Mitts Are My Master

There was a time when I looked at pictures of fingerless mitts and… Meh! Really, why would anyone except maybe toll collectors wear fingerless mitts? thought I. Then smartphones. That was my A-ha! moment. I knitted my first pair of fingerless mitts for my DIL, and I haven’t stopped. Really, they are as addicting as socks, maybe even more addicting because they take so little time and yarn to knit. They are a great way to use up leftover yarn and can be knitted in any weight yarn. Fingerless mitts are the best thing ever.

And fingerless mitts are far more useful than I ever dreamed. I have always hated driving in gloves, so in the winter, my hands would be cold on the steering wheel. But now I’m nice and cosy when driving in cold weather because fingerless mitts! I can keep my mitts on in the store and handle money with no problems. I can read and send texts and answer or make phone calls without having to take off my mitts like I would have to do with gloves. I can carry shopping bags more securely with fingerless mitts on than with gloves on. And when it is super cold outside, I can slip a pair of fingerless mitts over a pair of gloves for extra warmth. Fingerless mitts are great!

I am always on the look-out for fingerless mitt patterns that appeal to me, and I recently found a free pattern from the Cascade Yarn Company. The Alhambra Hand Warmers really struck my eye. I thought the cable pattern was interesting, and that the pattern would look great worked up in worsted weight yarn. And I had some leftover lovely purple-blue worsted weight wool in my stash that I thought would show off this pattern perfectly.

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Because I worked the cables with a cable needle instead of using the method in the directions, and because I wasn’t paying close attention, I crossed my cables the wrong way, to the right instead of to the left.

But I thought the mitts as pictured on the pattern instructions left a lot to be desired.

The color of the yarn used doesn’t show off the cables very well.

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I don’t think this color would sing to anybody.

And the stocking stitch palm means the mitts will not fit a wide range of hands. On the model, the mitts look ill-fitting and sloppy.

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The mitts droop around the wrists when the wrists are flexed. Ugh!

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Really, just looking at these pictures might turn anyone away from making these mitts. The yarn they are knitted from is acrylic held double, the they just don’t look very good. And both mitts look like they have biased, but perhaps the model just didn’t bother to make certain they were on straight before the mitts were photographed.

So I decided to do some modifications to the pattern to produce a better fitting mitt.

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My main modification was to knit the palm in 2 x 2 ribbing. Now the wrists won’t be all droopy and the mitts will fit a wider range of hand sizes.

Version 2

I knitted an extra repeat of the cable pattern and did the thumb gusset increases every third round instead of every other round so that the mitts would fit my hand better. Otherwise, they would not have been long enough for me. Ignore my thumb. It looks worse than it is.

My modifications are detailed in the notes on my Ravelry project page, which you can view by clicking here.

The yarn I used is Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted weight wool, my favorite basic wool yarn, in Sapphire that I had left over from another project, and I was pretty sure I had enough to knit these mitts. I don’t normally play yarn chicken, but I decided to give it a whirl and, YAY! I won!

Nearly completed. The yarn that is left is on the left. The mitt on the far right still needs the thumb. There will be just enough yarn to do the thumb and probably a yard or two leftover. Perfect!

The little ball of yarn that is on the left is all that remains. It should be plenty to finish the thumb on the right-hand mitt, which is on the far right of the picture. I was cutting it close.

These mitts were a lot of fun to knit, the pattern is pretty well written, and I found only one mistake. It is written for one size only, but the knitter could easily adjust the size by using larger or smaller needles or a different weight of yarn. The directions for the cables are written only, no charts, so if you prefer to work from charts, you would have to make your own. This is a free pattern, so I’m not complaining about these “deficiencies,” just making sure that anyone who is interested in the patterns knows that there are no charts and only one size.

As an aside, I really hate it when knitters complain when a free pattern doesn’t have multiple sizes, or doesn’t have both charts and written out directions, or contains a few minor mistakes. They are usually the same knitters who bitch about having to pay for a pattern. If you want all the bells and whistles, you are going to have to pay for it. Tech editors and test knitters don’t work for free, nor should they. End of rant. End of post.

This Is What Happens…

Okay, so I want to knit something spectacular, maybe a big lace shawl or a fancy sweater. But I just can’t figure out which pattern, what yarn. So instead, I have a zillion small projects OTN.

I am knitting this Skyp Rib Hat based on the Skyp Rib Socks pattern to match a pair of mitts I knitted as part of my participation in the 16-Point Club in the Ravelry group Fingerless Glove Fanatics.

These are the Skyp Rib Mitts which I knitted for the 16-Point Club. I converted the Skyp Rib Socks pattern into a pattern for fingerless mitts. They yarn is an Opal handpainted sock yarn (color #17, Multi), and it probably wasn’t the best choice for the pattern, but the pattern was a good choice for the yarn. Capisce?

More fingerless mitts, these doing double duty for both the FGF 16-Point Club and the April 2016 MKAL (Mystery Knit-A-Long). This is clue #1 of the pattern, which is called Shadowplay. It’s corrugated ribbing, not my favorite thing to knit, but it looks great. I’m using complementary colors, which is one of the challenged of the 16-Point Club. The yarn is some Sisu sock yarn I had in my stash. It’s a nice, soft yarn, but it is splitty, so I don’t recommend it.

Yes, another pair of fingerless mitts, and yes, these are part of the 16-Poin Club. The stitch pattern is a waffle stitch, and I designed the mitts myself. I call them the Orange You Glad Waffle Mitts because they are mitts in a waffle pattern knitted in stash yarn, a ball of Brown Sheep Naturespun Worsted in the color Orange You Glad. Clever, aren’t I?

This is what happens when I cannot decided what to knit next. ::SIGH::

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Cow!

I cannot believe how long it has been since I wrote a blog post. How did I let that happen? It isn’t as though I haven’t been doing some knitting, albeit really boring knitting, or spinning–lots and lots of spinning. So, here’s a quick catch-up.

The kitchen remodel still isn’t done. It was a year ago February 12th, I think, that we signed a contract to have our kitchen remodeled. The job was supposed to be started right away and finished in 3 to 4 weeks. After more than a year, we finally terminated the contract and are now in the process of getting bids to get the work finished. All that’s left to do is the tile backsplash and some trim work. After some back and forth wrangling with the contractor from Hell, we finally gained possession of the tile and got him out of our lives forever. I’m hopeful we can have the rest of the work finished before the end of April, and then we can move on to other parts of the house.

My knitting mojo has been in the doldrums. I’ve finished some fingerless mitts and a scarf knitted out of handspun. I have a custom-order scarf nearly finished, too late for the recipient to wear this winter (it will be Spring in a couple of days), but in plenty of time for next winter. And I have a pair of plain vanilla socks OTN. I need to start an interesting knitting project, but I just can’t decided on anything.

Spinning is a different story. I’ve been spinning up a storm. I currently have 8 ounces of handspun 2-ply yarn resting on bobbins, ready to be wound off on the niddy noddy, two bobbins of singles resting and waiting to be plied, and another bobbin of singles-in-progress. And I have at least eight other skeins of handspun completed so far this year.

I am going to try to keep up with my blog starting now, but I’m not going to promise because I once was told that one should not make promises one might not be able to keep. 🙂

Here are pictures of a few of the finished items linked to the appropriate Ravelry project page, in case you are interested in the details.

Shades of Green Handspun Scarf while still in progress. I haven’t take a picture of the finished scarf yet.

Woo-Hoo! FO Friday!

I actually have some knitting FOs to share today. All are knitted from my very own handspun. Here are pictures and descriptions.

Two hats knitted from the Andraste color way from Into The Whirled.

Two hats knitted from the Andraste color way from Into The Whirled.

On the left is the Andraste Turns A Square hat, which is Jared Flood’s Turn a Square pattern, a simple but fun beanie that I enjoy knitting. The pattern is written for using two colors of yarn, but it works really well with self-striping yarn, and you don’t end up with color jogs.

On the right is my A Head for Andraste hat, which is the Barley Hat from Tin Can Knits. It was a lot of fun to knit. I understand why it is such a popular pattern.

The hat and mitts below were knitted from yarn I spun using Bee Mice Elf fiber in the Fall 2014 Club colorway, which I call Rustle.

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Rustling Leaves Slouchy Hat and Braided Cable Mitts were made to go together.

I didn’t use a pattern for the hat, and the pattern for the mitts is one of my own devising.

I had a lot of the “Rustle” yarn, about 8 ounces total, so I made this set of matching mitts and hat, too.

The mitts are the Braided Mitts by Tara Johnson (free download on Ravelry) which I modified for a better look and fit. I then “designed” the hat myself using the same cable as in the Braided Mitts pattern.

There are also two pairs of mitts knitted from Andraste, but I’m not quite ready to share those with you yet.

I have gotten a lot of pleasure out of Andraste and “Rustle.” First, I spun them up into beautiful yarn, then I knitted that yarn into lovely and useful articles of clothing. What comes next is the pleasure of wearing and/or gifting these handspun handknits.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀

Knitapalooza

Football season has started, which for me means lots of knitting because I watch lots of football. And I cannot sit in front of the TV for long without either knitting or spinning.

First things first, I finished the Gray Vanilla Socks I was knitting for my DH.

I know, the picture is crappy. What can I say? I’m a lousy photographer, and I’m too lazy to try again. I’d probably just end up with more lousy pictures.

I had 3 50-gram balls of Socka, but I managed to knit these socks with only one ball per sock and even had a few yards left over. Usually 100 grams of sock yarn isn’t quite enough to knit a pair of socks for the DH. He likes the cuff to be a little on the long side–about two inches longer than what I knit for myself–and the foot is about an inch longer than mine, and I usually cast on 8 more stitches than I do for my own socks. So whereas 100 grams of sock yarn is plenty for knitting a pair of socks for myself (and for the other sock-worthy women in my life), it’s usually not sufficient for a pair of socks for my DH.

These socks are just plain, old 2 x 2 rib with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel and a round toe, utilitarian rather than decorative, so I’ll have to dig around in my sock yarn stash and find something a little more splashy for the next pair I knit for him. He rather likes socks with a bit of flair.

Socks are just the beginning of my knitapalooza. For me, football season and hockey season are knitting season. September 5th was the first Saturday of the college football season, and although it wasn’t as productive as it normally would have been because we had a wedding to attend and didn’t get back home until mid-afternoon, I did get a good start on a pair of fingerless mitts knitted with Cascade 220. I used the Center Ice Mitts pattern, a free download on Ravelry, but with Steelers colors. I really like this particular pattern. It’s well written and includes options for using either two or three colors, so it can be adapted to just about any team in just about any sport. I prefer Brown Sheep Nature Spun to Cascade 220 for knitting hats and mitts, but I had Cascade 220 in white and yellow in my stash already, and only had to buy one skein of  black.

Unfortunately, after knitting about half of the first mitt, I tried it on and decided it was a little too tight. I ripped it out and started over with a needle one size larger. Don’t tell me that I should have swatched first; in the time it would take to knit a swatch, I can knit half a fingerless mitt, so the mitt is my swatch. Anyway, during football weekend #1, I finished the first mitt sans thumb and got a good start on the second mitt.

Steelers on Ice Mitts without thumbs

The second Saturday of college football was shaping up to be a very productive knitting day, but we ended up having the DS and DIL here to watch football, and the DIL and I decided to walk up to the boulevard to get tacos, and then we got caught in the rain and thought we’d wait it out in the library. But after about 10 minutes in the library, we realized the rain wasn’t going to let up any time soon, so we walked back in the rain, the whole time kicking ourselves for not bringing an umbrella. But I still got Steelers mitt #2 completely done, and got the thumb knitted on mitt #1.

Steelers on Ice with thumbs. This pattern is quick and easy. The most difficult and time-consuming part is weaving in all the ends.

These mitts should be nice and warm.

But that wasn’t the end of my Saturday football knitting. I also got a skein of my handspun wound into a cake…

A lovely cake of handspun yarn made from Bee Mice Elf “Rustle” BFL

and I cast on for another pair of fingerless mitts.

Mitt #1 early on

I love the pretty autumnal colors of the yarn, so I am calling them Autumn Leaves Mitts. I got the first mitt sans thumb finished on Sunday while watching NFL games, and even got a good start on the second mitt.

Mitt #1 just needs a thumb, and mitt #2 is off to a good start.

I’m trying to get the mitts as close to matching as I can. With handspun yarn, the color repeats are not as precise as they would be with mill spun, commercially dyed yarn, or even with mill spun, hand dyed yarn. I don’t expect total matchy-matchy identical twins, but I would like to end up with obvious siblings.

The pattern I’m using for the Autumn Leaves Mitts is Braided Mitts by Tera Johnson, and it’s a free Ravelry download. The pattern as written makes a mitt that is too small for my hand (and I have fairly small hands), so I had to make a couple of modifications to the pattern. I knitted a 2 x 2 wrist cuff for 24 rounds instead of 12, and I did the thumb gusset repeats at a rate of every 4th round instead of every 3rd round because otherwise, the thumb gusset would be too short. I could have just knitted a bunch of plain rounds after completing the increases before putting the thumb stitches on waste yarn, but I like the look of the diagonal lines the increases create, so I changed the rate of the increases.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is that the designer took great care to place the beautiful braided cable so that it is in the center of the back of the hand when the mitts are worn. All to often, a cable will be placed so that it is in the middle of the mitt when the mitt is not being worn, but when you put the mitt on your, the cable will be off center.

I’ll work the thumbs when I have both mitts finished. I want to try to use a piece of yarn for the thumbs that will match the hand. I will probably have enough yarn left from this skein to make another pair of mitts. And I have a whole other skein, so I could knit a hat to go with the mitts. Or I might use the leftover from skein #1 along with skein #2 and knit a scarf using Yarn Harlot’s pattern for a scarf knit from handspun. This yarn is BFL, and it is incredibly soft and would feel wonderful around my neck.

I’m happy to be knitting again, and it will only get better because in just a few short weeks, hockey season starts. And hockey means more knitting!

Opalicious

After complaining a bit about Opal sock yarn when I was working on the Opal Clouds Socks, I started another pair of socks in, you guessed it, Opal sock yarn. This time, it’s Opal Elemente, which is a more classic Opal colorway. This is the reason so many sock knitters like Opal.

Look at those gorgeous colors!

The pattern is Adrienne Ku’s Skyp Rib Socks (free Ravelry download here)

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The Skyp Rib Socks done in two colors

with a few modifications. I cast on 72 stitches, did 20 rounds of 2 x 1 cuff, and turned a Fish Lips Kiss heel.

The Fish Lips Kiss heel fits me perfectly.

I’ll finish off with a round toe instead of a wedge toe because a round toe just fits me better. And, of course, I am knitting the sock in just one color.

I’m using one of my new Hiya Hiya sock needles, 2.5mm, and I must say that I like this needle a lot. The points are very sharp, which I like, and the cables are flexible without being too floppy. And the length of the cable is perfect for doing Magic Loop. I think I like the Chiao Goo Red Lace needles just a teeny, tiny, little bit better than the Hiya Hiyas, but it’s really six of one, a half-dozen of the other.

I’m happy with the yarn, happy with the needles, happy with the pattern. Life is good.