moth, mitts, and tangled ropes

i hardly know where to start. at the beginning of today i didn’t think i had much to talk about, but then as the day wore on and i thought as i worked, a lot of blog fodder came together for me. i even have pictures to show for it.

the first thing i have to show you is something i am way too proud of. i don’t have a right to be proud of it because i did NONE of the work in achieving its excellence. this was made by susie (blogless), who has been taking classes with me for about a year and a half

it is her opus magnum—it represents many milestones. we kidded her a lot about struggling with it, but truly, she met each challenge with determination and showed us a little bit about perseverance. it is the wing-’o-the-moth shawl, knit with suri alpaca on size 5 needles, begun sometime in september and completed the third week of november. (really susie—not that much time; you did good!!)

she’s going to bring it to class tomorrow and i can’t wait—believe me, it’s gossamer. it almost makes me want to knit something with yarn that thin. almost.

as it happens, i have been knitting with some pretty thin yarn. i finally jumped into a couple of christmas gift projects—mitts for my friends mo and kellie, who sent me some be-yoo-tiful vintage yarns from mother’s stash. when i got the box, i discoverd some cashmere in there, even, and resolved to make kellie some mitts with it.

i had to pull out the size 2 needles to get a nice fabric (i was hoping for maybe a 3 or 4 needle . . .). but actually, i’m making pretty quick time on them. i knit all that at the shop yesterday while i was teaching (granted, it was an easy day—no meltdowns, no surgery, and no trauma).
these feel so good that i wish i had a pair too. and believe me, i’m gonna get some. yes m’am. i like the snug fit and the thin fabric a lot. i use mitts often when it’s cold—i just have to.

i also got going on the man version of the mitt gift, though i opted not to put manlace in them. the yarn is too heavy and i don’t think mo would like it. they match a hat i made him last year, which he adores.

i used my ragamuffin mitt pattern with a heavier (it’s handspun—sort of aran weight) yarn and larger needles (size 7). i replaced the fluffy edging with ribbing and made the cuff longer. they fit david perfectly, so the stitch count was just right.

i had to work on sunday, but since there was no one else around to ask questions or interrupt, i was able to use some spare moments to knit some rounds on these

but what i’m really thinking about in the back of my mind is what my next big project will be. i think i’m gonna take out this sweater and have another crack at it. the yarn is too beautiful to allow it to languish any more, and i can use another sweater.

it’s a top-down raglan that i started last winter with a nasty-cool, way-sick cable that i’ve had my eye on for years (BW3). it’s a tough cable to design around because it is so dense, that it can be way too tight for the fabric surrounding it. but i finally found the perfect marriage of yarn and cable.

this is some handspun coopworth (copper moose) cut with about 40% cotton, which i carded in roughly, and then spun into two-ply, letting the yarn be whateverr it wanted to be. it was something i spun when i first learned, but had finally gotten the hang of not overtwisting. it was my first attempt at using cotton for texture and making something purposely rustic, without any unwanted “rustic-ness”.

i. love. it.
this yarn is dear to me. in fact, it was in danger of being too precious to use; i just love sitting and looking at it, touching it softly once in a while . . . ahem, sorry.
this yarn is as soft, airy, and lightweight as malabrigo—i kid you not. when i was spinning it, i thought the coopworth would be rough, but NOT.

i’m so glad i thought to use it with that cable—two of my favorite elements, and knitting it now means that there is a strong possibility it will last the rest of my life. (er, i DO have sweaters that old in my drawer, so i know it could happen . . .).

here’s a closeup of the cable

isn’t that shwee-e-e-et?
as soon as i finish those mitts, AND the obstacles shawl (sooo close, so close) i’m gonna dive in.

(sidenote: i swear that obstacles shawl has stayed the same length for the last week, even though i work on it every night . . . but i AM on the last hank of yarn, so it will have to be done soon.)

BTW, there is now a pattern for the waterfall sox available as well as a few other new smalls in the catalog.

19 Responses to “moth, mitts, and tangled ropes”

  1. Dave says:

    Very cool cable!

    Smokey socks are looking gorgeous. :-)

  2. jess says:

    I think I swooned a bit while looking at the marriage of yarn (love the coopworth + cotton, oh man!) and cable. I am in lust. Is it wrong to be in lust with someone else’s handiwork? In any case, now I have an idea in the back of my mind for carding some cotton with some grey wool I have around here somewhere… :)

  3. LaurieM says:

    The shawl is breath taking. It should have a baby nestled in its soft folds.

    And that cable is something else! I think it’s great when the pattern and yarn come together smoothly like that. Forcing things to fit never works as well.

  4. Kim says:

    Ha! Way sick Anne…..

  5. Cindy says:

    Kudos to Susie on the shawl! After Christmas I plan to tackle my first lace-weight yarn shawl. I’m eager to try it and scared of it all at the same time. :)

    Love the progress on the smokey socks. Your cables are amazing. I’m still enamoured with lace, but once the bloom is off that rose, cables will be calling me next!

  6. michelle says:

    Yes, you must finish that sweater! She’s beautiful. The yarn, the cable, shoot what’s taking you so long? :-)

    Student and teacher should be very proud of that shaw because she is also gorgeous.

  7. Laura says:

    I *love* that cable!

    I definitely need to knit more mitts for my hubby and for me. Hm. I have one ball of a luscious alpaca yarn…

  8. Carole says:

    That cable is outstanding! And so is the new WOM. Tell her congratulations from me.

  9. Sourire11 says:

    Beautiful Shawl!!! Thanks for posting a pic even though technically it’s not your project – although as her teacher you definitely deserve some credit!

    That cable is really cool…

  10. Monica says:

    The shawl is beautiful and the cable is fab. More handspun coming out of the woodworks, eh?

  11. stacey says:

    Love. That. Cable. Amazing…..the yarn is a perfect match – rustic, some texture

    Fingerless mitts look great too – cozy!

  12. Kathy says:

    Oh, man. That cable just rocks.

  13. DebbieKnitter says:

    Oh vmy gravy!!!!!! Susie did a beautiful job, that shawl is breath-taking and I am so inspired by the fact that she used the Suri alpaca that I think YOU should take my Suri alpaca that I have been coveting and knit the shawl in it for ME ;)
    Yeah, ok, I know what your answer is:)
    Now, onto the mitts, I MUST have the cabled one, you KNOW I am in a complete obsession with mitts and I am totally hooked on cables so I NEED to make them…I will call your boss and tell them that they MUST give you at least 3 months of so you can make up these patterns for us, we simply cannot go on any longer without them and if they don’t do this, they will have the death of our knitting needles on THEIR hands!! Hmmmm, ya think that would work? As for the sweater, ya’ll, I’m tellin’ ya, I have seen this in person and this photo does NOTHING for the squishy soft feel…….BUT, Anne, I think you should make this for me as well, that way, I wouldn’t have to wear Steve’s sweatshirts;)

  14. aija says:

    I’m trying not to buy any sock yarn right now (because I’m drowning in it!) but every time I see that FF smoke… oy.

    The cable is wonderful… I love to see the handspun being worked up by you, too (inspiring!)

  15. Heather says:

    Love the greys that you are using. The texture on those grey socks is very enticing.

  16. julia fc says:

    Man, the perfection of yarn and cable is too great to comment on except that when you finish, there’ll be no living with you.

  17. Wanda says:

    Your student has earned some serious skills and many props for the WOM shawl. Seriously breathtaking. I was reading through your archives and saw the sweater that you speak of and when you first found this cable that you were so intrigued with. I’m glad you are getting back to it. It looks great and it’s cut with cotton, how intriguing. I love that sock too. I didn’t need to see the fingerless mitts, b/c I’m going to cast on for some today! I really need another pair and i’ve got a lovely silk/wool blend which is calling out to me.

  18. Deb says:

    Looooooove the sweater. The cabling is just … WOW!

    Speaking of which, for simpler cable work do you use a DP needle to cable or are you one of the brave folk who slip the stitches off and recapture them? I’ve never gotten comfortable cabling without a DPN but you move so quickly that if you say that’s what you do, I may just have to give it another crack!

  19. Beth S. says:

    Oh Anne… I don’t know how you do it. So many gorgeous new knits all at once! And I can barely muster a row on my sock.

    Those purple mitts are giving me Ideas, though. :-)