Noro Silk Garden Solo is available at Webs and Jimmy Beans Wool, and at your local purveyor of Noro.

Call Me Tippi

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Dear Ann,
Early in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds (which you can watch in 1 minute 40 seconds here), you start noticing that there are an awful lot of birds hanging around, and you’re not really scared, but a little scared. That’s where I’m at with the squares. By my quick count, we’ve received over 500 so far. That’s a lot, but there is no reason to go running down the street screaming.
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They come in peace.
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We don’t have my desired number (120) of dull/dark plain squares quite yet, but we’re definitely more than halfway there, and I do have a plan B that would require 58 fewer dull/darks, and I also have plan C (in which we redefine “dull/dark” to “dull/dark and also blue”). Being a blanket-designing diva on a mission of world domination, I would rather die than divert from The Vision, but if I have to, I will. C’mon, dull/dark knitters! Work with me!
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Here are the brave knitters who pushed us into the slightly scary 500+ zone: Donna H, Erica C, Anne O, Mims, Margaret C, Jane FB, JoAnne A, Jennie D, Kelli Ann, Xana from Portugal, Laura A, Katherine C, Catherine R, Helen H, Zoe M, Jen D, Claudia C, Amanda J, Becky S, Katy K (not that Katy K), Tara D, Rev. Emily, Elizabeth S, Brynne, and Deb C. Thank you so much!
The Power of Blocking
As an anguished commenter has pointed out (quite correctly), blocking was not on the test. Blocking is an extra-credit exercise, but I’m grateful to those who have chosen to block, of their own free will.
I have to single out one knitter, Brynne. Before I opened Brynne’s envelope, I laughed because she had written DO NOT BEND on it in big serious letters. I was all, Dude! It’s knitting! It bends, no problem!
Then I saw why Brynne was so particular about her postal handling instructions.
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Brynne has been touched by the Power of Blocking. Her squares are the Greenwich Mean Time of 4-inch precision. They are flatter than Kansas, and their regulation unwoven tails are neatly tucked under. (I think it must have hurt her not to weave them in.) Brynne, we salute you. The stitchers of New York are going to bless your sweet steam iron as we sew up those crisp edges.
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To everybody else, I say: No pressure.
M Cubed
Nonstop squareness has made me a little lightheaded. Last evening, I felt a woozy sensation, and a desire to knit something a little bit, oh I don’t know: 3-dimensional? I also started to be dimly aware of the approach of December 20 aka Teacher Present Day. I have a reputation for giving dorky homemade exquisite handmade holiday gifts to the kids’ teachers. I am under no illusions that the teachers enjoy these gifts, but word gets around: you’ve got Joseph or Carrie on your roster, you get a handknit. So this year can’t be the year I don’t do it, you know? This might be the year they really want the handknits!
Enter: Maine Morning Mitts (free pdf of the pattern here). Clara saves the day! For gal teachers, I’m thinking about making Fetching mitts in dainty Noro Silk Garden, but I think for a man, an up-sized version of the Maine Morning mitts in Noro Kureyon could be just the thing. Fingerless mitts are great for commuting by train (read the paper without taking them off to turn the pages), roof playground duty (clearly and swiftly point out bad behavior), and field trips (handle MetroCards, buckle buckles, zip zips, and assist with ice skates). I hereby declare fingerless mitts to be the official Mason-Dixon Knitting Holiday Teacher Gift of 2007. Start your dpns!
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Prototype of Maine Morning Mitts (in a moody-blues shade of Kureyon) in progress, for Joseph if he’ll wear them. (Yes, I’m trying to raise up a mini Brooklyn Tweed–is that wrong? Let she who has not been getting her second grader to crank hats cast the first stone!)
Love,
Kay

44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Ah, I can see my squares in all their unblocked, parallelograminess. If I had blocked them, I would have had to convince the postman that the wet wool smell did not indicate a hazardous substance in my mail. So instead of feeling pressure, I’m just quietly proud they made it to you on time.

  2. Okay, just for the record, I had already declared fingerless mitts the gift of the season. I’m on my third pair. I’m using dk weight yarn (silky malabrigo is my favorite) and a pattern from my LYS – fingerless gloves at yarnery.com. But, I also have to crank out 4 felted boxes from somebody’s book and fill them with post-it notes, as that was last year’s gift and word spreads at the grade school and some teachers don’t have them yet. Whew…the Christmas knitting has begun!

  3. OK, now I’m jealous. You have all those squares – we haven’t even reached half that amount! You will have a huge blanket, ours will be small, but lovely! Good luck sewing them all together!

  4. Let me just say: that as a teacher.. I would be delighted to receive the fingerless mitts as a gift.
    There you go… ‘gift fully endorsed by a real teacher’ *Currently MS art teacher and last year a 3rd grade teacher. So, you’ve got PRIMARY and MIDDLE SCHOOL approval! :D

  5. Kay, there’s one “dull dark” and also a little bit blue (OK, and 6 seriously colorful) in the package you may receive from me today. Tell me if you need me to make more dull darks —
    your obedient servant

  6. I didn’t block. I apologize. I also did bright and weird colors. Hopefully, they hav reached you. If you can wait until next week, I might be able to get some and dark/dull/monochrome out to you. I think I have some navy sock yarn for the foresaken knee socks that my DD will never wear anyway. Let me know. You have my email.

  7. I didn’t block. I apologize. I also did bright and weird colors. Hopefully, they hav reached you. If you can wait until next week, I might be able to get some and dark/dull/monochrome out to you. I think I have some navy sock yarn for the foresaken knee socks that my DD will never wear anyway. Let me know. You have my email.

  8. Delurking – I am on the same mission of mittens for teachers – I need 3 pairs (and a pair of baby socks) by 12/21 – I am using Anne Budd’s mitten pattern from her handy book of patterns-in Lambs Pride bulky.
    Will the other 2 pairs’ recipients be offended if they receive mitts vs mittens??? That pattern looks like fun…hmmm………

  9. Dude. I’m terrified.

  10. I just cast off for a quick and dirty pair of fingerless mitts using superbulky yarn (BMFA – Leticia – Ruby Slippers) for a kindergarten teacher – glad to hear it gets a thumbs up!

  11. Regarding knitting Fetching with Noro Silk Garden: don’t do it… the cables get totally lost in the coloring… I tried it twice, and was disappointed both times… it’s not even as if the cables are subtle… they’re just gone.
    Just an opinion.

  12. Fingerless mitts are defnitely the gift of the year LOL! I’m currently working on the second of three pairs I’m giving as gifts this year! Love that Fetching pattern – quick and pretty! Oh, and if I don’t run out of time, two of the mitt recipients might get Fetching hats too – we’ll see how that goes :)

  13. Did you say dull? Now that’s a goal I can achieve. I am nothing if not dull. Dull blue on the needles.

  14. OK, Kay. I have a second grade boy making fingerless mittens, called Knittens because you can wear them to recess and still knit.
    Gauntlet thrown.

  15. alright, so i just found the card that the girls in my children’s knitting class very sweetly signed to thank you for doing all the sewing up on my kitchen counter. This card also contained my identity. if it comes up, it’s the one from grosse pointe farms, mi.
    That’s what i get for letting my 9 year old brother tape up the envelope because i was never going to hear the end of it if i didn’t.

  16. Fingerless mitts over here too, yo! :) Already on my 6th pair using Malabrigo…..Y’know I didn’t knit any squares but if you need dull/dark I will be happy to jump in at this point. But when is the deadline? I live in Illinois if that helps.
    Elizabeth

  17. My goodness ! [watered down response]
    Maybe two beautifully designed blankets, if all those incredible, fabulous, generous, wonderful and altogether delightful knitters heed your call.
    My 3 x steel grey [handspun, don't you know] squares won’t make much impression. But they will add the love of Emma to the blanket.
    I have squares to knit for the U.K. blanket…
    THANK YOU EVERYONE !

  18. Ah yes! It is the year of the fingerless mitt’s! I am in the process of knitting them for my side of the family this year. It’s a BIG family. Thanks for another pattern! :)
    Note: I SO wish my mother didn’t felt every piece of wool that came her way… that Noro is gorgeous!

  19. p.s. It’s a taste thing, the Noro Fetchings. The ones I’ve made have been well received. A colourful cable can be a good thing. Non knitters are more impressed by colour than cabling, I find.

  20. It’s contagious – fingerless mitts across the border into Ontario! Just finished my first one this week. And 500 squares – way to go knitters!!!!

  21. Fingerless gloves are also my plan, for family members however; faster than socks, lots of fun, everyone likes them. And with fuel prices the way they are, I figure they will be good indoor wear with the heat turned down.
    I got some dull dark yarn out of the stash yesterday just for you, my friend o’ squares, but was waiting a bit to see if you had too many already. But if you need a little more darkness in your life, some squares should be coming atcha by the end of the weekend!

  22. Hrm. If you don’t mind waiting (as some others suggested), I might be able to find dark colors (dark blue mostly) in my stash, leftovers from when I thought I was going to knit my husband a sock weight sweater (instead I made him a pair of socks and have thus some yarn left over).

  23. Fingerless mitts are constantly OTN at this household because they are so easily lost ;).

  24. OK. I can do murky dull darkness. Can’t have the design spoiled by lack of grey. x x x x

  25. I’ll be sending my squares tomorrow when I can get my jet-laggy self to the Post Office in town…glad you said that about *not* Priority Mail-ing!
    But…why do everyone else’s squares look so neatly edgey whilst mine look so peculiarly rumply on the sides??? I’m going to send them anyway, and hope they will be useful…if they are too odd for the blanket you can use them as, erm, bonus coasters, maybe?

  26. Questions: Do deep murky green and a deep blue/burgundy/dark purple variegated count as “dull-dark”? I’m flat out of solids but I can and will make a few more squares and do them from those colors.
    Also, what is the deadline these days? I can’t get them done by tomorrow….

  27. At first I was excited that I could see my squares in the picture. Then I saw my name linked in the list. Made my night! Then I kept reading. Wow! In my defense, it was a reused envelope, which had previously been the home of a very much damageable not-so-bendable piece I bought on etsy. I’m glad it made you laugh, though.
    You want to know the funniest part? Brace yourselves — I didn’t block the squares. I just knit that way, I guess.
    Thanks for my moment in the Mason-Dixon sun. I can’t wait to see the finished blanket!

  28. *Start* ? our dpns? Too late! It’s definitely the year of fingerless mitts here, too. I’ve made four pair of Fetching, one for me and three given away as thank you gifts. I still have two more pair to go. But I’ve been seduced away by the lure of Turkish socks. (Anna Zilboorg) I couldn’t show up at knit nite with another pair of Fetching; that would have been boring. So I cast on!

  29. When is ye olde sew up bee?

  30. The squares are just amazing, but I am beginning to worry if you received mine……
    The Fetching gloves are great and knit up in a flash. I made something like five pairs in barely over a week the summer of ’06 (I had A LOT of baseball games to watch then). I’m sure you know there is a “male” version of Fetching on Knitty now. The “cigar” partial fingerless gloves on Knitty rock, too. I am doing hats for my nephews, socks for my #3 son’s teacher (weird, I know, but I like socks), and socks for my FIL for Xmas. Check out my blog to see the first two of the finished hats!

  31. Oh! I’m a teacher too and I would so love it if someone would make me something! Last year I got a total of 75 dollars in Starbucks cards and I don’t like Starbucks coffee (except for the highly caloric frappachinos). OK, so it was nice to be able to buy everyone coffee at random moments throughout the past year but I would really rather have mittens. Or even popsicle stick picture frames.

  32. Need help with the sewing? i live up the Hudson … and have car and/or subway card.

  33. Like others have mentioned, if it’s dull & dark squares you need, dull & dark can be coming your way… depending whether or not the deadline has changed. A slow knitter like me on the other side of the country can’t possibly get them to you by tomorrow! :) The willingness to knit a couple of them is there though. Just let us know, ‘K?

  34. Ok. I am a little jealous of Brynne. Can you reteach me how to knit? My squares had to be blocked, and even then, well…they still wanted to be trapezoids. I am blaming it on the fact that I have never knit diagonally OR with sock yarn…

  35. ironically, I knit 3 of my squares while watching The Birds…

  36. Can we send your postman some cookies or something? (That’s a lot of packages to deliver.)

  37. I’d love to knit some squares, if you’re extending the deadline?

  38. I knit fetching mitts for my daughter’s 4th grade teacher last year and got a very tepid response…I should have known better, as a few people down here in the Deep South told me that fingerless gloves are for homeless people. But thanks to Barbara A.M.’s comment above, I am inspired to make felt post-it note boxes. There WILL be teacher-gift knitting!

  39. As a chemistry teacher, by the time you receive the 2nd (or 3rd or 4th or eleventy-billionth) box of chocolate or hideous ceramic “#1 teacher/to teach is touch a life/teachers are special” mug you are BEGGING FOR PARENTS AS INTO HANDKNIT CRAFTS HALF AS MUCH AS YOU!!
    if we could all only be so lucky!

  40. I knit Maine Morning mitts for myself and I love them. My 21 year old on is getting a pair for Christmas. They are really fast to make, which will give you time for the squares as well.

  41. love elizabeth D’s slipping in the ‘ok, and 6 seriously colourful’ part in her comment. hah!

  42. I would love to help sew up! Now, I live in eastern PA. And would need help getting there. Now, I drive….but a destination to drive to and then take subway would be preferable (to me) than driving into NYC. Shout out if you want/need help and can offer above directions!

  43. Both my boys, esp the 1st grader, want fingerless mittens…do they go ahead of the teachers, or behind??
    And let me know about the sewing – I knit no squares, but I’m in Westchester and work in the city, so I could come to a sew-in!

  44. Oh Kay, As a teacher, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for not sending your kids’ teachers a coffee mug!