Lookit What I Can Do!

So, the epic holiday knitting goals list?  Yeah, it went totally off the rails this weekend.  See, all of a sudden, it got really cold and really rains and it drove me to search for something warm and wooly to knit in a nice, thick worsted weight yarn.  When I realized that the yarn I had on hand wasn’t sufficient to make any of the projects I wanted to knit, it somehow started looking at colorwork mittens.  (I know.  I’m back to the mittens thing.)  

Several months ago, I ordered some O-Wool 2-ply from The Backwards Loop to learn colorwork, but when it showed up, the red and the orange weren’t colors I wanted to put next to one another, so they have been sitting in the stash.  I don’t really know what came over me, other than that my hands were cold and I had a whole Saturday with nothing that needed to be done, and before I knew what was happening, I was printing charts and winding yarn and by late Saturday night, I had this:

The picture is terrible.  I took it with the camera on my Blackberry because I was so tickled with myself that I couldn’t wait to dig out my camera, take a proper picture, transfer and upload it…I needed to show off right away.

There are so many things wrong this mitten.  I’m still figuring out the business of tension, and how to strand the running colors so that stitches aren’t pulled at strange angles.  Its hard to resist not pulling the yarn tight at the beginning of each needle to avoid ladders, so the tension where the needles meet is a little wonky.  I’m trying to move the stitches around every so often to prevent that, and it seems to be helping.  

I’m shocked by how thick and dense the fabric I’m making is.  Its possible that I should have gone up half a needle size, but I didn’t have anything between the 2.25mm I’m using and a 3mm (that I just realized is labeled in the package as a US2, but I’m pretty sure a 3mm is awfully big to be a size 2.)  When I read that the pattern had me casting on 60 stitches for the cuff, I was just sure these were going to be way too big for me, and possibly have to be worn my a man with largeish hands.  I mean…60 is only a few stitches less than I cast on for a sock to fit my husband, and he does not have petite calves.  Now that I’m about an inch above the top of the thumb gusset, that thinking makes me laugh and laugh.  These suckers barely fit me, and my palm is only about 3.5″ across.  (Those of you who have knit colorwork before, or haven’t but are perhaps just a little more clever than me are thinking, “Duh.  Stranded knitting can’t stretch the way normal old stockinette does.  Of course the same number of stitches is going to work up smaller.)  Lesson learned.  

I’ve been through about ten bajillion diferent needle options for these suckers.  I started off wanting to use two circs, but only had one the right size, so I was using one circ and two dpns and that just got annoying.  I switched to a set of 8″ dpns.  I have no earthly idea why I thought I ever wanted to knit socks on 8″ dpns.  (Actually, I do.  Its because the nice lady at The Quarter Stitch in New Orleans told me its what she liked, and at the time, I didn’t know any better.)  I mean, its nice that my stitches aren’t ever likely to fall off the ends, but the needles get all hung up on each other, and stick out way to far, and…well.  They didn’t last long before I switched to shorter needles, except bamboo was just too grippy.  I’ve finally settled on using my grandmother’s old 7”  aluminum dpns.  (That one inch makes all the difference.)  The package says the brand is Hero from Middleboro, Mass and that they cost 55 cents.  (Its actually two sets put together because for some reason, my aluminum dpns are always scattered all over the house, which is why the needles are pink and blue and don’t match.)

By the end of yesterday night, the mittens looked like this, which, as near as I can tell, is pretty darn close to the way they are supposed to look:


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Emilee
    Oct 19, 2009 @ 21:27:45

    They look lovely! I’m just getting the hang of colorwork myself, but I think they look great!


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