After I stared at the red mittens for a few days, I finally got my act together and knitted their thumbs. After the sad experiences of my previous mitten-making stints, in which the second mitten invariably emerged from the needles as a 10 percent reduction of the first one, I wanted to be able to concentrate on what I was doing, keep careful track of my rows, and make sure the two mittens were as darn close to identical as I could make them.
So, I packed them off to Late Night Knitting at the Sow’s Ear last Friday and went forward. With the help of just a touch of Chocovine and some bites of panko chocolate. (Seriously, a dark chocolate bar with panko bread crumbs and sea salt. It’s hard to express just how yum this is.)
In the end, I was pleased with my efforts.
So, I went on to finish knitting Zoom, a swiffer cover made from dishcloth cotton. I haven’t seamed it up yet, but the Actual Knitting ended about 15 minutes before Late Night did. I was pleased with how that turned out, too.
The impetus for knitting Zoom is that last month the thin carpeting in our rented farmhouse was replaced with laminate flooring in the kitchen and dining room. And while I’m no longer obsessed with the thought of a rotten carpet, pad, and subfloor every time one of the kids spills a Capri Sun, I did quickly realize I was going to have to make something to help me keep it clean and dry. I’ve had a Swiffer broom for years, but I hated having to spend so much money on the little wipes. And they always dried out in their packages before I got to use them all. A reusable cotton cover made so much sense to me. Now, I almost have one. There are several patterns for this kind of thing; I selected Zoom because it had a little texture to it.
Anyway, then I pulled my 198 Yards of Heaven project out of the bag. It stared me in the face. It taunted me. You don’t have time to work on me properly, just enough time to start a row and thoroughly screw it up. What’s the matter, can’t you count? I put it back in the bag. There were more mittens to do.
Sort of. When I asked my daughter if she still wanted brown mittens, she said no. She had wanted brown woolen mittens with decorated backs that looked like either horseshoes, or initials made from yarn that looked like a cowboy’s rope. I don’t remember exactly. It sounded pretty complex to me, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. I was relieved to hear that she had changed her mind.
“What kind of mittens do you want, then?”
“Ones with fingers.”
Oh crap. “Gloves?”
“Yes! Gloves! In purple.”
Now, the closest I’ve come to knitting gloves would have been…. oh, let’s see. The red mittens in the picture in this post. Well, I did want to please, and it was time to stretch and challenge myself a little bit, so I looked through my pattern files.
What I ended up doing was combining the measurements I’d taken for Jack’s hands (Colleen is older but slight, and Jack is younger but robust, and most times they measure identically) for the Fittin’ Mittens pattern with the recipe given in a Winter 2003 article from Interweave Knits called “Progressive Gloves.” There will be plenty of new things for me to learn, including the way the thumb is allowed for (you knit several stitches with waste yarn to create a provisional cast on you’ll pick up later).
I picked a pretty variegated purple yarn from the stash (Rhapsody from Dark Horse Yarns, a Merino Wool from Turkey of all places, an orphan skein I adopted from the Sow’s Ear last year), cast on last night, and immediately modified the pattern so her gloves would have ribbed cuffs. That I already know how to do.
I’ll need to measure her hand this morning to determine how far to knit before I put in the thumb stitches, and I need to know where her “finger line” is, but so far it’s been good knitting. The yarn measures out at 205 yards for 100 grams, so it’s big fluffy Merino. So nice to knit with after the Bernat sock-weight nylon/acrylic blend I just wrestled into a pair of mittens.
In other news, UNWIND registrations are starting to roll in. By the time I log in the new ones there should be about 15 out of 200. It’s all more real every day. Please, if you’re planning to come, do help me out by registering as early as you can so we’ll know better how much we’re planning for.
And, oh. Top Chef. See ya, Tim!