WIP: “Dashing” fingerless gloves

I took a couple of snaps of my current ‘train project’ (knitting I mainly work on while commuting). This is a pattern called Dashing by Cheryl Niamath. We have friends in New England who have helped us out of jambs many times over the last 20 years, and these are going to them as a small note of thanks. I’ve got another pair (for them) that is currently hibernating for the winter, but these are moving along pretty well. I modified the pattern to add a thumb gusset.

You’ll see that I’m doing these “2 up” or 2-at-a-time on a long circular needle. This is a technique that helps ensure a few things:

  1. Your pair of mittens (or socks, sweater sleeves, whatever) will be the same length. See my earlier post about messing up row counts for an idea of why this is important.
  2. You’ll finish the pair at the same time. Do a search on Second Sock Syndrome to see just how common it is among knitters to finish one of some pair, and to then experience a vast reluctance to begin the mate. Suffice to say, being done beats being half-done any day.
  3. If you run low on yarn, you might be able to stop early… (uniformly early!) rather than having one complete mitten and one mitten that’s ? done.
  4. If your tension changes over the course of several years months weeks days the changes will—again—be uniform across the project as opposed to one mitten or sock being tightly knit and one a sloppy mess.*
  5. You’re really unlikely to lose one mitten before the second one’s complete.

There are drawbacks… I spend a fair amount of time de-tangling the two strands of yarn and organizing the cord of the circular needle. I also feel as if I get more strange looks from fellow travelers on the train. Since many muggles can’t tell crochet from knitting, the sight of someone managing two strings, two needle points, and two mittens at the same time probably makes their heads explode stops them from even trying to guess what I’m doing.

This is the first project I’ve done with my Kollage square needles. The sales pitch talks about the more-uniform stitch results I can expect (uniform stitches aren’t a problem for me, so I can’t evaluate this claim) and they also mention that your gauge might be a bit off; they say that some users have to go up a needle size to get gauge. I wonder if this is why the mitts are a bit on the snug side?

The main quality I wanted to check out was the “no kink, no curl” low-memory cables. My beloved Addi Lace circular needles do tend toward the kinky side of the spectrum. Ahem. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The cable on these Kollage needles is very, very flexible. I kind of like it, except for one thing… when I would normally be pushing the needle down into the next segment to continue my knitting, there is nothing to push against! The Addi needles slide back in the stitches as expected. The super-flexible Kollage cable just folds over and stops. This means that I have to push a bit, pull a bit, push a bit more. Fiddly. At a recent knit night at my LYS, Susan said “it’s like pushing string.” Exactly. I’ll avoid any jokes about LYS owners being “string pushers.” Honestly. I will.

kollage square knitting needles

Overall, I give the needles an A rating. I’d certainly consider buying more. Friends tell me that the Kollage DPNs are particularly wonderful for glove knitting.

The yarn here is something called “Yarn for Sox,” which is very stiff and a bit scratchy. I read several commentaries on Rav that assured me that a few washings will soften this wool up very acceptably. I’m hoping to be done with this project sometime in the first week in January.

*note to self: write a post about the importance of uniformity in knitting… obviously you have thoughts about this issue!

Random finished object

I didn’t realize how many things I’ve missed out on posting on the blog over the last couple of years. In June of ’09 I finally finished my first pair of socks intended for me. I made these cuff-down, two-at-at-time on a long circular needle. They are made with Mountain Colors Bearfoot. Size 12.5 US Men’s socks are big socks.

I ran out of yarn about half way along the foot. My wife wrote about how we found additional yarn on her blog…

Socks I made for myself


I’ve worn the socks a couple of dozen times, I’d guess. They’d get more use except that they’re so warm that I can’t wear them except on the coldest days. The soles have fulled a bit, but that’s not a problem. I’m still very pleased with them. Only my third pair of socks.

Midweek update: Dashing around

I spent the weekend thinking about knitting but not actually …you know… knitting. The tendinitis in my elbow is back, but I don’t think that’s why I didn’t knit. Anyway, I read things and generally goofed off and took it easy, which explains why the house isn’t ready for guests for this Saturday’s Xmas dinner.

Late on Sunday, after posting about the ‘glove integrative’ experience I had that morning, I stumbled over a video by Jeny S., the knitting brain behind Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bindoff. I don’t remember what I was looking for, but I found a video of her slip knot cast-on. After having done three attempts with this, I can tell you that I think I’m going to really like it. At least… I think my version is the same as what she’s doing! I’ll post some photos later and someone who knows what it’s supposed to look like can tell me!

I was trying to figure out what I could take with me this week as train knitting (hard to knit an afghan on the train) and had settled on Dashing by Cheryl Niamath. I figured that I might actually be able to finish a pair before the New Year and our 11 mittens in 2011 insanity. Yes, I’m knitting a pair of mittens while waiting for the start of a mitten-knitting challenge.

I owe a pair of blue fingerless mitts to a friend, so I went stash diving and pulled out a skein of Country Classic Yarn for Socks.  I got this from the bargain bin at the much-missed Fuzzy Mable’s in Lancaster, S.C. It’s funny how, despite having miles of luxury yarn, I end up knitting with discount-bin yarn so often. The yarn’s very stiff and scratchy, but Rav commentary leads me to hope that a vinegar bath for the FOs should solve that problem.

Anyway, my first shot at knitting the pattern was a joke. My cast-on was too loose, and the called-for needles gave me something that looked more like a legging than a mitten for a small woman.

I’ve frogged the 10 rows and started fresh Monday night, going from US 7 needles to US 4, (3.5 mm) giving me something that looks more like fabric than fishing mesh. I’m still figuring out the cast-on, so it’s taking me forever to get started. I cast on for the left glove Monday night, knit six rows on the morning commute, and cast on for the right glove Tuesday night. I’ll do six rows on that cuff, then put them together on a 40″ circular needle so that I can knit 2-at-a-time and not have different-length gloves (see “Admonishment” below for details!).