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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blue Vista


Friday was spent furiously knitting these blue mitts so that they'd be ready in time for gifting at the Little One's Christmas Party. I had finished the main body of the 2nd blue mitt the night before and didn't have the energy to tackle the thumbs on both mitts (I was exhausted due to the late hour & my cold didn't help either), so the thumbs had to wait until Friday. I managed to finish the thumbs and weave in the ends by a bit after 2pm. I quickly snapped these 2 photos and then ran back and forth across the house trying to get all the gift wrapping stuff together. Let me tell you, hand knit socks, hardwood floors, and running quickly down the hallway does not work very well. Slippy slidey bump. I wrapped up the mitts along with another gift and managed to arrive at school in time for the Christmas Party. These mitts are for the Little One's two teachers.

Pattern: Four Rib Braid Cable Mitts
Yarn: 1.5 balls Elann Highland Wool, Blue Vista
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)

Slight modifications to both purple and blue mitts, modifications are mentioned over here.

I've made so many of these mitts, I think I can do them in my sleep!


My MIL visited and saw my pink Circles cloth sitting on the kitchen counter top. She normally doesn't take an interest in my knitting so it was a pleasant surprise to hear that she liked the design. I took this opportunity to remind her of all the different ways one can use washcloths around the house (I had given her some to try a couple years ago, but have never seen her use them). And I happened to have the variegated Circles cloth in a drawer, so I gave that to her. She commented that the pattern shows up better with the solid yarn. I told her that I'd make her a few more of these in solids. Yay! I've finally found a knitted item that my MIL wants. :-)

I think my MIL tends to like solids over variegateds. I wore the socks I knitting during my Lake Tahoe trip today and showed them to her. I also showed her the socks I'm currently working on which happen to be self-striping. Again, she commented that pattterns would look better in a solid yarn. Ok, I see a trend here. She likes solids. Whew! It's a good thing I knit her Christmas prezzie (socks) in a solid colored yarn! Feeling good here. :-)

Then the Little One shows Grandma the red hat I recently made her (sorry, haven't gotten around to blogging about it yet) , and I mention I could make her a hat too. She was cool with that idea too, except that she would like her hat to have a brim around it. Oh ok. Now I have to figure out what to do for her hat.

Still suffering from a cold however I feel I'm on the recovery end. Have been drinking an obscene amount of fluids, mostly in the form of tea. The downside to this is the SBSB problem. I'm almost out of honey and am hoping I'll have enough to last me through the weekend. And I think the Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Elder tea is helping. Right now I'm enjoying a cup of mint tea. When I say "cup" of tea, I usually mean my 18 oz mug ... you know, the ones that are the same size as those Starbucks city mugs? Right now I am enjoying my tea from a Kings Canyon National Park mug. Yes, 18 ounce capacity. BTW, my MIL was amused to learn that the Little One has her favorite boxes of tea in my tea drawer; her favorite is Sweet Coconut Thai Chai. Decaf for her of course.

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2009. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



EXTERMINATE all spills with these reusable cotton washcloths. Brown cloth is modified slightly to make larger because the taupe cloth came out on the small side. I use washcloths around the house in place of paper towels. They're great for dusting furniture and blinds/shutters. I also use them as "coasters" for my teapots and large mugs.

Dalek Washcloth in S&C Taupe

I had to make these cuz they're so cute. I followed the pattern as-is for the taupe cloth which came out on the small side. No biggie, I use wash cloths of all sizes. I made the brown one a little larger by padding the sides with a 2 extra stitches and working an extra 2 rows of stockinette at the top & bottom.

Dalek Washcloth in S&C brown

Pattern: Dalek Washcloth pattern here
Yarn: Lily Sugar & Cream, brown & softly taupe
Needles: 4.5mm (US7)

Not a Doctor Who fan and wondering what a Dalek is? Further reading here.


I'm still working on the Four Rib Braid Cable Mitts for the Little One's other teacher. I have to get it done by tomorrow so I can wrap it for gifting on Friday. You saw the purple pair for her other teacher here. I'm moving slowly today due to a cold. I hope I feel better by Friday when the Little One has her Christmas Party at school. The Little One even told me today that I had to "hurry up" and finish these mitts, because she wants to help wrap the gifts.

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2009. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits


Monday, December 14, 2009

Jacaranda Mitts Finished

I have some sad news. DD's Betta Splendens (fish), George/Dorothy, passed away yesterday. He didn't improve with a water change and he should have been comfortable with the Marineland Visi-Therm Stealth submersible heater which kept his tank toasty warm around 80°F (I kept verifying this with the digital thermometer). He was already on the large side when we rescued him from the pet store; I think he died of old age.

DD told me she wanted to get a goldfish. I know they're "poopy" fish and grow very large, so I'm trying to steer her towards another Betta Splendens. I told her we can try to find a red one. Perhaps we'll even find a Crown Tail! We'll see. I've cleaned out the old tank and will wait a few weeks before reusing it.

There's an old photo of Geroge over here.

Related post: 6 Dec 2009 (2 Photos)

I have finished the purple pair of Four Rib Braid Cable Mitts. These are the elongated ones where I did an extra repeat of Rounds 1-16 of the cable pattern. These will go to one of DD's teachers only IF I can finish another pair of mitts for her other teacher in the same classroom. I've started the other teacher's mitts in some blue yarn and just finished the main portion of the 1st mitt. I need to cast on for the 2nd mitt, and then do the thumbs on both mitts. I need to get this done by Friday, the day of the Christmas party.

I like the longer length on these mitts, they'll keep arms/wrist warm by covering up that gap between wrist and jacket sleeve. I think I'll have to make some longer mitts for myself sometime.

Pattern: Four Rib Braid Cable Mitts
Yarn: 1.5 balls Elann Highland Wool, Jacaranda
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)


This is some Cascade 128 wool yarn Vicki gave me to make her some fingerless mitts. I've never knit with black yarn before so this will be interesting. The yarn is bulky, and the label recommends needle size US10 or Us10.5. I don't normally go higher than US8, so I'll have to see what larger size needles I have. I know I don't have any DPNs in that size, but I might have one or two circular needles I can use for knitting in the round. I may even have to go down to US9 (if I have 2 circs in that size). I know I have at least 2 circs in US8, but I'll have to see how it feels using that size. I think this one hank should be enough for a pair of mitts.

So... I'm not accustomed to knitting with such thick yarn. All I'm sure of is having to cast on fewer stitches, I'm gonna take a guess that it'll be in the 28 to 32 stitch range. This doesn't leave me with many stitches to work with for a pattern on the back of the hand. I think I might just do an 8-stitch XO cable down the back of the hand (the XO Cable looks like the cable panel on the outer edges of my St Albans Valentine Cable Scarf). But I'll sit down and browse through the stitch dictionaries to see of anything else catches my eye.

She also gave me a ball of this, Rowan Classic Yarns Soft Tweed, another bulky yarn. There's only 87 yards in this ball and I think that's cutting it close for a pair of mitts. She says she has a 2nd ball somewhere. So I'll start on her black mitts first, and figure out what her grey mitts later.

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2009. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits

Thursday, December 10, 2009



Sometimes you just have to have the right tool for the job. This sewing needle threader is not it.

DD has lost 2 jackets at school and I have no idea how this happens when I clearly write her name on the jackets with a Sharpie. Yes, sometimes the other kids might have the exact same jacket, but surely they are their parents should be able to tell which one belongs to their kid, right?

So... I decided to pick up some alphabet beads from Michael's and use that to string her name onto the jacket zipper pull. Now this should get their attention, right? I mean, these kids do know how to recognize their own name, and hopefully the parents can too.

I'm not into beading so my challenge was trying to thread the blue fingerling weight yarn through the itty bitty hole on these beads. The threader & stitch markers in the photo above should give you an idea of the bead size. I mangled the needle threader in the process of getting those 6 beads onto the yarn (it actually took me a couple extra tries to get the letters oriented correctly). I don't know if you can clearly see how mangled the wire is from the photo above.

I went back to Michael's and browsed the beading section and found these. They're collapsible eye needles. It's pretty much like a sewing needle threader, except that it's got a long thin "handle" which you can slide a bead onto. Perfect, this looks exactly what I need.

My second attempt at stringing these beads went much quicker!

I also picked up some pony beads for her to make necklaces and bracelets. She loves to thread yarn through the pony beads. It's neat to see how she chooses the sequence of colors.


Yesterday, the Little One lost the purple hat I made her 2 years ago. Fortunately, she was able to find her hat today. One of her friends at school spotted it outside. Yay! I'm glad because we're having a cold spell (freeze warnings a couple days ago) and she really needs to wear a hat outside. Today, I dug out some worsted weight machine washable acrylic/wool to make another hat for her. I've only gotten as far as the brim ribbing. What a refreshing change it is to knit with 5mm (US8) needles vs the 2.75 mm sock needles. You definitely get more mileage. I wish I had some machine washable chunky yarn for instant gratification.

I finished the purple mitts (you saw the left mitt here) and thought I had photos to upload, but I can't find them on the computer, so they must still be on the camera. I think these mitts will go to Miss Sussan, one of DD's teachers. I've cast on for another pair of identical mitts for DD's other teacher, Miss Vanya. I have to have it finished and ready to gift on Dec 18, the day of the Christmas Party at school.

I have a sock in progress to show you, some yarn I've chosen for my Doctor Who Scarf, and a couple of washcloths ... those photos are on the computer, but I'm too tired to type something up about them at the moment. I've been trying to shake off some sort of head cold/sinus thing and have been feeling exhausted lately. My allergies have also been giving me aggro this month; I'm going to take an antihistamine and go to bed soon. Oh and to add to my issues, the Little One came home today with a fever of 102.9°F. I'm hoping she'll feel better tomorrow cuz I'm really not feeling up to keeping her at home tomorrow.

George has been feeling under the weather lately, I'm afraid we're going to find him belly up in the next few days. Here's a better photo of George. We've had him since April. When we got him, some of his tail fins were transparent, so his tail is actually longer than the purple section you see. Over the months, the color filled in those transparent areas and he now has full purple fins. Anyhow, George hasn't been is his usual perky self lately. He usually swims about when we're around and does his "look how pretty I am, don't you want to feed me?" dance. Now he's lethargic, jittery, and not as interested in food as he used to be. (BTW, the Little One calls George "Dorothy", after Elmo's goldfish Dorothy. She changed his name shortly after we got him)

Ok, it's time for me to finish my tea (Celestial Seasonings Perfectly Pear), take my antihistamine, and go to bed. On another tea related note, I just discovered that my local Safeway finally carries PG Tips!!! Yay! They only have the 40 bag box, not the 80 bag box.

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2009. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits.



Sunday, December 06, 2009

Jacaranda Mitts


Four Rib Braid Mitts, 6th pair, left mitt

Can you spot the boo boo in this mitt? No? It might help to look at the 5th pair I made.

Now you see the difference!

(My jade bracelet is causing that bulge at the wrist)

It's a bit elongated. And it was totally unintentional.

If you recall, we recently replaced our dead tv and also got a Blu-ray DVD player (it came bundled with the TV). So of course I had to hunt down some Blu-ray DVDs to take advantage of this. So I got my hands on Taken and watched it while working on this mitt. Watching Liam Neeson beating up on bay guys was such a distraction that I ended up working an extra repeat of the cable pattern before starting the thumb gusset! Oopsie. I didn't realize this until I was finished with the mitt. Well I can't really complain since it doesn't look bad at all for a boo boo.

What really clued me in on the mistake was noticing how little yarn I had left when I finished the mitt. I needed a second ball of yarn to make its mate. It's a good thing I have more of this yarn. Taken was such a fun movie, I watched it again shortly afterwards. I didn't bother working on the 2nd mitt while watching it again.

Pattern: Four Rib Braid Cable Mitts
Yarn: Elann Highland Wool, Jacaranda colorway
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)

I made some minor mods to this mitt:
-- extra pattern repeat before starting thumb
-- 3 rounds end ribbing instead of 6 rounds
-- purl bind off on thumb

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2009. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits.