Saturday, March 14, 2009

The first one was too big, the 2nd one was too small, and the third one ..

well it should be just right. That is right, I had a Goldilocks experience yesterday.
Mittens, I'm talking about mittens, I over thought my new project, and after a wee re-think now ... I'm back on the right track. Today - there is the new project which is now going just right, Bears Vikkel mittens make their finished debut, we are off to the cubs school fair - so I'm showing off Bears baking, and I've found a link to some of the designs at Fridays show, and ... well that is probably all that happened knit-wise since Wednesday.

The knitters study group meet on Saturday, and we knew it was to be traditional mittens. Not to be outdone by the super organized M who was spinning until midnight for natural colour work mittens and had made her own charted design (very very pretty), I had already sourced a great colour work design to use,
Signe by Johanne Landin from Borntoknit. I also found Edith by the same designer, and bought both - I couldn't decide. Still can't. But ... I wanted to try the banded start at the mitten tip construction in Anna Zilboorgs Magnificent Mittens so I swatched a mitten tip on 2mm needles with increases every other round. Too small, but very pretty. At this stage I wasn't working from the chart ... just playing with which colour to carry ahead and which to use as the background.

It soon became obvious that increasing every second round would give me a very pointy mitten .. imagine how pointy when I finally increased enough for the width of my hand?

so I looked at Borntoknits pattern where the increases are every round ... and I tried that.
mmm ... not quite right, this time the swatch was worked to the pattern but with the Magnificent Mittens band ... which gave a nice shallow angle to the mitten tip, but when I increase a few more to fit the chart on, well ... this time .. well its too big.

Yes, really too big, there are several more increases to add.

So I sat and thought, I bought Signe because I loved the pattern so I asked myself what was I doing mucking it up with all this weird swatching and adding extra side bands? Signe works, and there is proof, people have knit signe before me, Johanne Landin has done the math and made the charts. I didn't have to knit in the magnificent mitten shapping in this mitten, there were going to be many more mittens to knit in my life, and one of them could be made that way, but it need not be Signe, and need not be right now. Clearer I started according to the pattern, and its going well. I also switched up up to 2.25mm needles. After blocking my swatch-tips I found the gauge on 2mm needles was 12 spi, and I need 9.

The reason I had begun with 2mm is this yarn is so fine. I am using yarn from Bendigo, the Classic Cone range in 2 ply, Aztec and Almond. They supply yarn in lots of different weights, from 2 ply to very bulky. Because it is straight from the mill and on a cone this yarn is quite 'flat', with no bounce. After blocking it almost doubles in girth. You can see how thin the unblocked yarn is here, its the lower pair of yarns, the fluffier top pair is an example of the same yarn after wet-blocking and drying.

Bears Mitts are now done, and blocked and ready to wear. In keeping here the weather has turned from its southern blast of ice and chill right off the polar cap to a balmy 19ºC (66ºF) good for the school fair, but not mitten weather. Still Bear is happy.

And I'm happy, hand spun, Wenslydale x Cotsworld in a beautiful silky fuzzy pale warm grey ... with that soft black lining. The Vikkel braid is subtle, and a nice touch. I'm going to remember that one and use it again. Click on the top Bear paw/mitten image to see a clearer view of the Vikkel braid, its very cool and looks like a knitted band around the wrist - but it is not, it is knit from cuff to tip in one go.

Two years ago I was a helper selling cakes on the cake stall at the cub's school fair (they hold the fair bi-annually). This year the fair clashed with the ID Design events - so I volun-told Bear to replace me. Truth is, Bear likes to eat, likes to eat sweet things and the idea of manning (bearing?) a cake stand wasn't a hard sell. Long story short, Bear felt that to truly man the stall required him to provide at least some of the baking for the stall. Now Bear is a cook - not a baker, but he took his cake-stall responsibility very seriously and made fudgey chocolate slice, and muesli slice. We ate a few crumbs as he packaged it up for sale - very very nice.

Not to be outdone, Poppy and I selected ten of her handmade Olive and Rice Bran Oil strawberry soaps. These were the ones with strawberry essence and a packet of strawberry jelly crystals stirred thru to give spots of deeper pink.

And the shows, well they were good, lots of graduate students in both, and on Saturday fellow lecturers as well. The 'official' sites are not showing any images yet, but highlights of the Friday show are, here. Let me know what you think?

so take care,
knit something you want to knit and its ok to follow the pattern (that is what they are for)

1 comment:

Knitting Linguist said...

I'm still laughing over the "volun-told" line -- who knew there was a word for it? Rick will laugh, too, having been on the receiving end of such assignments in the past. I love both pairs of mittens; I see Signe in my future, in spite of the relative lack of need for mittens around here. I'm glad to hear that the show went well -- will things quiet down a bit for you now?