My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wednesday's Yarns - Boiled Wool Fingerless Gloves and "Almost A Miracle"

      I'm almost done with my first Boiled Wool Fingerless Glove for my son.  Hopefully, I can get the other done within two weeks and send it to him.  He'll get it wet and shrink it in the dryer, his preferred method of shrinking.  He'll be rewetting it and drying it till it's the right size.  It took 3 times in the dryer last year with his Boiled Fisherman's Mittens.  I've used mainly this pattern Men's Fingerless Gloves which is based on a WW II pattern called Trigger Gloves.  Both called for #3 needles and I am using #6 and worsted yarn Patons Classic Wool to get a larger version of the Fingerless Mitts in hopes that it will shrink down right.  One source said wool shrinks about %40 vertically and %25 horizontally.  I'm counting on a %30 shrinkage of fingers and did about one inch more than was needed for each finger (my son sent photos of his fingers next to a ruler).  I'll keep you updated, probably in February on the results.

     Daily I listen to "John Adams" by David McCullough on Audible while I knit, type this blog and do about everything.  I find it fascinating.  And it will be keeping me company for a while longer!  I am only %55 through even with continually listening.  But never a dull moment and it inspired me to pursue other books on the American Revolution because Adams literally leaves the scene of war for Europe for the duration of the war and long afterward.  So it's like being in a suspense novel and the author leaves you hanging.

  To find more American Revolution books I used the site: The 100 Best American Revolutionary Books of All Time.  To find more about the war itself I choose  "Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence" by John Ferling.  I first had downloaded a sample for free which includes about 150 pages and got hooked right away.  It starts really in a very up close and exciting way comparing two leaders, British and Colonial and their adventures in a battle of Pell's Point in 1776 and what happens to them.  Immediately you love one and hate the other.  Your rooting for the one and are cringing for the other.  Well done, the war is immediately drawn closer to you.  I ordered the book used, through an Amazon seller (Goodwill) and got it within 4 days!  It's a thick tomb 704 pages and 2 1/2 lbs.  I clip it with a huge monster hair clip and a Leather Book Weight, either on a table or perched on a pillow on my lap while I read and knit.  With a few other American Revolution books I'm reading at the same time I'm feeling like I'm getting a good grasp of the times.

Oliver "helping"


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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Scrappy Shawl and "1776"

     In the midst of knitting a green scarf and green cowl and fingerless gloves in brown, I have found I hungered for color.  And who can blame me, for it is a cold brown and white world out there?  A quick scan in Ravelry and I found the Scrappy Bias Shawl and I grabbed some leftover Hawthorne Fingering Multi Yarn I have from last year.  I'm finding it satisfies the need for color and since this project has no immediate deadline I just enjoy doing it.  Again mindless knitting at it's best!

     I'm enjoying listening to "John Adams" By David McCollough on Audible immensely.  I listen all day while I knit and I'm halfway through.  This past weekend I found a hardback copy in a used bookstore and with credit from books traded in I spent $2.50 on it!  What a treasure.  When it first came out, almost 20 years ago I remember staring at it, wanting it, promising myself it'd be a gift to myself at some occasion and then walking away with a sigh.  This copy has uncut edges (deckle edges) and is very handsome.

Deckle Edges (uncut)

     I'm reading several books about The American Revolutionary War in order to get a better picture of what happened.  I love listening to "John Adams" but it's like a teaser on The Revolutionary War.  Adams, of course, is there for the First and Second Continental Congress (1775, 1776) in Philidelphia, but not present at any battles, so the biography covers each battle in about a sentence.  Then in 1778 Adams with son John Quincy Adams sails off as a diplomat to first France for most of the remainder of the war (this voyage in itself is a thrilling read).  So our attention is also shifted away towards his efforts to negotiate overseas with first the French, then the Dutch, then finally the English.  His efforts bore little fruit until the victory at Yorktown, Oct 1781.  The peace treaty wouldn't ultimately be signed for two more years - After Yorktown: 1781-1783 And The Treaty of Paris.

John Adams 1783 by John Copley 
"Painted in London soon after the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, 
this grand portrait commemorates Adams’s role in securing American independence." Harvard Art Museum

     I initially consulted a very good source the "Journal of The American Revolution" which lists "The 100 Best American Revolution Books of All Time".   It breaks American Revolution books down to All-In-One books (an overall look at the war), books with a focus on Origins, People, Politics and Conflict and War.  From these recommendations, I got a new All in One book and a book focused on the warfare itself and I'll go into them later.  Right now I'm tackling "1776" also by David McCullough to get a better feel for that year, and so far I'm enjoying that one too.  I love this particular author having read several of his works before, whether it's a flood or building a bridge or describing an artist his words just resonate and capture my interest.  

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Fisherman's Rib Scarf and "John Adams"

     In between knitting other projects I love grabbing my Fisherman's Rib Scarf for my husband.  A great squishy knit that grows fast.  I love the texture that is created by just knitting into the stitch below your normal stitch knitted into.  A rib of Knit below and Purl, that's it; with plain knits on each end.  The ultimate of mindless knit for Zen knitting.  It's amazingly thick, almost an inch.

     The yarn is simply Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick And Quick in Kale.  While this would knit up in expensive wool and be wonderful, the Wool-Ease creates a nice texture, is soft and is washable.  I'm debating on getting some fancy white wool or simply a cream Wool-Ease for a wider scarf for myself and I'm leaning towards going with Wool-ease.  Lion's Brand must be one of the most popular brands for local supermarket craft stores.  And I've enjoyed using it over the years.  Another project I did several years ago and produced huge cowls that could double as snoods is The Gathering.  It takes 2 skeins of Wool-Ease Thick and Quick, knitted together on #50 needles.  Just be aware of the color Barley (which is the featured color) because it has flecks of plastic throughout it.  Looks great but it's scratchy, to me.  Now I look carefully at the yarn to make sure the contrasting colors aren't minuscule threads of plastic.  Lots of colors are just wonderfully soft.  The yarn is %80 Acrylic/%20 Wool.

 © Kalurah Hudson

     Maximizing my knitting I've been listening to the audio of "John Adams" by David McCullough.  A bestselling Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of John Adams who was a United States founding father and the second president. 

     Published in 2001, I have literally wanted to read it since then, but I've never gotten around to reading it or other historical books I've intended to.  Now that I have Audible I have found listening to these books really helpful.  I start in the late morning and regrettably turn it off for my bath at night (figuring my brain better have a break).  I back up often when I don't get it and I find I believe I'm learning even more from listening.  But I still want to get the book and read it again.  The Revolutionary period has never really captured my passion.  I majored in history and I love it but I never was enthusiastic about the history of the founding and fight for our country.  Now this work brings it alive through the many writings of John Adams.  Many of his letters are to his wife Abigail, who he was separated from many years as he served his country from Philadelphia to overseas.

John Trumbull's The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, commissioned in 1817 (the actual signing took place over many months and this painting was a commemoration, but not a factual representation. Details - "This Painting Is Probably How You Imagine the Original Fourth of July. Here's What's Wrong With It" ).

      I'm up to so far just past the vote on the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia and at the same time the British fleet with 32,000 troops have arrived in New York Harbor.  The Americans have maybe 20,000 troops but Washington writes it is more close to 9,000.  I find myself cheering on as the first troops start from Philidelphia to New Jersey after The Declaration of Independence is announced.  Huzza!, I say.  I'm getting into the spirit of this and appreciating my own country more.

My Elisabeth is on the right. :)
Creating Progress: Stitch & Chat 
Join us for light refreshments on Saturday 1/19 from 12-2pm at the Old Barracks Museum. Bring a project, join the conversation, and talk about women’s contributions past, present and future. "Stitch & Chat" Event page on FB
     For a taste of the real Colonial times there is a "Stitch and Chat" planned at Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, N.J. this Saturday, January 19th from 12 - 2 PM (right next to The Woman's March in Trenton, so you can do both).  My daughter Elisabeth is hosting the event and is a Historical Interpreter there.  She hand sews by needle and thread, employing techniques of the Colonial period for all her garments and also knits her socks and makes replicated silk knitted pinballs on size 0000 needles for sale on her Etsy site -  

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Yarns: Boiled Wool Fingerless Gloves and The "Enigma"

      I'm working on creating Boiled Wool Fingerless gloves for my son Jon who lives in Maine and works as a carpenter on sustainable passive housing.  It gets very cold and he found the Boiled Fisherman's Mittens I made last year extremely warm and dry in the rain.  I'm using several patterns, most of them a variation of this WW II pattern - Trigger Gloves.  I'm finding this pattern the most helpful - Men's Fingerless Gloves.  In order to shrink them down, I'm making them a bigger size.  I'm using a size 6 double pointed needles instead of #3 suggested.  (More details on this glove - Yarns: Remaking WW II Fingerless Gloves and Finishing "One Day in December".)

     In order to create a glove that can be shrunk to the right size, I'm going on my experience from last year making Boiled Fisherman's Mittens and a couple of facts I gleaned from reading different posts online.  One source said that wool shrinks about 40 % vertically, up and down, and 25% horizontally, side to side (now to have it perfectly figured out you should swatch and shrink it, but I didn't want to waste yarn and my whole glove is a tester).  I know my son loves long cuffs so here I've done a super long cuff.  I'm going to see as I follow the Men's Fingerless Gloves pattern that by using a larger needle does it naturally make the glove long enough?  It's the length that will shrink the most and I know Jon likes a snug glove so I'm not worried too much about the width  He might ask that I not widen it as much, I added 4 extra stitches after the cuff as per instructions, but with the Fisherman Boiled Wool Mitts he didn't like it as wide.  So we shall see.  This is a tester.  Hopefully usable, but I'll be doing a re-do in better wool next time - KnitPicks Simply Wool Worsted.  Right now I'm using Patons Worsted Wool.

   Off reading another new genre, at least one I haven't read in decades.  I used to be a thriller reader, then I veered to Romances when I found after 50 I just wanted a happy ending.  Now with Book of The Month Club, I've been stretching myself and reading more modern fiction, probably future classics.  You do fall in love with a perfectly worded phrase.  But for Christmas, my husband gave me a book by an author I used to read Catherine Coulter called Enigma (FBI Thriller #21).  I literally read the first 2 in the FBI series when they came out a few decades ago.  I'm really enjoying it.  The whole series revolves around an FBI couple.  It starts with an escaped prisoner and then goes on about a stolen baby and a deranged man, both considered "Enigma" and I'm just getting an idea of what it's about 100 pages plus in.  But it's good, very good and because I missed almost all of the previous 20 books I have lots to enjoy in the future!

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Yarns: Remaking WW II Fingerless Gloves and Finishing "One Day in December"


     My son graduated from an Ecology college in Maine last Spring and stayed there.  He swiftly got a carpentry job for sustainable passive home builders, his dream job.  But sometimes that's a tough job and when one day he was working all day in the cold rain he dreamed of the perfect mitts his mom could knit him.  He wanted fingerless gloves with the fingers exposed to work but the glove itself like his Fisherman Boiled Wool Mitts.  He loves his Boiled Mitts, says they're the best for keeping warm and dry.  I could just imagine the scene.  So he told me this story skyping on Christmas Day and I stayed up past Midnight searching out for what he wanted (some details I will purposefully omit because he's always thinking of being an entrepreneur and develop something to sell and so I won't let all the details out).  Suffice to say he wants fingerless gloves that are boiled wool.

© Namma119

WW II photo of Trigger Gloves

     So I started looking for a pattern for regular sized fingerless gloves, knowing I could use larger needles and get a bigger version to then shrink down to size.  My first hunt uncovered WW II fingerless gloves called Trigger Gloves.  This pattern has been copied from an American Red Cross pattern dated 1940 and does seem the basis of several re-do patterns such as Modified Army Gloves and Men's Fingerless Gloves.  After several (or perhaps lots is a better word) of rip outs, I found the second pattern close (so far) to what I want; we'll see as I progress along if I need to jump around to other patterns.  Because I want to shrink it I'm aiming for knitting one of these patterns, but they all are done, like the WW II one, on # 3 needles.  I found for the worsted yarn I'm using that #6 made a nice fabric, #5 was too tight and I had read that for a boiled wool project you want the fabric a bit loose.  So I also found this really beautiful pattern for Boiled Wool Fingerless gloves called Digits.  They are also similar to the WW II pattern, but of course, designed to give you a big fingerless glove to knit and then shrink.  Hers is done on #5, but this made the fabric much too tight.  So I will forge ahead.  Constantly I imagine my son's cold fingers and I want these done soon.  


     These first fingerless gloves I imagine are the testers.  I choose Worsted wool so I'd have flexible fingers and Patons Wool because I had the skein on hand.  Optimally I'd like to use KnitPicks Simply Wool Worsted because I found their Bulky version perfect for the Boiled Fisherman Gloves.  It's a natural, unprocessed wool yarn that I think would appeal to my son because of his background at an Ecology college.  And I also so love the colors!

     I'm a hair from being done with my book "One Day in December" by Josie Silver.  It's definitely going to be up there with my all time favorites and I want to revisit it again, perhaps next December.  The writer has such a perfect and unique way of describing things and the plot is definitely unique!  It could be described as a un-romance.  I mean most of the book the possible couple are missing each other.  Sigh.  Constantly I'm loving the book but also feeling like yelling at it to get them together.  I'm almost at the end, have patience I say, it's worth it.  Laurie the main gal is waiting one December day in a crowded bus in London at a bus stop and she sites this gorgeous guy sitting outside on the bus stop bench.  He looks at her and it's love at first sight, but no one moves.  She searches for a year with her best friend and roommate to find him, but he's nowhere.  Until she meets her roommate's new amazing boyfriend.  Yup, it's him and she doesn't tell her best friend.  The rest of the book covers 10 years, but it's at times funny, definitely engaging and I love every page.  I'm ready to turn to the first page again.  Really lovely.

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 Small Things' Yarn Along 

the first Wednesday of every month!

Men's Fingerless Gloves pattern

     I'm storing this pattern for Men's Fingerless Gloves here because the main source on Ravelry is gone and it's only in an archived spot.  It's a variation of the Red Cross WWII Fingerless gloves called Trigger Gloves; copied here - WWII Mittens and Gloves.  I like that the cast on is a bit smaller, adding the rest of the stitches later at the wrist. The thumb shaping has purls going up and I find that easier to follow and makes a handsome edging. It also has better reviews for fit.

Men's Fingerless Gloves

Pattern alterations of Red Cross WWII Trigger Mittens
 by J. Campbell

Men's Fingerless Gloves
Fits medium-large man's hand
Width of glove, minus thumb, is about 4.5"-4.75" wide
Sport weight or light weight worsted yarn, less than 200 yards/m (I used less than two skeins of Lion Brand AL PA KA, a 30% alpaca, 30% wool, 40% acrylic mix which comes in 1.75 oz/50 gm balls (about 107 yds/98 m per ball)
set of 4 or 5 dpns (pattern is written for set of 5), size to get gauge (I used US size 3's)
cotton thread/yarn for stitch holders
blunt needle for darning in ends
stitch markers
6 stitches per inch
Right Glove
Cast on 52 stitches on 4 dpns (13-13-13-13). Work in k2, p2 ribbing for 2.5"-3" or desired length. On last round of ribbing, increase 4 stitches evenly for a total of 56 stitches. Change to stocking stitch and work 3 rounds.
Thumb Gusset
On next round, start thumb gusset as follows: (Place marker if desired) P1, inc. in next st., k2, inc. in next st., P1. (Place marker if desired.)
K2 rounds even, keeping the P 1 sts uniform.
Next round: P1, inc. in next st., K 4, inc. in next st., P1, K to end of round. K 2 rounds even, keeping the P2 sts. uniform.
Continue to inc. every 3rd round in sts. inside of P1 sts. until there are 18 sts between the 2 p sts.
Next round: K1, slip next 18 sts. onto holder or string, cast on 4 sts, K around. (56 stitches)
K even for 1/2" inch or desired length to beginning of fingers.
Now, starting with needle on line with the thumb, leave first eight stitches on needle, then slip 40 stitches onto stitch holder or cotton string (I prefer cotton string), leaving remaining 8 "back of hand" stitches on remaining needle.
First Finger
Now, knit first eight stitches (palm of hand), cast on 3 st for gusset, and k remaining 8 st (back side of hand) for first finger. Work 1 to 1.5" in. or to desired length, then change to k 1, p1. (To keep in ribbing pattern, it is necessary to purl together the last two stitches of the first round of
ribbing). Continue in k1, p1 for about 4 rounds, then bind off in rib.
Second Finger
Pick up 7 from back of hand, 3 st from 1st finger gusset, and 8 st from palm of hand, and cast on 3 for gusset. Join, work in round in same manner as for 1st finger. Bind off.
Third Finger
Pick up 6 st from back of hand, 3 from 2nd finger gusset, 7 from palm of hand, and cast on 3 for gusset. Join, work as for 2nd finger.
Little Finger
Use remaining 12 st, pick up 2 from 3rd finger gusset. Work for desired length and bind off.
Pick up 18 stitches on a string and 4 stitch which were cast on. Work a few rounds in stocking st to desired length, finish in k1 p1 ribbing as for fingers. Bind off.
Left Glove
Work as for right glove, except starting at thumb gusset increases, work around to last 6 st of round. P1, inc. in next st., K2, inc in next st., P 1. Work as for other glove. Remember when picking up sts for fingers that back and palm of hand are now reversed.

Copyright 2000 J. Campbell.