Sidekick Saturday! Sara Part 2

Enter the two-colour knitted mittens. Now, I know what you’re thinking (No, I’m not actually psychic… but I can hazard a good guess).. “She’s rather bold to start knitting something so.. intense.” And yes.. I am *wink* … but I had a great friend at my side helping me along the way. She taught me to properly purl.. instead of adding on a stitch every time (oops!); she taught me how to catch my yarns across x number of stitches, and she lent me her set of 4mm double pointed needles. (while they have their place towards the end of my mittens and even for the thumb… I dislike the way they look at me).IMG_20140709_150617

I searched high and low through Ravelry to locate a nice mitten in a Norwegian style, as that was the look I was going for. I came across a free pattern for “Selbu Mittens” and immediately looked through all of the different colour palettes people had tried. I already knew my colour selection – a sparkly winter white contrasted with gorgeous evergreen. Michelle and I searched a local yarn supplier for the goods – with her help, I settled on Cascade 220 for the dark green and Sirdar Snuggly Pearls for the winter white. I originally bought two balls of the white (a slightly lighter weight yarn than the Cascades 220) and one skein of dark green. This was enough to do 5 full individual mittens, and I still have some leftover before starting the second mitten of the third pair.

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That’s right…the third pair! I chose these two specific colours because they’re my wedding colours. My bridesmaids dresses are all dark “pine” green and our accent colour is glittery/sparkly white. It took what seemed like forever to finish the first pair. I followed the pattern exactly (with a bit of a change to the cuff) and boy was it intense. I am very proud of these mittens, even if they’re a bit wibbly here and there. I don’t knit every night..sometimes I’m just not in the right mindset. I might have –plans- to knit, but either I fall asleep, or I get distracted on pinterest or doing other crafty things. As such, this first pair of mittens did take me the better part of forever to complete.

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Originally I had planned on making my bridesmaids (x3) all the same pair of mitten – the same exact pattern. But after creating the first pair and realising just how long it took me to finish them, I thought it might be a smart idea to create a slightly less daunting pattern. The first was a traditional Norwegian snowflake, the second, a more simplistic star pattern. It went quite well. Onto the third – the pair I’m half way through completing. This last pair will be for my MoH – I decided to create her pair with a pattern of hearts, dots and two little stars. It turned out better than I could’ve hoped for. I have yet to complete the thumb on the first mitten and I still have ends to weave in, but its lookin’ pretty fancy.

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I used Excel to plan out the same number of stitches as the original mitten pattern and then used dark green to colour in a different design. This basically included counting out the main “square” of the pattern I had gotten from Ravelry and selecting those boxes on a new excel spread sheet. After outlining those boxes, I added the triangle of boxes that makes up the finger-area of the mitten and also counted out boxes where the thumb gusset is. Once I had selected and outline all the boxes, I changed the settings in excel to make all of the boxes more square like (as opposed to the rectangles you start with on a new spreadsheet).

instructions for excel (basic)

I would definitely recommend saving at this point as “blank mitten pattern” so that you can use it for any and all future designs for this style of mitten. This came in handy for me because I needed to create two separate designs for my bridesmaids. I feel like this is a really great way to slowly work into creating your own patterns from scratch. You take what you learn from a pattern you love and try to change it up a little to fit your own style. Since I’m not selling these mittens, I don’t feel too nervous about using the same base as the original Ravelry pattern.

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My plans for future wedding knitting include a pair of fiddlehead mittens for myself – I’ve chosen only three colours in keeping with my bridesmaids’ mittens. A soft winter white (slightly warmer), and a mellow sage green – still my wedding colours, but a bit less contrast involved. I chose periwinkle blue for the lining. If I don’t manage blue anywhere else, this can be my “something blue” for the wedding! I have no doubt that the pattern isn’t as crazy as it seems, given that Michelle wrote a wonderful post about it (“honourable mentions”). She mentions the pattern appears quite daunting, but turned out to be enjoyable to knit and a great learning experience. When it doubt… “googleit”

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I’m hoping to have enough time for a secret project for my hubby-to-be using one of Michelle’s gorgeous jewel toned greens. I will have to fully research the pattern I’m considering and ask some intense questions before I commit myself. And I will likely have to knit it in secret so that the man-friend doesn’t know what I’m creating.

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This rounds out my two part post on an introduction to two colour knitting…not concise at all! I hope to write again soon for Michelle’s blog before potentially starting up my own page to showcase new and exciting expressions of creativity.