Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mostly About Mittens

A mini-blizzard blew through yesterday, first pelting us with several inches of icy white stuff, then dripping hours' worth of freezing rain that pocked and scoured off much of the snow that just fallen. Sometime during the night, the rain turned back into snow, and we woke to a fresh snowfall this morning.

The media hype leading up to this event was rather overblown (ha! weather pun!); words of panic and fear flew about more thickly than did the snow at the height of the storm. I do love Wisconsin in the wintertime. :)


In other news, the Socks of Doom, having languished on a side table while I knit a pair of mittens with the leftover yarn, are ready and eager to be mailed.

Doom? Us?

It feels as though I've been working on these two projects (socks and mittens) for a small lifetime, though it's only been about six or seven weeks of Sundays. Stranded colourwork, I find, requires a quiet atmosphere and long stretches of free time; if I try to squeeze it in between other jobs, the knitting suffers. (Not that knitting ever goes smoothly for me, even at the best of times....)

Unlike the Socks, the mittens came together fairly easily. To honour the giftee and her Norwegian heritage, I'm naming them Nikki's Nordic Mittens.

Nikki's Nordic Mittens are based on the Generic Norwegian Mitten Pattern by Adrian Bizilia. I used 3x3 rib for the cuffs, then did 2 rows of purl stitch for texture before starting the colourwork pattern. The mitten back is done in a combination of motifs found online (I googled "Fair Isle motifs"); the palm is a diamond pattern, slightly widened to fit a multiple of 5 stitches.

I think I like the palms even better than the backs....

The afterthought thumbs were a new technique for me - a bit scary, but thanks to this post by A Kitten Knits and this post by Mary Jane Mucklestone they worked out beautifully (especially after some duplicate stitching at the corners to take care of the seemingly-inevitable gaps caused by picking up stitches).

Real stitch or duplicate stitch? Only the knitter knows....

For the sake of simplicity, I worked the thumbs as tubes (rather than flat and peaked like the mitten fronts and backs). It took a bit of thought to come up with decreases that would preserve the checkerboard pattern; I finally settled on paired ssk and k2g decreases which I worked on the underside of the thumb. There's probably a better way to hide decreases in very small pieces of stranded colourwork - if you know it, do please tell in the comments!

Checkerboard decreases (which sounds like the name of
a 70s soft-rock song)

I wasn't sure how to bind off the colourwork at the  mitten tips, so I just tied off the grey side bands, using the yarn tail to link the top two stitches, then worked a little blue bridge of Kitchener over the grey:

Bonus picture of mitten innards:

Knowing my own limitations, I chose worsted-weight yarn for these projects (rather along the lines of giving oversized crayons to the toddler who's just learning to write); even at that scale they posed quite a challenge. I really admire knitters who work stranded colourwork in finer-gauge yarns.

The Socks of Doom and Nikki's Nordic Mittens

Every so often I get bit by the knitting bug ... but I think the fever has now worked itself out. I'm ready to get back to crochet!

Next post: Valentine-y crochet coasters.


What are you working on?

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  1. Well done and I like the socks of doom. They always over do the weather here, we're under a severe thunderstorm warning---in February no less- right now.

  2. Oh my gosh, those mittens are gorgeous. I just love them, they're complicated and simple at the same time. The colors are perfect too. I really like the socks of doom, those are lovely too. Your snow looks very nice, like a real winter wonderland! I hope it's not too cold where you are. That same storm came through here and left a little snow, but the big story is the cold. It's frigid now! I hope you're having a good week so far, Sue.

  3. I bow down in honor and respect for your socks and mittens. They look very difficult! And I've done fair isle knitting, albeit long ago. It's pretty amazing stuff. I hope you are keeping warm. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  4. Both the socks of doom and the mittens look very impressive Sue you should be proud! you must have so much patience. NiKKi is going to love them. :) x

  5. Wow! Those mittens and socks are gorgeous. I've been making lots of mittens, but mine are just plain boring stuff. Beautiful, beautiful! You should be proud of yourself.
    Blessings, Betsy

  6. Very nice! The mittens and socks will be toasty. I like the frosted trees too. Don't you love weather media sensationalism?

  7. Your knitting is awesome! I adore the set you made. I know she will love them forever. I am in awe of your designing and knitting skills. You Rock! What yarn did you use? Needle size? Here lately, the knitting bug has bitten me and that's all I seem to be able to do. I know you've had your fill for a while of knitting, but please do keep at it, your work is awesome. Wishing you a lovely day sweet friend. :)

  8. Both the mittens and the socks are fantastic!! xx

  9. Well you are amazing in my book, both projects are so beautiful. No wonder you are ready to crochet you picked two pretty intricate patterns to make, two of which I could never make so my hat is off to you!
    Hugs and get cracking with that hook,

  10. Oh these turned out beautifully! I always enjoy reading about your adventures :o)

  11. You are a great knitter! I did a tad of crochet and know I want my needles!!l. We are opposites

  12. You are great at everything! Not fair! As always, I am spending way too much time on this iPad looking at what others are doing. But I did get my front flowerbed cleaned out today in the cold sunshine. Dinner is almost ready, but Flip wants a walk. Luckily always trying to keep busy. Linda@wetcreek Blog

  13. I am always in awe of everything you make!
    I am crocheting some white kitchen cloths for a wedding shower. You are supposed to dress in black or white, so I will wrap the white cloths in black ribbon, to go along with a blender! What do you think? :-) (You don't have to have your gifts in black and white, but you know, I thought it would fit in with the theme.)

  14. I think your recipient is one very lucky lady. And your knitting is fabulous, so may problems and challenges which you have found solutions to.......I wish I had half your skill (and patience!). Enjoy your crochet now! Juliex

  15. How awesome! And now I know the secret recipient! (Which makes your epic journey even more fun for me!!!). I think both turned out great, and I love how you adapted the mitten pattern! Well done, Mrs. M!!!


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