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Once again, it’s time to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day, which takes place every year on September 19.  

What better way to do it than with a tribute to that most piratical of knitwear patterns: arrrrgyle.

As I mentioned in me last argyle post:

Origins of argyle

What’s a celebration of piratical knits without a mention of that most piractical-sounding of patterns, argyle. Argyle is a pattern made of diamonds, often including an overlay of intercrossing diagonal lines. It derives from the tartans of Clan Campbell in Scotland. When knitted, argyle is usually done in intarrrrrsia.  *Ahem.* Intarsia.

Bonnie, classy arrrgyle

This sort of arrrgyle will  never go out of fashion. That’s not an opinion, you understand. That’s a personal guarantee. Anyone I catch retirin’ this arrrgyle …well, they’s just askin’ fer a fight.

Argyle Socks by Margie Dougherty, as seen on Ravelry

That said…

<yawn>

There’s got to be more excitin’ choices to be had. Somethin’ with a little more vim and verve to it.

Arrrgyle with some kick 

Now here’s some arrrgyle a  pirate can appreciate. Bold and daring colors, with a hint of my favorite hue: gold.

Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang, as seen on Ravelry

How about some sassy arrrgyle for the lassie waitin’ fer you at home?

Clingy and cute, with a sweet neckline. This pirate approves.

Phoebe’s Vest by Daniela Nii, as seen on Ravelry

Arrrgyle for restin’ yer arse

A pirate works hard all day, every day. The sailin’. The pillagin’. The boozin’. The duelin’. At the end of a long day, a pirate needs a soft place to rest his tired old arse. Me eyes appreciate the homelike charm. Me backside appreciates the plush stuffin’.

Argyle Pillow by Anne Berk, as seen on Ravelry

Socks to inspire fear

There’s nothin’ worse than cold, wet feet when you’re preparin’ to storm a dockyard or board a ship. A pirate needs a proper pair of thick, woolen socks.

Bonnie, sweet arrrgyle, like that green pair I showed you, are all very well in the middle of the sea where no one but your men can see you. But during a battle, a pirate needs to look a little more threatenin’. Green arrrgyle? They’d just laugh at me. Then shoot me.

For sock that inspire fear, look no further. You see all those skulls?  Each one represents an opponent who met an…unfortunate end.

Here are some truly fearsome socks. With socks like this, you’ll scare off foot fungus. Aargh! gyle Socks by Camille Chang.

So, mateys. How are you celebratin’ this magnificent holiday?

I’m so into stranded color work these days. No matter what, I’ve got to have at least one stranded project on the needles.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a simple stranded mitten pattern on Ravelry called January Mittens. I decided this project would provide a good opportunity for me to experiment with a fibery phenomenon called yarn dominance. 

A few notes about yarn dominance: When you knit stranded color work (let’s assume we’re talking about just two colors), one yarn is always coming from above and one is always coming from below. The yarn coming from above has to travel just a little farther than the yarn coming from below and, as result, that “above” strand is just a little bit tighter. This tightness makes that stitch smaller and the yarn recedes into the background. The lightly looser strand coming from the bottom does not recede; its larger stitches stand out, loud and proud in the foreground.

Playing around with yarn dominance can make a big visual impact in your stranded color work.

Like this:

I knitted one mitten with the dark gray yarn held dominant, and one mitten with white yarn held dominant. Can you tell which is which? It’s subtle but it’s definitely there.

*     *     *    Veering off topic   *     *     *

In stranded color work, if one yarn is playing the dominant role, what role does the other one play? Submissive?

That makes my knitting seem so much more outre and exciting.

*     *     *     Veering back on topic     *     *     *

I’m having trouble deciding which mitten I like better. I might actually like the one with white yarn held dominant. Some of the details in the pattern jump out more when they’re not drawn so strongly. Veeeerrry interesting. 

It’s going to be 80 in southern Minnesota today. The leaves are still firmly attached to the trees and stubbornly green. But in a few weeks all of that is going to change and I’m going to be ready.

Over Labor Day weekend, I finally finished weaving in the ends on my Plum Island Pullover.  It’s a simple, gansey style sweater, with a slouchy, comfortable shape. The pattern is by Alison Green.

The decided to knit this sweater during one of those rare moments of yarn-related serendipity. I had a pattern I wanted to knit and exactly the right yarn in my stash, the right yardage and everything.  How often does that happen?

I used Imperial Yarns Columbia in the Indigo Heather colorway.

 

 

I just can’t help myself. Right now I have to knit stranded colorwork mittens. I’m on my third pair in as many weeks.

Maybe this will be the knitted “thing” everyone gets for Christmas this year. Last year it was hats.

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I Love Blog Followers

Dear blog followers,

I love having you around. You make me feel listened-to.  I hope you stick around and that I can continue to entertain you.  * Warning: I talk about knitting a lot. I hope that’s what you signed up for.*

I’d like to pay tribute to a random sampling of my most recent followers. Check out their blogs. You might find a new favorite.

Bridgewater Crafts: This designer recently released a very beginner-friendly dishcloth pattern. I haven’t looked at the pattern (it’s paid) but it’s nice to see a designer taking something as simple as a dishcloth seriously enough to have the pattern tech-edited.

A Nerdy Crocheter: If I knew how to crochet, I would totally make this Sunburst Baby Blanket.  She’s selling it on Etsy for $19.99, which seems like far too little money for something so pretty, in my opinion.

Missy’s Crafty Mess: It’s the end of August and, I don’t know about you, but I’m in firm denial that there is any such thing as winter. Psychologically, I can work around this denial by telling myself that the sweaters, shawls and mitts on my needles are meant for crisp autumn mornings or for camping in the mountains. Missy doesn’t seem to have this problem. In the middle of summer she’s posting pictures of balaclavas and referring to winter as an impending event. I don’t know if that’s practical or depressing. None the less, she seems to be a balaclava knitting machine.

Flip Coast Creations: This crafter finds excuses to craft things out of any material to-hand. On a recent glamping trip (glam camping),  they made their own wooden spatula and a truly cunning whittled Gandalf-stick. That’s talent!

During a recent visit home, Mom and I took some time to play with her new Pat Green Duncan drum carder. For those fellow fiber geeks who want to know, Mom has the hand-cranked Blender/Carder 8 Inch Hand Crank model. I don’t have anything to compare it to as it’s the only carder I’ve ever used; however, I can report that it was easy for a beginner (me) to use. The only hard part was attaching the drive band.

I brought most of a scoured Jacob fleece with me to share with Mom. We spent a couple of happy evenings sorting through the fleece, picking out some to comb, some to tease and card, and some to flick and spin from the lock. We were a bit overly ambitious  and, in the end, spent most of our time on the fleece chosen for carding.

Teased locks loaded into the tray and ready to be carded.

Teased locks loaded into the tray and ready to be carded.

Separating the fiber from the carder.

Separating the fiber from the carder.

Rolling fiber off the carder using a handy-dandy paper towel tube.

Rolling fiber off the carder using a handy-dandy paper towel tube.

After the carder was loaded up and couldn’t take on any more fiber, we used a little metal tool to make a break in the tube of fiber. Then we rolled the fiber off the teeth carefully using a cardboard paper towel roll. After that, the batt of fiber was divided into two or three strips, and the carding process began again. Each batt made three passes through the drum carder before it was (finally) rolled off for the last time.

A small but growing mountain of batts.

A small but growing mountain of batts.

One thing I didn’t realize before diving into this process was how slow it would be. I’m used to using hand carders and I know how slow those are. I just assumed that carding on a drum carder would be faster. It probably is. But it sure doesn’t seem like it. You have to crank slowly and evenly so the fiber will take up properly, standing there all the while, shifting from foot to foot, trying not to daydream. It helps to have someone to talk to, or a podcast to listen to. I understand why people who sell fiber for a living spring for the motorized carders.

One thing I was very pleased with was the amount of junk the carder removed from the fleece. It was already exceptionally clean, but had a bit of  stubborn vegetable matter and dirt caught here and there. The carder took care of it.

A slowly growing pile of junk on the table underneath the drum carder.

A slowly growing pile of junk on the table underneath the drum carder.

 

 

 

 

Gencon knitting part 5

I’ve saved most of mitten #2 for the trip home. If all goes well, I’ll get the body done by the time we make it home.

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