Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Progression of Mittens

I've been on a mitten kick of late.  I like mittens.  I like that they're more old-fashioned and quirky (and warm) than gloves.  I like that everyone else I know likes gloves better than mittens, because I'm contrary like that.  I like that they rhyme with kittens.

My first pair of mittens were of epic proportions.  I'm not sure why I felt it necessary to knit them at such a large gauge, except that I have long fingers and perhaps I was worried that they wouldn't fit otherwise.

I can easily fit both of my hands into one, though the thumbs turned out to be exactly the right size.  I wish I had kept that in mind when I knit up the next pair with the same pattern, this time on the correct needles.

They are much more reasonably sized, though still quite roomy, but the thumbs came out just a tad short.  At the time I was not so brave as to try adjusting the pattern itself to fit.  They're my go-to winter-wear right now.

I love how the slip-stitch pattern plays with the variegated yarn.  I do not love the jarring seams up the side or the fact that they're stiff enough to stand on their own, however windproof that makes them.

I really want a pair of red mittens, so Hermione's mittens screamed out to me, "Make us!"

The first one is done, minus weaving in the ends.

I know, I know, I should be working on Jenn's mittens exclusively, but I was laid up in bed with a cold, absolutely miserable, and these were so comforting to my frazzled mental state.  They look crazy long, but that's okay, because I have such long arms that most of my coat sleeves are a little short.  My current mad rainbow mittens don't have enough coverage.

I love the elegant increases for the thumb.  It seemed like an odd way of doing it, but it worked up beautifully.  I'm unsure about the bobbles.  They really are like little knitted tumors.  My husband thinks they're hilarious, and my cats bat at them and try to chew them off.  The way the traveling cable emerges from the ribbing makes me smile every time I look at it, too. The eight stitches I added to the pattern worked out alright in the end with the decreases.  I had to be a little creative with them, and I squeezed in an extra bobble that looks a wee bit awkward, but I'm pleased with the overall result.

Now back to those other mittens . . .

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Yes, I know it's been forever since I posted anything - why, it's been since LAST YEAR.  I'm terrible.  Here are some pictures of my cats to make us all feel better.

Can you tell we've been cleaning?  All the stuff piled on the desk used to be on the floor.

It was a mostly successful Christmas as far as gifts went.  I still haven't finished Laura's hat or Jeremy's blanket, but there's no rush there.  They haven't found a permanent place to stay yet, so I'd rather wait and know that they will receive any package I send them.

Mom, after some convincing, loved her fingerless gloves.

She doesn't really "get" fingerless gloves, but she has poor circulation and I thought they'd be nice for around the house, especially when she's typing.  She's always saying how her hands get so cold.  Of all people Phillip came to my aid to explain how they keep the fingers warm by warming the blood at the pulse points.  My brother has hidden depths in his general awesome.

He got a gun cleaning kit for Christmas.  I thought about making him some potholders for his new house, but then it occurred to me that Mom might want to do that, since potholders are her specialty.  I passed the idea along and she was thrilled.  She's on a potholder/coaster making kick now - you can never have too many.  As for her granny square slippers, I frogged them, decided to put any other knitting for her on hold until Mother's Day, and bought her yarn and knitting looms instead.  No time left.

Jenn's mittens, alas, were not finished in time for Christmas.  I gave it  the old college try, as my husband would say, but it was not to be.  However, one was worked up enough for her to see, try on, and approve of the pattern, and assuming I don't give up in a hissing rage on trying to weave in the ends, she should have a complete pair by Valentine's Day.  As the pattern is called "Valentine's Mittens," that seems appropriate enough.  The original, from "Stitch and Bitch: Nation," is red and pink with duplicate-stitched hearts, but Jenn does not like pink hearts. She likes stripes.  And bunny hats.

Another pattern from the same book (which she gave me for Christmas several years ago, the enabler :P).  The original hat, naturally, was pink and infant-sized, but it turned out that by using two strands of white Caron Simply Soft held together and size10 or so needles, I didn't have to change the pattern directions at all to end up with Jenn-sized super-adorable hat for marching band practice.

On the mitten front, Ryan finally got his two-years-in-the-making argyle flip-top mittens.

I even blocked them, since I had to wash one anyway.  While the second was still in production he used the first while trying to fix his car.  Fortunately gentle hand-washing with mild dish detergent saved the day, and also allowed me discover that blocking is a beautiful process that turns lumpy mittens into handsome, soft, awe-inspiring functional pieces of art.  They even got a stamp of approval from my sister-in-law's fiance, a mechanic, who says that flip-top mittens are the best thing ever.

Not flip-top is my newly resized Hermione mitten-in-progress, which has not seen any progress since I started my Christmas knitting, and won't see any more until after Jenn's mittens are done.

I made a New Year's resolution that I would only work on two projects at a time this year, and at least one of them has to be from my enormous and looming pile of unfinished work from previous years until it is all gone.  Finish or Frog! is my battle-cry this year.  Once Jenn's mittens are done, I can go back to these mittens, which probably won't see any service until next winter, at this rate.

I did make an exception for two little projects.

The last couple months I've been searching for some kind of first Christmas memorial ornament for Gabriel.  I wanted something angel-themed, maybe with his birthstone, but nothing struck the right chord until I read on Ravelry that a woman crocheted angel ornaments for her miscarried babies.  "I can do that," I thought, and at 1am Christmas Eve morning I started with size 20 crochet cotton and a size 10 hook.  Angel number one was finished just in time to hang it on my in-law's tree before we left for church.  I wasn't able to finish the second one before the end of Christmas at my parents, but they didn't put their tree up this year, so it was alright.  It just needs to be sewn together and it will be ready for next year.  The one pictured, the first one, has two fairly major mistakes, in the wings and in the halo, but she turned out alright, and I'm sure Gabriel doesn't mind.  I was able to catch them in the second angel, so that one should be picture-perfect once it's done.

One last picture, then, of my angel.

We will always love you.  Merry Christmas, little one.