Saturday, November 24, 2007

We'll bend it to our awe, or break it all to pieces.

I have been holding out on you, Reader: I've got two pairs of mittens and two pairs of Fetchings I haven't blogged about yet. The Fetchings are a bit of a disappointment. One pair, out of Lion Wool, is just okay: the yarn isn't very exciting for a gift and I'm blah on the color. I did the other in Manos, and while I like the Manos (I don't love the Manos, may the dear lord baby Jesus strike me dead), I'm afraid they're too big. The problem is that Fetching is kind of a dainty pattern as opposed to a sturdy one, and I am a sturdy knitter. Manos is a sturdy yarn, Lion Wool is a sturdy yarn, and everything I knit comes out sturdy; so why I thought these things would add up to a dainty pair of Fetchings is rather beyond me. I have a friend who might like the Manos ones, and the Lion Wool ones will probably languish until in a fit of pique I claim them for my own. Maybe I'll try dyeing them I color I like better.

As for the mittens: I won't mince words, Reader. I looooove them.

I recently finished two pairs: one for Lilyriver for her birthday (only a week and a half late!) and one for an unnamed recipient.
At left is the right mitten of L.'s pair--it's a wretched picture, and I apologize, but that's how we roll in my woods. I do not know why I just said that, but it's staying. I'll attribute it to mitten ecstasy. That is how we roll in my woods. Anyway! The yarn is Frog Tree Merino Melange, which is, hands down, the softest yarn I've ever touched. Unfortunately, I had to frog it approximately 403840983029843 times, and it got rather pilly in the process. A bit of alchemy happened in the blocking: it got sturdier, rather than softer, when wet. The finished product reminds me of a very decadent cupcake*.

What's the pattern for this delicious mitten, you ask? Why, it's a one-of-a-kind Bolty original. Two-of-a-kind. There are two, I swear. And, okay, it's not really a Bolty original, per se, as I basically just applied a cable** from the Vogue Stitchionary Vol. 2 to my favorite easy mitten pattern at Put away the hot poker, Reader. You and I have no secrets.

The second pair of mittens isn't even badly photographed--indeed, it's not photographed at all. They're flip top mittens based on an amalgam of patterns and they are damned fantastic. I used a spring green tweed, the Queensland Kathmandu I've blogged about before. Flip tops are absolute genius. I realize that I call every new knitting thing I learn "absolute genius," but it's true. It is also true--and if you're an Expos teacher, you'll spot the "secondary emerging thesis" of this post--that when I learn a new technique, I have to frog like a maniac. But I don't mind frogging overmuch***.

At the moment, I'm--or rather, was--working on a cabled hat from Cables Untangled--it's a ribbed hat with braided cables in a gorgeous red tweed (also Queensland Kathmandu), or, at least, that's what it's supposed to be, but I'm beginning to wonder if I'm not fated to get past the ribbing. I started it in size 8s (the pattern recommends size 7s, but all I had with me whilst visiting E. this past week were 8s and 6s) and the hat was freaking huge, so I frogged about 5 inches of ribbing and switched to the 6s. Three different pairs of 6s, Reader. I only had 4 of my 5 size 6 dpns with me, and there were way too many stitches to fit comfortably on those needles, so I made E. take me to Jo Ann's on the way to the airport, where the only size 6 circ I could find was 29" long. I bought it thinking I'd just Magic Loop, but the cable was very stiff, so when I got home I borrowed the 16" cable and size 6 tips from my Celtic Cabled Scarf and was happily knitting away when I realized that I'd misread the pattern for the increase row and had to frog back to the ribbing. Then I thought I misread the cable pattern and frogged again, only to realize that I hadn't misread it at all. Demoralized, I have put the hat back in its plastic bag for now in favor of starting another pair of flip top mittens out of some lovely Beaverslide McTaggart Tweed. Which I have also had to frog twice. I told you, Reader; I've no secrets from you.

*A cupcake that looks like a hand. Wow, this suddenly got creepy.
**It's called the Seven Sisters. The ribbing is ktbl1, p1; the cable is a basic 12-stitch cable following the ktbl1, p1 rib.
***This is a lie.


Sarah said...

Post pictures of the flip-top mittens?? And the cabled mittens are sooo beautiful! It is so cool that you are designing patterns. And there's nothing wrong with cupcake hands - it could be like eating icing straight out of the can with one's fingers (not like I've done that or anything). Mmm, icing...I'm so much more into knitting and eating right now than reading. Anyway, it seems like you've been doing some wonderful knittings. Schedule a knit-night before winter break should we? I could bake real cupcakes. I digress again.

randeep said...

Hooray for Beaverslide! And hooray for your mitten pattern - they're absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful in the one simple cable.

I just finished a pair of "Fetchings" in the recommended Debbie Bliss, and was disappointed too, so don't blame it all on your fondness for the sturdy.