Friday, December 24, 2010

Silver-Button Mitts

As a holiday gift to my loyal readers, here is a pattern I have created for fitted mitts that button at the wrists. The cuffs are knitted sideways in garter stitch.

Silver-Button Mitts

Size: Woman's medium (to adjust size you can add extra rows above thumb and/or adjust needle size for slightly different gauge)

Gauge: 5ss per inch (or slightly less if very stretchy yarn)
Needles: U.S. size 7 double points
Crochet hook required for button loops
stitch holder or scrap yarn for parking thumb stitches
safety pins to mark button loop locations

Yarn:Approximately 170 yards worsted weight. You can use any yarn that will get the gauge, but make sure it has some stretch (linen would be a bad choice). For my pair I used a strand each of Mirasol Nuna (40% wool/40% silk/20% bamboo) and Punta Yarns Kid Mohair Hand Paint, held together.

Four 3/4inch buttons


ss = stitches
k = knit
M1 = Make One increase
ktbl = knit through back loop
ssk = slip slip knit
k2tog = knit two together
p = purl


- cast on 15 stitches
- knit every row until fabric has 30 garter ridges
- cast off all but last stitch

- using the remaining stitch as the first stitch, pick up (along the long edge of the cuff) 1 stitch in each garter ridge. (total 31ss)
- divide stitches across double-pointed needles and join
- Knit 5 rounds

Thumb gusset:
- k1, M1, k13, M1, k3, M1, k13, M1, k1 (35ss)
- knit 2 rounds
- k15, M1, k5, M1, k15 (37ss)
- knit 2 rounds
- k15, M1, k7, M1, k15 (39ss)
- knit 12 rounds

Separate for thumb:
- k16, put 7ss on holder, cast on 3, k16 (35ss)

- k16, ktbl 3, k16
- knit 4 rounds
- k14, ssk, k3, k2tog, k14 (33ss)
- knit 1 round
- k1, k2tog, k27, ssk, k1 (31ss)
- k13, ssk, k1, k2tog, k13 (29ss)
- Knit 1 round
- k2tog, k to end (28ss)
- switch to k1,p1 rib and continue for 8 rounds
- cast off in rib (not too tight)


- put stitches from holder onto 2 double-pointed needles
- using a 3rd needle and leaving a 6 inch yarn tail, pick up 5ss along inside of thumb (12ss)
- knit 3 rounds
- change to k1,p1 rib and continue for 8 rounds
- cast off in rib
- use yarn tail to close any gaps appearing at base of thumb

Weave in all ends.

Make a second mitt just like the first.

Now the tricky bit:

Important: The button loops on the left mitt will be attached to the left side of the cuff opening and the loops on the right mitt will be attached to the right side of the cuff opening. (Try on the mitts and this will become apparent.)

- Mark locations along cuff opening for 2 loops using safety pins - 3/4 inch from top and 3/4 inch from bottom of opening.
- starting at bottom of opening, single crochet into edge stitches until you reach the first pin
- make 2 inch single-crochet chain, then attach back to last edge stitch crocheted into (forming button loop), and crochet into edge stitches up to next pin
- make a second 2 inch crochet chain and attach as before. Single crochet up to top of opening
- weave in ends
- Sew on buttons opposite from button loops, 1 inch in from edge of cuff opening.

- Repeat for second mitt, being careful to put the button loops on the opposite edge of the cuff opening (for opposite hand).

Enjoy your toasty-warm mitts and have a happy 2011!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Glorious December Day

On Saturday the weather was so nice that I drove back from the Carson Sierra Spinners and Weavers' holiday party in Carson City via East Lake Blvd, all the way in shirtsleeves with the convertible top down. I stopped to take a few pictures in Washoe Lake State Park. A beautiful winter day in the high desert!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Snow in the Sierras

November 26th, Plumas National Forest, up past Frenchman's Lake. (And yes, it is the full color image.)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Inkle garland

Another use for a nice long inkle band.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Belt Shuttles

Friday I was happy to visit with Laura, who was in town for Thanksgiving with her family. Sadly our visit was way too short. Laura brought me a nice fibery present - Books on weaving and basketry, some Ashford bobbins, and a belt shuttle. One of the books, Peter Collingwood's Techniques in Tablet Weaving, renewed my unfullfilled fascination with learning to card weave. I have done a few elementary peices, but I long to actually UNDERSTAND what I am doing. Perhaps I will make a study of it. The Collingwood book is a bit dense and intimidating, so I will start with Candace Crockett's Card Weaving, then work my way up.

The lovely dark wood (mahogany?) belt shuttle was looking a bit dry. A while back I acquired a birch (maple?) belt shuttle from Janet's husband, unfinished and ready for woodburning. The original plan was to woodburn and paint, but belt shuttles spend so much time in the hand. Acrylic paint and poly finish is too plastic to the touch. I decided to woodburn both shuttles and just oil them. That way the wood will develop a nice patina the more it is handled. I selected a fiberish quote for each, plus added simple designs along the wide edges.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in the Park

oak leaves
Originally uploaded by Purple Fuzzy Mittens
Took a Thanksgiving Day amble in the Wilbur D. May Arboretum in Rancho San Raphael Park. Due to the holiday and the cold I had the Park mostly to myself. I could have gotten better shots if I visited at sunup, but I just can't get motivated in single-digit temperatures.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby Sweater with knitted flower

It looks a little alarming on the purple background. Trust me, the colors look better in person.

Monday, November 08, 2010

2010 Camping Review

Now that winter is here, I am looking forward to next summer's camping adventures. Before I pull out the campground guides and begin planning, here is a quick review of the little trailer's 2010 activity:

Due to travel for work, I didn't get any camping in until the 1st Intermountain Spindle Camp in May. It was a very wet joint campout of the Foothills Fiber Guild and the Carson Sierra Spinners and Weavers. A few pictures from the trip can be seen here and here. Despite the rain and cold, it was tons of fun. I was bummed to discover today that I have a conflict and won't be able to attend next year's Spindle Camp.

Independence Day weekend I took the little trailer up to Sharon and Ian's Sage Creek Farm for a very relaxing short stay. As far as I can tell, I didn't take any pictures, but I promise you I had a lovely time.

The big trip this year occurred in August. My Dad came up to Reno and we traveled together over to Salt Lake City for my Nephew's wedding. Afterward we continued on to Yellowstone National Park and camped for 5 nights in Madison Campground. Not only did we travel all around the park seeing geysers, glaciers, bears and elk, we also spent a day visiting the Grand Tetons. Magnificent country! Blossom only sleeps one, so Dad brought his tent. The 1953 trailer fit perfectly in the nation's first National Park. (In fact, chances are she has been there before!)

Next it was back to Sage Creek Farm for the annual Labor Day Gathering. Good food, great friends, lots of laughter, knitting, crystal hunting, giant Jenga, and the traditional visit to Joe Winter's pottery studio. As always, the little trailer looked truly tiny parked next to the giant 5th wheel.

The very next weekend was the Spinning Guild's annual Spinsters' Retreat at Davis Creek Park. Several of us camped in the Group site, while others came for just the day. It is nice to have a great little pine-shaded campground so close to Reno.

The last trailer trip of 2010 was to Coloma, CA for the Tin Can Tourists Northern California Regional Gathering. This was my first time at a TCT vintage trailer rally and I wasn't sure what to expect. It was so very exciting to drive up and see all the little trailers lined up! Saturday was trailer open house and I spent hours investigating each of the trailers. I took scads of pictures. Everyone was incredibly friendly and I didn't feel at all like a newbie. Blossom was one of the smallest trailers there, and folks were very nice about complimenting her refurbished interior, though most of these folks go to a lot of effort to restore their trailers to original fittings. I bought a very cool vintage bicycle from the folks in the trailer next door that I can take with me on future road trips. The campground was inside the Marshall Gold Discovery Park and right on the bank of the South Fork of the American River. It was exceptionally hot for October, so it was great to be able to scuttle down the bank right there at my campsite and sit on a rock with my feet in the river. I stayed an extra day and was able to do some exploring in Placerville, as well as get in some photography in the local historical cemetery.

That wraps up the trailer year. I've gotten pretty good at backing her, and can be ready to hit the road in no time at all. In 2012 I hope to get out earlier and am planning a first trip for April, weather permitting. Or even a weekend in March if we get unseasonably warm weather....

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Purple Hoodie - Resurrected and Completed

Does anyone remember my purple hoodie project from way back in 2009? I almost didn't. It has sat unfinished in a bag for over a year. Recently I stumbled over it and was surprised how close to finished it was when I forsook it. So I knuckled down and finished it up. I am exceedingly pleased with it and have worn it everywhere almost every day since. I made the pockets at precisely the right height and depth for comfy hand warming and carrying around lots of stuff. And I do believe this is the first project that I have finished at the beginning of the appropriate season for its use!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Another box

Old thrift-store-purchase jewelry box, given a facelift and a new job holding knitting stuff.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Who am I?

This cute little badly-neglected spinning wheel has come to live at my house. It is in pretty rough shape, but I think I can get it working with a hefty bit of TLC. Someone has left it out in the rain, but happily the wheel is not warped.
I've never seen one like it. In most ways it looks like a home-built, but the orifice and a few other bits look commercial. Anybody out there recognize the maker? It is double-drive, the flyer whorl screws onto the spindle, and the mother-of-all is hinged to flop to the side (similar to an Ashford Traveler).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Phone camera improvement

I've been playing with the camera in my new iPhone 4. It is pretty impressive - 5 megapixel, with zoom and manual spot focusing capabilities. I checked the native size on an uncropped image and it should be sharp to about 28x36 inches. The colors, white balance and low light handling are way better than in the iPhone 3G.This image of Clara I snapped in low light. Pretty impressive for a pinhole of a lens!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My new favorite place

When the neighbors cut down their (perfectly healthy) cherry tree, they left my yard furniture without shade or privacy. I took it as a sign to get on with renovating the back porch, which was being used for storage of accumulated junk. I moved the futon couch out of the house onto the porch. Whoever decided futons should not have handles should be shot. (Laura and I have had this conversation before when we moved her giant marshmallow, and we had two people moving it.) I had to take the frame apart to get it out and down the hall. I am feeling a bit smug that I easily found the directions and original hex wrench that came with the futon frame.

The porch is now about as comfy as it could be. I may just have to sleep out there tonight. Meanwhile, time to make some limeade and settle in with some knitting....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh Canada!

How the spring has flown by! Between trips for work, trips for fun, and a bout or two of fluish stuff I have become a very bad blogger.

My latest adventure was a trip to Calgary, Canada. I went primarily for work stuff, but I had a couple of days to play at the end. Prior to the trip, the internet weather gurus predicted a solid week of rain. Happily the sun came out for a glorious day-trip to Banff. We took the Banff Gondola up the mountain and climbed the long boardwalk trail up to the very top. Amazing view! I took about a zillian pictures and am still going through them. If you go to Alberta, no question - you MUST make the pilgrimage to Banff. The town of Banff is pretty touristy/gift-shoppy, but it does advertise "Canada's Best Ice Cream" (as reported by Readers Digest) at a shop called Cows. I had the "Gooey Mooey" flavor and it was mighty tasty! My favorite shopping was the downtown area of Canmore, a small town on the way to Banff. It had a great little independant bookstore called "Cafe Books" that features crafts by local artisans along with a great collection of environmental titles. I bought a nifty little book, The Incomparable Honeybee, and another hand-thrown lidded jar for my (already full) kitchen counter.

The second play day was spent in Calgary. The clouds had rolled back in and rain was continually threatened. I devoted the morning to photography and spent it exploring the Union Cemetery and the Chinese Cemetery. The Union Cemetery is quite large and parts of it have a great view of the Calgary downtown skyline. I have photographed a number of cemeteries and I was interested in differences that might be found in Canadian cemeteries. With just Calgary to go by, I did notice how few statues or carvings of human figures were to be found among the stones.

I took the pedestrian bridge over the freeway to get to the small Chinese Cemetery. Although many of the markers contained only Chinese characters, some had dates I could read. Like the Union Cemetery, the Chinese Cemetery dates back to the late 1800s, yet includes relatively recent burials as well. I do not know the details of its history, but its location, size, and condition paint a clear picture of the social outsider status these folks unfortunately had.

After several hours wandering the cemeteries, I decided to get a late lunch at the Reader's Garden Cafe. The Reader's Rock Garden is adjacent to the Union Cemetery and was the serendipitous find of my trip. I only stumbled on it by virtue of it sharing the parking lot with the cemetery. The garden and its cafe are run by the Calgary Horticultural Society. It stretches all along a hillside, with flagstone paths, rock steps, rustic benches and grassy grottoes filled with flowers and shrubs, and trees. Even with the gray skies it was a magical place. The Cafe is in a charismatic old house. I got to sit near a wonderful rock fireplace and eat shepherd's pie made with Alberta-grown buffalo, then take home lemon-poppyseed cake with strawberries to have with my evening tea. Heaven.

Tuesday I had some time free before heading to the airport. I drove south of Calgary to the town of DeWinton to visit Shuttleworks. Shuttleworks sells fiberarts supplies from a large metal barn of a building out on a piece of farmland. The modest outside view does not do justice to the wonders within. The place is packed with possibly the best selection of fiber stuff I have seen anywhere.
I especially loved the books, which included many I hadn't seen before, and some that I know are out-of-print and hard to find. I added 2 spindles and a sample niddy made by Edward Tabachek to my collection, along with a couple books and a small bag of ultra-white corn silk. I would have bought more if I could have fit it into my luggage. (Sara - notice one of the books being highlighted?!)
After shopping I spent an hour or so chatting with the owner about everything from the local fiberarts scene to remodeling woes and the Canadian economy. It was great fun and I totally recommend a visit if you are in the Calgary area.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

1st Intermountain Spindle Camp

I am miles behind on reporting on the 1st Intermountain Spindle Camp at Lake Francis, CA. You can see my pictures here. Sharon, Heidi, and Birdsong have all blogged on the event. (Thanks, Birdsong, for the great review of my trailer! I love showing her off!) The brief summary of the events is that we all had tons of fun despite cold, rain, and hail. In fact, it was so much fun that we are already planning next year's Spindle Camp! I stayed behind and camped 2 more nights. What a great campground! It even had a restaurant that served a great lobster fettuccine! It was still a bit chilly for sitting around the campsite, so I took a few drives around the area to get in a little photography. The picture above is of the little Lake Francis and taken from a path down from the campground. I also visited the cemetery in Dobbins, and the old downtown area of Marysville. Driving home Tuesday, I stopped by the cemetery in Vinton. For photography, the Vinton cemetery is a bit disappointing, since it is so well maintained. (The tidy state of it says good things about the people of Vinton, but crumbling headstones are a bit more atmospheric.) I am still going through the images, so you will have to wait a bit before they debut on Flickr.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Last big items....

Racing the clock to get the little trailer ready for her first trip of 2010, I needed to tackle the last two items remaining to make her renovation complete. Yes, I will always be adjusting and adding artsy touches, but the lack of flooring other than raw plywood made her look like a construction zone. I pondered long and searched the internet in vane for the right flooring solution. Several people recommended vinyl squares, and I did look at them, but they were all ugly refugees from the early eighties. Even as a temporary solution, I couldn't do that to my Blossom. I wanted something smooth, easy care, and dark brown to match the counters. I decided to paint the floor. Painted floors have long been a feature of summer cottages, so why not? Worst case scenario it would be an inexpensive temporary solution until I found something better.

Process: I wanted the rustic wood texture to show so I only slightly sanded the plywood. I primed with a coat of tinted primer, then applied 3 full coats of dark brown porch and deck latex paint (wow, that stuff is rubbery!). I just couldn't help adding a folkart flourish, so I used copper metallic artist acrylic to paint stars. Last I added 2 coats of spar varnish to seal in the stars and give a less rubbery surface.

I am totally thrilled with the result. It is way better than I expected and the copper picks up the other copper elements (lamps and backsplash). It might be too much for some folks, but for me it is perfect. Oh - the second finishing touch was to install a custom made (wood burned and painted, of course) set of coat hooks, that matches the custom painted cabinet knobs.

Now I'm ready to fill her up and hit the road!


I have almost finished my Ruffles scarf. The pattern is from the book Scarf Style, and I have been planning to make one for a long time. It turned out to be perfect travel knitting: simple enough for social knitting, yet with enough pattern to keep it interesting. The Yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cabled Baby Hat to go with the Pembroke Baby Vest

I had extra yarn so I invented a hat to match the Pembroke Baby Vest. It turned out lovely and stretchy in the cotton, so I tried the same pattern (to test my written directions) in fuzzy handspun thick-and-thin alpaca. Very different look, much less definition of the cable twists, but still stretchy. I like them both. Hopefully the future owners will enjoy them and have toasty warm noggins.

PATTERN: Cabled Baby Hat

Light worsted (or thereabouts) yarn. Sorry, but I do not know specific yardage needed, but it is not much. The red yarn in the picture is "Cotton Supreme" by Universal Yarn Inc. The green is handspun alpaca at approx 11-12wpi.

Sized to fit an approx 14in head (0-6mos, so I hear)

Gauge: 10ss = 2" across cable pattern repeat on U.S. size 7 needles, but don't worry about it. Babies grow and the hat is likely to fit at some point (hopefully not mid-summer). I did not knit a gauge swatch and don't see why anyone else should have to either.

Needles: U.S. size 5 and 7 double points, plus a cable needle.
Also: safety pin to mark rows (optional, but very helpful)

Note: "*" on each end of a set of instructions means repeat these stitches until end of round.


Using smaller needles, cast on 70ss loosely using your stretchy cast-on of choice. (I used a long-tail cast-on.)
Join into round.
Rounds 1-8: *K1, P1*
Change to larger needles

Cable Pattern:

row 1 - *P2, K4, P2, K2*
row 2 - *P2, put 2 stitches on cable needle held to front, K2, K2 from cable needle, P2, K2*
rows 3 and 4 - same as row 1

Work 4-row Cable Pattern 5 times, ending with row 3. (Use the safety pin to mark the last stitch of each twist-stitch round (pattern row 2). This will make it easy to keep track of when the next twist-stitch round is due.)

Narrow for crown:

Round 1: *P2, K1, K2tog, K1, P2, K2*
Round 2: *P2, K2tog, K1, P2, K2*
Round 3: *P2, K2*
Round 4: *P1, K2tog, K, P2, K2*
Round 5: *P1, K1, SSK, P1, K2*
Round 6: *P1, K2tog*
Round 7: *K2tog*
Round 8: *K*
Round 9: *K2tog*
Pull yarn through remaining stitches and tighten.

Weave in ends. Give to baby.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Baby things

Spring arrives bringing many things. In my case it brought a bout of flu. Oh joy. On a more upbeat note, it also seems to be bringing a surprising number of announcements of incubating little humans. Family, friends and co-workers are set to increase the population come fall. What's a knitter to do?

Last weekend (before the flu descended upon me) Allison and I drove up to Truckee and visited with Kelly at the Lake Tahoe Yarn Company. A very nice, stylish yarn shop and well worth a visit. I bought this oh-so-soft brick red cotton yarn to make the Pembroke Baby Vest. Previously I thought cables were a pain and hadn't attempted much with them. Turns out I was wrong! Cable knitting, so long as the pattern is charted, is addictive. I made the 6 month size, figuring it will fit the baby at some point. If I make this vest again, and I probably will, I will mirror image the cables so they meet the armholes a little neater.

Now back to bed...