April 12, 2008

Lined Mittens

At the end of 2007, I was itching to try some stranded colorwork. With patterns like Kate Gilbert's Bird in Hand Mittens available, who wouldn't be? And I've long admired Stacey's beautiful colorwork. (I started reading her blog around the time she finished her fabulous Turret Socks.) And then my friend Chawne was working on these lovely Chocqua socks.

My first colorwork project wasn't actually stranded knitting (at least I think not in the technical sense) but these Newfoundland Mitts, which gave me practice maintaining gage with more than one color. (Pattern is from Creative Whimsy.)

Next, I tried these lined mittens from Marcia Lewandowski's Folk Mittens. My first mitten, pictured below on the left, turned out to be kind of skinny because, well, I was holding the yarn too tight. But I did gradually get the hang of holding the yarn in two hands--which, I'll just say, feels very cool. (I'm a continental knitter--never even tried it the other way before this project--so it took a while to get used to managing yarn in my right hand.) I left the first mitten as is for the sake of comparison and then cast on for a second mitten making a conscious effort to hold the yarn more loosely. And--yay--it worked! Check out the mitten on the right there. Notice that it's a little wider? (It's also not all curled up on the bottom which might be the result of using a long-tail rather than a knitted cast on?)

Also for the second mitten, I reversed the yarn so that the grey was dominant. But I decided I didn't like that as well, so I frogged and started again aiming again for a nice even gage but with the blue dominant. And, after about a week, I had completed...GIGANTOR mitten! Here it is next to ordinary sized mittens--that's one of A's there on the left and one of mine on the right.
Now, it's true that eventually these mittens will have a lining (hence the pattern name), and so they can afford to be somewhat large--but this one was WAY bigger than it needed to be. So, I frogged the top two sections (which included all the decrease rows) and then 6 more rows. This meant I was starting my decs on row 5 of the 5th section from the bottom. That modification got me a more reasonably sized mittenbut now I'm not happy with the way the decs look.
I think they're more obvious because they start in the middle of a section. In the original version, they started closer to the border rows that separate the sections. So... back to the drawing board. One possibility is to just start the decs sooner, closer to the border and, if the length is looking short, add extra rows between the dec rows. Or, I could try casting on for a new mitten (leaving Gigantor as is for the moment) and try fewer rows in each section. The original pattern calls for 10 stripey rows between border rows--if I tried, say, 8 instead, I think I'd get something close to the right length.

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And now for a complete change of topic--if you need a lift (if, say, you've been knitting and re-knitting the same mitten pattern and your head is about to explode), check out these wonderful pics of the newest additions to Bella Vita Farm & Fiber. They will make you smile.


Rima said...

Those are so pretty. I would love to make them for next year.

Deborah said...

hard to believe these were your first attempts at two color knitting. Beautiful!