Archive for the “Fleep Redux” Category

Last weekend, Michael and I went to Ottawa to visit our sister the Ninja for Winterlude! We had a wonderful time – cooking, going to pubs (haggis nachos!) and yarn shops, skating on the Rideau Canal, checking out the ice sculptures, watching the Superb Owl with friends… I wish we could have stayed longer.

pirate_and_ninja

I finished my Fleeps just in time for skating on Saturday, and a good thing too, as they kept my hands wonderfully warm. (More about them in another post, though.) Michael and I were able to skate the whole canal from start to finish and back again, 7.8 km each way, plus a few side excursions. All in all, that’s about 10 miles of skating! Here we are at Le Fin du Glace:

fin_du_glace

Of course, I bought souvenir yarn. Quite a bit of it, actually. On Friday, we went to Knit-Knackers in Smiths Falls, where I may have gone overboard. Michael bought me some Patons Kroy in Rainbow Stripes, a colourway that I haven’t seen in my local stores, and a coordinating skein of navy for the toes/heels/cuffs. I picked up a ball of ONline Supersocke 100 in a tonal pink for a textured or cabled sock that I haven’t yet designed, and another ball of Supersocke 100 in a colourway that looks exactly like skiing in 1988. Awesome, eh? I can’t wait to knit this one up!

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Before the Superb Owl on Sunday, we stopped by Yarn Forward in Ottawa where I couldn’t resist this ball of Berocco Sox. If they hadn’t had a partially-knit sample sock in the colourway, I might have passed it by. It wasn’t until later that I realized with some amusement it has that same mustard-yellow colour that’s in the yarn for my planned long johns!

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Ottawa is one of my favourite cities, and already I’m looking forward to going to Winterlude next year – though I’d like to visit again in warmer weather. It would be nice to travel with a little suitcase, instead of a big one stuffed with wool sweaters and ice skates!

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There was no work yesterday due to “the most snow that Washington has seen in years.” This seems to me like a bit of exaggeration as I only saw about four inches of fluffy dry snow up at my house. That’s is nothing compared to the 18 inches of heavy wet snow I got last March (when it only rained in DC). But hey, a snow day is a snow day, right?

So, with nothing else to do, I finished knitting the hand of one Fleep and got started on the next. I’m only a few rounds from the base of the thumb now, and am on schedule to have them completely finished, mitten-tops and all, by the end of the coming weekend. It seemed like a good idea to do both hands first, and then both mitten-tops, so I can be sure that they’re attached at the same place on each glove.

This morning it was so cold that my poor fingers got frostnip just clearing the snow off the car. I know it will be cold in Ottawa next week, and I’ve no desire to repeat this painful experience. The idea of lining the mitten-tops with polar fleece is getting more and more attractive, but whether it gets done will depend on how quickly I can finish the actual knitting and weave in all the ends.

I’ve been asked, semi-seriously, how much I’d charge to make a custom pair of Fleeps for someone. It’s a good question, and I spent some time thinking about it as I knit. I generally only knit for people as a labour of love, but if the price was right I’d consider taking a small commission like this one. My time is valuable and knitting to a deadline tends to make me grumpy, so the “right” price would be astoundingly high, probably $300 at a minimum.

Do you take commission work? How much do you charge? Is it something you enjoy doing?

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Way back in 2009, I knit what was to become my most-worn project: a pair of convertible mittens with two full fingers and a few exposed fingertips, using a combination of the Cigar and Gnomittens patterns. They were made specifically for Winterlude in Ottawa, so that I could have my hands mostly covered and still be able to hold my spoon at the outdoor stew cookoff. One only really needs three fingertips in the winter, right? What can’t you do with just three fingertips?

My usual snow gloves are incredibly warm, but too thick to let my fingers be useful for anything more than making snowballs. I called these knit gloves Fleep-Tops, and wore them through several winters. They fit perfectly. They were, in fact, the best thing ever. (So great that Michael asked me to make a pair for him, too!)

fleeptop3

But I knew that one day, my Fleeps would become thin and need replacement. And I knew that the yarn (Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed, which is 85% wool/10% silk/5% cashmere) was getting harder and harder to find. So a year later when I was in Ottawa for Winterlude again, I bought two more balls of it, this time in a deep green colourway with red and yellow tweedy flecks, called “Cedar”.

Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed

I’ve missed going to Winterlude for a few years, but this year I’m going back, and so in the beginning of the month I cast on for the next pair of Fleeps. The first one is nearly done, with just a few more fingers and a mitten top to go. I may be frantically knitting on the train again, but I swear, these will be done by the end of the month so I can wear them around one of my favourite cities!

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Unfortunately, the yarn isn’t as great as I remember from the first pair. It seems weak. There are some very thin spots, and in one place one of the plies had frayed and broken so that I had to rejoin the yarn. The knitted fabric is a good weight, though; I’m not worried about these wearing out in just one season. Because it’s so hard to find and because I’m annoyed at the yarn, I’m going to be looking for a replacement DK-weight tweed for my inevitable next pair. I think I’ll always want a pair of Fleeps around!

I’m following my notes from the first Fleeps very closely. The only changes I’m making are to shorten the index and middle fingers, which are the half-length fingers, so that the finger covering ends before my first knuckle instead of after it. More cover seemed like a good idea when I made the first pair, but the fabric bunched up oddly when I bent my fingers. I’m definitely going to sew magnetic snaps onto these to hold the top to my wrist and keep it from flopping about, and I’m also considering sewing a polar fleece lining into the mitten for extra warmth.

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