Remember this lovely skein of merino/cashmere silk yarn from Spirit Trail?
The Giveaway Llama worked her magic this morning, and we have a winner!
Congratulations, Rachel-AKA-ladygem154!! The yarn is yours, and I’ll be sending you an email shortly to work out the details of how to get it to you.
I don’t know why I had to make Rachel’s name hot pink. We’ll just move on, shall we?
As always, these little giveaways are my way of saying “Thank you for reading my blog,” for being part of our little community here in WiseheartLand, and for leaving comments that never fail to make me laugh or warm my heart.
Aaannndd…I always feel a bit sad when I read all the lovely comments on giveaway days and in the end, can send out only ONE prezzie each time. All of you deserve lovely yarn. ALL OF YOU.
I finished the mittens!
The white mitten has not been blocked, as you can probably tell, but I couldn’t wait to show you the pictures.
The white mitten was much more challenging than the purple one. There was the gauge issue; even after needle size wrangling, it is still a wee bit smaller and shorter than the purple one. And then, there was the problem of the purple yarn showing behind the white, especially in the places where I did my usual trick of breaking up long floats by weaving the not-floating yarn around the back of the stitch. Every time I did that, it showed a tiny bit of purple, and that annoys me. So in the top half of the mitten, I tried just leaving the long floats. Predictably, they caught on my fingers when I put the mittens on…boooo.
So I spend quite a bit of time carefully weaving yarn in and out of the floats on the inside of the mittens to tack them down. It worked, but now the inside of the white mitten is significantly less tidy than the inside of the purple one…and I am very picky about how the inside of my knitting looks. I want my woven-in ends to be practically invisible; I want my seams neat; I want floats to be tensioned properly and so on and on.
After thinking about it a bit, I decided that I simply need more practice doing colourwork. So I went online and ordered a few skeins of yarn to practice with. Yes, I’ll probably practice on more mittens, as I found knitting the Lotus Leaf Mittens to be a very rich, very engaging treat, like a particularly good piece of dark chocolate. Doing the complex colourwork, following the charts, trying to keep my tension even, and knitting on weeeeee tiny needles (Size 0/2.0mm) was wonderful brain food.
And of course, the yarns were wonderful to work with.
In the name of practicing…
I’d bought some really amazing fiber at Rhinebeck from Dan at Gnomespun Fibers: a deep blue braid of Dorset (the Lobelia colourway), a breed I had not spun before. I spent a happy few evenings spinning it up into a bouncy, soft 2-ply:
Oh, look. A cat tail in the photo. Again. ::headdesk::
I decided that it would be lovely yarn for another pair of colourwork mittens…so clearly I needed a second colour. And clearly it needed to be another colour of handspun.
I decided on creamy white, just to be a bit traditional about things. I found some beautiful wool, medium staple with a nice crimp, very bouncy, amazing feel in the hand:
I really, really wish I knew what this wool was, because I love it so much. It’s well-aged in my stash, and the label had gone walkabout, so I have no clue.
I did, however, have a clue about some lovely alpaca:
And I had a bit of white angelina (sparkly!) left over from a class:
Two passes through my drumcarder, and I had nine wonderfully fluffy clouds:
The wool will give the mittens amazing warmth and memory; the alpaca will add shine and warmth; the angelina will add sparkle! I haven’t had a chance to sit down and spin any of this blend yet, but I think it will look gorgeous with the blue Dorset yarn.
Of course, that’s a LOT of creamy white sparkly fiber. I think I will have enough for two pairs of mittens. Good thing I have a second braid from Gnome Dan! This one is also Dorset, but it is a deep purple.
Yes, I know I just knit a pair of purple and white colourwork mittens. Maybe they’ll be for a friend. Or maybe they won’t. Who cares? It’s going to be Pretty Mitten Season here this winter.
Dusty wishes to thank you most kindly for all the lovely things you said about him in the comments. He does indeed have the most amazing jewel-like blue eyes, set in a face worthy of a white tiger. He and Zoe are littermates, as I’ve mentioned before, and they spend a lot of time snuggling in the sunshine.
There seems to be a lot of that snuggling-in-the-sunshine going on around here, as we all savour the last few days of mild weather before winter comes a-knocking.
It’s American Thanksgiving tomorrow, a holiday I love with all my heart. Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated in early October, and I happened to be traveling at the time, so in a way, I won’t actually have a Thanksgiving at all this year. Tomorrow’s an ordinary work day for Nicholas; he leaves early and gets home late. I have errands to do in the city, which means long hours of driving for me in city traffic.
Thanksgiving isn’t really about turkey, though, is it? It’s about connecting with family, friends, and one’s family traditions; it’s about gratitude and humility and joy in the gifts we have been given. I am keenly aware that my life is rich with many gifts: my work, my fiber talents, my writing, my beloved animals, my adored husband, a warm home and plenty of food.
Although my family is far away, I feel very strongly that I spend a certain amount of time each day with my other family, my online family, a group of people as warm and caring and generous and funny and talented as anyone could ever hope to know. So tomorrow, while I’m driving around Toronto, I’ll be saying prayers of gratitude for all of you, for the joy, friendship, and meaning you bring to my life each and every day. Thank you; your presence in my life–yes, even you lurkers who never comment!–is truly a gift for which I am thankful.
Here’s a few of my favourite things…just a few, mind you. There’s so much to be grateful for, it would all fill a book.
And, of course, a wonderful man named Nicholas.