Friday, November 30, 2007

Ironstone Colorchanges: Yarn in Review

In brief - I love this yarn.

Vital stats:

53% wool, 47% acrylic

100 yards

50 grams

Recommended gauge is 10 st = 3" with a #11 needle. I've been knitting hats and mittens with it on size 6 dpns. It makes a nice dense fabric, but not too stiff. I haven't tried washing it, so who knows? Maybe it poofs way out once washed.

Handwash in cool water or dry clean.

I keep finding good things about it. Sorry I keep comparing it to Noro Kureyon. I love Noro, and this yarn looks a lot like it on the shelf.

1. It's not very expensive - about $6 (US) per ball.

2. It stripes like Noro Kureyon - the color changes may be slightly shorter than Noro, but it has the same gradual blend effect.

3. It is not (very) itchy.


5. Easy to hand-wind. For Knitters Without Winders, this is a great feature. The yarn comes as a loose ball, which is fine, but I was looking for the color repeat, so I have wound 4 balls of this by hand recently. It has not tangled. Not once. Awesome.

6. It is spun more consistently than Noro Kureyon - same springy single-strand worsted spin (someone correct me if I am not using the term worsted correctly in relation to how yarn is spun).

Anything I don't like?

1. It doesn't break because of the acrylic content. Slightly inconvenient, but I can live with it.

2. Either the color pattern doesn't repeat, or the repeat is over 300 yards long, because I wasn't able to find the repeat after hand-winding three balls of yarn. (I was trying to match the Mumma Smittens.)

Bottom line: Would I buy this again?

I would. Especially if I see it on sale! One ball is enough for a pair of kid mittens, two makes adult mittens.

Lamest KnitBlog Ever Award

Just kidding, but I sure feel like I deserve it. No FOto Friday last week, no FOto Friday this week. Ugh.

The only thing I've finished since the Smittens are the matching hat for the blue-grey pair, and two dyed skeins of sock yarn.

That was a moral dilemma. I dyed the two skeins in the same session, one for my swap partner and one for me. The colorway I designed for my sock partner turned out to be the one I liked best. The one I designed for me seemed boring by comparison. Just how bad did my swap partner hate yellow? And does she really like burgundy? Or would she think the yarn was really more of a red and hate it anyway?

I ended up sending the yarn I designed for her. I hope she loves it as much as I did.

I am working on a pair of mom-size Smittens for me, using Ironstone Colorchanges in color #561 (heh, that link refers to this color as "Jabberwocky." Sweet!). Here are the modifications so far:

CO 36 instead of 30

2.5" cuff

6 stockinette rows before thumb gusset (I originally forgot to put these rows in, but I need them for comfy mittens!)

Increase gusset until 16 st between markers

Adjusted length to fit (duh).

I think I picked up 4 st when picking up for the thumb, then decreased 2 (Told ya this was wonky the first time - it persists in its wonkiness.)

I still have holes at the thumb too. So irritating.


November Goals Update


1. Complete and mail yarn for Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn Swap (the one I wasn't going to join any more of). Deadline - Nov 30 Mailed 11/29

2. Grey/blue mittens for Boy1 (blue yarn is dyed) done

3. Finish Jaywalkers - I am so sick of these.

4. Start Jimmy Neutron Sweater - still not started


1. Reorganize fabric stash by weight and color (probably some mental quilt planning here too) - HA HA HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Ok, I did manage to drag everything out and turn my craft corner into an even bigger mess.

2. Finish quilt-in-progress. Deadline: November 10 (working on the final binding tonight) done in time! They loved it!

3. Review pajama needs for Boy2 and proceed accordingly. this is done, but I ended up buying pajamas for him

Thinking about December goals. My first one is to actually post them. ha!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Five Faves

Here's an idea from Celena, via The Hand-Dyed Yarn Swap: List five of your favorite things. Here are five I came up with off the top of my head, in no particular order:

1. My kids
2. Hand-dyeing yarn, especially sock yarn
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (The book, although the old movie with Gregory Peck is good too.)
4. Snow I don't have to drive in
5. Any beach where you can't see land when you look out over the water (oceans, Lake Michigan, etc.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Celena asked about the mitten pattern I used for Boy1's mittens. Honestly, I just kinda cobbled together the sizing from a knit-flat pattern and the method from a knit-round pattern. So I don't have a real pattern, but I did take notes. And right there at the top of my notes, it says "S mittens," so Smittens they are. Here's what I did (with tips to change it for your needs):

Sized for small-to-average 6 year old boy, about 8 inches (20 cm?) long total

worsted-weight wool or wool blend yarn
set of 4 dpns, size 6 (US; will add mm later)
2-3 stitch markers
stitch holder, extra dpn, cable needle, or largeish safety pin

Gauge? Nag me; I'll add it later.

CO 30 (I originally cast on 33, which made mittens big enough for me to wear. Frogged. I used the backward loop or half-hitch cast on - I find it to be very flexible and stretchy. I use it on all my socks too.)

Divide evenly over 3 dpns

Join/don't twist (you may want to mark the start of your round)

K1 row (my own personal bug - trying to rib knit that first row after CO is a pain.)

K1, P1 rib stitch until cuff is about 2 inches long (I did 2-1/2" on the Ironstone pair - a big longish for my taste)

K 4 rows stockinette (One pattern called for 2 stockinette rows, too small. The other called for 6 stockinette rows, too big. 4? Just right.)

Thumb gusset:

K 14, place marker, kfb 2x, place marker (4 st between markers), k 14 to beginning of round

Row A - K all

Row B - K 14, slip marker, kfb, knit remaining stitches until one stitch before marker, kfb, slip marker, K 14. (You are increasing by 2 stitches between the markers every other row to make the thumb gusset.)

Alternate Row A & Row B until 12 stitches between markers.

End thumb gusset, begin palm

K 13, kfb

Slip marker off, slip thumb stitches to holder/spare dpn/whatever, slip 2nd marker off. Ignore these for now.

Continue working off that same needle you just slipped the markers and stitches from, kfb the next stitch after the thumb gusset, working as close as you can to the previous kfb to minimize holes later. Finish working stitches on that needle; you should have 10 on each working needle.

Continue working in the round, ignoring the thumb stitches, until hand measures 5" long from top of cuff (not from cast on).

Begin top shaping:

K1, k2tog all around, 20 stitches on needles (you may have to slip a stitch from one holding needle to the next to work the kfb in the right place)

Next round: K all

K2, (k2tog, k1)* to end of round (I think there is one extra stitch, just knit it)

Next round: K all

K2tog, K1 next round, ending K2tog

K one more plain round if you feel it's necessary.

Cut/break yarn, leaving 8 inch tail. Weave tail through live stitches and draw up to complete mitten top. Weave in tail.


Warning: this is nutsy - I think I did it differently on every mitten!

Basically tho, knit 6 st off your holding needle onto a dpn. Knit next 6 stitches off your holding needle onto a dpn. Pick up stitches between the two ends of the thumb gusset. The amount will depend on how big those holes are where you joined the round after slipping the gusset onto the holder. I picked up 6, which made 18 st on needles, but that was too many, so on the next round, I k2tog across 3rd needle, leaving 3 st on 3rd needle. Then I shuffled stitches around again so I had 15 total, 3 per needle.

K about 3-4 rounds. (Told ya.)

Decrease (somewhat) evenly using 3 decrease rounds with a plain round between each. (See? Wonky.)

Break yarn, leaving decent tail; thread through live stitches and draw together to close end of thumb.

Ok, so maybe I lost 95% of my interest by the time I got to the thumb. Just wanted them done already. And it's a good thing the crease between the thumb and the palm is the warmest area because my Smittens have holes there. Better knitters may have better results!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quilt Madness

Gateway textiles:

Two dinner napkins bought on clearance. They sure look innocent, don't they?

Quickly leads to this:

CAUTION: Fabric stashing in progress.

Ok, I know I take terrible photos. If you thought those were bad, check out this attempt at artistry:

Natural sunlight is no match for complete lack of talent and a really cheap camera.

The result:

The Napkin Quilt

And reverse:

Happy 10th, M&J.

The next quilt:

Baby quilt for a friend. Guess I shoulda unwrapped the remnant piece first, huh?

FOto, er, Tuesday! Nov 13 2007

Finally getting some long-overdue FOtos up.

First off, we have the finished Purple Nubby Sweater:

As you can see, it fuzzed a bit after washing/drying. I hope a good shave will tame its unruly ways. Here is the sweater in action:

Covered in leafs. I'm sure Pip would be jealous.

Sadly, one of our LYS went out of business at the end of October. The shop was tiny and had really inconsistent hours. It seemed to be run more like a hobby than a business; I kinda hope the owner just got tired of it. One of the saddest things to me is when someone fails and can't see why, even though it is blatently obvious to everyone else. Can't keep your yarn shop in business? Try being open!

On the plus side, I got yarn on sale! Remember the Skeen of Green? (Oh, the beloved Skeen of Green!) Well, they didn't have any left, but I bought 3 skeins in a pinky coral. I am not normally a coral fan (ha!), but it sang to me and I had to take it home.

A new discovery for me was Ironstone Colorchanges, made in Italy. It has long, lazy color changes like Noro Kureyon, without all the icky grass stuff. I got one 50g ball in greens with a touch of blue to make mittens for Boy1, and 3 balls of pinky/purple to make a Booga Bag for me. On the way home, I realized the yarn is 50/50 wool/acrylic! No Booga Bag from that - it will not felt. Good thing I bought those 3 balls of Soy Wool Stripes the other day...

So here are the mittens from Ironstone Colorchanges:

Believe it or not, I tried really hard to make those match! The one on the right was made first, and I skipped over the rest of that huge yellow-green section to get back to where the blue started. Then the pattern straightened out, and I got the mitten on the left. Oy. On the other hand, they do match - they are EXACTLY the same size! (Can't tell from the photo tho. Figures.)

Other than the color issues, I really liked knitting with this yarn. I know nothing about spinning, but I think it is spun worsted? It's all one strand, not three or four thinner strands spun together, if that makes sense. It is soft and squishy, a little bit of thickness change but not too much, doesn't break, and, did I mention the lack of grass? No grass. Very nice.

Conventionally-matched mittens:

Paton's Classic Merino color Grey Mix. (Oddly, I did find grass in this ball of Paton's.) The blue is the same grey yarn dyed with Berry Blue Kool-Aid. It came out lighter than I was hoping for, but that's ok. A matching hat is OTN.

Finally, the interloper 4-Berry Trifle Jaywalker:

After slogging on the instep for what seemed like forever, I was finally able to start the toe. Well, of course, I slogged a little too far on the instep, and now it is too long. Needs a bit of frogging. Rats.

Quilt Madness to follow!

Friday, November 9, 2007


Wow, it's been a busy week, and it's gone by so fast! I am so sorry I haven't posted sooner about the drawing. I tried to post last night but Blogger was hatin'. Also sorry for no pictures, but I am just trying to get this posted and end the suspense.

We had 5 people enter the second UFOctober drawing:

Kenyetta completed 4 out of 5 projects and is working on the 5th. Good job, Kenyetta!

Turtle rocked out during October, finishing 6 out of 8 WIPs, making great progress on the other two, and starting 5 of her 12 queue projects. Awesome!

Fiber Chic finished 3 out of 5 projects, finished a fourth on November 2, and began her "exception" project. Way to go!

Unusually Heather at Gentle Sunset admits she only accomplished a little of what she set out for, but she is happy with the progress she did make, and plans to continue to work on these projects.

Knitterary had such a great title for her final UFOctober post - "UFOver" - that I wanted to kidnap it for my very own (but didn't). She met 5 of her 6 goals, calling the last one a draw. Knitterary also managed a hat and almost 9" of sweater for another KAL. Nicely done!

So those were our five official entries. No photos, but the drawing was done the same way as before - names on slips, slips folded, slips in glass, hubby pulled winning slip. And the yarn goes to...

Unusually Heather at Gentle Sunset!
I'll email you tonight for your address. Remember, if you pick Peacock Multi, you just might get it faster! (Because I have some already - hee.)

The whole point of this exercise for me was to figure out exactly what is in there? so I could decide what to do with it. Overall, I am very happy with my own progress, and it's nice not to have all those UFOs hanging over my head.

So here's my final tally:

Blue Cascade Socks for Boy1 - FROGGED 10/6/07

Chevron Lace Socks - FINISHED 10/6/07

Early Nettie - FROGGED 10/1/07

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 1 - FINISHED 10/18/07.

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono 2 - no progress other than thinking about how to finish it

Lily Pad Socks for Boy1 - FINISHED 10/7/07

Purple sweater for Girl - FINISHED 10/31/07

Recycled Navy Sweater - TRASHED 10/19/07

Sky Socks - MAILED 10/4/07

Swap-Bot Swap Yarn - MAILED 10/6/07

The interloper: Jaywalker

The Exceptions:

Jimmy Neutron sweater for Boy1 - no progress

ONE ball-band dishcloth if the mood strikes - no progress


A few have asked if I will host UFOctober again next year, and the answer is, barring disaster, DEFINITELY. I hope it's even bigger and better, with more prize drawings and WAY more participants (not that you guys weren't great!). I've already "reserved" a blog name for next year. I plan to allow participants to post to that blog, so everyone can do their own updating. So stay tuned! It's gonna be fun!

November Goals

I feel like I got so much accomplished during UFOctober by having a set plan, that I have set the following crafting goals for November.


1. Complete and mail yarn for Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn Swap (the one I wasn't going to join any more of). Deadline - Nov 30

2. Grey/blue mittens for Boy1 (blue yarn is dyed)

3. Finish Jaywalkers

4. Start Jimmy Neutron Sweater


1. Reorganize fabric stash by weight and color (probably some mental quilt planning here too)

2. Finish quilt-in-progress. Deadline: November 10 (working on the final binding tonight)

3. Review pajama needs for Boy2 and proceed accordingly.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy November!

There's an oxymoron for you. November is my least favorite month. Traditionally leafless, sunless, and snowless, November seems the seasonal embodiment of depression.

Not today tho. It's beautifully sunny out, and there are many leaves still hanging on, although the colors have turned decidedly brownish. But Dreary November is coming, I can feel it.

Since it's November, UFOctober is officially done! How did everyone do? I finished the purple sweater last night at 11:45 p.m.; yay for me! That leaves only one of my UFOctober official projects unfinished (and sadly untouched), although I did think about it. I'll give the full tally on Friday.

So it's time for the next drawing! Post a blog entry featuring your final UFOctober progress list. Please list each item and clearly note its status - In Progress, Finished, Trashed, etc. Leave a comment on THIS POST with a link to your entry post. Photos are a total bonus - we want to see your work! - but not required for entry. Your entry post and comment must be finished by midnight (your local time) Sunday, November 4. Winner will be determined by random draw.

Monday is a big work day for me, so I'll probably draw sometime on Tuesday and post by Wednesday.

The winner of the second drawing will receive their choice of two balls of Knit Picks Essential superwash sock yarn in WINNER'S CHOICE of color! AND a $10 Gift Certificate to Knit Picks! (And if you pick Peacock Multi, you *could* get your yarn much sooner; just sayin'.)

(Although Knit Picks is my favorite online yarn store, they are not affiliated with the contest or with UFOctober.)