Turoa Mitts Loft Skein Winner!

I figured it would be more fun to win after the Christmas madness.

Carolyn Zewe – come on down!  I need contact information for you, and let me know what color you prefer.

Turoa Loft

Substituting Yarn for the Turoa Mitts from Drop Dead Easy Knitting and a Giveaway.

In my ongoing attempt to knit all of the book’s projects, Turuoa Mitts, Abide Shawl and the Oxbo socks are hands-down the winners for frequency so far.

Turoa mitts gale

The Turoa mitts are simple to make, look complicated, take very little yarn, and people love them. One of my knitting students is on her fourth pair, plus an additional mate for the daughter who lost a mitt.

The book project used Fibre Company Road to China Light.  A lovely yarn, but not carried in my LYS. Azula Oasis, alas, is discontinued due to production issue.  A big part of the concept of Drop Dead Easy  is that you can find a yarn at your LYS that will work for every project.  The book has a list of substitute yarns in the back, and although I haven’t used any of the recommended subs for the mitts so far, I have used two yarns that I especially enjoyed using, West Yorkshire Spinners BFL DK, and Brooklyn Tweed Loft.

One of these yarns is listed as a DK, and one a sport. Can I use either one? Here’s my test for checking how that might work out when trying to sub yarn.  Warning – this a quick and dirty check.  You still need to make a gauge swatch!

Take a length of each yarn, and compare.  Then loop and twist together.  Run your fingers along the length of the twist.  Do they feel similar, or does one feel much heavier? The bulky vs. the super bulky test.  The bulky yarn looks thinner, but not by much.  When twisted, especially as you feel it, it is more obviously lighter.


The gauge for the Turoa Mitts is 24 sts over 4 inches.  The Loft for sure works to that gauge, and I made a pair with one skein.  I shortened the mitts by a couple of repeats, just to make sure I would have enough yarn.  They are still plenty long enough.

Turoa Loft

In fact, I had enough of the yarn left that I could use it as a pop of brightness in the Sidekick Hat I made in Loft.

Sidekick Small Loft copy

Here’s a side by side view of the Fleece BFL and Loft:


I can’t find (or didn’t take) a photo of the twist test, but they seemed fairly close, so I cast on and started.  When testing gauge on a small project like this, I just start.  There are few enough stitches to cast on that it makes sense to just move ahead with the mitt.  You get a true reading of the size, and if it isn’t right, you have no more to rip out than a generous gauge swatch.

Finished mitts in the BFL:

bfl mitts

You may notice that they are two different sizes.  I shall pretend that I did it on purpose, so that yarn shop visitors (these are currently at Double Ewe) can see what size works for them.  The reality is I forgot what size I was making, so one is a small and one is a medium.

Go see what your LYS has to offer, or shop your stash.  I’m eyeing a skein of Pediboo, now called Hikoo Sueño, for a January birthday.

Want a skein of Loft to try yourself?  Tell me what scares you about subbing yarn, or share tips on how you check when you start to think about subbing.  I’ll draw a name and send the Loft your way!


Mending as Mitzvah

I wasn’t raised Jewish, but mitzvah is a term I heard growing up in New Jersey, meaning doing a good deed. I googled it, of course, and saw it was related to a state of being connected to others. Perfect.

I have started volunteering with a new local organization called Mobile Menders. https://mobilemenders.weebly.com/

Mobile Menders is a volunteer group who is dedicated to providing free sewing and mending services around the Twin Cities area. Our goal is to provide clothing repair to those in need. We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to have clothes that fit and are in good shape. 


Now I have to confess that I don’t enjoy mending. And alterations?  I go to the tailor near my office. My mother always said she liked to sew, but not to mend. Nevertheless, in a family with seven children, there was always mending to do.

My mother was raised during the depression, and never threw away buttons or zippers. If something was heading to the rag basket, the zippers and buttons were cut out and saved. She taught me (among many other depression-era skills) how to fix zippers. This skill came in handy with my Mobile Menders adventure.

The event starts out with residents at a local shelter bringing items in need of mending. This night, there were 29 people, each limited to three items. That is a lot of mending for five menders. There were greeters, who welcome guests as they enter the event, find out what items they have and what repair is requested, then make labels for each item, ranking them in order of priority. If there is time, they bring the guest to meet their mender. I only took one photo, but there are lots from other events on the Mobile Menders Facebook page.

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I knew only one of the women, so getting to know the others was fun. When I called a recalcitrant zipper a ‘rat bastard’ without thinking, I apologized sheepishly. A fellow mender looked over and said “I like you more now.”

The most common items were zippers on winter coats and jeans. As I hunched over my machine, I kept wishing my mother could see me using those long-ago lessons.

It was sort of overwhelming. I wanted to work quickly, but not in a way that was dismissive of people’s needs. The guideline I adopted was fixing something for my husband. Would he care if the thread didn’t match exactly? Is the zipper the wrong color? Is the triangular tear on the pocket of the AC DC hoodie too mended-looking?

The requests were often touching. A formerly homeless vet had dress pants that needed hemming so he could go on job interviews. A woman brought in a sad looking bra that had already been mended once. One request for mending jeans asked that that we try not to make them look mended or patched. Take that, visible mending.

After three hours of non-stop work we called it a night. More menders will come next month, and I’ll be heading to another location.  When I got home my husband glanced up and said “You look really tired.” I was beat, and a little sore the next day from bad sewing posture. I think I need a new sewing machine. And better posture.


Easy Peasy Lace Socks – Idlewild

I am a lazy knitter in general, but with socks I am especially reluctant to do anything that requires me to look at a pattern.  I have made enough socks that I can take some yarn, guess at the gauge, and get going.  Self-striping yarn is a real bonus, because then it looks like I did something difficult, at least to a non-knitter.

However, I am trying to knit most of the projects in Drop Dead Easy Knits, so I pulled some light blue sock yarn out of the stash and cast on for the Idlewild Socks, designed by Kirsten Kapur. (photo by Gale Zucker)

knitting, book, hand knit, models

I can’t find the yarn label for the yarn I am using.  I think it is some Periwinkle Sheep I got at Sock Summit in 2009.  So yeah, it is well-aged.  I will use no yarn before its time!

Photo Aug 23, 8 06 03 AM

Back to the socks.  I did have to look at the pattern initially, but they are really drop-dead easy. (Branding, ya’ll!) There is only one round out of four that requires attention. I even took it to a St. Paul Saints game last night, and made good progress. Photo Aug 22, 9 02 46 PM

Truth in advertising! These are named for Idlewild Airport, because they are a good design to work on while waiting, and I agree.

I generally prefer to make socks on bamboo double points. I have a routine where I cast on one cuff, then the other, and do my two-at-time on-double points. This hasn’t been working so well for this pari. One thing I learned is that bamboo knitting needles must get more brittle with age. I am using US 0 needles, and have broken 2 so far.  Granted, I am a bit careless with where and how I stash a project bag, so I cannot blame it entirely on the needles.

Photo Aug 23, 8 28 17 AM

To safeguard my remaining needles, I switched to magic loop. I bought a set of tiny Chia Goo interchangeables a couple of years ago in a weak moment, and I have never used them.  Now is the time.

Photo Aug 23, 8 05 26 AM

I do really like them.  The cord is nice and flexible, the points are pointy, and so far I have not broken them, or even bent them.  So far. I dislike doing two at a time on one long circular, so I have to make do with sequential sock knitting.

By this time of year I generally have some socks set aside for holiday gifts, but as of today I have two only pair of heavy Oxbow socks, and now 1.5 Idlewild socks. If I intend to do gift socks, I’d better get cracking.

Are you still knitting socks?  Got a drawerful yet?


Louet euroflax yarn giveaway for Drop Dead Easy Knits

Head over to She Shoots Sheep Shots, Gale Zucker’s blog, to win enough Louet Euroflax linen yarn to make the Pompano Tank from Drop Dead Easy Knits.

knitting, book, hand knit, models

Gift Bag Knitting

I am well known in my family for not wrapping gifts.  I wrapped gifts one Christmas season in a jewelry store.  It ruined me for life.  (What kind of ribbon would you like on this teeny, tiny, cheap-ass ring box, sir? The oversized silver plated tray with no box, madam?) Mostly, now, I either put it in a brown paper bag or a paper gift bag with some tissue paper.  The reusable paper gift bags are perfect for me.  Sometimes I weaken if there is a child involved.  Great kid story –on his 5th birthday, my nephew had a small party.  Most of the gifts were presented in paper gift bags.  He “whispered” to his mother “I guess they don’t know how to wrap packages.”  That’s me.

The Galworthy Gift Bag, which Kirsten Kapur designed for Drop Dead Easy Knits, might be a little something to keep in my knitting-on-the-go pouch for some mindless knitting that could turn into a part of the present, as well as the gift bag.  (Hey, I see that Amazon has dropped the price of Drop Dead Easy Knits.  Not sure why, but that means it comes out to about .40 US per pattern!!  So go buy it! You won’t be sorry!

Kirsten designed the bag in Neighborhood Fiber Company Penthouse Silk Fingering for a truly luscious, special gift. Silk sure does take the color, doesn’t it?  You could use any fingering weight yarn for it, though.  Perfect for leftovers.

knitting, book, hand knit, models

I was reminded of this pattern by Barbara Benson – the clever mosaic and lace knitting podcaster in her latest episode, Favorite 5 – Knitted Market Bags (mostly).  (Although she missed the real market bag in the book, Searsport Market Bag.)

Here’s some action/detail shots of the gift bag Kirsten made before the book photo shoot:

You could even put yarn in it to give away.  Is there a word for a yarn turducken?


Abide with me — and my shawl.

I was working on yet another Abide, (designed by the talented Kirsten Kapur) in my regular knitting class this week. This version is my fourth, I love this pattern.  (Photo below is by Gale Zucker.)

AudKnits snowflake scraves

People in class were taken with it, but there was a lot of eye-rolling at the idea that it was at all easy.  (From Drop Dead Easy Knits, of course!)  The projects in DDE were not necessarily designed to be beginner projects, but projects that are easy to work on and follow.

What makes lace drop dead easy? Symmetry for one thing.  And no shaping on wrong side rows.  Here’s how that works in Abide. (I’m using Wollemeise Pure in the color Cassis. )

Photo May 25, 7 53 50 AM

It is a simple long triangle. Easy. Regular increases along one side. Easy.  Except “regular ” does not exempt you from knowing  what the pattern means by regular. For instance, I got careless and started increasing every right side row instead of every other right side row. (I was watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  This is playoff knitting.  Go see what Natalie thinks is playoff knitting — a Herbert Niebling doily!  For real.) So the class got to watch me rip it back. It is always fun to see your teacher brought low, isn’t it? I also think watching me rip out helps less confident knitters to see that every one rips back.  Every one of us.

I was initially skeptical of the long triangle look, but I really like it.  It is very wearable.   I’ve worn the version I made in Malabrigo Sock quite a bit.  Kirsten even demonstates how to make it into a cowl in our silly video.  And look how cute it is on this model, in Quince and Company Finch:


Abide begins at the narrow end, and you complete several of the leaf edging repeats in fairly short order, so the pattern is memorized easily, or at the very least you become really familiar with the chart in no time at all.

knitting, book, hand knit, models

Plus, the leaf pattern itself is symmetrical. You can see the shape you are making, so you know right away if you haven’t done a decrease you were supposed to. I missed a decrease the other night, too, so I know it is easily spotted.

And the picot edging? If you can cast on and bind off, you can make little picots. I don’t care for bobbles, but those picots are pretty darn cute!

I think I convinced them. I mean, other than the edging, it is all garter stitch!