Usually, I don’t show you the wrong side of my knitting, not because there is anything really bad about it, but it’s just not that interesting. We like to have all the interesting bits on the outside where everyone can see and admire them. The inside is normally dull, but this is not the case when it comes to thrumming.
Thrumming involves knitting bits of unspun wool into your fabric to create a fleece lined piece of clothing. In most cases, this means mittens. The fluffy wool traps lots of air and keeps one extra warm. These are hand ovens for sure.
They look sorta plain on the outside. The thrums I used seem to be too fluffy for the yarn I am using for the main part of the mitten. But, they have a kinda cool textured look. However, wait until you see what they look like when it is turned inside out.
All that fluffy wool turns these ordinary looking mittens into mittens with superwarming powers. My only complaint about knitting these is that it is pretty slow going. Every one of those thrums take a little extra time to knit in, not to mention the time it takes to make the thrums in the first place. I grossly underestimated the number of thrums I would need for one mitten and had to stop knitting work on these three times in order to make more thrums. Now, I have a whole ‘nother mitten to do and I am starting to feel the same way I do when I finish one sock. Easily distracted. I may just have to take a break and knit a sweater.
Ten days ago, the husband surprised me by taking us to this.
We had all been feeling a bit sad and homesick the week before and he thought an outing might cheer us all up. Or at least distract us with cute animals.
Blurriness aside, this was easily the tiniest sheep I have ever seen. It is hard to tell because I do not have anything in the photo for scale, but this little cutie is only about eighteen inches high. The whole festival is indoors, which is great because November weather is a bit chilly for outdoor activities (not that that ever stops the people who organize kids’ soccer events). However, the dim lighting does not make for great photos.
We knitters often get super excited about the big Sheepy events, such as Rhinebeck or MD Sheep and Wool, and they are fantastic, albeit quite overwhelming. Small events like this New England Fiber Festival are really great as well. For starters, shoppers can actually get into the booths to shop and shop at their leisure. You can also chat with people and get to know your vendors better. We met a new to me lady who makes these great baskets.
I was in need of a bread basket. Aren’t you?
We also enjoyed probably one of the most informative and entertaining sheep shearing demonstrations we have ever seen in our 10+ years of sheep and wool festivals. If you love sheep, like a good workout, and want to travel to all the good sheepy places (such as Scotland and Australia), sheep shearing might be a good job for you.
Don’t feel bad for the lady sheep. She was properly treated and felt much better after her trim.
The great thing about these local festivals is that they are manageable. We were there for three or four hours and managed to see everything without rushing. I even learned a way of ending a scarf on a loom that was better than the ‘just tie the ends together’ method that I had been using.
So, if you have a local fiber festival near you, I encourage you to go. It will be worth it, and not just because of the yarn and fiber. You’ll most likely be supporting your neighbors as well.
It turns out that the key to solving knitting mojo issues is not just knitting more, but also knitting with chunkier yarn.
Don’t get me wrong, tiny yarn is great. There is nothing like the feeling of pulling on a pair of handknitted socks with all its 16,000 plus glorious stitches. I once timed myself while I was knitting a sock and determined that it took me an average of 40 hours to churn out a pair of socks. At the time, I was knitting socks for the husband, whose feet are bigger than mine. Still, that’s a lot of hours of knitting for what you end up with. But, we knitters know that the point of knitting does not rest on the number of finished projects that we turn out.
However, with my recent tension issues and track record of finished items, I decided to abandon ship. I needed something quick, satisfying, and, most of all, cozy. And so I learned that a good way to get your knitting juices flowing is to ditch the tiny yarn, pick up some bulky yarn and a size 11 set of needles and start knitting. Armed with the wonderful Suloinen pattern from the wonderful Knitworthy2 collection, three balls of the reasonably priced Patons Bulky, and two and a half days later, you too could have a project done and something you can wear to keep the chill off your neck and shoulders.
It was so fast it almost seemed to knit itself. In the time it took me to catch up on the Homefires episodes and watch the final of the Great British Baking Show (I was totally surprised at who won that one), I had a finished gigantic cowl that is worthy of the task of standing up to the oncoming New England winter, not to mention able to almost fully engulf the torso of a ten year old boy.
After finishing that bulky wonder, I picked up a languishing dk project and that felt positively liliputian in comparison. I always believed that my hands would not be able to handle knitting with bulky yarn without pain, but it turns out that I must have been under some anti bulky delusion. They didn’t hurt any more that knitting with small yarn and, in fact, may have hurt less.
Poor guy. This is what happens when mom is a knitter. He is a good sport and works well if you give him cookies!
Anyway, it hasn’t yet been an entire 24 hours since finishing and I am already dreaming of other bulky projects. The first to come to mind is the famous Owls, of course. After feeling how warm the cowl is, I can imagine that Owls will feel like sitting in a nice warm oven. Once I get my hands on another Michael’s coupon and enough free time to make the trek to the nearest one, I’ll be casting on another bulky wonder. Maybe. I have been known to change my mind.
There has been some knitting going on amidst all the other things we’ve been doing. It’s all just progressing a bit slower than I am used to and there have been a few setbacks, which is discouraging when the net progress is so slow to begin with. Last time I talked about knitting I think I mentioned that I ran out of yarn on a shawl project and had to get creative with the bind off. This next shawl, I saw what was happening with the yarn and was able to compensate by binding off four rows early.
Still. It seems unfair that this has happened to me two times in a row even though with this shawl, I purposely chose a skein that supposedly had about fifty yards of buffer. Other people seem to not have this problem, so it must be me. I must be knitting shawls really loosely. And yet, inexplicably, I tried to knit the second sock of a pair that got started last year and had to rip it out because it was too small. And look at this recent gauge calamity:
Even my big head cannot support a hat that is 25 inches in circumference. Clearly, I am having some gauge issues and I think I know how to solve them: knit more. It’s a well known phenomenon that the more one does something, the more consistent the results. All of the upheaval in the last two months has thrown me off knittingwise. Now that most of the unpacking is done, I hope to get more knitting time in. Stay tuned. I have some big plans. But of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans…