Sunday, December 26, 2010


In the last week I have signed up for both the Master Knitter Level I the Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches & Techniques certifications.  I received the MKLI instructions first and, being impatient, dove right it.  I tried the first swatch and it was a humiliating experience.  I had no idea I was such a crappy knitter.  My purling is WAY bigger than my knitting  resulting in atrocious ribbing and hideous selvages.  Dammit.

That being the case, I put the damn thing aside and picked up the MACST material.  Success!  Ten of the 47 swatches are done and I don't think I will have any problems completing the rest this week.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Maven Watch

On a regular basis, there will be be some object or thing that I simply MUST have.  It's never anything from a specific advertisement or called-out by name in a magazine or website - it's just sort of something that bubbles up from my subconscious.  It's also always something that's not quite yet available in stores.

I have had two things that on my maven mind for the last couple of months and in the last week I found them both!  They are both throw-backs to my college days in the early 1990s.  I know this style coming back around based on what I saw on runways last fall, but I didn't consciously recognize that period as inspiration for my latest shopping until I had both items in hand and put them on together.

I used to have a pair of above-the-ankle, combat-style, black, leather, Steve Madden boots.  These boots were my absolute favorites for the longest time because a) I found them brand new at Goodwill for $3, b) they were tough-looking but still feminine enough to wear with skirts and c) did NOT have a side zip (I'm a Luddite when it comes to laced boots - go old school or go home).  I finally wore these boots to death about two years ago and replaced them with a classic, knee-high, round-toed boot.  The new boots were fine and I wore them quite a bit, but there was just something missing.  I've been looking for something to replace my dearly departed Steve Maddens for the last 6 months and I finally found these lovely Dr. Marten Diva Darcie boots.

Shortly after I started looking for my boots, I started thinking about matte, red lipstick.  I loved that look from my youth and immediately started the search.  It took two months of perusing every local drugstore chain, but two nights ago I finally found a display for the new Revlon Matte Lipstick (I'm cheap about my makeup - I get sick of colors too quickly to drop a ton of money).  I bought the darkest shade available and it is absolutely perfect.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hard Knock Mitts

I held on to this yarn for a long time before doing anything with it. Unfortunately it’s now discontinued. I love the shabby, retro color scheme. I got 1 inch into the first mitt when I started singing “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from Annie, hence the pattern name. To test drive your new mitts: rat your hair up, smear some dirt on your face, kick dirty laundry around the house and knock over a few mop buckets.

One size, approximately women’s medium

Arm ribbing circumference: 7.5” (19 cm), un-stretched
Knuckle ribbing circumference: 6” (15 sm), un-stretched
Total length: 11.5” (29 cm)

Moda Dea “Sassy Stripes” [100% acrylic; 152 yds per 1.76 oz skein; DK/8-ply]; color: Crayon; 2 skeins
Note: This yarn is discontinued, but is still available on ebay. I think any sock yarn would work, but check your gauge.

(4) US #5 double-pointed needles
Note: always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below – every knitter's gauge is unique

Yarn needle

20 stitches/30 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch in the round

Mitt Arm

CO on 48 stitches. Distribute evenly on 3 needles and join, being careful not to twist. Place marker for beginning of round.

Work 6 rounds of k1p1 ribbing.

Knit 11 rounds even.
Decrease round: [k to last 2 stitches on needle, k2tog] x 3, 45 stitches remain.

Repeat last 12 rounds 4 x more, 33 stitches remain.

Thumb Gusset
Increase round: M1, k1, m1, k to end of round.
Knit 1 round even.

Increase round: M1, k3, m1, k to end of round.
Knit 1 round even.

Increase round: M1, k5, m1, k to end of round.
Knit 1 round even.

Increase round: M1, k7, m1, k to end of round.
Knit 1 round even.

Increase round: M1, k9, m1, k to end of round.
Knit 1 round even.

Increase round: M1, k11, m1, k to end of round.
Knit 1 round even.

Increase round: M1, k13, m1, k to end of round.
Knit 1 round even.

Increase round: M1, k15, m1, k to end of round.
Knit 1 round even, 49 stitches total with 17 thumb gusset stitches.

Mitt Hand
Before starting next round, place first 17 stitches on waste yarn for thumb gusset.

Rejoin round and k 6 rounds even, 32 stitches.
Work 6 rounds of k1p1 ribbing.

Bind off loosely.

Place thumb gusset stitches on three double-pointed needles.

Join yarn and knit one round, picking up 1 stitch between beginning and end of gusset at the intersection of the mitt hand, 18 stitches.

Knit 2 rounds even.
Work 4 rounds of k1p1 ribbing.

Bind off loosely.

Make second mitt the same as the first. Weave in ends.