September 3, 2009

The one with butterflies

Filed under:Works In Progress — Aileen @ 14:44

In the end I went with Mitten No. 95. This was the mitten that got my attention in the first place and I thought it would be only fair to start with that first (this is my justification to the other mittens in the book that were clamouring to be knitted together all at the same time).

I like the muted colours even though with the butterfly motif, I could have gotten away with pretty much any colour! On top of that, the last two pairs of mittens I’ve knitted have had white as the dominant colour so I just couldn’t face another pair with white. I have just gotten past the thumb placement. In Selbuvotter, the instruction was always to put the stitches onto waste yarn and cast on across the gap on the next round. I did this for both pairs I knitted from the book and my verdict is that it just doesn’t work. It works in theory, of course, but picking up stitches in colour pattern? Life is too short for that kind of thing. When I put in the thumb today, I used Zimmermann’s thumb trick: knit across the stitches for the thumb with scrap yarn, slip them back on the left needle and knit across them properly, continue on safe in the knowledge that you have spared yourself 30 minutes of torture trying to pick up colourwork later on. You can just unravel the scrap yarn and pop the live stitches onto needles and continue on up the thumb in whatever pattern you’ve established. I still can’t believe I didn’t do it for the other mittens. Lesson learned!

I’ve also been working on my Henley Perfected and finished up the left front a while ago.

It looks a bit odd because I have it all on one long circular. You know those bits of patterns when they tell you to leave the stitches on a holder? I hate having to do that because I don’t like using rigid holders and end up using scrap yarn. Of course, this means that I have ends hanging all over the place which, by logical deduction, means that at some point I am going to pick up the wrong end and knit with it. All of this mullarky drives me nutty bananas! My solution is to simply keep whatever pieces aren’t being knit on hanging around on the long circular. It sounds fiddly but it’s not and especially not compared to the alternative.

Anyway, I still have sleeves to knit for this one so I’d better get a move on. The Mitten Thing was a little more all-enveloping than I was anticipated. It was worth it though. I regret nothing!


September 2, 2009

FOs – #15 and NHM #8

Filed under:Finished Objects — Aileen @ 15:17

I figured after yesterday’s excitement I should finish up a few projects. The first, according to my records, I cast on for these last December. I finished both months ago but left them sitting there without thumbs. I knit one thumb last month and knit the other yesterday so finally! They are finished!

Pattern: NHM #8 from Selbuvotter.

Needles: 3mm DPNs.

Yarn: Nature Spun Sport by Brown Sheep. I bought about 10 balls of this – two balls in five colours – about three years ago with the idea of making a fairisle jumper. After about a year I realised it was never going to happen so I’ve been slowly working my way through it since. The good thing is that it really goes the distance and I’ll probably get about 10 pairs of mittens out of the stuff!

I didn’t make any modifications and it was an interesting pattern to knit. The cuff is particularly stupid because it curls and I don’t like the pattern on the palm. I had to keep an eye on the chart the whole time.

That said, I really like the end result, particularly the thumb pattern. And now I have a pair of mittens to wear while I’m knitting the next pair (which have already been cast on for, by the way, but only a cuff to show for today yet).

My latest quick knit was a project I picked up in Germany – #15 from this season’s Rebecca magazine. I even got the wool called for and everything!

Pattern: #15 from Rebecca #40.

Needles: It called for 6mm but I couldn’t find mine so I used 5.5mm DPNs.

Yarn: Giglio by ggh (43% pure wool, 20% alpaca, 37% polyacryl, about 62m in 50g), 2 balls.

The pattern was pretty easy to follow and the yarn was really nice to work with. And yes, it rather does look like a giant sock but it is very snuggly. Perfect with a black coat, skirt and boots, no?

Oh, before I go… I finally made a decision on which pattern to start from the book but you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow to see which one it is! Muhahaha!


September 1, 2009


Filed under:Books,News! — Aileen @ 11:08

Look what my brother brought me back from Finland! He has been over there for work for a few months and managed by a funny stroke of luck to find a copy of it – a friend’s mother had it in a box of knitting stuff she’d been given. She sent it over with him. Aren’t knitters the best?!

On my quest for this book, I found out that it was first published in 1947 and remained out of print until 2008. There is a meagre supply of the new reprint out there and can be very hard to get a copy of. Here I have in my hands a copy of the 1947 edition… but bought or gifted in 1958.


There is a substantial foreword – all in Finnish – from which I gleaned dates and words that I imagine to be fantastically exciting. After that come 100 charts, most in black and white, with only stitch counts, indication of thumb placement and written explanation of the traditional colours used. While I suppose there is less information charted (in comparison to Selbuvotter, for example, which has charts for hand, palm, thumb and gusset increases), this to me is more exciting because it leaves a blank canvas for what you want to do on the palm side. Things such as including my name and phone number for when I lose one or the other spring to mind!

What I love about the book is that it has obviously been used. I wonder which pattern she knitted first? What colours did she use? Did she make them to match her coat? Did she lose one or the other like I always do, and end up making another pair?! There are notes jotted on a few pages, some which are eerily familiar… the division by 4 for how many on each DPN!

I realise that my fascination with mittens is a little unusual, especially since we rarely get severe enough weather to truly warrant mittens, but it has been a developing interest. It started with Favourite Mittens by Robin Hansen, a collection of traditional mittens from Maine and western Canada. Although the patterns didn’t excite me particularly, a large portion of the book was given over to the history of, and interviews with, the people who had donated the regional patterns which I found very interesting. This was followed by Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis which, too, had lots of history but mittens mostly too OTT for my taste. Then there was Selbuvotter by Terri Shea. This has just the right mix of history and wonderful Norwegian patterns. I’ve knitted three pairs out of it so far. And, although not technically traditional or historical, there were the Snail Mittens from The Knitter’s Book of Yarn.

I think the only logical conclusion is that mittens are to me what socks are to other knitters. Their heel is my thumb gusset. Their toes are my mitten tips. Their cuffs are my… cuffs. Ok. You get the idea. But aren’t mittens just so much more interesting? All the colourwork that make them warmer, work up faster, more fun! Don’t you feel like casting on for a mitten right now? I do… but I have a problem. I have no idea which one to knit.