Crackerjack Socks :: Free Worksheet

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This is not an April fools joke! The free Crackerjack Socks worksheet is available now in my Ravelry store.

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These are toe-up with an afterthought heel and optional calf-shaping. As we go through the season, I’ll be posting updates on my own knitting, including some detailed photos and explanations when I get to the afterthought heel. In the meantime, feel free to ask any questions you might have.

Let the games begin!

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Free Pattern :: Charlevoix Mitts

I don’t know how it is where you are, but where I am, it is very cold and there is more than a foot of fresh snow on the ground and I am NOT COMPLAINING. Because I am a knitter. Which means I am happy for any excuse to: a) sit inside and knit, and b) haul out all my woolens and wear them all at once. I’ve been told that the reason I think a cold, snowy winter is so lovely is because I’m not the one that digs our cars out of the snow after it’s all over. And this is true. Because not only am I a knitter, but apparently I am also a princess. A princess who is happy to sit inside in her handknit socks with a cup of hot tea by her side and needles in her hands.

Sometimes those hands need warming up, even when I stay inside. Some people find fingerless mitts to be utterly useless; I find them to be indispensable. Especially if they are the kind that I can also pull up over my fingers while I read. Because wearing mittens inside while reading is ridiculous, but wearing fingerless mitts pulled up over your fists is not ridiculous, it is brilliant.

For Christmas, I wanted to make a special pair of fingerless mitts for my stepson’s girlfriend. She’s a massage therapist with a magical touch (she is SO GOOD, y’all), and her hands deserved something extra-special. So I spun up some prized fiber – a gorgeous silky cashmerino from FLUFF, an amazing but not currently in-business independent dyer. The fiber started like this:

FLUFF Silky Cashmerino in "Artifact"

And then I spun it into this:

light worsted 2-ply

The blues evoked for me the gorgeous Great Lakes, and the silvery browns called to mind the Petoskey stones (fossilized coral from more than 350 million years ago – and our state rock!) that can be found along the lakeshore. Lindsay is a true Michigan girl who loves the lakes and their landscape. I’m calling this simple design “Charlevoix,” after the town where she has spent a lot of happy time beach-going and rock-hunting.

Charlevoix Mitts

I never got a single picture that truly captured the yummy colors and texture of this yarn or these mitts. But as you can probably imagine, the silky cashmerino has a delicious look and feel to it. The mitts are smooth, lightweight, and slightly nubbly.

They are also the most basic possible knit – you just make a tube, as long or as short as you wish – and embellish it with a baby cable as you go.

A baby cable is the simplest cable in the world to make, and you certainly don’t need a cable needle to do it. It’s made over two stitches – every third round, you knit the two stitches together but leave them on the lefthand needle, then knit into the first stitch on the lefthand needle, then slip both stitches off. Offset by a purl stitch on either side, it’s just a sweet, simple little detail. I love baby cables!

These took about half the yarn I spun – so roughly 150 yards of light worsted – which means I have enough yarn leftover for another pair (or a matching accessory). They were extremely fast to make, too, making them perfect gift-knitting (or perfect in-between-big-project-knitting).

I’m sure you could figure out how to make these just from the pictures and my description – knit a tube, make a baby cable along one edge of it – but in case not, I’ve put together a one-page pdf explanation, which includes three sizes. You can find it for free in my Ravelry store: download now

Cyber Monday – 20% off all earthchicknits patterns

Cyber Monday sale, no code required #earthchicknits #cybermonday #knitting #knittingpatterns

I’m joining in the Cyber Monday fun and offering 20% off all my knitting patterns from now through Sunday. No code required – just go to my pattern page and click “Buy Now” on any pattern, and the discount will be automatically applied. Or go through my Ravelry pattern store. Either way, happy knitting!

Crackerjack :: a few more notes for planning

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Opening Day is almost here!! Which means it’s also almost time to cast on for Crackerjack – woohoo! It’s been very fun to watch people’s knitting plans come together. As you know, the free downloadable worksheet is available now. But as you are making your plans, here are a few additional thoughts:

  1. Yarn yardage. I didn’t stipulate yardage in the worksheet – it’s difficult to know how to estimate when we are all using whichever yarn we prefer, and when some people are using four colors while others are only using two or three. The yarn I’m using comes in skeins of 250 yards (yet another thing to love about Stonehedge Fiber Mills!) and I’m using four colors. I think 1000 yards (light worsted) will be more than enough for this scarf, but I could certainly be wrong, especially, if, say, the Tigers go on a winning streak and I have to use up all my blue. I will happily order more yarn if that happens! I can tell you that with my handspun Spy vs. Spy, I used 8 ounces of yarn for a 55″ tube. Stonehedge Fiber Mills Worsted comes in skeins of 250 yards to 3.99 ounces. So 8 ounces of that yarn would come out to a little more than 500 yards. So you can see that my approach is to estimate things based on my experience with this yarn and this type of tube, but it’s not a very specific or mathematic approach – so if others want to ring in with  how you would estimate yardage for this kind of tube, let me know!
  2. Colorwork options. Janinga wrote in to say, “If the tube ends up a little short (as it might for a hockey season, say), one could add some team themed fair isle a la the “favorite things” cowl. I’m considering this for a red wings scarf.” WHOA – wouldn’t that be awesome?! It actually makes me want to make my loop smaller than I’d planned and then knit a big blue old English D on a white field to finish it off. Wouldn’t that be fun?
  3. Rav group. Kat start a Rav group for Crackerjack knitters. Yay! If you’re on Rav, come join us! I love that we have a place now to keep up with who is doing what, and what teams people are cheering for.

It’s still cold here, but with Opening Day almost here, I feel certain spring will show up soon!

Crackerjack :: free downloadable worksheet

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All right, y’all. Things are getting real up in here! I’ve got the downloadable worksheet already to go for you on Ravelry – you can check it out here (that link will directly download it). If you want to read more about this concept, you can check out my original explanation here.

The downloadable worksheet includes a color key to fill in with your team’s colors coded to wins, losses, home, and away. There is also a chart for you to plug in your gauge numbers and figure out your calculations for cast on and estimated length. I don’t actually do the math for you – you’re smart! you can do that part yourself! – but I do try to help you figure it all out. I’m happy to answer any questions if there are things that are confusing.

When I first had this idea, I didn’t realize how many teams had red, white, and blue as their colors! We are going to look like a very patriotic bunch!

I think I have sorted out my color conundrum (I had become undecided between “Creamsicle” – a light heather orange – and “Orange” – a brighter, truer orange), and I’ve gotten my gauge swatch done. Now I am going to wind the rest of my yarn and count the days till next Monday. I’m looking forward to cheering and knitting along with the rest of you!

 

designed :: Whitefish Point Armwarmers

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I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve realized I’m not going to get it all done.

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I still have lots to do before Christmas, as I’m sure you do, too.
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But if making one more handknit gift is still on your list, here’s a quick one for you.

Whitefish Point Armwarmers

Whitefish Point Armwarmers

Knit in the round with fat yarn on big needles and with no thumbhole, these armwarmers are about as quick a knit as there is. I made mine out of just half a skein of Cascade Magnum (if you order it from Angelika’s today, you’ll likely have it in your hot little hands by Wednesday!) on size 15 needles.

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If you drive ten miles north of Paradise, Michigan, the road will end at Whitefish Point, a narrow peninsula that stretches several miles into Lake Superior toward Canada, in an area known as Shipwreck Coast. A concentration point for migrating birds (and one of the best places in the nation for viewing owls in the spring), Whitefish Point is remote, beautiful, wild – and cold (it is generally ten degrees colder than the rest of the eastern Upper Peninsula, due to its location jutting out into Lake Superior).
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You, however, do not have to be cold. Whether watching birds, studying shipwrecks, climbing lighthouses, or simply sipping cocoa by the fire, you can stay toasty warm in these chunky cabled armwarmers. Named for one of my favorite spots for viewing my favorite Great Lake, these mitts can be pulled up over your hands to keep out the chill or pushed up so that they simply peek out of your sleeves. They make a great first cable project. Whip up a pair tonight for a holiday gift or a treat for yourself; tomorrow night, make a matching pair of boot toppers (pattern coming soon!).
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The pattern is for sale for $3 in my pattern store on Ravelry – or you can click the “buy now” button right here and get your copy immediately.

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More Mackinac Mitts (say that 10 times fast)

Thank you so much for the Mackinac Mitt love. It still surprises me how much work goes into preparing and releasing even a relatively simple pattern, and it also always feels a bit vulnerable to actually put it out there – what if people hate this thing? So, thank you so much for your nice words and your support!

I was so grateful to Jessie and Eunice for test knitting this pattern for me, (and they were both super-fast!) and I wanted you to see their gorgeous mitts, too. Jessie made hers out of Cascade 220:
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Aren’t they lovely? I adore how those butterflies pop. She stopped after 2 1/2 repeats of the butterfly pattern, for a shorter fit on smaller hands.

Eunice shows us how the ribbed option looks (for the top of the hand and thumb):
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Hers are made in Malabrigo Worsted (Malabrigo Mackinac Mitts, now that is a mouthful!). They look so cozy!

I loved making mine out of Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd Worsted, but as you can see, any worsted or light worsted yarn will work. You probably have just the right yarn in your stash, begging to be made into butterflies and given as a holiday gift.

Remember that blog readers receive a 20% discount on this pattern through this Friday, by using the code MACKMITTS.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. – Tagore