Friday, December 3, 2010

Third time lucky

I've been having a bear of a time with a particular purple shawl. The first time (reported here) I cast on, oh, two hundred too many stitches for a bottom-up triangle, and had to unravel it. The second time (undocumented) I had made too wide a rectangle, and it would've ended up too short to be useful. So I unravelled it too.

But now at long last I am on to something.

Half of a thing

This is half of a thing; it has a little scalloped edge and then a polka-dots-in-a-diamond-grid pattern that becomes just polka dots toward the centre. Each dot has a nupp in its centre, so it is like dots nestled comfortably inside bigger dots, and I am altogether pretty pleased. I am coming to like lace knitting that's not particularly lacy.

I think that when I block it for real (rather than haphazardly on the couch just to see what it looks like, as pictured above), I'll do it gently; it's okay for the fabric to have some stretch and give and squish left in it. It's easier to get the straight edges straight when you're not blocking an item to within an inch of its life, too.

Juliet is some of the most well-behaved yarn I have ever had the pleasure of knitting. Looking at it, you'd have no idea that I had been knitting and unravelling and reknitting and unravelling; it looks just the same as the first time I knitted it up, with no undue fuzziness or pilling. The stockinette-based pattern is edged with only three stitches in garter on either edge, but in the few days of being shoved in my purse since I blocked it, the fabric has lain as obediently flat as it was immediately after unpinning.

It's a somewhat hefty fingering-weight yarn knitted at a moderately tight gauge, so the shawl will have a satisfying and comfortable weight to it. I think it would make the best sweater in the world, or the coziest, sturdiest socks.


So! I am pretty pumped up about this little project:

Back of hand

I wanted to knit a stranded colourwork something that was more relaxing than the monstrously fiddly things I had been knitting, and starry Norwegian-inspired mittens fit the bill nicely. This project was like a palate-cleanser; now I can return to other knitting without trying to make it more difficult than it is.

Mittens with diamonds and squares and stars and fleurs-de-lis! And patterned thumb gussets that give way to thumbs in the same pattern as the palms, and invisible wide folded hems for embroidering secret messages onto. (I am actually pretty terrible at embroidering on knitting—cross stitch is more my speed—so I declined to add a message to my mittens, but you need not decline.)


These were interesting to knit because they didn't feel repetitive; there's a lot of mirror-imaging going on, but the motif is long and wide enough that I usually forgot what was supposed to happen next. The palm, though, has a tiny repeating pattern (a field of fleurs-de-lis or stars?), which offers a small break from chart-reading every round.

Having recently discovered this awesome old space news item, I had to name the triple-star mittens after a triple-star system. Polaris it is!

To knit them, you'll need two 50g skeins of Knit Picks Palette or some other sticky fingering-weight wool yarn, in two contrasting colours (shown in Jay and Cream). I used a set of 5 US #1/2.25mm double-pointed needles to achieve a gauge of 38 sts and 44 rounds = 4" in the stranded pattern; choose whatever needle size gets you gauge. The finished mittens measure 7.5" around above the thumb, and 11" from the edge of the cuff to the pointed tip.

As the pattern is written, the hand measures 4.5" from where the thumb splits off from the hand to the tip of the hand. The thumb can be moved up or down by beginning it a few rounds earlier or later than is marked on the charts; this lengthens the hand and shortens the cuff, or vice versa. More dramatic resizing is best accomplished by going up or down a needle size (for bigger or smaller mittens, respectively).


My favourite part is the sort of abstracted snowflake motif on the cuff. (And the hem! I like wide folded hems instead of ribbing; you get all the cozy fit of a ribbed cuff with none of the pulling in, and then there's this excellent extra space where you can put more patterns.) There hasn't been an actual proper snowfall where I live yet, and even though it's December it doesn't feel like winter. Snow already!

Get the pattern for $5.50 CAD by clicking this link, or from the pattern page on Ravelry here.

(The mittens I've actually been wearing out and about, though? Maplewood mittens. They are so cutely rustic, and their yarn is so assertively wooly, that I just can't not take them with me everywhere. I am a huge sucker for wooliness.)