Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Glove Fever

I have a pattern in the Deep Fall 2010 issue of Knitty, right over here. It's for a pair of gloves that resemble the Ringwood gloves that Nancy Bush based her Ringwood Half-Hose on, and that Richard Rutt describes in his monstrosity of a book. Instead of a ribbed cuff, though, there's a tidy seed-stitch cuff that buttons closed. The pattern is for worsted yarn on 4mm needles and it is basically the fastest thing to knit; I think they'd be great emergency last-minute presents.

Relatedly, you know you have picked a good romantic partner when you say something like "Hey, do you want to come outside into the alley with me and take a few dozen pictures of my hands"; and they reply, "Sure, let's go!"

The Thing of last week is currently on hiatus, its calculations finished and its yarn neatly wound, while I work through two new things that came in the mail on Friday. These are more pattern ideas for Knit Picks, both gloves worked at relatively small gauges, and I want to get them out the door as quick as I can, so that the patterns are ready for high glove season.

Thing One is gloves with wide lace cuffs, knitted sideways. The yarn is Alpaca Cloud worked double-stranded. I chose a lace yarn instead of a fingering-weight offering for a couple of reasons. First is that the fabric double-stranding lightweight yarn makes is different from the fabric that a single strand of a heavier yarn makes, even where the gauge is identical. The double-stranded one will be a little thinner and a little drapier, which I think is ideal for something intended to be soft and pretty. Since the yarn is alpaca, they'll be warm as anything in spite of their relative thinness.

This is the cuff so far:

ugly alpaca cuff

Ugh, right? This was my swatch, in a different yarn of around the same weight as the double-stranded Alpaca Cloud:

Less-ugly cuff

I think it blocks out pretty nicely! The swatch yarn is something of a novelty: Winter's Tale from Taiga Yarns, previously known as Unusual #15. I knitted a Faux Russian Stole out of it a couple of years ago and it turned out to be too warm for even an Edmonton winter. It's 100% goat down plus many coarse and wiry guard hairs, some of which fall out during the knitting while the rest stay put. The down beneath is very soft and vaguely silky-feeling, with some subtle glossiness. I might turn the swatch into its own pair of gloves, because I have a feeling that they would be great for October weather.

(I'm not allowed to make doubles of things before I even finish the first sample, though!)

Thing Two is a pair of elaborate stranded colourwork gloves that are not for the faint-hearted. Most rounds require stranding three colours at once, some rounds require four. I'll add a fifth colour with duplicate stitches after the knitting is finished.

And let me tell you: stranding three colours is a pain. The knitting doesn't have much of a rhythm; I keep dropping a strand of yarn off the tip of my right index finger and having to fish around for it behind the work. When I try to knit while something is happening on TV or I'm listening to music that is distracting or unfamiliar, I lose my place.

But the results are enormously rewarding.

guardian cuff

I hesitate to praise this snippet of knitting—it's destined to be unknit and reworked on needles a size smaller (2mm, not 2.25mm). The fabric is a strange combination of too stretchy because of the loose gauge, and rigid and unyielding because of the extra stranding going on behind the scenes. But I think adding a third colour to the mix after the corrugated ribbed cuff makes the work look elegant in a way that leaving it at two colours would not have been. And it's surprisingly thick, and will be a useful warm thing in a couple of months. (And I need to psych myself up for knitting it again.)

I'm trying to evoke this mosaic ceiling, which is in the lobby of a magnificent art deco office building in Detroit. My knitted rendition is substantially simplified (for example, it's missing the little green diamonds between the blue diamonds that divide the columns of yellow and orange!), but it's fun to look at, too. It had better be fun to look at because I'll be knitting it for a while!


Lori said...

I just popped by from Knitty and I am in AWE of your beautiful pieces in progress! The 3 color stranded snippet is gorgeous and makes me feel anxious in that I want to attempt it but fear I would end up frustrated in the knitting attempt. (having not attempted 3 colors in a row! eep!)

Regardless, I love the gloves in Knitty and think i'll give them a go. I've never attempted gloves before and they look like what I would like to wear.

imogene said...

definitely loving the art deco mosaic vibe. what a cool source of inspiration!

eileen said...


man, the guardian building is exciting. that's detroit: thousands of ruins of both regular midwestern boardy houses, and then ruins of buildings like that. and occaisonally a few preserved buildings like that.

ALSO: you and I need to hang out sometime, lady. you can knit things and I will cook things and it will be just fine.

Elka Minor said...

I love that Taiga swatch... I never even heard of the yarn but it is so beautiful. Of course some fine lace pattern helps anything look lovely. Thanks for sharing

B. said...

Thanks for the compliments, Lori and imogene!

Eileen, we SHOULD INDEED hang out. Knitting while being cooked for is basically my favourite activity.

I am totally fascinated by Detroit. And it is now within day-tripping distance! But I think it might be a little weird to take a trip specifically to look at crumbling buildings. Fortunately pretty buildings in Detroit have been extensively photographed and posted on the internet. It BLOWS MY MIND that the Guardian Building is actually a building where you could, like, have an office. Where I am from they build things on the cheap and tear them down to replace them every twenty years, so most things never last long enough to be interesting in that way.

Elka, the yarn is worth ordering just to try it out, but it's awfully weird! Too many guard hairs to be soft. I have a high scratchiness tolerance but this yarn pushes it to its limit. However, it's so absurdly warm that it is kind of worth it.

Mel said...

The pattern is fantastic! Congratulations!