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Blue Lake Knitting – A bit late to the party…


When Chroma was first introduced in January by Knit Picks, I was very curious about the yarn, but since my stash was overflowing, and my fiber budget low, I had to wait a while to order.  My favorite color was Regency… but by the time I was able to order, it was out of stock.  I was just dying to try some… so I ordered Smoothie in worsted and U-Pick in fingering weight.   My plan was to use the U-Pick for a pair of mittens, and was not sure at all what to do with the Smoothie. 

Once I had the yarns in my hot little knitting fingers, my mind went blank! I looked at the colors again… the two skeins sat there for about a week while I thought about what I would do.

I started by casting on with the fingering weight U-Pick for a scarf… the Chinook I had knit back last fall… I cast on using a size 3 needle, and after about 6” of knitting decided that I did not like the fabric being produced at all for this scarf.  Rip, rip, rip!  Went to my needle storage and grabbed my US 7 Harmony tips and cast on again for the same scarf.  Eureka!  This looked SO much better… I knit on the scarf for several days, and then one night I got a terrible knot in the center pull ball… could not get it out, tried and tried and finally had to put it aside…


I had also purchased 2 skeins of Stroll Sport in Whisker to go with the U-Pick for the mittens I wanted to knit.  Well, since the U-Pick was in use; I looked at the Smoothie and thought that these might make good mittens, too.    I wanted to knit the Camilla mittens, with a few modifications…

I did a couple of swatches and decided that the pattern was WAY too many stitches for either of these yarns and reduced the number of stitches for the pattern, edited the pattern, etc.  And thought I had figured it all out.  I cast on the 48 stitches for the mitten, knit the ribbing and started the color work mitten… WRONG!!!  After about 5 rows of color work, I tried on the mitten… it would not even allow my small hands to enter the opening.  What to do, what to do???   Rip, rip, rip!

So, I cast on again using the exact number of stitches (72) required by the pattern, and one needle size larger – a US 2.  I finished the ribbing, did several rows of the color work, and my hand slipped easily into the mitten being created.  The pattern was suppose to make a medium size mitten for a woman, so that was OK… after all, these mittens may be for someone else.  Who know? 

I continued along my merry knitting way until the one mitten was finished except for the afterthought thumb… I think it looks pretty good. 


I was so excited about how nicely this mitten was turning out that I almost immediately started my afterthought thumb.  Of course, I had shown my neighbor the mitten… with scrap yarn stitches still intact, and she could not imagine how I would do the thumb… so I took the mitten to her house and showed her exactly how it was done… picking up the required stitches, attaching the yarn, and I knit a couple of rows with her watching wide eyed.

I finished the mitten Friday… and here it is…


I’m very happy with the mitten in general, but the thumb seems huge to me.  Another drawback is that toward the top of the thumb, the yarn got thinner (a natural a part of the singles yarn experience) and I think it makes the thumb look lumpy and lopsided.  Also, the thumb sticks out like a sore orange thumb… as Peggy Stuart said, "Good for hitch hiking"… and I responded by saying… “a big neon sign of a thumb.”  I’m hoping that with blocking, the thumb will blend-in a bit better. 

OK… mitten completed, I’m back to fixing the tangle problem with my U-Pick fingering weight.  I got out a couple of very small darning needles, and poked at the tangle/knot for a while, and finally reduced it.  But could not make it untangle.  I finally got totally desperate and CUT the yarn.  Not my best choice, but at that point, my only choice.  I did a Russian join, and continued knitting… a while later, I had another tangle, and after much work got that untangled.  Yet another Russian join required. 

I finally found the problem in my yarn winding, and knew another join would be required, but the areas where I did the Russian join did not look as good as they usually do.



So for my final (dear God I can only hope) join I did my VERY FIRST spit splice… I kept knitting, and gently included this section of yarn, and lo and behold, you can barely tell there are two yarns present.





I am at about 80% finished… and this is what it looks like so far…




  1. It is not always a good idea to make a center pull ball of yarn when knitting.  Some yarns should be knit from the outside of the skein.
  2. A Russian join is not always a good idea when using singles yarns.
  3. Everyone should try a spit splice at least once in their lives.

Yarn Review:

Chroma. If you have not tried out the new(ish) KP Chroma yarn, you should.  It knits up beautifully, the colors are exquisite!  And the yarn is extremely soft to the touch. There are literally endless possibilities with this wonderful yarn.


What is on my needles:  one more Camilla mitten, my Chinook scarf, one charity scarf.

What is on my wheel:  At this moment nothing… though I have several fibers waiting in the wings (Corriedale, KP WotA, Pica Vicuna, Alpaca, etc. etc.) to be next in line.

Audio Books:  I recently finished listening to Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx.  I picked this up quite by accident at the library the other day, and at first was totally puzzled.  But once finished, was very impressed with this book, the story it told, and the author.  Warning Signs by Stephen White – A very interesting mystery… I am proud to say that I picked the killer during the first CD… just guessing the most unlikely candidate.  LOL  A very good story,  loved the suspense, and the reader is excellent.

Weather:  We have had more rain this month than we should have in 3 months.  I have been flooded in at my home for nearly 2 months (thank God for knitting) and can only hope the end is near. And finally today for the first time in ages, I was able to drive out on dry ground and attend a Knitting Group Meeting.  Ahhh!


Happy Knitting to all of my dear friends! 


Susan, the Blue Lake Knitter


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Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on June 8, 2011 at 2:03pm
Elaine, So glad you enjoyed it.  The Mountain Colors Targhee top was purchased by my daughter at the Fiber Factory in Mesa, AZ... I think the same colorways are available in other stores and on line, too. And I have to agree that the sharing of our spinning experiences are one of the best parts.
Comment by Elaine Wenger on June 8, 2011 at 1:48pm
Your mittens are fantastic. Thanks for all the great tips. I agree that sometimes it's best not to use a center pull skein. Sometimes it's just easier to go from the outside. I loved the Targhee fiber with Mountain colors you showed on the spinner's KAL. Do you know where it was purchased? I am starting to spin some of the merino/silk/bamboo I purchased at the Maryland Sheep and Wool. It is drafting rather hard so I am needing to predraft and tearing my strips down thinner. I plyed a 100 yard skein to see what it will look like and am happy with the yarn it produces. However, my thumbs are sore from spinning today.  Oh well, I'm happy to have fiber and great friends to share with.
Comment by cherubhmm on May 23, 2011 at 4:57am
I am back to normal! Whatever normal is! Enjoyed reading thru your blogs!
Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on May 21, 2011 at 1:24pm
Thanks, so much Heather... I hope you are doing well...or at least better!
Comment by cherubhmm on May 21, 2011 at 10:38am
Love your mitten(s) - and the new photo!:)
Comment by Irene Soileau on May 3, 2011 at 12:00pm
Thanks for all the tips, great when someone shares so much, love it all. Irene
Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on May 2, 2011 at 8:10pm
Thanks, ladies... so glad you liked reading about my experiences.  I hadn't even planned to do this blog until I had the differing experiences with the joins... I thought it was blog-worthy.  Pickle, going down a needle size might have worked... but the difference in yarn size changed drastically at that point... and I'm not really sure it would have helped.  I think when I block it, it will look a lot better... fingers crossed.
Comment by PickleSue on May 2, 2011 at 2:43pm
What a great post, Susan!  Wonderful reading.  Fun, too.  Just curious about your 'sore thumb'.  Did you happen to go down a needle size from the mittens?  Since it is only one strand, that's what I'd recommend for next time.  :)
Comment by cherylbwaters on May 2, 2011 at 10:07am

Isn't it amazing how the needle size can make all the difference in how much you like a yarn?

Different joins for different kinds of yarn and project only makes sense. If I am using feltable yarn [typically this is natural animal fibers that have not been prepared as superwash], I almost always use spit splicing. If it is plant fiber or man made fiber, I usually use a Russian join, but I am not opposed to experimenting with different methods.

Hope you are keeping your heads above water!

Comment by Peggy Stuart on May 2, 2011 at 10:02am
Susan, I love your "Lessons Learned" section! It appeals to the former teacher in me. Good job on the blog! I've seen the photos before, but it's really nice to read the whole process at once. Thanks for the book suggestions! I'm always looking for those!

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