Thursday, November 12, 2009

All Thumbs

Stephanie wrote:

The pace around here hasn't slowed down one bit. We've been busy filling orders, re-stocking inventory.

And shipping the fall edition of our Four Seasons Sock Club. Wendy Johnson designed the sock for our fall installment and recently posted about it on her blog. The colorway is all about fall, and the yarn is Luster Sox, 100% bluefaced leicester. This yarn is one of my favorites for socks, but it works up well for other projects too - neck warmers, scarves etc. We are still taking orders for the fall sock club - you can find it here.

Our website was down earlier this week but is up and running again. The situation has been dealt with and hopefully that's the end of it. One of the frustrations in life is dealing with problems that you, alone, can't fix.

Knitting progress has been slow. I'm still finishing up these fingerless mitts that will be gifted. My goal is to mail them by the end of the week.

Here is mitt the second minus the thumb. This pattern uses an Elizabeth Zimmermann thumb technique which I think is written up in Knitting Without Tears.

See the small bit of contrast yarn? First, knit a specified number of stitches (this patterns calls for 9) with contrast yarn. Return those stitches to the left hand needle. Continue knitting with working yarn as if nothing had happened. Finish mitt. Now it's time to knit the thumb.

Remove the contrast yarn and pick up the exposed stitches.

Rather than remove the contrast yarn in one fell swoop, I worked stitch by stitch and put each one on a needle right away. These stitches are small, and I didn't want them to scoot away from me. I was left with a beautiful thumb opening. All that's left is to pick up a couple of additional stitches on the ends and knit up the thumb.

The first mitt is almost complete except for the finishing details.

These mitts are worked wrong side out. Mitts are turned right side out after knitting. Now it's time for the fun part - smocking. Using beads or contrasting yarn, pull ribs together and attach. I'm working on my first column of beads here. The second column of beads will be staggered with the first to create the smocking effect.

I have fond childhood memories of smocked dresses. My aunt was an excellent seamstress and even made matching smocked doll dresses. The beads give this smocking an elegant touch.

The pattern is appropriately named Smockies; the yarn is Reynolds Whiskey, color 053 from stash. Using stash is good.

The last couple of months have been a flurry of activity - at times a blur. As I gaze out on naked trees with just a few oaks hanging on to their leaves, I recall the warmer, more colorful days of fall.

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