llamas and mittens and bunny fur (oh my)

It’s been a tough week here are Chez Wiseheart. Doctor appts, driving into the city three days in a row, dogs and cats living together…Oh wait. Sorry. That’s Ghostbusters, not Wisehearts.

But never mind about that. There’s been plenty of yarn and fiber in there, too, so let’s get right to the important stuff, shall we?


That’s right, it’s time for the Giveaway Llama to make an appearance once again. I’ve been so busy after coming back from my trip that the bag of goodies I got for giveaways has been sitting there, quietly moping on my desk. Let’s make that bag a little lighter, shall we?

This is DA BOMB, people. It is 350 yards of merino/cashmere/silk yarn from Spirit Trail. I had the honour of assisting Jennifer from Spirit Trail and her crew of amazing helpers during booth set-up at Rhinebeck, and I couldn’t resist bringing home a skein of one of her lovelies to share with you all.

The standard rules apply: Leave a comment on THIS ENTRY to enter the drawing for the yarn. The comments will close on Tuesday, November 22, at midnight; on Wednesday AM, I will use random.org to choose one of the comments and thus the winner of the yarn! I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday.

I have at least two more goodies from my trip to giveaway in future posts, so no worries if you don’t win this time. (Maybe by the time I’m 100 years old, every single commenter will have won at least once. It’s important to have goals.)

Works in Progress

Time for a little update on the old WIP queue…


I know, I really shouldn’t be starting anything new at this point…but I need mittens. Really I do. It’s Canada, and the first snow flurries arrived today, and I don’t like cold fingers. Last year, I knit Nicholas a really awesome pair of lined mittens, so this year it’s my turn.

The pattern is Lotus Leaf Mittens, and it’s brilliant. Just plain brilliant. I’ve done a very limited amount of stranded colourwork prior to this project, so I was a bit wary of trying this. But it’s me, so I jumped in with all five dpns.

The white yarn is Dream in Color Starry, the one with sterling silver bits in it. The purplish yarn is Fleece Artist Sock, and it has just a tiny bit of variegation, just enough to make the final effect a bit on the stunning side.

The second mitten is already well into the chart…and I’m doing it in the mirror-image colourway.

And, of course, the gauge is different. SAME YARNS, people, just switching roles from foreground to back ground and vice versa. Both yarns have similar WPI and similar grist-in-the-hand, but their behaviour as knitted stitches is quite different.

The white yarn, already firmly spun, compacts down even more when used as a background yarn. The purple yarn, more loosely spun, blooms when used as a background yarn. I didn’t figure this out until I had finished the cuff for the white mitten, and held it next to the purple mitten’s cuff to compare lengths. Ooops. It’s a bit narrower, and shorter, which means both the row and stitch gauges are different, just from switching the roles of the yarns.

I’m experimenting with needle sizes to get the white mitten to fit properly.

Honestly, the things you learn as a knitter. Something new every damn project!

There’s the Obligatory Doctor’s Waiting Room sock:

Yarn: I Had The Label Here A Minute Ago, Sorry. Some sort of merino/cashmere/silk.

Pattern: In Sandi’s Head. It’s kind of a variant on heart of the oaks lace, cast on and go.

And then there is the Blue Hoodie, the one which has been soaking in the Meditation Pond for the last week or so. It’s still meditating. (I can hear it chanting from here.)


I finished spinning up the special Bunny Blend I came up with at Sock Summit in Sheila January‘s class. (Random bio from one of the classes she is teaching.)

Yes, in fact, one must have a cat tail in every yarn photo.

The focus of Sheila’s class was to help us design a custom blend of fibers that would make the sort of sock each individual wanted to make. I have Reynaud’s Syndrome, which causes a lack of circulation in my feet, so I need super-warm socks. I’m finding that the usual sock blends, even the cashmere ones, just don’t cut it for me; I am allergic to mohair, so I can’t use that at all.

The answer: Angora bunny fluff. Dude, I love this stuff. Warm, soft, fluffy! So I combined angora with Shetland lambswool, silk, BFL, dyed merino (that’s where the rose colour comes from), and a touch of angelina for sparkle.

Clockwise beginning with dark pink: dyed merino, Shetland lambswool, angora bunny, BFL/silk blend, angelina, dyed tussah silk. The bit off to the left is a wee sample batt.

Here’s what one of the batts looked like.

And close-up:

Spun into a singles:

And the three plies, ready to be plied.

Total yardage is about 386 yds, which I say is Just Fine for a pair of Sandi Socks.


Fozzie the Bear at Mordor. Quite a literary moment, methinks.

Day of the Dead wedding. “Do you, Sugar, take Skull to be your lawful spouse?”

Best Halloween Costume, Category: I don’t know WTF this is. But gotta give it to her/him: She/he has STYLE.

Possibly the most unusual knitted object I’ve seen in quite a while. And I see a LOT of weird stuff, folks.

Take one last look. These are a rare species of black rhinos (I think). Or rather: They WERE a rare rhino species. They are now extinct. All gone. GONE. Humbles me to think of how many species we have banished in just the past hundred years or so.

Do we need a kitten picture after that? Sure we do.

And Dusty wants you to know he’s purring for all of you.

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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109 Responses to llamas and mittens and bunny fur (oh my)

  1. georg says:

    It’s not a good yarn pic without a kitty tail. Pepe often insists.


  2. Mary Glascock says:

    Love the cat tail – adds a touch of wimsey.

    Wish I had made it to Rhinebeck, but I have a standing conflict for that weekend. Oh well.


  3. Lisa Lee says:

    Those mittens are gorgeous…both ways.


  4. aliceq says:

    I loved seeing the entire process of the sock yarn (well, except for the socks). I understand in principle how the color blending works to give depth in the finished yarn, but actually seeing it is something else altogether.


  5. Shelly says:

    Those mittens are very drool-worthy. I’ll try to keep my drool to myself.


  6. Naomi says:

    It’s usually cat toes around here. The tail is too busy.

    And those mittens are *such* Sandi colors! Also, I love the lace pattern in those socks. Very nice.


  7. Eileen Gruber says:

    Lovely mittens, almost enough to get me to try color work again.


  8. Angela says:

    Beautiful yarn and yummy fiber!


  9. Meg says:

    I LOVE that yarn – the color is amazing! And those mittens are pretty amazing, too – a beautiful pattern. It always makes me feel better to discover that you learn new things every project, too!


  10. Donna says:

    Yay! The Giveaway Llama is back in town! Are previous winners eligible for prizes? Is that my greediness showing??? In any case, the Spirit Trail skein is gorgeous. And so are your mittens and that purple-y yarn. Thanks for all the fun and inspiration. ❤


  11. Rachel R says:

    Oh my goodness, that Spirit Trail yarn is beautiful! As are your mittens – hope you figure out the gauge issue!


  12. Adoptionmsw says:

    Beautiful yarn you are giving away. I’d love to be the recipient…


  13. Irene T says:

    I know just the thing to make with that yarn! Semele. I did go to Rhinebeck, first time ever, and my gosh, it’s such a blur with all that lovely yarn to consider.

    Those mittens are just beautiful. I may have to consider some colourwork after all.


  14. Darlene says:

    Oh my, the Spirit Trail yarn color is the greatest. Just love it and of course Dusty too.


  15. Mardi says:

    Mourning the black rhinos. All because their horns were considered to be aphrodisiac.

    On the upside, I love the mittens!!


  16. Lisa says:

    I love the stranded mittens!


  17. Beautiful yarn, beautiful mittens. That batt of wool makes me want to pick it up and scrunch it in my hands.

    Please tell Dusty, “back at ya.”


  18. Suze says:

    Beautiful yarns Sandi. And I love your mittens! Can’t wait to see them when they are finished.


  19. molly says:

    almost nothing is warmer than bunny fur! and it’s just such a yummy fibre to knit with – my only problem is that i have dry skin and i must knit with it in the summer, lest i end up with more fur and my fingers than in my knitting!


  20. molly says:

    oops – should read – ‘more fur on my fingers…’ sorry…


  21. Lori says:

    Love the mittens pattern…and the knitted alien’s entrails. What made someone think of that? Pictures should always have a cat’s tail in them, if not the entire cat.

    Thank you, Sandi, for your great posts.


  22. molly says:

    and i just got to check out the chispas, and wtf-is-this hallowe’en costume appears to be a gremlin… remember them? don’t feed them after midnight…heh heh..a blast from the past!


  23. Suzie says:

    The mittens are so lovely and I hope that they will keep your hands toasty warm.
    Love the batt that you made as well.
    It is great to get an update on your projects!


  24. teabird says:

    Love, love the mittens! What a cool idea, to mirror the colours. And for Dusty…. *scritch* !


  25. SandiR says:

    Those mittens are going to be spectacular. And I’d put the skein of Spirit Trail to very good use.
    Thanks for the giveaway!


  26. Devin says:

    De lurking to say 1. Love the blog, recently found it and Read through the archives- informational and fun!2. Giveaway llama pick me!


  27. Zardra says:

    I love how all those colors blend together to make that beautiful pink. 🙂


  28. sarah says:

    love the sparkly DIC.

    Hey, and didn’t you have some hairy qiviut that would be perfect for sockies?


  29. Kathy says:

    Sandy~I’m always so excited when I see that you have a new post!!! No matter what you have to say, I always enjoy your writing. And, just an FYI, dear llama—I’m over heeerrrreee………..pick mmmeeee!! That yarn is such a beautiful color and looks so squishy soft!!!!


  30. Ba says:

    The prize yarn is beautiful! Your mittens are turning out great. My blend from Sheila’s class is next in queue after my NuffleBatts…


  31. Carol Ann Burden says:

    Those mitts are the greatest – love doing colour work! Also think Dusty is a great looking cat! I would love the blue yarn – a mobius neckie for the cold of Maritime winters!!


  32. Julia in KW says:

    Beautiful yarn…beautiful mittens…I am always afraid that I will make the mitts too tight when it is stranded…I’ve done stranded socks and while I love them, they are a challenge to get over my heels each time…


  33. Rachel says:

    Love the mittens — almost (but not quite) enough to make me want to attempt colorwork again. Love the idea of the mirror image as well. And that Spirit Trail is such a gorgeous color. Please to tell Dusty that the purrs are much appreciated and that my babies are purring back at him.


  34. KL says:

    Why, hello, Dusty. Yes, you are that handsome. Tell your person that her lotus mitts are beautiful! Stranded mittens/gloves are such fun.


  35. loomtalk says:

    Love the Spirit Trail name and colourway, great mittens, gorgeous handspun bunny.


  36. Nina Saulic says:

    Lovely kitty, lovely mittens, lovely llama.


  37. Flo Olson says:

    I’m so happy to have figured out how to get your blog to come to my inbox. You make me smile every time I read you. Yep new stuff to learn every new knit project!


  38. I love the subtle variegation in the Fleece Artist Sock in your mittens. All my favorite colors. And yes, I guess we do get to learn a new lesson with every project. Who woulda thunk that stitch and row gauge would change when you swapped yarn roles? News to me, too. Thanks for finding out and warning us!


  39. ellenspn says:

    Glad your week from you know where is over and that yarn is beautiful!!!!


  40. Ercil Howard says:

    The uh… green costumed individual is a ‘Gremlin’ of the movie of the same name. The things that look like wings are actually ears. Old movie (that I only saw once… i didn’t like it)… cute fuzzy critter… don’t give water or feed after midnight. A glass of water spills and all these things pop off it and become evil versions of the cute little critter…. Gremlins. Think killer bunny rabbit with lots less taste than Monty Python.


  41. Ercil Howard says:

    I love the mittens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yea you! and Yea for doing something for you! Please tell the giveaway Llama that I would so love love love to enter into the chance of fibery goodness from the sacred bag! 🙂 You are so amazing to think of all of us out here in ether fiberland. HUGS!!!


  42. Ercil Howard says:

    The passing of the Black Rhinos is a tragedy that cannot be expressed. It goes well beyond what mere words can say and is yet another mark against us. It is my solemn hope that secretly somewhere they will be bred back either by express purpose or divine accident.


  43. I feel like I spend half my photo editing time trying to crop out my cat’s tail and/or nose, so I can sympathize. Do you think we could say that the cat tail is included to provide scale?


  44. Holly says:

    I see that, while there is not a tail in the series of pictures after the one with a tail, there is enough hair from which you might make a tail. Those kittys are very kind.


  45. Rachelle says:

    Love the mittens, I prefer the purple dominant, but I’m not a big white fan; comes of having my
    children I think
    Love the yarn on offer; fingers crossed!
    sewsable on Rav


  46. Seanna Lea says:

    Your sock yarn looks pretty much perfect. I don’t know much about Reynaud’s, but I too have feet that are always cold. I have a skein of the new Lorna’s Laces, and I’m hoping that by heat regulation they mean for people who are cold rather than just (not that this isn’t a problem for some too) people who sweat a ton in their socks.


  47. Gale M. Longley says:

    Love the mittens, so want to learn to knit like that.


  48. The mittens look fabulous! So does the giveaway yarn. Thanks for the opportunity.


  49. Arla Schmaltz says:

    Sandi, I am constantly amazed by you!!! Where do you find the time to do all the things you do??? You are so blessed!!! that you can do what you do. I so appreciate all the tips and advice that you have given us over the years…Thanks again…
    And one can never have too many cats, or too much yarn for them to help us “knead” into just the right texture!!! lol


  50. Emily says:

    OOH, I love the mittens. Must look into that pattern.


  51. AnneS says:

    Sandi, I love that mitten pattern. Your colours make it spectacular. I hadn’t realized the true possibilities of the pattern from the original in Twist Collective. Who knew?
    I’m new to colourwork also and find the mix and match of colours the most challenging aspect of it all. I live through our Canadian winters and can envisage the warmth of a pair of those mittens. Oh yeah.


  52. Maud Steyaert says:

    It’s teal! Or tealish! Its silk! cashmere! merino!


  53. Linda says:

    I’d love to win that beautiful blue yarn – my favorite color. Also loved your mittens. I can’t wait to get Christmas knitting done so I can get back to working on my stranded sweater (Eshaness).


  54. Jekka says:

    The mittens are beautiful, and so is your sock yarn (and you of course, too, pretty lady!).


  55. Janise says:

    Lovely mittens. The yarn is gorgeous – love that color blue.


  56. Maaike says:

    I love those mitts!! Amazing how the two yarns are so close yet so far. Does the white one sparkle a lot more?

    Those are some awesome carding skillz you’ve got. Honored I got to see you in action.

    Can’t wait to see the finished bunny sock:)

    Hope I win. I heart spirit trail!! ( plus shipping within Canada is cheaper than to the us)



  57. InJuneau says:

    Beautiful mittens.

    And? I LOVE the knitted alien autopsy. Must show the DH!


  58. GeniaKnitz says:

    OK, I admit it, your Dusty is gorgeous!
    (Uh, Harry and Hobbes would like you to know he is not quite as gorgeous as they are. Heh-heh. But right up there!)
    And all the knitting stuff is beautiful, too. ;o)


  59. Sharon says:

    Thank you, Dusty for purring for me! You are so beautiful! I hope you will be purring for some of your feline kin too because my Alex, Dylan, and Willow are dealing with two 16 week old German Shepherd puppy boys. My feline warriors need all the help and encouragement they can get! 😉
    The yarn is lovely and I hope some one who loves it wins the draw.


  60. jennybookworm says:

    Kitties and yarn and a Llama too… Thank you for offering up that beautiful skein!


  61. Susannah says:

    Gorgeous yarn, absolutely stunning cat – blue eyes, yet! Can’t decide which I love more, yarn or feline. And your mittens are beautiful. I’m a texture kind of gal myself (lace, cables etc.), but I have to admit that your mittens could lure me into colourwork. Thanks for your always fun and interesting blog.


  62. Tracy says:

    Love the mittens!


  63. Jennifer says:

    Beautiful mittens! I hope the socks turn out to be everything you want them to be.


  64. Suzy says:

    One of my cats insists on being in all of my knitting pics! Beautiful mittens…I hope you get your tweeks worked out.


  65. The mittens are gorgeous, and thanks for sharing about the difference in gauge when the colors are switched – never would have occurred to me.


  66. Love the mittens….reminds me I need to get my second yarn spun so I can knit my own color work mittens….it is getting awfully freezy here!


  67. jezikhana says:

    Prettty stuff as always!! I love the idea of angora in socks. Your toes will _not_ be cold.
    Please pass ear scritches to the kitties!


  68. iriegemini says:

    Waving to the pretty Giveaway Llama, “Hi!” Her skein looks gorgeous! I love the colour switch for your Lotus Mittens – they are going to be extra stunning. Last but not least, the angora handspun is gonna make for super socks, I’m sure. L


  69. Margo says:

    Love the color of the Spirit Trail yarn. Those mittens are sweet too. Hope the llama picks me!


  70. Pat says:

    Hi Sandi,
    Wish that I was productive as you. It feels like I just plod along but my skills seems to be improving. Almost ready to start the “Wiesheart Sweater” that I signed up for. As much as I would LOVE to win the giveaway I’m always happy just to see the llama pic. I know – I’m already on record as a llama lover :). Will be interested to hear how your bunny socks work out. I have yet to find a sock yarn that does the job for “Raynaud’s feet and legs”. I currently use a pair of wool socks with polar fleece socks on top.
    Your mittens are wonderful. I love the color and design. I wouldn’t have thought to reverse the colors but what a cool idea.
    Take care. I wish you warm feet.
    Pat aka westies


  71. Janet Statuti says:

    Love the kitten picture. Warm socks are necessary and Dr.’s office socks ARE obligatory!


  72. Marilyn Nance says:

    Love the yarn, love the mittens (purple is my favorite color). Please pet Dusty for me…


  73. lorraine says:

    yay! i always wanted to knit those lotus mittens! and your handspun looks so lovely..im dying to try spinning after the holidays end 🙂


  74. Sybil says:

    The mittens are beautiful, you make everything look so easy.


  75. Sharon Calvert says:

    Hi Sandi, enjoyed your post (and your cat tail!). Always fun to read your writing.


  76. Sandy says:

    I love those mittens. They are beautiful. Love Dusty too! Gorgeous blue eyes.


  77. kcc says:

    lovel the spirit trail yarn! also you have reminded me that i have a great mitten kit to finish up. i want to have good mittens to wear ice skating.


  78. Rachel says:

    That is some gorgeous spinning!

    (I am so jealous you have a wheel!)

    And that Giveaway Llama is awesome! 😉


  79. Pat says:

    I am always glad to see that you’ve posted. The waiting room socks look beautiful. We have 2 in-service days next week and I am trying to decide if I should cast on socks or a shawl. The pattern has to be simple enough that this relatively unskilled knitter can pay attention at the meetings while entertaining myself but complicated enough that since I won’t I finish it during in-service that I won’t be bored with it. One of the most difficult things is matching the yarn to the project and really believing that I have to make a swatch.


  80. Pat says:

    P.S. What exactly is angelina? (I tried looking it up on google but it isn’t making sense)


  81. Natalie says:

    The giveaway llama has excellent taste. That mitten pattern was gorgeous when I saw it on Ravelry & I want to do it even more now. Can someone please find me more time?


  82. fun mittens, yarn looks lovely….i also need more time to knit!


  83. Teri says:

    Love the gorgeous mittens! Colorwork is NOT my favorite – but those mittens make me want to give it a try! – beautiful giveaway yarn – yummy!


  84. ikkinlala says:

    Same gauge or not, those are gorgeous mittens!


  85. Magi says:

    What’s not to luuv about all your stuff Sandi – mittens look fabulous…love the kitten/cat expression…purple is a favourite colour of mine….and the cashmere – mmmmmmm!!!!


  86. Gloria19 says:

    Kitten tail makes the picture! Thanks for the comments on the knitting of the
    glove. Interesting how the yarns behave differently and you might not have
    known had you not used them before reversed.
    The sock yarn is yummy..thanks for sharing the process. They should keep
    your toesies very cozy.


  87. Linda says:

    Gorgeous yarn and your mittens look beautiful.


  88. Yay, I just found your blog by following a trail from somewhere …. I wondered what happened to you when you left KD! And I’ve found you just in time to leave a comment and enter to win that yummy yarn, too…. 🙂


  89. NancyN44 says:

    Would love to win that yarn. Just found a little shawl pattern that would fit it perfectly. And Dusty is a truly handsome cat!


  90. Cynthia says:

    Mittens and Kittens!!! What more could anyone need! 🙂


  91. Melissa says:

    All good knitting pictures definitely contain a cat tail!


  92. Deb says:

    Love the mittens. Wish I had the nerve to try them!


  93. Susan S. says:

    Lovely fibers and blending, with very nice sock yarn spinning! I look forward to hearing how they wear and warm you in action, once knitted.
    Totally love the alien autopsy.


  94. Great post as always, Sandi. And great mittens, too. Both ways. xx


  95. bunknitter says:

    You continue to inspire me. I finally picked up the sweater that has been hibernating for two years thanks to your last post. This one reminded me that I frogged a beautiful mitten pattern last year because I chose the wrong yarn/used the wrong gauge for the project. Now I feel like I can tackle both problems! Keep up the good work.


    • Hi bunknitter.

      Your comment has reminded me of a “second sock” that has been on a set of dps and in the very deepest corner of my stash closet since 2007.

      My “excuse” is that the pattern contained a plethora of errors (which is true, but nothing I couldn’t tackle) and I’d get back to it eventually….

      No more! Thanks to your fortitude, I’m going to finish that blasted second sock!

      Right after I get Norah Gaughan’s “Gullveig” off my needles, that is:-)



  96. Elizabeth says:

    Wow! Gorgeous yarn! What could I make with 350 yards of yummy merino/cashmere/silk? I for one would be happy for the chance to find a use for it :>).

    Love your mittens, they are really beautiful.


  97. Catt says:

    That yarn is gorgeous! and your mittens are all beautiful, I wish I could knit like that.


  98. Bonnie says:

    Those mittens are gorgeous, and I think you’re smart to be knitting them now. You definitely need good mittens. We haven’t had snow yet, but it’s definitely getting colder. I’ve found that I knit much more tightly with my right hand than my left, so I see the difference when I do stranded knitting. The yarn you spun is beautiful! Good work!


  99. Séverine (Cidrolin) says:

    Would thrummed socks work ? I suppose it depends on the shoes you wear, too.
    Beautiful work.


  100. Gail says:

    You have been missed.
    and lovely lovely mittens. I’m making Doctor Who (ish) fingerless gloves for the child whom I have already made “The Scarf.”


  101. Lynn says:

    Good luck with your “Raynaud’s socks”. I can’t wear wool so my most recent “Raynaud’s socks” have been with alpaca and silk. Same problem with gloves and mittens but have not found a good alternative to wool.


  102. Wyldchai says:

    Oooooh, that Spirit Trail is stunning! The mittens in mirror image are not something I would have thought of, but each one is as pretty as the other, though different.

    With regards to the Western Black Rhino’s extinction, there is something we can do to help the remaining rhinos of the world. Bowling for Rhinos, at http://aazkbfr.org/ , is a wonderful fundraiser that delivers all its donations direct to people helping the rhinos on the ground, so to speak. Lewa Conservancy is amazing for what it does for the wildlife AND the people around it.


  103. Melanie says:

    Mmm, beautiful yarn. I love blue and I’m positive the photo doesn’t do that cashmere/merino/silk justice. Your angora sock yarn must be soooo soft – nice work.


  104. Faith says:

    I’m doing Endpaper Mitts as my first big stranded project, and I’m skeered of gauge differences too! If it can happen to you, I’m doomed.


  105. LindaT says:

    The handspun really got me…thoughtful mixture and beautifully spun. And then the mitts, with another combination of irresistable fibres. It seems that you are in a post-Rhinebeck state of joy. Thanks for spreading it around!


  106. Hillary says:

    I think I’m in love with your second pair of mitts and may need to knit myself colorwork mittens very soon! Also.. totally want to roll around in that fiber. *scritches to Dusty*


  107. Caryn says:

    About 7 hours too late for the giveaway, but LOVE the mittens! Can’t wait to see what the bunny yarn turns into!


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