Out of the gloaming

I am still moving along on my “11 mittens in 2011” project, albeit slowly. My most recent FO is a pair I’m calling “Gloaming,*” and made from a very, very popular mitten pattern called Bella’s Mittens.  I’m planning to send these off to the Great Frozen North of central New Hampshire.

Bella's Mittens
Close-up of the hand

This pattern was easy to follow, and if you’ve done any cables at all, I think you’ll find these to be very easy. If you’ve done lots of cables, you’ll probably be able to memorize the repeat after one or two times.  I really like this project and suspect I’ll do more.

Bella's Mittens
The pair! Proof that I finished both!

As is so often the case, I customized the thumb of the first mitten, didn’t take any notes… and couldn’t recall exactly what I’d done for the second thumb. No worries; they both seem to fit a wide variety of hands, but it would have been nice to have some notes.

Here’s a final shot showing the palm.

More mittens

*obscure joke

Finally done… or half done, anyway!

On Saturday I drove Myr to the January meeting of her local lace guild. This is always a great time for me to get some knitting done, and today was no exception. Other than a Lost Hour when I went off on a simple mission to get some Panera soup and sandwiches (and got lost), I spent several hours working on the thumb of my Deep in the Forest mittens. I cast on for these exactly 17 months ago, and this is just the first of the pair. Talk about your delayed gratification!

This pattern is by Tuulia Salmela, whose designs I like a lot.

Very rarely do I get though a knitting session without running into some sort of problem, and this time there were two of the little devils.

Devil One: Brittle Yarn

The yarn I used (Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift) is an established yarn from an old and well-loved maker, listed as a two-ply, but it looks like a single ply to me and nearly un-spun. I managed to get a ball of the black that is brittle. I’d gotten the tension under control enough that I hadn’t broken the yarn since the cuff, but on my last row, right at the tip of the thumb, the yarn parted. After some commiseration from the lace ladies, I took a break to get lunch, then came back determined to fix the thumb.

I first tinked back far enough to weave in the black again, and was knitting along toward the tip of the mitten for the second time when I became aware of the Second Demon…

Devil Two: Forgetting to Check the Fit

The lacer to my left looked over and commented that the thumb looked a bit long. I had Myr try it on, and sure enough, the thumb was about a half inch too long. After taking some measurements and making a couple of calculations, I decided that I needed to remove about 6 rows to get back to the right length. Since 6 rows was exactly the length of the decrease area, I would have to remove twelve rows to get the right length.

It was time to head to our next destination, so we packed up and drove from Matthews to Pineville, for a quick stop at our LYS. I had just enough time to rip back and pick up the stitches, and then off we went to Ballantyne. I had about an hour to wait, so I started working my way back to the tip of the thumb. The work was very fiddly with the fragile yarn and tiny 4-inch DPNs, but I got to the right length at long last.

At home I got out my dogtag instructions for Kitchener grafting and sealed everything up tight. I flipped the mitten inside out and wove in my yarn ends, then hemmed the cuff. At half past six I at last held the finished mitten…

Photo of a mitten made from the Deep in the Forest Mitten PatternPhoto of a mitten made from the Deep in the Forest Mitten Pattern

(I’m trying to stay enthusiastic about casting on for the second of the pair!)

Week One of the 11 pairs in 2011 Challenge

I know I mentioned a few days ago that I was joining the 11 mittens for 2011 challenge on the Ravelry group I Make Mittens. Our start time was midnight GMT on New Years Eve,  which meant that I could start at 7 p.m. my time. I was about to sit down to a lovely prime rib dinner then, so it was closer to 8 p.m. before I actually cast on. We watched a couple of shows on Netflix instant download after supper and I astonished myself by (a) staying up to midnight (it’s been a long time since I bothered to stay up for New Year’s) and (b) finishing the first mitten. I cast on for the second one Saturday morning and finished grafting the thumb tip at about 10 p.m. Myrriah suggested the color combination here. She said it would be a “witchy” look!

Green and Black basic mittens

I’m probably going to make a pair with blue cuffs and black hands next.