So many mitts

So, I try really hard to keep the blog (and instagram…and twitter…and ravelry…and even, in theory, pinterest) up to date, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.  It seems to go in phases, and just lately I’ve been chattier over on instagram (I think it’ something about the 8 zillion little heart notifications and the never ending scrolling wall of pretty…that’s totally not an accident, it’s pretty much designed to reel you in and steal your attention for hours on end).  And that means I’ve been scandalously remiss and haven’t show off the mitts in a while.

They zipped along in record time.

And now they’re all done (the sort of done that means blocked and ends woven in and photos taken and pattern written and tested, and all set to go up on ravelry, not just the sort of done where I’ve finished knitting and then jammed them in the ‘needs photos’ basket to languish for an indeterminate period of time).

They should be out on Tuesday! (I say ‘should’ because I always worry if I say ‘will,’ I’ll die…or my house will burn down…or I’ll end up in the hospital…and then I’ll be furious that I said they’d be out on a particular date and missed it.  But generally, when I say ‘it should be out on Tuesday’ what I mean is ‘it’s coming out Tuesday unless my world blows up.’)

Now if you’ll excuse me, the pink speckles in this pretty much perfectly match my winter coat, and I think that means I need to go for a walk and show them off!

 

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Look I just have a weakness for sets ok…

Yeah yeah, in what will be a surprise to absolutely no one who knows me at all, there are about to be mitts to match the hat.

Because I can, that’s why.

And because having sets of knitted things is about as close as I come to having anything you’d consider opinions about fashion.

The only real question I have is ‘is there going to be enough yarn (and enough patience) for a cowl after this?’  Because I think there’s a tiny chance the answer to both is yes…

Reminders

This is your occasional reminder to put set your thumb stitches aside on waste yarn (rather than a spare needle or a cable needle) if you have the choice.

Yes, that sometimes means finding scissors (to snip off a few inches of the yarn) or a darning needle (to run said yarn through the stitches).  But especially if it’s the first mitt of the pair, doing it this way lets you try it on and make sure you’re happy with how long you’ve made the mitt before you start the thumbs.

I know I had a few pairs of mitts early on where the thumb started just a tiny bit too soon, so the mitt sort of chafed against the skin between my hand and my thumb every time I’d wear it.  Which meant I swore at them every time I wore them…and as soon as I knit a few more pairs, I never reached for the too-small ones again.

So…be smarter than me. Try your mitt on to make sure you’re putting the thumb at the right spot, and do it with waste yarn (which will better conform to your hand and so give you a more accurate idea of the fit).  Then wear your comfy mitts with glee!

Pattern next week…not long from now at all.  Standard stuff applies, mailing list folks will get a heads up and a coupon code.  And if you’ve already got the matching hat in your library (or if you buy them together when the mitts come out), you’ll be able to get the mitts for a discount!

So let’s talk thumbs

I mentioned last time I had to be a bit more mellow than I normally am and embrace a little bit of chaos because of the long color changes on this yarn.  The left and right mitts won’t match exactly, and that’s just ok.

But…that doesn’t mean I’ve totally embraced a go with the flow attitude.  I still want to keep the thumbs as tidy and uniform as I can.  That means doing a very tiny bit of math.

So normally when I knit a mitt, I knit the wrist, then increase for the thumb, then knit up to the middle of the hand. Once the mitt reaches the middle of my palm, I set aside the thumb stitches on a bit of waste yarn and keep knitting up the rest of the hand.  Then I come back and join on a new strand of yarn and knit the thumb.

This works great for most yarn.  But for this one, there would be a big jump in the color if I did that.  The yarn would have kept clicking along, changing color the whole way, as I knit the second part of the hand (about 15-20 rows, each of about 50 stitches).

Instead I figured out how much yarn I’d need for the thumb (by knitting one row of the 15 stitches I’d use in the thumb, ripping that back, measuring how much yarn those 15 stitches took, multiplying that by the 12 rows I want in the thumb, and adding in a bit for the bind off), broke the yarn there, and then joined back on and knit the second part of the hand.

You still have a tiny jump, but it’s a 15 stitches over 12 rows jump, not a 50 stitches over 20 rows jump (~180 stitches of color change instead of ~1000 stitches of color change).  That makes me much happier.

And no, no you generally won’t need to do it for most yarn.  But for long color change yarn like this, it’s a neat trick to have in your back pocket.  And of course the pattern will talk about how to do it in more detail…because we’re knitters…we like the tiny details.  But it’s a handy enough idea I wanted to let everyone know about it!

Pattern for these should be out on the 22nd, and the pattern for the matching hat is already out.

 

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And some matching mitts…

As is traditional in these parts, I decided the hat was lonely and needed some friends. So I cast on some mitts to go with it. (This is the bit where I remind you that today is the last day to take 10% off the hat with the code SUGGEST…so if you’re reading this the day it comes out, get on that if you want it on your needles, this is the time.)

I’m having to be a little more mellow than I’m normally inclined to be and just sort of embrace the color changes.  The left and right mitts won’t match exactly (because by the time I get to the second one, the color will have changed and be on to the next shades in the progression).

But really, I don’t think that will be a bad thing at all.

And if anyone stops me on the street to scold me for my mismatched mitts, I can distract them by pointing out all the lovely cable work on the first mitt…and quickly slap them with the other mitt when they aren’t paying attention.  It’s good to have a plan!

Gratuitous shot of the hat just because it’s pretty and I like showing it off.

And info because otherwise someone will ask…the hat pattern is called Imply, it’s out now. The mitts to match it will be out later this month.  You’ll be able to buy both together for a discounted price if you love them both (and of course it will totally still work if you buy the hat now and the mitts later…ravelry is super cool like that).  And the yarn is Coventry DK by June Pryce Fiber Arts in the color Speckled Soul Searching.  I got one 510 yard skein and made the hat and mitts both with plenty left over.

Compunction (plus giveaway)

Ok…moment of truth here…think about your stash.  Do you have a skein of sock yarn you just know isn’t going to become socks?  I suspect you do, and I have a feeling Compunction might be just the thing to do with it!

Now I want to be clear…just because a skein of sock yarn isn’t destined to be socks doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it.  In fact, quite the opposite.  It could be too lovely to hide away in shoes, or too delicate to be subjected to the rigors of life as a sock.  Or it could be something special you just want to see and touch and interact with in a way you don’t normally do with socks.

That’s sort of what happened here.  On one of our trips to Maine, The Boy spotted some yarn he really liked.  It was made by a local shop and named after one of our favorite places and just seemed too perfect to leave behind.  But it also wasn’t the sort of thing I wanted to make socks out of (I tend to favor chunky yarn for socks and this is skinny stuff).

But it would be perfect for a hat.  A hat, and just maybe some mitts too. Because really, sometimes you don’t need something huge and bulky, and something a bit lighter is just the ticket.

A simple little herringbone stitch let the yarn shine (and makes the knitting fly, you’re slipping about half the stitches which always feel super fast to me).  And I suspect you can get both pieces out of just about any full-sized skein of sock yarn (I got a large man’s hat and cuffs out of mine with yarn to spare).

And one more confession, I totally don’t have this exact yarn to give away (there was only one in the shop!), but I do have two other beautiful skeins of sockish-yarn-that-just-isn’t-destined-to-become-socks to send home to two lucky winners.  They’re both yarns I got on various adventures, and they’ll both look amazing in this pattern.  Just leave a comment telling me about a special skein of yarn in your stash to be entered to win.

And I am not quite cool enough to send yarn to everyone, but I can give everyone a discount.  You can use the code DESTINY to get 10% off the hat between now and Friday.  Just put Compunction in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code DESTINY.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

Comments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, April 7, 2017 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick winners, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winners).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them. Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.

Two down

One mitt two mitt red mitt blue mitt (well…purple mitts, but we’ll call that a fair interpretation of the text).

And, just because it’s how these things go around here, a hat sort of leapt on the needles. to go with it.

 

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Matched

This is one of those tiny tiny things that likely matters to no one but me, but I deeply love how nicely these increases are mirrored.  It’s a tiny bit fiddly, and I’ll have to explain it all in the pattern, but wow is it satisfying to the part of my brain that thrives on this sort of thing!

Clicking along

It’s grown!  First mitt is more or less sorted save for a thumb.

15534970_1822967851292542_424440792883396608_nAnd the second has leapt on the needles and gotten underway.

14582469_102168156953412_3053066395576172544_nAnd, as so often happens, the hat is being planned.  Because I intend to wear these all the time, and I totally want to have a hat to match!

Bendy is better

So you know that line in a lot of mitt patterns where I tell you to set aside the thumb stitches on an extra needle or a bit of spare yarn?  Well if you have the option, I really recommend the bit of spare yarn.  Why?

DSC_3212 copyBecause the yarn will be ever so much bendier than an extra needle would be.  And if you try the mitt on (which you should folks, you really really should), the yarn will give you a much better idea of how it will fit than a stiff needle would.

So yes, doing it that way does mean you’ll have to find a darning needle to slip the spare yarn in there.  But I promise it gives a much better idea of the fit and it’s totally worth it.