I am completely and totally on fire so far this year. Although now that I have said that… I am sure things will slow right down, but alas, it is exciting to be done Shauna’s Mittens!
I think this is the fourth time I have knit this pattern, and I love it more every time. I originally came across it in a kit where the designer Hello Yarn and Tanis Fiber Arts were working together! When I finally picked up this kit it was a true and everlasting love that has still not ceased.
Impatient person that I am, as soon as I finished, I instagramed the photo to Shauna and immediately got more than one person asking about their pair. On one hand, I thought ‘oohhhh, maybe I shouldn’t have posted that photo’ but on the other I love these mittens and want to share that love with the world!
I’ve also been making some major headway on my January socks that I want to complete from #OperationSockDrawer on instagram. If you’re unsure what that is, head on over to the Knitmore Girls podcast for details. I have been hardcore binging on those episodes and I am quite close to being caught up! The yarn I am using for these socks was a limited time colour way called ‘Over the Rainbow’ from Knitcircus; they might not be offering this particular colour way anymore, but the yarns are lovely!
If I haven’t ever endorsed participating before, I would like to take a moment to now. On instagram, Ravelry, twitter, facebook or any kind of platform you wish! I look at everyone else’s photos of socks and sock drawers and I am so inspired! I absolutely want to go and cast on about 100 more things. I know that I have not run any knit alongs, but the Stitch Please Ravelry group doesn’t have all that many members and there are groups out there much larger doing extremely excellent knit or crochet alongs. I highly endorse participating in these because while you are inspired to do better and create, you are also inspiring someone else. No matter that you are only one person! There is someone somewhere looking at a photo you posted and thinking what you made is pretty darn cool. Seriously, if you take away one thing from this blog let it be this. Engage! Participate! It’s pretty amazing and good for the soul in general.
I finished the haaaat! It was a really great knit because there are miles and miles of stockinet stitch. I find what I am knitting really reflects my state of mind and when I don’t have a lot of mind to spare I like easy things.
This hat was perfect for being off sick and just knitting plain rounds. It went a lot faster than I thought it would. The total length of the hat is 14 inches, which seems really extreme, but makes the perfect slouchy hat. The pattern is called Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure and it is my favourite slouch hat pattern so far!
I’ve also been working on Shauna’s mittens. I think I started them in the beginning of last year and let them languish over the summer. When you finish a pair of mittens for someone and it is hot outside, it really doesn’t have the same effect. I have been gradually working on them here and there to finish them off while it is still cold outside. I have the outside of both mittens completed and blocked; the lining never takes a really long time to complete. Hopefully I will have them done for her within the week!
I’ve been thinking about what I am going to work on next and I really want to finish off my Grandmother’s sweaters. I realized I had started a sleeve a while back because I have done two back pieces and have started the front of one. If I had the sleeves finished, it would seem a lot closer to being done than it actually is. I hope to really buckle down and work at least a couple rows every day until it is done. I was thinking about having an easy project and before I get to work on the easy project, I have to complete a few rows of the sweaters first.
Does anyone else have to trick themselves into doing things they should, or is it just me?
Working on Sara’s mittens has been cake for the most part. I’ve done this pattern before so I am familiar with it. There are no little surprises or ‘at the same time’ clauses to look out for. Yet what I failed to realize is how different the Cascade 220 is from Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label yarn.
TFA Yellow label completely relaxes when you block it. It becomes super soft and almost melts into the shape you want it to be. Cascade 220 does not. Right away when I started knitting the mittens, they felt very dense; this is a good thing, it means they will wear longer and be warmer. The less open spaces between the stitches means the less cold air will get in.
My plan was to knit both the outside mittens and block them together, then pick up the stitches to knit the lining. I was not going to block the lining because when I did that with my own mittens, the lining expanded and it was slightly too big to fit inside the mitten shell. As a result there is a wrinkle on the inside of the mitten in the lining. In order to accommodate this my plan of blocking the shell and not the lining emerged.
Everything went good for the blocking itself. I wetted the mittens down and they didn’t relax near as much as the TFA yarn ones did, but they relaxed a little bit nonetheless. One mitten was perfect on it’s own, I didn’t need to pin it at all. The other one was not quite the same size. I needed to pin it down in order for the wool to get the memory of being the same size as the first mitten.
I got a blanket and a towel, because I usually pin things like that, and went to go find my pins. This turned out to be easier said then done. My pins are usually upstairs in the smallest of our three bedrooms, that is my room where I stores tones of yarn fabric etc. We had been putting all the wedding things in it from immediately post-wedding and just nipping in to grab something quick when we needed it. There was literally no room to walk within the space. After about 45 minutes of fruitless searching I messaged my neighbour who has just gotten into quilting. I know that requires copious amounts of pinning etc. As it turns out, the pin-gremlins had visited her house too, they were missing. I went back up into the craft room and tried to find something that I could substitute for pins. I found some of the needles I had from VKL Chicago 2013, they look like really long pins. However they were for needle felting and were not substantial enough to hold the mitten in place.
While standing in the middle of the room and looking around in a vague sense, I spied a handful of the pins on my shelf. I scooped them up and went to pin this mitten!
As it turns out, the mitten was too thick to pin, I bent three pins attempting it and the other ones just slid out as soon as I was finished. I just sat and looked at the mitten helplessly for a few minutes, then attempted to get my mind together and think of a solution. I had sock blockers, but the bend for the ankle would make the mittens dry funny and I was having none of that. I was also not willing to bend the sock blockers out of shape. They were just made of wire though, so I could probably make my own if I could find some wire that would work. While my neighbour couldn’t find her pins, she definitely had a wire coat hanger.
I managed to bend it into the right shape and slide the mitten over top. It worked out perfectly! It only took me two hours to get it right. I really should have known better and not spend that amount of time on finding the actual pins and just thought of another idea. Everything worked out and now I have a wire hanger bit to block mittens on!
I can’t believe it is Wednesday again, I think the days before Christmas fly by faster and faster every year. Speaking of flying by, Sara’s wedding is coming up and that means the deadline for her wedding mitts are too! Two and a half weeks left to go!
I’ve been working on the mittens whenever I get a chance to do some sit-down knitting as opposed to the one row here or there I normally get. Which means I have been making some great headway on them, but feel like I am slacking off at the same time. I always watch TV when I do my sit-down knitting, so I feel as though I have been watching a lot of TV.
They’re looking really great though, I actually had to rip out about an inch of work the other day because when I started the pattern again, I started at the wrong spot. The curl was going completely the wrong way. I only noticed when I got up to the decreases for the top of the mitten and thought to myself that it looks quite shallow for a mitten.
You would have had to curl your fingers up in order to get the mitten on. So I rectified the mistake and kept on knitting. I actually managed to finish the outside of the first mitten while Sara was here. This was super satisfying because Sara is one of the most grateful people in the world. Especially since she, herself, knits; she knows the amount of work that goes into making a garment.
I am going to make both outer shells, block them, then pick up the stitches for the lining. I can’t wait to see what they look like with the little hidden blue lining! They are going to be beautiful and last forever. I’ve been knitting them fairly tightly so in 1000 years people on an archeological dig will find these bad boys.
I was emailing the designer of this pattern the other day and I realized that I had not reviewed it yet. For me this is utterly inexcusable and I plan to make it right! This pattern came to me as part of a kit. The yarn and pattern were all packaged together. Unfortunately, these kits are no longer available, so you would have to buy the pattern and the full amounts of the yarn individually. Which I have done because I love this pattern that much.
The first time I saw this kit, the LYS owner handed me a sample mitt that she had knit. At that point I was completely and totally sold. I LOVED it and wanted to get one in every colour. Unfortunately at this point in my life I was just out of school and was struggling to pay student loan payments as well as rent. I couldn’t afford it this time, but I went back and visited… more often than I would like to admit.
I was also scared that I wasn’t at that level of knitting yet; they looked to pretty and intricate, I had never some something that complicated before. So it wasn’t completely about the money.
Paul ended up making the decision for me and bought the kit for my birthday. I think he had probably heard enough about these mittens I was lamenting over.
I didn’t cast on right away; I circled around them like some kind of nuclear bomb. My main problem was, I didn’t want these mitts to go FUBAR on me. It was a nice kit and more than I had spent on yarn before. I wanted them to be perfect. The thought of casting on with another, more inexpensive yarn, never occurred to me. I was still a relatively new knitter at this point.
Paul started asking me why I hadn’t cast them on yet. I made excuses here and there about needles or another project, but that would only work for so long. One day, I just closed my eyes, clenched my teeth and opened the bag. Which was the best decision I have ever made. It was the most difficult pattern I had ever done, but it was well written, clear, logical and a great learning experience for me.
The mittens start off with an I-cord cast on, Having never done one, I trusted the pattern completely and followed the instructions. The cast on looked amazing and it hadn’t hurt at all. I thought these mittens might be possible.
Being a beginning knitter and not knowing any better, I trusted the pattern 100% and it worked out for me. Not having knit a whole lot of patterns I didn’t realize how well this one was written, but having a wider variety of knowledge now, I can spot excellent writing when I see it.
I may have a slightly biased point of view because this project was a pivotal moment for me as a knitter. From this point on I was not afraid to throw myself into any project regardless of how hard it looked. If I took it slow and paid attention I could do it.
I know this review was a little less technical and a little more about me fan-girling all over them, but, I maintain that they are a very well written pattern with a beautiful finished product. Definitely beginner friendly so I always advise people to go for it! These mittens are one of the most complemented pieces of knitting I have.