Tag Archives: mitts

Giant Honey Bees

12 Dec

We had about a week or so of beautiful, snowy weather (or it could’ve been two weeks, I don’t really have a sense of time worth anything.) So I was planning to take pictures of my finished Apis Dorsata mitts outside. The yarn is pretty but hard to capture in artificial lighting. However, since I finished the mitts, we’ve had a little bit of a blizzard and after that, as a complete meteorological non sequitur, rain. 

So I give up, I’m taking the pictures inside.

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They’re nice and long as requested (they’re a Christmas gift). Personally I like some of the details in the design a lot. At first I didn’t understand the decreases in the arm and how they’re set on the inside like that where the wearer can see them clearly all the time. But then I saw how beautifully the decreases are mirrored in the thumb gusset increases.

I usually prefer all things to be symmetrical, but didn’t even notice at first that the honey comb patterns aren’t. That kept the knitting interesting, and makes sense in the context.

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The Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk Paint is very soft and has nice drape, and  I love the colors. I’m a little worried, though, about how well the yarn will hold up in use. I guess that’s something to think about before using a merino and mulberry silk blend. Still, the only place where I can see some wear on the yarn is in the cast on edge of the first mitt which I ripped back once or twice.

 

All my Christmas knitting is now done. I’ve never finished this well in advance, and the feeling is sort of odd. The cloud to this silver lining is that I finished because I’ve had a cold for a week. I feel like I’ve watched everything on Netflix, and must have knitted a record amount.

I still have to tuck in some ends and block some socks and slippers. Normally I wouldn’t bother with blocking foot wear, but since they are gifts, and blocking does give that nice finished look to practically speaking anything… I can’t get very excited about this bit, but it has to be done. Then there’s the gift tags that I haven’t figured out yet.

Meanwhile I’m getting excited about new, shiny things: touchscreen thread. How cool is that!

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.

My First Love

14 Jul

More twist can be better! I learned this when finishing my second handspun. I’d watched in horror as the skein of yarn I just plied wound in on itself. My first yarn didn’t have enough twist. At first I thought my second yarn had too much. I feared in vain: a quick soak and drying straightened that skein right out. And I was in love.

100 g of BFL aka heaven

It was incredibly soft, like you wouldn’t believe. I was not expecting to get “soft” in my first attempts at this spinning stuff. And it shines and is all pretty, and is kind of even. Yeah baby!

So I made a thing with it. I was starting to feel the first signs of an impending knitting funk, so I decided on crochet. It’s so fast and everything. (I’m sorry about the nearly un-intelligible gushing, by the way. I think the yarn fumes are getting to my head.)

The thing I made was the Catesby Three Hour Cowl (available for free on Ravelry). Took me a lot longer than thee hours by the way, my crochet is not yet as fast as lightning. This reminds me: I was validated the other day when, perusing the newest issue of Interweave Crochet, I learned there are at least two real, valid crochet hook holds (as Men Crochet 2 there explains). There’s the pen hold everyone keeps telling me is correct, and then there’s the knife hold, which is what’s always been natural to me. So there, the crochet police can get off my case 😉

Excuse me while I feel awkward in this photo

I can’t wait for it to get cold again so I can wear this thing 🙂 I used the leftovers to free crochet a pair of mitts that I’m not too thrilled with, but ripping back seems like too much of a hassle, so guess what, I have a new pair of mitts anyway!

I Can Cancan

26 Jan

I made myself proud and used some left over yarn for this pair of mitts. I have some real problems using left over yarn – not because for a lack of suitable patterns, but because I get bored with yarn oh so very easily. I also always buy way too much yarn for any given project. I’m hoping that trend is now ending so that I won’t end up with stash beyond life expectancy…

Pattern: CanCans

Yarn: Ranco Solid from Araucania

Colorway: 107

I needed a quick gift, so I made the short cuffed version of the pattern. The pattern was one of those great ones: everything fits together, there’s nothing missing and nothing extra.

Once I comprehended the instructions for the left twist, I vowed never to do crossed stitches in any other way again. (The pattern says  “Knit 2nd stitch through the back loop, leave on the left needle. Knit 1st stitch and slip both stitches off the left needle.” and I kept reading “K2tog through the back loop, …” and that didn’t work at all.) This way of crossing stitches was so simple, so fast, so much better than switching the positions of the stitches before knitting them.

 

I Learned My Lesson – Bring On the Next One

25 Jan

Every knitting project I do teaches me something new about knitting – a fact that is both fulfilling and depressing.

I’m not a perfectionist in the sense that I cannot finish things I know will not be perfect, or that I don’t enjoy doing things when they’re not perfect. But I do like to experience some perfection from time to time.

If every knitting project teaches me something, that pretty much means every knitting project has a fault of some kind, and sometimes that’s kind of a bummer. On the other hand, there’s always the next project – maybe next time everything will go as I would like. Learning in itself is a joy of course, and knitting provides an abundance of small challenges that are easy but rewarding to overcome.

I thought about this business of mistakes and learning a lot while finishing up these mitts in December…

Pattern: Bird & Vine Mitts

Yarn: Nalle from Novita

Needles: 3 mm

*****

I knitted the first one in August. It was a fun knit but I wasn’t pleased with the quality of my color work – wonky stitches and strange problems with lines of smaller stitches running up the mitt (like ladders but in reverse).

I then read about what was probably wrong with my technique in Debbie Stoller’s Stitch ‘n Bitch  Superstar Knitting. When I knitted the second mitt, I took care to keep the contrasting yarn closer to the fabric/to me, and never wrapped the resting yarn in the same place on two consecutive rows. I was amazed at how much better the results were. The difference is most evident in the wrong side of the palms.

The mitt on the left is the first one. Where the white is more prominent, the green stands out too much on the right side of the fabric, creating an uneven look.

I’m so glad I learned this and will be able to knit much better stranded color work from now on… but I wish I hadn’t learned it in between mitts in the same pair. The two are very different so the mistakes in the first mitt bother me more than usually. Usually I can happily overlook all mistakes once I’m finished with the knitting.

My mom loved the mitts, though, so I gave them to her. It just means I have to knit another pair of mitts for myself, and this time, I swear, they will be epic. 🙂

The Mitts I Wanted to Keep

23 Jan

Here’s another Christmas gift, a pair of man-sized mitts, knitted with ice fishing in mind.

Pattern: Korinpohja

Yarn: 7 veljestä from Novita, 90 g

Needles: 3,25 mm

*****

I like 7 veljestä from Novita: it’s a durable, affordable, warm wool blend that comes in a good range of colors. Unfortunately it’s an aran weight, and I for one have not found a lot of interesting patterns for that weight. Aran (and 7 veljestä specifically) used to be the one and only sock yarn for me, but in the last couple of years I’ve come to favor fingering weight for socks, thanks to Ravelry. I was pleased when I found this mitt pattern, as it specifically calls for 7 veljestä.

These were an incredibly quick knit probably because of the thicker weight. My hands loved the warmth of the thicker fabric while knitting – something the thin fabric of fingering weight knitting just cannot provide.

The design is simple but beautiful. Unfortunately my pictures are hurried because this was a gift. There never seems to be enough time to take pictures in daylight around Christmas time. Maybe I will knit a pair for myself some day, though I highly doubt it. Giving something hand-knitted as a gift is always a little bit sad because I so rarely knit the same pattern twice.

I learned a new cast-on for these mitts: the twisted long-tail cast-on. It’s as easy to do as (what for me has been the “normal”) long-tail cast-on, but I think the result is prettier and more elastic.

Musica

22 Sep

There’s something about some stranded colorwork patterns that make the knitting easier… Sometimes it’s just easier to maintain an even gauge and to get neat results. This was definitely one of those patterns.

Pattern: Musica

Published in Coala näht und strickt

Yarn: Sisu from Sandnes Garn, colorway 6755

Yarn: Evilla Artyarn 8/2, colorway A-52

Needles: 3 mm

*****

I also like the idea of these mitts: the looong wrist and the short palm. I used to play the piano, and would’ve really appreciated these back then. My left wrist often ached and the only thing that helped was wool yarn wrapped around my wrist a few times. And as I wish to some day continue playing the piano but can’t do anything about that dream right now, knitting these was somehow consoling.

What I didn’t like about this knit was my yarn choise… This was one of those times when I had to begin NAO and I only had these yarns in fingering weight. The Sisu was fine, as always, but the Evilla Artyarn was getting a little too light by the end of the second mitt, so the lighting has to be pretty good for any contrast between the colors to be visible. Also, the Evilla is pure wool and wasn’t quite slippery enough for stranded colorwork.

Despite this, these are my favorite accessory this fall, by far. I never understood the point of mitts, but after finishing these I’ve found out they’re the best thing since sliced bread. They keep my hands just warm enough now that the weather is getting a bit chilly, but allow me to use my hands unlike any gloves, let alone mittens. They even give more freedom of movement than fingerless gloves. Maybe that’s why I cast on two other pairs of stranded colorwork mitts immediately after finishing these… But that’s another post, or two.

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