Here's one of the mittens started with stitches for the thumb on a holder.
I don't like doing thumbs very well, so they always get done last. I have to get this pair done pretty soon, so I can deliver it to the knitting shop so students know what they're signing up for. I'm also going to teach them about "half-mitts" and fingerless gloves. Half-mitts are just what the name implies--half a mitten which stops just above the knuckles, but you don't have to knit in the half-fingers like a fingerless glove. I have several pairs of these and they're really nice in the wintertime--especially if you work in a chilly office (like I do) but you need your fingers free for work.
I found a bunch of dishcloth patterns a few weeks ago on a really cool website called Dishcloth Boutique. There are patterns for knitted and crocheted dishcloths. I have a bunch of cotton yarn in my "stash" and decided that I would try and get a few dishcloths knitted up so we could start using them instead of paper napkins at the dinner table. I thought this was a pretty good idea for several reasons: I could use up some yarn to make space for storing more yarn, I would get to try lots of new patterns, and I would eliminate more trash by not throwing away paper napkins anymore. A "win-win" any way you look at it!
Everyday in my e-mail in-box, I receive the Knitting Daily e-mail from Interweave Press. I also subscribe to their Interweave Knits magazine and they publish many other fine knitting pattern books which I own. In the daily e-mail about 10 days ago, they interviewed Mags Kandis who designed the "Modern Quilt Wrap" for Folk Style, the newest pattern book published by Interweave Press.
Here's the picture of the "Modern Quilt Wrap." Isn't it beautiful? I really liked the design, but thought to myself, "that looks really difficult and so many ends to weave in!" They had the pattern included in the e-mail, but I didn't even take the time to look at it because I thought it would be just too much work.
About a week after that e-mail, I was looking over at Martie's blog and saw that she had actually started working on the quilt wrap herself and was doing it a bit narrower (more like a scarf). Well, after seeing what Martie had done, I was so inspired, I decided to take a second look at this pattern. The instructions listed it as "easy." "Come on, Ruthie," I told myself, "you should be able to handle this without any problem."
So I printed out the pattern and started looking through my yarn stash again and came upon a couple of kits I had purchased years ago (one for multicolored socks and the other for multicolored vests). The only thing I ever did with these kits was to wind the hanks of yarn into balls and it's been languishing in the yarn cupboard ever since. The yarn colors were perfect for this design and I started it last Friday night.
It really is a very simple pattern--you start with this L-shaped thing on your needle and with a decrease on each side of the center, your L-shape gradually decreases into a square. I've been weaving in the ends as I go, so will not even have to deal with too many tails once the project is completed. I've been trying to do one section every couple days or so, and it's quite enjoyable to see my progress and how the colors work together.
Here's the front side (see how it's turning into a square from the "L" shape?)
And here's the backside (I usually don't cut the yarn tails off till after everything's finished and I wash it).
Now that the sun is going down by 7:30, I have much more time in the evening for knitting. (Although I did spend a few minutes with a hummingbird perched on my finger tonight after supper--no amount of knitting can even come close to the joy I get from those little birds!)