Monday, December 5, 2011

Mosaic Snow Flakes

Sometimes when I don't have anything mindless to knit, I like to just swatch different patterns from the Barbara Walker Treasuries or other stitchionaries.  I just love seeing how different stitches emerge from my needles.  I guess you could say these are bouts of being a process knitter.  I'm usually a product knitter, I have a particular image of a finished object in my mind and I obsessively knit, frog and reknit until I get as close to that image as possible.  But not always.  Sometimes, usually when I'm frustrated cuz I've just frogged another failed attempt at some mental image, I just want to knit and watch something fun emerge from my needles.

During one such bout last summer, I started knitting a bunch of the patterns in Barbara Walker's Mosaic Knitting.  It's a fun method of doing colorwork where you don't have to carry two strands, you knit a row with one color, slipping stitches you don't want in that color, then knit back, giving you a garter ridge of that color.  Then you knit a garter ridge using your other color, slipping the stitches you want to be in the first color.  It's fun and gives you a nice thick garter stitch fabric.  Use big needles and you get a fluffy thick fabric.  I loved the fabric and the patterns, but hadn't moved beyond swatching various designs from the book.

Last month I decided to try designing some mosaic snowflakes and felting them down into a trivet (26 inches across before felting, 14 inches after felting)

a hot pad

and an oven mitt

These were made using Brown Sheep Naturespun worsted weight blue and Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool natural.  I kind of like them and will write up a pattern for them.  But you can see that the thumb on the mitt didn't felt right.  When I felt things I put them in a drawstring bag that's actually the storage bag for my REI sleeping bag (not the stuff bag, the big pillowcase size one for storing the sleeping bag at home).  The first washing cycle the thumb of the mitt got twisted in the excess part of the bag and didn't felt hardly at all.  I put it through again and it felted some, but it's still underfelted.  So the thumb is sticking out too big.  I'm debating trying to handfelt the thumb or just being lazy, putting the whole thing through another cycle and risking overfelting the mitt part.

I really like my snowflake mosaic pattern that I used for the trivet, and prefelting it was such a nice big fluffy thing.  I was tempted not to felt it, but realized that as much as I liked it, I wouldn't have any use for it unfelted.  It's been in the back of my mind though, and last night I thought of a reason to make another.  I have some sparkly red and white yarn I got on the after-Xmas sale last year (Bernat Happy Holidays).  And I don't have a skirt for my Xmas tree - I used to have one but it got shredded by the beasts and I threw it out a few years ago.  So I'm going to knit myself a sparkly red and white snowflake tree skirt.

In a few days when I've finished the skirt, it'll be time to go get a tree.  

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