Sunday, January 3, 2016

St Patrick's Day at Christmastime

The Christmas gifts have been given, so I can share this project with you now.

I had the good fortune to draw my sister Patricia's name. (Ok, so I wasn't actually there in person and Patricia's the one that organizes it so for all I know she made sure I had her name--I don't know. We're pretty lax about the "random" part of name drawing in my family. If you have a good idea for someone, you're going to magically draw their name that year. It works.)

Anyway, back to Patricia. She worked in Ireland for a time and loves all things Irish and especially celebrating St Patrick's Day. When I saw this mitten pattern from the very talented Spilly Jane, I immediately thought of shamrocks. I don't know what they're supposed to be, but does that really matter anyway? They're shamrocks to me.

I decided to make the fingerless version because by March, you should be able to pare down the warm woolies.

Those of you with good memories will recall that I dyed some wool green during the Olympics in February of 2014 for the Ravellenic Games.
I wouldn't tell you then, but this is the project I already had in mind!

I started the mitts quite a while ago (probably late winter or spring 2014 since that's when I dyed the yarn) but I got too smart with the pattern. Instead of doing colourwork, I decided I was going to double knit them. That way the fabric would be a double layer (warm) and there would be no floats of yarn on the inside to catch on rings and fingernails.

I started with the rib and knit it twice as long as I needed, then folded it over and used all those stitches (twice as many as I really needed) to set up the double knitting. Clever, right? Except I didn't realize just how much it would affect the gauge. Apparently double knitting is way looser than doing colourwork, so it didn't take me long to realize the mitts were way way too big.

I planned to figure out the new gauge and start again with fewer stitches, but never got to it. Finally this fall, figuring I really had the perfect reason to finish these for Patricia, I ripped them out and followed the pattern. Magic how that works out! :)

So I did a 1x1 rib to start. (Ok, the pattern calls for a twisted rib but I really don't like doing it, so I only do it when I really have to.) Then I added a Latvian braid.
I had never done one before but have always wanted to. Then I saw a Facebook post that my cousin just added one to mittens that she was making and I realized this was a great project to add it to. You may noticed that I made sure to change the braid direction so the two gloves are mirror images. I can't help it. By the way, this braid is stupid simple to do and you should add it to anything and everything that you can. It's just purling with two different colours of yarn with the floats in front. Search on youtube--you'll get it.

The pattern itself was fairly straight forward. You put in a strip of waste yarn where the thumbs will go later and knit a straight tube for the body of the mitten.
After that's done, you pick up the stitches off of the waste yarn and knit up the thumb. The flower/leaf pattern continues on the outside of the thumb but it's just green and white stripes on the inside (the part that touches the palm).
I finished with a sewn Kitchener bind off because it looks neat and basically because I still think it's magic the way it makes the stitches continue from the ribbing on the outside to the ribbing on the inside.

My sister seemed as pleased with them as I hoped she would be.
Project Stats
Started
: 4 Mar '14
Finished: 18 Dec '15
Pattern: Heather's Mittens by SpillyJane
Materials: I didn't weigh them but it was a small amount of raveled yarn--70% wool, 20% angora, 10% nylon (Oh, Patricia, I didn't tell you, but this means they are hand wash only. Maybe you assumed that.)

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