Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Funemployment mittens

(Mmm, toasty)

I finished these puppies last night. Yarn is handspun, Navajo-plied; finished yarn is about a DK size. Needle was size 5, cast on 36 at the cuff. There's probably enough leftover orange yarn for a hat.

Store-bought mittens never fit me right- I have small, skinny hands and stupidly long thumbs. My hands always feel adrift inside them. But these fit.

Spring cleaning this year includes donating most of my stash of commercial yarn. To lighten the load and remove further temptation, I've decided to only knit with yarn I've personally hand-spun. It keeps the stash under control, is super-cheap, and limits me. I have the utmost respect for limits. No, I'll go further and say I truly love limits. They free me up from too much choice, which I've always found crippling.

Funemployment is an excellent opportunity to exercise the voluntary simplicity muscles. Well, ok- I suppose the simplicity in this case is actually semi-voluntary. But still, it is liberating.


Tamra Stallings said...

I am learning to spin on Saturday. I know I am going to love it and will soon only want to knit with yarn I spun. How long does it take to spin enough for a sweater? Do you dye your own yarn? I am growing dye plants this year, because, I know spinning will lead to dying.

ilex said...

Oh Tamra, I'm so excited for you! Spinning is unbelievably satisfying.

It's hard to say how long it will take, especially if you're a beginner- it depends on your skill level, the wheel, the fiber. But some rules of thumb- it takes about a pound of fiber for a vest and about two pounds for a sweater. Size of yarn doesn't matter, because though fatter yarn uses more fiber, it also uses bigger needles.

Also, I don't recommend knitting with singles yarn- it's directional no matter what you do and causes the fabric will skew (lace knitting can work with singles, but only if the yarn is terribly fine and somewhat underspun- hard for beginners). Learn to ply before you knit with your yarn- you'll be much happier with like the results.

I know what you mean about dye plants. I'm beginning to dabble in it, too- hopefully a nearby community garden will let me plant some madder this year.

Next, you'll want your own sheep...

Carolyn said...

very cute! I like 'em!

Condo Blues said...

I like the stripes they remind me of Freddie Kruger's sweater. I wonder if his finger blade glove thing would be good for breaking up soil in potted plants?

d. moll, said...

Love the mittens, and you need them too, BRRRRR. Limits provide structure without structure things fall apart.......

Rabbits' Guy said... check this and maybe set one up in your neck of the woods. Good way to get connected!

Rummage around in there and you'll find our local one ... USA - Washington - Mt Vernon

but .. look at several to see how they work.

what's navajo-plied? (he asks, google-impaired)

.. just so the limits aren't about what you can do!

Irma said...

You are my knitting hero....I can knit sweaters with my eyes closed, but there is just something about mittens that terrify me.

Yellow said...

I'm crocheting at the moment. But I haven't tried increaing or decreasing, on purpose at least, yet. I make very long scarves, they're my forte. And cafetiere covers, they're just rectangles sewn up one side. Irma, I sympathise with your fear of knitting mittens. I have a fear of crocheting hats, though I'd love to make one. Maybe I should just make one, then give it to someone it fits, rather than the other way around. Ilex, how big is your head?

YowlYY said...

Love love love your mittens, and thumbs up for using your own handspun!! How brave to give away all the stash - I think I'd have a heart attack if I ever tried.
Next post will be about spinning!