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Cathedral Mittens

After a pause for bronchitis, I started in on the Cathedral Mittens again. I got all the way to the end of the first mitten, and all I have to do now is the thumb.

Cathedral Mittens--Detail

The decreases caused some thought and planning. I caught on pretty quick that the instructions would leave a very nice gold-black-gold three-stitch symmetrical border at the decreases. This worked great for the window pattern rows. Where it didn't work so great were the two black rows in between the window pattern. I concluded, after some squinting at my crappy black and white photocopy of the pattern (because, yes, I forgot to check while I was home and in the same room as the book), that the black rows didn't include the gold stitch. Which is fine with me, because it was enough of a pain to carry the black all the way across the row for two--count them two--stitches per round.

I'm still really pleased with how these are turning out. They're going much faster than I had ever imagined, bronchitis aside, and they're truly beautiful. I'm amazed at the work that went into developing this pattern.
jinjifore: (Default)
I'm still composing my DragonCon report, so instead I'm going to talk about mittens.

Cathedral Mittens--In Progress

I'm really, really pleased with the way these are turning out. I was worried for a while about the gauge, because the swatch is measured over the palm stitch, and the cuff stitch is a lot wider. I was knitting on these huge cuffs thinking the things would swallow my hand, but now that I've gotten an inch above the thumb I'm thinking it's going to be okay. The hand stitch is, as my swatch told me, a lot more compressed horizontally than the cuffs, and the contrast is going to give a nice gauntlet effect to the cuff.

Cathedral Mittens--In Progress

I had to rip back a row when I first made the thumb opening, but so far that's only my second big mistake. My first big mistake, you ask?

Imagine, if you will, the purple and gold chevron pattern at the top of the cuff with the last row of gold stitches offset by half a repeat. It was actually a very nice effect, and if I had done it for the whole row I would have gladly kept it because it was pretty. Unfortunately, I did half the row correctly, and the other half not.

I had already knitted another two or three rows by the time I discovered this. I didn't want to rip out, so what I did instead was to slip stitches along the row until I reached the point above an incorrect stitch. I laddered down, then, using a crochet hook, snagged the correct color that was already stranded across the back of the work and knitted the column back up. It worked out fine, since the colors were already stranded, just in a different order than they should have been. I really should have taken pictures of the process, though.

These are also knitting up a good deal quicker than I thought they would. So far it's taken about four knitting days to reach the point where I am now, and the pattern is very easy to remember after the first repeat. It's going to take some time, but not nearly as much as I had feared.
jinjifore: (Default)
Because I have nothing else to do today, such as get dressed, finish packing, help daughter do same, and drive to Atlanta, I'm going to talk a bit about my new knitting project.

Cathedral Mittens

I've wanted to do Lizbeth Upitis's Cathedral Mittens for fifteen years. I've been making projects out of the book Homespun Handknit for at least that long, and the Cathedral Mittens were one of the ones that had to wait a while. Thanks to Maggie Righetti's Dumb Baby Bonnet, Stupid Baby Sweater, and Baby Booties, I did have a good basic skill set, but the Cathedral Mittens were completely out of my league. Furthermore, I didn't even have access to needles small enough to knit at twelve stitches to the inch, and if I had I didn't have access to good enough yarn, either. So the mittens waited.

As the years passed, I got better at knitting, and from time to time I'd look at the Cathedral Mittens and think, "Yeah, I could probably do those now." But there was always something else to do before tackling such a finely knitted project that would be only for myself. I had, apparently, a lot of selfless knitting to get through first. And I still hadn't found any yarn that said, "Hey, remember the Cathedral Mittens? Use me!" For one thing, I really wanted to do the mittens in the actual colors from the original pattern--which I rarely do--and finding a fine yarn in just the right shades of gold, purple, blue, orange, and red that also came in black proved harder than it might seem.

A few months ago, though, events converged. I'd added 000 and 0 size needles to my tools some time ago, and had knitted a couple of projects at twelve and ten stitches to the inch, so I knew I had the dogged bloody-mindedness required. Not to mention the insanity of the 160-fish fish blanket. Then I spotted some Garnstudio Drops Alpaca black, gold, and other cathedral-esque colors, and my brain finally dredged up "Cathedral Mittens!"

More technical stuff )


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February 2012



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