Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mitten Knittin'

My ultimate goal with this project was to learn more about knitting with two colors before I started the patterning on the Jester sweater. I accomplished that and more!

I'd knit a green and gold Fair Isle hat a few years ago (Yeah, um, that was to wear to the championship game where Favre threw the pick in the end zone 11 rows in front of us in overtime when it was like 3 degrees - note for Jean in MN ;-). But I digress.

Aside from the obvious color structure, mittens presented a whole new set of challenges. I had to not only get my tension between stitches right, but also every time I turned a corner. I had to figure out how to pick up the stitches for the thumb, weave in my ends and stitch the cuff lining into place. I wanted a finger hole so I could answer my phone or check the weather. I over-thought that one, but learned some new tricks along the way.

Stella shamed me into taught me to always rip back and fix mistakes and I did a fair amount of frogging (rip it, rip it). Several times. I loved this project because tinking (knit spelled backwards ;-) was so easy because everything was a knit stitch - no stitch patterning to really muddle me up. It's sad when how easy to fix mistakes is a selling point, eh?

Anyway, I persevered and now I have a pair of pretty mittens knit from some of my favorite sheep. I had found a small bag of it buried in the storage shed and vaguely remembered having it processed. I think it was the second year, which would mean this wool came from Elizabeth, Jester, Joshua and Crazy Esther, all blended together. Pretty special.

And so, without further ado, I'm awarding myself a 2012 Mitten Knittin' badge!

And I had so much fun blocking these mittens, that I thought I'd share that as well.

Here they are, straight off the needles. They don't look too bad, but they are curvy around the thumb holes, wider and narrower in spots and a little lumpy. I also ran out of my first skein of dark gray and the second skein I spun ended up a tad heavier. I hoped a good blocking might camouflage that.

Keep in mind this is just how I do this. I could be way off base, so don't take this for gospel. I used a shallow sauce pan to heat up my wash water. I did not cook or boil my mittens ;-). I added some Mrs. Meyer's laundry soap - my favorite - and let them soak for about 20 minutes. I did two washes and two rinses and on the last rinse I added some Fibre Rinse.

While they were soaking, I made some cardboard cutouts to match and covered them with shipping tape - picked up that handy tip from a nice site I found, Two Strands. For all it's problems, you gotta love the internet.

I gently squeezed out the excess water and then rolled the mittens up in a towel to get them a little drier. I then stretched them over the forms and pinned them in place.

I didn't like the finger hole all stretched out, so pinned it together too.

And hung them out to dry...in the warm "June" sun. So much for needing warm mittens this winter :-/. I think next time I'll make a thumb blocker too. I steamed them this morning and that was fine, but in the spirit of over-thinking things... ;-).

And here they are. You can sort of see the stitched in lining. I like that and will probably incorporate that into all future mittens. The pattern was really well written and enjoyable to work. The mittens are pretty and with the double strands of yarn throughout, they'll be toasty some winter.

Who else completed the Mitten Knittin' challenge? I hope you learned as much and had as much fun as I did! And feel free to award yourself the Mitten Knittin' badge! That's Woolliam, by the way, adapted from the Six Sheep A-Skating Christmas card.

Ready for a February challenge?


Alice said...

WOW!!! Well done to the very end!!! Give yourself a mittened pat on the baa-ck!

Lori Skoog said...

OK OK>>>>>I'm impressed!

Christine said...

The blocking doohickeys are brilliant. Why didn't I think of that?

Michelle said...

Those are gorgeous mittens and I love the idea of a finger hole. Also, the thumbs look like they would fit great; I have trouble with mittens sometimes being too tight at the base of my thumb.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I really love warm and cozy mittens, and yours look like they are just that!! What a great job you've done!!

Marcy said...

Love this mitten pattern. They are beautiful! I, on the other hand, did not finish my mittens! They are sitting in a bag next to my chair while I work on other things that inspire me more. Oh well.....

Anonymous said...

Too much procrastination in my world -- maybe by next winter...

Jean - MN

farmlady said...

This is on my list of things to knit this year.... and a pair of socks.
Thanks for the demo on blocking. Looked like a good one to me.

Dreaming said...

Lovely! Impressive!
Thanks for sharing all of your blocking techniques!

Anonymous said...


June said...

Your mittens are wonderful!! Very good job! I had just finished a pair of Aran-style mittens right before you issued the challenge, and I am working on some Irish Hiking mittens, but am in no hurry. I love the new badge & will probably use it... Thanks!

Sheepmom said...

Beautiful pattern and color choices! Wonderful job. Very impressive! You realize you are going to become one of those 'go to' people that other people seek out when they have knitting problems. :-)

What's your Feb challenge? (Please don't say clean the house top to bottom.)

Kim said...

Love the mittens! And the art of Wooliam too!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin