Fun with Delightful Techniques

3 Dec

The Apis Dorsata Mitts I’m knitting for Christmas are coming along nicely. I got most of the first mitt done on Sunday. Of course I did nothing but knit the whole day, but it was so worth it.

I even had to rip out the first inch I knitted. I tried doing two at once on circular needles, but since the honey comb pattern is mirrored, it would’ve been too much of a hassle to keep track of things. I also didn’t have 2,25 mm circulars and tried to wing it by doing the smaller size on 2,50 mm needles. The cast on edge seemed too tight… I just got scared, man, way too scared.

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I absolutely adore the yarn (Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk Paints in colorway Forest glen). Hopefully the color I chose is okay. I’ve already knitted a shawl for the recipient of these which is somewhat similar in color – more purplish browns than greenish browns, but in the same general tone. I see that shawl worn all the time. This gives me hope my choice wasn’t completely hopeless.

To get to the title of this entry, what I love most about these mitts (although it’s hard to choose) is that I’ve learned a bunch of new techniques.

I hadn’t actually done a tubular cast on before now, and it is as brilliant as everyone (apparently) says. I used these instructions from Knitty, and simultaneously met and fell in love with the backwards loop cast on. I used backwards loops for the thumb join as well, and I have never managed to cast on those thumb stitches without creating unsightly holes. But now, lookit! Instantly neat!

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And then! Then I tried a tubular cast off á la TECHknitting. It’s the prettiest, most professional looking cast off I can think of, and it’s very simple but looks like magic. What it is, is essentially this: two rounds of slipped stitches establish the purl and knit stitches in 1×1 ribbing as separate layers that can then be grafted together using kitchener stitch.

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Voila!

The result looks almost exactly the same as the tubular cast on. When you think about it, it should look the same because in both cases a fabric grows in two directions from the same spot. If that makes sense? It does in my head.

I can’t wait to finish these and take pictures that actually capture the beautiful colors.

In other Christmas gift thoughts… I’d love to design and print out little cards with washing instructions and holiday greetings for my knitted gifts. I’ve always included handwritten notes… but my normal handwriting is all but illegible, and when I try to write nicely, it looks like a second grader’s attempt.

Whenever I think about this, it occurs to me I could  totally learn calligraphy! …That’s probably one of those things that I will never ever actually do. I’ll put it off “until I retire”, but then I retire, and I still won’t do it. Yeah, printing something out is slightly likelier to happen.

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