Denise's NeedleWorks

Denise's Needleworks

Location: Ames, Iowa, United States

I am wife to Jeff, homeschool mom to 8, a knit and crochet teacher and totally addicted to knitting, crocheting and other fiber arts. After knitting, crocheting and sewing my own clothing from the age of 10 on, I studied textiles & clothing in college. That lead me to 25 years of custom dressmaking and alterations work, while sewing, knitting and crocheting for my growing children. I have worked in the yarn industry for the past 3 years and have been designing my own knitting patterns. Visit my web site at Find me as DeniseInIowa on

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kitty Selbu mittens

I finished the first mitten! This one went really fast. Maybe it was because I really wanted to see it finished? Now I know I will have at least one mitten to display at Arnhild's Retreat with the patterns that I have ordered for the retreat store.

Again, it is Terri Shea's Kitty Selbu pattern available through Ravelry. The yarn is Rauma Finullgarn. Finullgarn is a great yarn to work with for stranded projects. It sticks to itself a bit so the stitches stay more uniform than they would in a slippery yarn. It makes a beautiful project.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, January 14, 2011

11 Mittens for 2011 - A Challenge

There is a group of knitters on Ravelry who have all taken up the challenge to knit or crochet 11 pair of mittens in 2011. Now, you might think we are all crazy but when next winter comes and your hands are cold, think of us with our beautiful mittens to keep our fingers warm. If you are really nice to us, we might share the warmth! A knitter always loves to have her work admired and appreciated!

I for one, love to knit mittens. You can tell that by the number of mittens I already have on the needles. As I was counting up UFMs (Un-Finished Mittens) my count kept going up as I found project after unfinished project. I think I was finally up to at least 6 pair that had been started at some point in the past year. I was told that I can't count the mittens that are already started as part of the challenge but if I have only knit one I could count the other one as half a pair and combine it with another half-pair.

I don't especially like to follow "rules" in knitting, especially rules like this where it doesn't "really" matter that much, right? Hey, life happens! If I commit to knit 11 pair or 111 and don't manage to do it, the world will not end! If there is one thing that I have learned from raising 8 children, it is that you have to be flexible!

So, on to the pictures! That is what you wanted to see, right? I know I love the pictures in a blog. Here are the mittens that I will be working on for this mitten challenge. I already finished knitting the Navy Felted mittens so those won't count but they were part of the UFM list when the challenge was announced. There are some that I don't have pictures of -- some plain charity mittens, and a pair of plain gloves. Oh, gloves count too as long as the fingertips are covered(no fingerless gloves).

First: The blue and white is a Latvian mitten in Lamullgarn. I think it is too tight so I may have to rip out to the red line at the top of the cuff and try it again. Now how do I count this one? Can I count it as 1 3/4 pair? See what I mean about the "rules?"

The pink one is from pattern AH103 in Strikkegarn. This one is almost finished then I need to make a second mitten. There is even a UFH (Un-Finished Hat?), hmmm, I don't think that abbreviation works very well. Anyway, there is an unfinished hat that matches these pink mittens. I really should try to finish the whole set this year.

Next: The teal and blue is a glove from Selbuvotter in Finullgarn. This is another one that was set aside because of fit issues. It is too big for me and needs to be ripped back to the top of the cuff and knit tighter. By the time I do that, I will have knit most of this one.

Lets hope these first 3 pair don't end up like these blue and white ones. They are pattern AH102 in Strikkegarn for Carl. Or at least one of them is for Carl. He is 8 now and the one on the right fits him fine but the one on the left (with the needles still attached) was knit tighter and will hardly fit over his hand and is about an inch shorter! I will be knitting 2 more mittens in the hopes that I can make a mate for each of these. I will donate the smaller pair somewhere. No sense ripping out an almost complete mitten!

Finally: Now this mitten doesn't count in the UFMs. I just started it this year. It is the new Kitty Selbu pattern from Terri Shea, author of Selbuvotter. She designed this pattern to help pay the vet bills when her daughter's kitty was very ill. It is knit in Finullgarn and I am really liking the pattern so far.

Hopefully, I can make the challenge and finish up these mittens plus enough others to make 11 pair. But if life intervenes, that's okay too. What is the saying? If life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Well, for me that means I will probably just make socks! Hey, they will keep your feet warm!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Finished blankets for the afghans for Afghans project

I have put together two blankets so far to send to Afghanistan for the current Youth Campaign. These will be put in a box and sent to SanFrancisco. From there the will be put into big shipping containers and sent on to Afghanistan. They will not arrive there until next winter. This shipment will go to children in schools operated by "Help the Afghan Children." It takes so much planning to get these things where they need to be to help.

Here are the first blankets. Many of the blocks were donated by other knitters. Then I have crocheted them together into bright, warm, woolen blankets. I have more blocks to work on yet so I hope to make at least 3 more blankets in time for the arrival deadline of Feb. 14.

Labels: , ,

Finishing out year and starting up the new one

I finished the White Clovers pullover. It went up and down several times as I tried to get the fit right in the shoulders and neck. Here it is finished as the designer has written the pattern, with a turtle neck:

Then I ripped it back again and finished it with a crew neck. I like the looks of the crew neck much better. The Vamsegarn has softened up nicely with wearing. I am really enjoying this sweater. I can see myself making more sweaters like this. It was fast to make in this worsted(almost aran) weight yarn and it fits beautifully.

I also finished knitting the Navy Felted Mittens from the book LVS 3, well they will be felted when I find time to put them in the washer. Our washer stays really busy with laundry around here because of our big family so finding time for felting can be difficult. Last weekend we were gone for four days. When all the suitcases were empty we had a pile the size of "Mount Washmore" as a friend calls it. I always feel like I should have more than one project to felt when I do it since it takes so much water. So maybe I should make some more mittens! Here they are before felting:

Lisa came home from Alaska for Christmas and was telling us about how cold it was up there. She has been buying extra clothes for layering to keep warm. I made her a pair of rag-wool socks while she was home. They are made with Raumaragg yarn, the yarn that the Norwegians use for ski socks. Lisa says that I can make more of these!

I also had picked out a nice sock weight yarn for her birthday in early January. I started knitting those just after her birthday and have one finished so far. Lisa has returned to Alaska so I will have to mail them when they are both finished.

It has been a productive knitting year. Now on to the next year!

Labels: , , , , , , ,