Random Ravelings

Thoughts on knitting, yarn, writing, and life, as the mood strikes me.

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Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Year of the Mitten

Some progress on the second "Snowflake" mitten (aka Salt and Pepper done in blue and white) - still working on the thumb gore. My gauge seems to have tightened up a bit compared to the first mitten at this point. I was spot on with 6 1/2 stitches per inch on the first mitten; now I'm getting more like 7. I went back and checked other parts of the first mitten, and the hand above the thumb gore is also about 7 stitches per inch. The mitten fits okay, so I'm not worried. It is something I'll have to watch in making mittens for other people though.

Which I'm planning to do. I like to make hand-knit gifts for Christmas gifts for family and close friends, and have done so for several years. Last year was the Year of the Scarf (and at a couple of shawls). This year is the Year of the Mitten (or Glove or Fingerless Glove). Inspired by Robin Hansen's "Favorite Mittens", which I bought last fall, and wanting a theme for this year's Christmas knitting so I could get started early enough to hope to finish in time, I decided on mittens for all, or variants on that theme.

Now, double-knit wool mittens are a good choice for family that live in New Hampshire, where they actually get winter, but I'm not so sure about Arizona, or Florida. While I've already started to choose color combinations and buy yarn for everyone on the list, I'm having second (and third) thoughts on the appropriateness of mittens for some of my family. I figure fingerless gloves (aka wristers) ought to be a workable alternative for warmer climates, where it still gets chilly in the winter, at least occasionally. I hope I'm not indulging in wishful thinking here. I probably ought to at least do a little research on average winter temperatures in Arizona before I get too far into this project.

Since some of the gift recipients might end up reading this blog, I'm not going to go into details of who is getting what right now. It would be nice if at least some aspect of the gift remained a surprise.

The mittens I'm currently working on are a first project for the basic techniques involved, a chance for me to become more familiar with the two handed approach to the knitting that I've chosen (one color in each hand), and also serves as a warm up for my Olympic Knitting project -- the more complex Wild Geese Gloves, in the same technique.

I made a first run at a gauge swatch in the yarn I'm tentatively using for the Gloves (Tiur, by Dale, a mohair and wool blend). The instructions suggested knitting a small tube for this purpose. I tried a 30 stitch tube, in pattern, but decided it was just too narrow a diameter to be useful, so I frogged it and will try again with more stitches, or another technique, but still circular. Preliminary stitch counts though, suggest I may want to try a smaller needle size.


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