Mittens!

It seems oddly “appropriate” to post these today; we hit a record high of 67° F.

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Pattern: Snapdragon Flip-Tops by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Great Northern Yarns 70% Mink 30% Cashmere Yarn (Sunset Red colorway)

Needle: US 3 (3.25 mm) – despite supposedly being the same gauge as the Monkey Bread Hat I knit with this same yarn, using the same needle size didn’t work. Whether due to my own gauge issue, pattern error, wrists that are too narrow, or the fact that the ribbing doesn’t really pull in with this yarn, I don’t know.

Modifications: A lot! I doubled the length of the ribbing at the cuff. The thumb as written didn’t really work for me, so I added a gusset. I also doubled the number of stitches in the cast on around the thumb opening, and picked up more accordingly. (And then decreased accordingly.) I decreased more sharply at the end for a more rounded look and omitted the button and I-cord loop closure. But despite appearances up above, these are still flip-tops! (More details on mods on my Ravelry page.)

Additional thoughts: I figure by the time I worked out all my modifications, I knit these at least two, maybe three times! None of the modifications are the fault of the pattern, just my own eccentricities. I imagine the thumb as written works better for some hands than others. The pattern itself is well-written, with a good chart and a clear diagram for picking up the stitches for the flip-top–although, the yarn is so fuzzy, I had to thread a contrasting thread through the line for the pick-up so I could see what I was doing.

And have I mentioned, I LOVE this yarn! So soft, so fuzzy. It seemed to hold up to my continual ripping (it just made it fuzzier faster–which would have happened at the first washing anyway). As Murphy’s law would have it, after the breaks in the yarn when working on the hat (which otherwise could have been knit with a continuous strand), there were none in the skein I used for the mittens, when I had plenty of stop and snips and restarts as natural course. Go figure! I still need a scarf to complete the set, but with the coming spring, I think I’ll break for now to return to some other WIPs and come back later.

Knitting at a Snail’s Pace

A week or so ago I was suddenly struck with the urge to sort through my knitting/knitting patterns. This is rare, but when it comes I just go with it. I try to keep everything nice and neat and organized, but it’s really more theoretical than actual; however, at some point in the past few years I managed to get my act together enough to put most of my printed patterns into a 3-ring binder. The original intent was to be one of those super-disgustingly organized people who keeps notes of patterns, needle sizes, swatches, start and end dates, etc., but it’s never really panned out. This doesn’t bother me too much, as I keep track of most of that (usually–I’ve been known to forget to add needle size) on Ravelry, but I do like to keep swatches/ball bands all together with the appropriate pattern. As I was sorting through various bags ensuring that I had all the swatches and loose patterns, I discovered yarn I didn’t recognize. It’s in my Ravelry stash, I know where (and thanks to Ravelry, when) I purchased it, but I don’t remember it. I see several possible reasons for this:

  1. I have a really, really bad memory.
  2. My memory’s okay but it needs jogged by seeing my yarn every once in a while and all the forgotten yarn was hidden behind cupboard doors.
  3. My stash is multiplying without my permission.

I’m not sure which option I prefer…

A more rational explanation might think that it is clear that I’m a) not knitting fast enough AND b) I’m using new stash before old stash. And given that it’s February and I still don’t have finished mittens I might have to concede to this. To be fair though, I’ve done a LOT of knitting to get this far.

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It took three (or four?) starts before I got gauge. Actually, the gauge is supposed to be the same as the hat—and the same as (similar to?) the mitts I knit for my dad and brother—so I thought I knew what needles size I needed. But. There are more stitches in the cuff for these than for my dad’s mitts, so in reality I needed to go down a few needles sizes to make a nice, snug cuff. (Also, the mink-cashmere doesn’t pull in on ribbing as much as Cascade Superwash.) Then, I was through all the cables and almost to the rib top when I realized that the thumb as written didn’t work for me. So I ripped back halfway and added a gusset. Fortunately, my best guess as to how many stitches to add and where worked on the first try.

Since I took the picture, I’ve knit the left thumb three times—the number made necessary by working out how fast to decrease the extra stitches. There’s probably an easier way to do that. Sigh. I now need to work out how to finish the flip-top. It shouldn’t require any modifications (I hope!), so I hope I can fly to the finish this weekend. Of course, it’s not supposed to be cold enough that I’ll actually need these super-warm mittens any time soon!