Friday, February 29, 2008

Let’s Talk about Mitts!

My sister and I have a joke about “little” life lessons. You know, the ones learned the hard way, but that eventually you ARE able to laugh about. Well anyway, I think on a smaller scale, we often get little knitting lessons, and I’ll tell you about a couple of them.

You know I knit some fingerless mitts for the Mitten Swap. That sounds easy doesn’t it! They turned out pretty well, but the innocent looking finished mitts have a hidden past.

My pal suggested some things she likes - fingerless for indoor wear, cables, and colorwork. Being ambitious (OK foolhardy) but not finding a pattern that incorporated them ALL, I put together a pattern of my own. I’d seen fair isle mitts with no cables, and cabled mitts in worsted weight that seemed too bulky for indoors, and I’d looked at lots of sock leg patterns for inspiration. I even started some twisted stitch wristies based loosely on a sock, but that wasn’t quite it.

Mitten Swap Wristies - with nose
Ivy, supervising the wristie

I pulled out all my Walker Treasuries and Harmony Guides looking for a cable that looked just right. And I found one. But first,

The request for colorwork led me to start the mitts with a corrugated rib cuff, for extra warmth at the pulse points. Corrugated ribbing is a knit and purl ribbing (like a typical ribbing) worked in two colors, that is often used in fair-isle designs. Generally the knits are worked in one color, and the purls in the other.

Swap Mitts - corrugated ribbing
Knit with orange, Purl with brown

One key difference is that corrugated ribbing, because of the stranding of the unused color across the back of the work, is not nearly as elastic as either plain knitting or one-color ribbing. I wrote about this a few weeks ago, and even ended up re-knitting that last cuff one more time, adding more stitches.

Mitten Swap Mitts-4

Lesson One: Knit corrugated ribbing on larger needles! With more stitches!

OK, so I was tooling along on the swap mitts. I got the first mitt mostly done on the planes down to FL, finished the thumb by the pool. Then I looked at it.

Mitten Swap Mitts - miscrossed cables
Blink. Blink. Blink.

Now can you see the mis-crossed cables?

swapmitts-07 miscrossed arrows

Lesson Two: Pay Attention!

All’s well that ends well though. I mean, at least I noticed. So, after finishing Mitt #2, I pulled #1 back to the first offending cable, and knit it back up.

And the first person to correctly identify the other mistake that was NOT fixed, and that we shall not otherwise speak of, will receive a skein of sock yarn in the color of their choice!

Lesson Three: Take better notes!

Mitten Swap Mitts - Cables
Done, and blocked

Mitten Swap Mitts - Cuffs
Cuffs that fit

Mitten Swap Mitts - Hands
Cabled back and smooth palm

The Mitts are done, wrapped, packed with goodies and have been sent to my Pal!