Friday Favorite: Knit Kit

A Friday Favorite is something that particularly made my week or something that I think makes life easier – whether that be in regards to knitting, babies, or life in general. 

Finally, a Friday Favorite about knitting!

The Knit Kit is a little gem that I picked up from my LYS a couple of years ago. I bought it primarily because it is approved by the TSA to take on planes, and I always have my knitting with me on a plane. I figured it would be something I could get a lot of use out of one or two times a year.

But I was so wrong. I use it nearly every single day. Even though I have a bits and bobs bag that has crochet hooks, stitch markers, scissors and more that I keep in my large knitting bag, nothing beats the convenience of this little package. I often throw it in the project bag of whatever project I’m toting around with me.Front of Knit KitAnd when I forget it, I’m always sad. I was knitting at my mom’s house the other day and realized I didn’t have stitch markers. Or scissors. And she said, “Where is your Knit Kit?  You know you shouldn’t leave home without it!” But then she kindly loaned me all that I needed so I could keep rolling until I got home to retrieve it.

The Knit Kit includes:

  • scissors
  • stitch markers
  • tapestry needle
  • needle gauge
  • tape measure
  • thread cutter
  • double-ended crochet hook
  • row counter
  • point protectors

I love pretty much all of it. The only two things I never use are the thread cutter (I find it difficult to pull out) and the stitch markers. The stitch markers are pliable rubber and they tend to roll up as I’m trying to push my stitches along the needle. The area for them easily accommodates a few of my personal favorite ones though.

Knit Kit's Back

Back

I believe the kit changes a little bit every year, and I obviously have an older one. However, I think it’s always a useful thing to have, especially if you’re the kind of knitter who carries a project with you in your purse at all times. 🙂

Hope everyone has some knitting lined up to watch Sunday’s big game! I’ll be rooting for Peyton and the Broncos, since all Colts fans still claim Peyton as their own. And I’ll probably need that little crochet hook from the kit to pick up any dropped stitches that result from an exciting play…

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FO: Snowfling Mitts

On Thursday, I finished my obsession – the Snowfling Mitts (project page).FO: Snowfling MittsTo be honest, I’m still not sure I’m over them.

In fact, I know I’m not. That’s why I bought yarn on Friday to cast on another pair of stranded mittens, the O.W.L. Mittens. Because I’ve decided I’m up for two-handed knitting (but maybe not the fancy woven stuff from the video I posted last time). And I’ve already cast on.

But back to these Snowfling beauties. There wasn’t a bit of the project that I didn’t love. I love the pattern. I love the colors and I love the yarn. It felt like perfection all around. I had no idea when I started the pattern that even something small like the thumb snowflake detail would be totally enchanting.
Snowfling thumb detail
The only thing I did change was I did the fancy part of the snowflake pattern backwards on the second mitt so that they were reflections of each other. I wouldn’t have even thought about this mod (though it may have occurred to me after they were done), but I saw it mentioned on a Ravelry project page and once I read it, I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with them if I didn’t do it.
Snowfling mittens reflection
I think it turned out really well. I especially love the hint of peacock in the lining, and the cashmere is LUSH.
Snowfling mitts lining
I haven’t blocked these beauties, because it is forecast to be dangerously cold this week (like the kind where you can get frostbite in under 10 minutes if your skin is exposed). I don’t have time for three layers of yarn to dry when I need these amazingly warm mittens on my hands. Maybe they’ll get blocked in the summer?

I styled them with my Encompass Scarf that I knit back in February 2011 with Malabrigo. It was certainly not intentional, but the mittens seem to match it pretty spot on. Pretty amazing considering that I made the mitts with the TFA kit three years later!

And finally, my true knitting confession. I finished the second mitt one evening and triumphantly held it up to show Mr Snips how beautiful it was. I was basking in the first FO of 2014 when I realized… I had not turned the mitten right side out before finishing off the lining and weaving in the ends. Which left me with a permanently inside out mitt! It took me two days to find the time to tink back to a place where I had enough room to pull the mitt back through the right way and could pick up all the stitches to finish it a second time. This was really the only hiccup I encountered in the whole project, since my enthusiasm for these mittens made things roll along quite nicely!

So now these super-warm mittens and my chunky Encompass Scarf are going to keep me warm in the frigid temperatures. What are you knitting/wearing to keep warm? Or are you one of those lucky Southern Hemisphere people who are currently having summer (jealous!)?

Adventures in Darning

This morning, I pulled on my current favorite pair of slipper socks (my Opposites Socks), and realized with horror that there was a hole in the bottom of one!

Now, in the past, I have just discontinued the use of my slipper socks when they develop a hole (I haven’t quite brought myself to throw them away because I am still fond of them…). But this time, I thought since the hole was small and because I still had some of the exact yarn left over, that I would make an attempt at darning.

Hole in my Opposites Socks

Sometime back, I came across this tutorial for darning. I managed to find it again this morning via the power of Google.

I followed the instructions carefully, except for the part about using a darning football or egg. This was only because I didn’t have anything to hand at that moment, and because the hole was small enough I could kind of fudge it just using my hand.

darning in progressIt didn’t take long, since the hole wasn’t large.

Completed DarningI’m not going to lie – it doesn’t look pretty. And I was very concerned that since it’s a thick yarn that it would feel like a giant wad underneath my foot at all times. It doesn’t feel that way on the carpet, since there is some give in the flooring. On my hard flooring surfaces, it does feel like I have something big stuck to the bottom of my foot. I’m willing to be a little uncomfortable for a while, if only to buy myself enough time to make some more. I feel like these are wearing out much faster than they should, but they do get a lot of wear!

Based on this experience, I think I still much prefer to make a new pair than bother with darning – just because it will never feel or look as nice as the original knitting.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on darning and how it’s worked out for you!

 

Friday Favorite: Tassimo

Once upon a time, when I was out of town for a bit, Mr Snips went shopping. He went to Target. That is obviously a dangerous place to be when you have the time to just mill up and down all of the aisles, because you find your cart filling up quickly with things you did not come to buy.

Before I went out of town, we had been discussing buying a new coffee maker. Preferably one that could make lattes of some sort. I was against getting something that made the milk from pods – I wanted some authentic steaming with lovely froth. In fact, I went so far as to pick out a really fabulous $400 machine and put it on my Amazon wish list. It did almost everything automatically. It steamed fresh milk but got the espresso out of pods. It was self-cleaning. This was certainly something worth saving for, I thought.

Mr Snips looked at some less expensive options online, and I nixed all of them. I wanted my glorious, fancy machine.

And then the fateful trip to Target happened, while he could not be supervised by yours truly.

He came home with a Tassimo T20 that he found on clearance for $25 – which was 75% off. He said he did some quick research on his phone about it and it seemed like a good machine. Neither of us had looked into this one before. It was the only one on a random end cap at Target, and he thought it must be fate. So he bought it.

I was a little disappointed, and a little frustrated. Didn’t he know that it was worth saving up for the glorious machine?

So once I got back into town, he had me try a caramel latte. I did not like it. Too sweet, I said. This confirmed that this was a bad purchase, even though it was super cheap.

But then I tried some other things – mostly a couple of different brands of plain lattes. And I L-O-V-E them. In fact, I find it difficult to face the morning without one now. They are like a wonderful little treat every single day. You’ll see one of them in my photo from my Snow(fling) post.

And while it is not freshly steamed milk, it does come out with a pretty great froth. It also has a barcode on each pod that tell the machine how to prepare it.

My favorites are the Maxwell House Creme lattes, Costa lattes (that my in-laws kindly brought us during their visit) and Tim Horton lattes. None of the flavored ones have really been to my taste.

I also drink some regular coffee and plain decaf coffee from it when I’m the only one who wants a cup. My regular drip machine, though I love it, will only make the coffee hot if you make at least 4 cups.

On many days, I have at least two Tassimo drinks. So I’m certainly not upset about the unplanned purchase any more! Good work, Mr. Snips. 🙂

Snow is falling all around us

I am currently looking out the window at even more snow. While the massive storm from last week has mostly melted away, we are expecting another inch or two today. And while I love softly falling snow, the kind that does not add up at an inch an hour, I’m disappointed that I don’t yet have my Snowfling mittens complete to wear.

I have finished the first mitten, including lining. And I am about halfway done with the colorwork portion of the second mitten. I am only getting about three or four rows done a night, so my progress has slowed quite a bit.

I’m still really loving this project. Enough that I’ve already started researching my next pair of stranded mittens that I want to start ASAP after finishing these. I have my eye on the O.W.L. Mittens, which I have been coveting since I purchased The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits a few months ago. I worried they may be beyond my skill set, but I think I’ve really started to get the hang of colorwork.

However…. I am a right-handed thrower, and for these mittens, I have only been using my regular method, and picking up and changing the yarn for each color change. It’s not super fast, but I’m pretty efficient at it. I watched a video I found last night (via this project page) about two-handed knitting that creates a woven fabric on the back. I think I may try this for the O.W.L. Mittens, especially since the yarn dominance changes from front to back (also something I realized from perusing all of the completed projects on Ravelry).

In the meantime, I’ll be continuing on with my stranding and one-handed knitting for these Snowfling Mittens. Here’s a view of the back of mitten #1 pre-lining:

My Snowfling mitten inside-out and in progress

And now I’m off to work on Mitten #2. I want to finish these while it’s still winter, so I can revel in their wooly warmness!

 

FO: Everyday Glamour Baby Mittens

So… as I mentioned back in my Startitis post, I realized that Baby Knitsnips did not have any white mittens. I have no idea how this happened.

I had already made her a pair of Baby Hermione mitts, and her great-nan had made several pair. But somehow, she didn’t have any plain white ones, and she really needed some for this amazing winter coat she has:BK's winter coat

So I decided to revisit the His and Her Mittens pattern that I had used for the Baby Hermione pair. I had some Sublime Yarns Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK in my stash that I had purchased with no plan in mind, except for something lush for Baby Knitsnips. I figured this qualified, and would be a much worn item, so it was worthy of the beautifully soft white yarn.Baby Glamour Mitts

I had two skeins, so I still have the better part of 1.5 skeins left to do something else lovely with. And yes, these are photographed on her You Are My Sunshine blanket, complete with some of the toys that are generally strewn around the house. Above are two of her favorites: a crinkly book that she loves to wave around, and a rattle/teether that she loves to chew on.

These were quick and easy – almost as instant gratification as you can get for a knitting project. They fit her wee little hands very well, and I’d definitely suggest these for a baby in your life.

I think this was my last un-blogged 2013 project, so from here on out, I’ll be showing you 2014 goodness!

Snow(fling)

We woke up this morning to a considerable amount of snow. I’m sure that before we went to bed, the news was saying we’d get about 3 inches. But as of this morning, it’s looking like it will be closer to 6. The weatherman said this morning it would only snow through noon, but it’s still coming down at a pretty good clip. So happy 2014!

The side benefit of this, of course, is that Baby Knitsnips and I will be able to hibernate today in front of the fire and keep toasty warm while we watch the snow swirl around outside.

The other benefit is that it is perfect mitten knitting weather, and that any and all nap times will be dedicated to my Snowfling Mitts. As I mentioned last time, I got the blue kit for Christmas. I started them on Saturday, and I am OBSESSED with them. I’ve not really done much colorwork in the past, but I’m finding this absolutely addicting. Last night at bed time, I was looking kind of sad. Mr Snips asked what was up, and I told him that I’d only had time to knit one row and that made me sad. True story. That’s how much I love knitting these things. Snowfling Mitts in progressHere’s this morning’s nap time shot. Latte in my mug, mittens on the table and all my yarn in my new project bag. Pretty, isn’t it? I ordered it from A Needle Runs Through It on Etsy as a little Christmas present to myself. This large size one is the perfect fit for my three skeins of yarn for this project.

I also ordered a small one. Because who can resist gnomes?Gnome project bag

I primarily use my medium Tom Bihn bags with the see-through bottoms, because I really like being able to see my projects through the bottom, they’re well-made and they match my knitting bag. But occasionally, I need a bit of whimsy, and these bags are just the thing. I also wanted some zippered ones for any projects using dpns or my little cable needles to make sure that none of them escape the bag (which they can do in the drawstring ones). The only minor problem I see to these new bags is that they don’t have a fun fabric interior – they are just plain white. But when you consider the fun outer fabric, the cute zipper pulls (the owl one has a little star) and the good construction, I give them a pass. Besides, my yarn brightens up the inside of the bag, and I hardly ever look in it anyway once I get going.

And speaking of getting going… I noticed in the midst of writing this post that I have a glaring colorwork error about 5 rows down. So if you need me, I’ll be tinking…