Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pining for Ice

I managed to make the trip across the Strait and got home Tuesday night. Other than going to the Rolling Stones concert, I didn’t really do much other than shovel snow and cook for my family. I did manage to get a bunch of knitting done. I missed my Dear Husband and my Dear Home. However, my parent’s home has heated floors which are a nice first thing on a snowy morning.

During my visit to Vancouver, I managed to score a couple of locally grown treasures:

The persimmon is from my mom’s tree. So far, the tree has only produced a half a dozen fruits but I’m hoping that it will be more productive in the coming seasons.

The alien fruit with the 5 o’clock shadow is a prickly chayote. It’s from a friend’s grandma’s garden. Supposedly they’re pretty easy to grow around here. I might have to put them on next year’s garden list.

Chayotes are in the same family as melons, cucumbers and squashes. It has a very mild green taste like a cucumber but a bit more denser flesh like a winter squash. You can pretty much do anything with a chayote from eating it raw to braising to stir-frying to pickling and pretty much anything in between.

Chayotes are used all over the world and especially in Latin American and Asian cuisines. Can’t wait to experiment with my stash of chayote. I'll keep you posted

I’ve been puttering about and enjoying the cold and snow. DH and I have been wandering about the house in our down jackets and wooly cozies and gleefully celebrating this cold snap.

(our front porch)

(the garden shanty is still up)

Unfortunately, it’s all about to change. It’s going to be a balmy 5C here today. DH and I selfishly want the cold arctic outflow winds to stay. The snow is nice too. I know, I know. There are folks who are snowbound, other's are without power and it's rush hour is a mess. Still we are hoping that another arctic outflow will come and bomb us again with nice freezing temperatures so we can go ice-climbing. It’s been so long since we’ve had a good ice season. I would very much like to climb on something that isn’t melting as I ascend. As fun as it was last year, I certainly would prefer scaling waterfalls that weren’t still running.

(Hey,that's me! This is from last year on Mt. Arrowsmith. I'm leading up on ice smear that barely was. We returned the following day to play some more but the ice had decayed too much to safely climb it.)

(A half frozen waterwall just outside of Port Alberni. Yippee!!!!)

(That's me again leading up that half frozen waterfall. The water is still gushing underneath all that ice. Farther up, the ice had opened and I had to stick to the sides for some mixed climbing. So much fun!)

We spent last night wat
ching both Ice Ages movies back to back as part of our ice inducing rituals. Here I am all bundled up and knitting away while watching movies.

Speaking of knitting, here’s the fingerless mitts off the needles and onto my hands:

For those wondering, it’s just a tube with a crotcheted thumb. I used Patton sock yarn, probably discontinued since it was in the discount bin. Any sock yarn will do. I knitted them on circular needles. You could use double points or circulars or regular needles. I knitted it as a flat piece but you could knit it up as a tube on DPs and simply open up the tube for a couple of inches for you thumb.

I knit, seam and make the thumb with one piece of unbroken yarn, It keeps the number of ends that need to be woven in to a minimum.

Fast & Dirty fingerless mitt instructions:

- 3.5 mm needles

Cast on 36 stitches (I knit fairly loose)

RS - Knit up K4, P2 ribbing. You can do it as a simple ribbing or do something funky cable ribbing. Keep in mind that some of the cable ribbing doesn’t have the same amount of elasticity.

WS –Knit what appears in the row below

Knit until it’s long enough for you. Keep in mind that it will stretch in width and shrink in length once you put it on. It will look like it won’t stretch wide enough to cover the circumference of your hand. You can simply knit up a couple inches, cast/off, seam it quickly and try it one to double check your gauge. Once you’ve figured out your numbers, keep it for future mitt projects.

Crochet the side edges together to make a tube. When you get to where the thumb ought to be, slip on the mitt and mark off how much space you need to leave for the thumb hole.

Continue crocheting on only ONE side of where the thumb ought to be. In other words, the tube will not be closed up for where the thumbhole ought to be. Continue crocheting both sides together once you get past the thumbhole. Once you get to the top of the mitt, crocheted back down to the thumbhole.

Crochet round and round and round the thumbhole. Decrease where it’s needed. Yes, you probably will need to try on the mitt to see how much you need to decrease. Again, once you figure out your numbers for this, write it down so you can use it again. I tend to crochet a few rows then decrease 2 stitches each row after that. Keep in mind that there won’t be much stretch in the crotched stitches so you don’t want to have the thumb piece too tight.

Bind off and weave in your ends.

I was able to get a pair of mitts out of one 50gr ball of wool sock yarn and still have some leftover. A grand total of $4 for a pair of custom-made toasty mitts.

I'm outta here to play in the snow before it all melts away.




Gina said...

Thank you for the pattern! I've been wanting a pair of mitts, but I'm put off by either not having my thumb covered or having to fiddle with thumb gussets in order to cover my thumb. This crochet option should do the trick! I lvoe chayote!

Ky said...

Great climbing photos!
I've gotta make me a pair of those mitts. Thanks for the instructions.
So what did you end up making with the chayote?
My grandma used them in everything. From soups to casseroles and in salads. Makes me nostalgic.