe knitting needles) crossed for me, please!

Wool And The Gang Lovisa Mitts

Wool & The Gang Mitts

About a million years ago, Wool And The Gang, a London-based yarn and knitwear company, contacted me about trying out some of their yarn. Yum! Yes, please! But as you know, I’ve been through a pretty crummy time over the last few months, and the timing of the yarn arriving to me was the worst you could possibly imagine. I decided what I wanted to knit almost immediately, but I just wasn’t able to get my mind properly into a knitting pattern.

Wool & The Gang Mitts

Until one day a few weeks ago when I picked up my half-heartedly begun pair of Lovisa Armwarmers, sorted out some minor sizing issues I hadn’t had the brain power to deal with, and knocked them out in a couple of days. Suddenly, the time for comfort knitting had arrived – I’ve done and planned more projects in the last few weeks than I have in a year. Knitting has always been my comfort craft, but distraction crafts have been better for me this year. I’m really glad knitting is back for me now, I missed it.

Wool & The Gang Mitts

So anyway. Wool And The Gang were kind enough to send me out two colors (Snow White and Space Black) of their Sugar Baby Alpaca, so that I could give it a go with some colorwork knitting. You know how I love colorwork, don’t you? I’m always on the lookout for yarns that knit colorwork well but give a drapey, snuggly fabric. Colorwork can often be more pretty, less cuddly, on account of the rustic yarns traditionally used. A sportweight baby alpaca seemed like a perfect one to try out.

Wool & The Gang Mitts

Full disclosure and all: you know Wool And The Gang sent me this yarn for free, to review, and I promise I’d tell you if I hated it – scout’s honor. But oh the yummy! The Sugar Baby Alpaca knit like butter, such a pleasure to play with, and made such a delicious soft fabric. I used 4mm needles for these Lovisa Mitts (pattern by Sarah Pope, available free on Ravelry), which have been in my queue foreeeeeever, and added an extra 4-stitch repeat to make them slouchier on my sadly not-thin arms. Alpaca is so perfect for something slouchy like this, it just sits on my wrists like a scrumptious alpaca puddle. NOM.

Wool & The Gang Mitts

I added these cutesy-pie vintage buttons (eep, tiny hearts!) and I love these mitts to pieces! (They look perfect with my new winter coat too, as an added bonus.) I’m really in love with the yarn – thanks so much for letting me try it out, Wool And The Gang! – and I already have a possible pattern idea for it. I haven’t written a knitting pattern in ages, but there’s something a-brewin’ in my head!

Quick Christmas Gifts + 20% Off Knitting Patterns

Little Dorrit & Co. will share another new Christmas-themed embroidery pattern with you next week (and it’s a darn cutie!) but until then, here’s a little reminder of my already-existing holiday-themed tutorials!

Whip up a few Liberty fabric heart ornaments – a very classy and quick gift!

Liberty Hearts Ornament Tutorial

Use up Christmas scraps (or just red and green bits, like I did) and make an adorable wreath ornament (this one’s my favorite!):

Scrappy Wreath Tutorial

And lastly, combine a little stitching and patchwork (why the heck not!) and make yourself a Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug. Or just use the provided 1960s-style embroidery pattern and stitch in on the holiday project of your choice!

Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!

Also, don’t forget to check out my knitting patterns via Ravelry, which make great gifts, if I do say so myself:

Knitting Pattern Sale for Christmas in July!

I’ve just added an automatic 20% off discount to all of the knitting patterns in my Ravelry shop, which will be applied at checkout! This discount will be good until the end of July – it didn’t seem fair to celebrate Christmas in July with only the embroiderers. :)

(And of course the embroidery discount is still going strong – 20% off Little Dorrit & Co. embroidery patterns with the code CHRISTMASINJULY at checkout!)

HO HO HO!

Frostweed Mitts: New Knitting Pattern Out Now!

Yay for new knitting pattern day! The Frostweed Mitts are here! The Frostweed Mitts are a super-quick knit in two colors of sportweight yarn: one color for the textured body of the mitts, one for the contrast trim around all edges.

I used Quince & Co.’s Chickadee, a deliciously bouncy, round, smooshy pure wool yarn that is so yummy, I would like to cover the whole world in it. YUM.

My samples were knit with one skein each of Dogwood (pink) and Egret (white) and with the yardage of Chickadee, I was able to get two pairs (easily) of Frostweed Mitts out of the two skeins: one pair with a white body and pink trim, another pair with that color placement reversed. Of course I can’t guarantee that all sportweight yarns will allow this, it will depend on your exact yardage and usage — but I only used approximately 5 grams of my contrast color per pair, so you can cut it pretty close and still get a second pair. The tiny amount of contrast color needed makes this a great project to use up little leftover bits as well!

Frostweed Mitts

Yarn:
Quince and Co. Chickadee
50g / 166m (181 yd) per skein, one skein each of main color (MC) and contrast color (CC).
Examples shown in Dogwood and Egret

Needles:
3.75 mm / US #5 in preferred needle type for knitting small diameters in the round, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Gauge:
24 sts / 38 rows = 4” / 10 cm in Frostweed Texture Pattern, blocked.

Finished Size:
To fit hand circumference (measured around knuckles) of 7.5”

Other materials / tools:
3 stitch markers
6”-ish length of scrap yarn
small yarn needle

The Frostweed Mitts pattern is now available via Ravelry, or you can just click the button above / in the sidebar to the left to purchase (checkout via my blog is powered by Ravelry, but a Ravelry account is not required). Happy Knitting!

(Thanks again to the lovely Carina for taking these beautiful photos!)

Finish-along Update!

How are you guys coming with your Finish-along projects?! Mine are actually coming along pretty well!

If you remember, I had quite a list of things I wanted to get done, only some were embroidery. I’ve been trying to go through them based on what can be finished most quickly. So I did finish and block the shawl for my mother (forgot photos though, d’oh!) and also finally blocked my Henslowe shawl, which was a knit-along with the lovely Karen from Henrys Shed.

Finish-along update

Aak! Taking a photo of a shawl on your own is hard, especially if you have no useful place to lay it out nicely. Nevermind – just trust me on this one, it came out lovely and it’s a fantastic design. (It really is a shawlette though, not a snuggly sort of size. Keep that in mind if you knit it!)

I also finished my Orangework sampler:

Finish-along update
Finish-along update

– so now I’m almost caught up on my samplers!

And I’ve finally figured out a way to stitch those little flowers in my Eels lyrics embroidery:

Finish-along update

One strand of silk floss, chain stitched in a teeeeensy spiral. These flowers are only about 1/4″ across (shown here larger than actual size), which makes me ridiculously happy. But because I made them so small, I couldn’t find a way to stitch them all Mackintosh-style as they were in the vintage pattern I used, so I just went for a nice round flower instead.

I’ve started doing them in white with very, very pale blue stem stitched stems, but I’m not sure if that will make the whole thing too colorless. I was originally going to use pale pink for the flowers, but that seemed a bit typical. Now I wonder if typical would be actually be quite nice in this context, since the lyrics themselves are not. So I may end up pulling those few flowers out and re-doing them in another color, but that’s ok. Working out how to stitch them was the hard part!

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