Latvian Mittens! Fastest Living Thing! (Zone of Repugnance, don’t worry, no creepies here)

Or a single mini-mitt, and not quite finished…

A friend and I went down to Portland for a class in making Latvian Mittens. They are quite the art form and have a rich and interesting history, like much knitting.

Here are some photos of everybody’s mittens,
latvian mitts (6)

latvian mitts (3)

Compare mine in orange/purple in the body (red fringe) and another person’s in purple/orange (green fringe). They look so different! She used orange for pattern and purple for contrast, and I did vice-versa.

I yanked some more on the fringe on mine when I got home, and now it’s better!
latvian mitts (14)

Mistakes (shhh!).
latvian mitts (16)

All good, though, as I learned how to make that fringe, and the braid. I’m still a tad fuzzy on the finger end of the mitten… how the decreases and color work to make those ridges of color. But I’ll figure it out.

Latvian Mittens by Lisbeth Upitis. Now I need this!

… and….


Books and dyed yarn samples from Sam Ristich, via his daughter Ruthie. I didn’t know what was in this bag and box until after I got home from the mitten class.
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These are fabulous books and I’m so grateful to have them.
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And there are loads and loads of dyed yarn samples. I’ve just started to sort them out.
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Ruthie gave a talk yesterday for the Maine Mycological Society about fungal spores. It was really interesting, and she did a great job… even used living people to demonstrate fungal spore anatomy!

Most interesting to me was the bit about the fastest living thing on earth, a fungus called Pilobolus (just like the dance company). It lives on horse dung, in what is known as The Zone of Repugnance.

…I must work that phrase into conversation at least once a day…

The spores must get out of the Zone of Repugnance, but because they are so small, air is very viscous to them. So, to get out of the Zone of Repugnance, they have to move really, really quickly.

It looks like they just disappear… but they shoot their spore caps (asci) off so quickly (20,000 G!) that we can’t see it happen. There one moment, gone the next.

More about the fastest living thing and the Zone of Repugnance,

yokes and bobbles

I didn’t want to clog up the snowmelt contest post…

A yoked sweater!
I have to steek this and put in the zipper. Actually, I have to go buy a zipper, and then steek the sweater and put in the zipper. It’ll be my first steek.

fugl (2)

I was happily knitting along in the yoke portion, loving the rhythm of the two colors and of catching the floats, and I missed the instructional words to the side of the chart that said “don’t knit this row, or this one, or this one”… And so I had to rip back. You can see the yoke looks too tall here, and I wasn’t loving the white.
Photo 1 - 2013-03-07

It’s better now,
fugl (3) fugl (4)
Details over on my Ravelry project page.

I’m not usually a big fan of bobbles. On a sweater, they remind me of nipples all over the place, like Artemis of Ephesus.

But I love them here,
bobble scarf 011 bobble scarf 006

Super quick project, super chunky yarn. Details on my ravelry project page.

I knit the sky!

Old news by now, since I finished knitting a little over a month ago…. but I knit the star chart of the northern hemisphere! It was a knit-along over at Ravelry, and it was a ton of fun… the planning with everybody, the gab about what yarn, what colors, what beads, edgings, helping each other with problems, and input from the designer!

The pattern is Celestarium, by Audrey Nicklin. My version even made it onto the Twist Collective newsletter!

star chart shawl 028 star chart shawl 029

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I wear it to work about once a week. I’m impressed at how wearable it is, given that it is a circle. And how warm it is. Project details over on my ravelry page.

First day of spring coming up… so that means snow melt contest!

I’m still puzzled about why I can’t access the blog from my laptop. I’m on the old pc and no problems. I took my laptop to work, no problems. Maybe it’s a security setting in the router? (laptop access wirelessly, pc is old and is wired). I so loathe this keyboard, sitting in this spot, etc… I need to get it all working again from the laptop!

I turned 52 today.

My biological father died when he was 52. I am apparently much like him (and also much not like him, thanks to my parents). But the unreasonable part of my brain wonders if I’ll live through the year. I know it’s unreasonable, but it’s a big year for me. Celebrate life and all that. Thus the napalm hair, a few weeks faded in the pics above and now faded even a bit more (and with growing in roots).

stuff that comes to our house… knitting the sky!

Stuff that arrived here last week

The boy had been begging for this, and so spent some xmas $$ to get it. He says shenanigans will ensue.
horse mask (1)

DH keeps showing it to the girls, because they were (understandably) rather freaked out by it at first,
horse mask (3)

My mama clearly loves me,
heart (1) heart (2)

Riveting book…
mycology book (1)
(not). There aren’t any pictures!

Beads for the sky shawl when I thought I was going to use only the laceweight,
They came packaged so nicely!

knitting the sky!

I joined a KAL (knit-a-long) over at LSG (Lazy, Stupid, and Godless) in Ravelry. We’re all riding a geek high knitting the Celestarium shawl. When I first saw the pattern, I thought “eh, it’s nice enough, but I dunno”, and then I saw that it is a shawl that shows the star chart of the northern hemisphere.

A star chart of the northern hemisphere!

And I knew I had to make this. I’m using that laceweight alpaca that I dyed with the black food coloring. It wasn’t working up quite how I liked with just the single strand, so I am running another strand of laceweight merino (in black) with it.

It is totally addictive. I don’t have any good pictures of it, because it droops while on the needles and it’s hard to capture the color.

The new, too small, beads (I may work these into a lacy border somehow)
sky shawl (2)

Working away on the E charts (there are 4 to get around the circle). There are six charts for F…
sky shawl (3)

I’m looking for a lacy border for this, something that is reminiscent of feathers (but not that feather and fan, no, no, no, not that) or a raven’s wing. I have some old pattern books… we’ll see what I find. I have some time before I’m ready for that.

The cool thing? I can recognize some of the constellations as I do this!

The funny thought? Years from now, archeologists will discover these knitted shawls and think WTF, why are people navigating from a shawl? Didn’t they have GPS and fancy technical stuff???

more maine morning mitts

I only made 2 pair of these to ship out at xmas… special request from a year ago. I still love this pattern for a mindless knit, but I haven’t made many of them this year. The green ones are from my handspun.
Photo 6 - 2012-12-30 Photo 8 - 2012-12-30