Testing and geeking or just being weird and struck by madness?

Testing. Testing. Testing. Testing. Testing. Testing.

Yup. I finished the deadline for today and I am not allowed to knit more than that says the doctor lady. Actually she said no knitting at all but hey, 14 rounds a day is hardly knitting! Right? ;P

So does that mean that The Mitten Project lyes dormant until the next day? NO! I really want to collect some the pattern elements I discover during this year. To make clear not to copy the patterns I buy but many of the traditional mittens have amazing elements that can be used for further design and inspiration. I would love to collect those in a sketchbook. So why am I babeling about this? In what way do I use my evening on that? Well here it is: I am testing methods for drawing charts. It needs to be fast, pleasant to the hand and show the pattern clearly.

This is something I have been dreaming of doing for a while so awesome it is. But I also found out that it was common for the young girls to do pattern books of their own. I have seen a few pictures of these books and seen a couple of different methods. Now I’m testing them!

I have tested four pens. A simple 0.4 pen with a hard and round, a SignPen with a soft and rounded head, a PITT pen (b) with a brush head and a 3.0mm calligraphy pen. I tested 6 different ways of drawing.

What is clear to me is that the symbol needs to be clear on the page. The smaller ones are too vague.

  1. Column: The normal (for me) to draw charts for color work. One might call it the cross stitch symbol. This a little comprehensive but as I’m used to doing it doesn’t seem as bad as such. It is however a lot of work for my wrists. I prefer SignPen the most in this.
  2. Column: The dot. Simple. Easy. Looks very frail and somewhat hard to read on the page compared to the other methods. I am not choosing a favorite in this as I can’t see it working for me.
  3. Column: The circle. This symbol is very easy to do and is definitely the symbol that needs the least work compared to how visible it is on the page. It works best with a fuller pen. SignPen or Pitt brush pen is best here.
  4. Column: Small cross stitches. These are actually easier to make than the full cross stitch as they need less movement of the hand. They are also funner to do hehe. It’s however a little more work than the circle.
  5. Column: The square filled completely. This is a very nice and clear way of showing a pattern. It is however quite a lot of work. It was definitely easiest to do with the calligraphy pen. I consider if I could find two or three colors of this pen then I could mark the contrast colors.
  6. Column: Large dot/filled circle. This is a bit too much work for me. It’s more work than the circle as I did the circle and then filled it in. So this is out of the picture.

Now I’m also considering trying out the circles and dots on millimeter paper. It could make it easier to get a full mitten on one sheet of paper however it’s a bit difficult to find a sketch book with it and not just a pad.

There is so many very very big decisions as you can hear! …..I am such a weird geek! I am thrilled about this kind of work and I feel so odd because of it. Oh well. I am amused and happy, but mad, I’m sure.

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Poll pictures done

Tuesday I spend some hours doing poll pictures, just like the one I made for Januarys first poll. They are now all nice and uniform in a folder marked ‘Poll Pictures’.

There is at the moment 33 different themes and the next step is to narrow it down. With the poll pictures I should have a better overview and this should hopefully help me! I am hoping to have at least 6 months themes planned when this week is over.

All the poll pictures together.

All the poll pictures together.

Knitting with a deadline

When ever I have knitting project with a deadline I break it down to be able to keep an overview. I find it’s much easier to cope with if I calculate how much – how many rounds – I need to knit each day to make my deadline. Not that I per say knit each day but then I know roughly how much I need to knit the next day. Some days are just knitting days others not.

To give an example I will use The Flamingo Mitten: The Flamingo Mittens has a chart with 75 rounds and 10 rounds of ribbing = 85 rounds. Then there need to be time to knit thumb and weave in ends and such. If I have 2 weeks/14 days to a pair I have one week per mitten. Setting one day aside to knit thumb ect. per week it gives this equation: 85rounds/6days = 14,16r/d = 15 rounds per day. By rounding up I make the number easier to remember and make sure that I give myself more time in the end.

I don’t find the ribbing to be very hard or time consuming, and rather tedious actually, so I prefer to spend more time on the color work. So I often get the ribbing done as fast as possible to get to the fun part. I often don’t really count the ribbing into the calculation. If you do the same you have to knit fx. 12 rounds per day in stead of 15.

To me it’s important to remember that this is just guide lines to keep an overview. I’m into structure not a strict regime. Knitting is a relaxing spare time activity for me not a chore and I’m very focused on avoiding just that feeling, especially when knitting with a deadline – be it this mitten project or knitting for gifts.

Happy knitting with a deadline!

Overview of the weeks work

This past week I have been working looking for ways to promote this little endeavor of mine, so I can get the feedback it needs to run properly. I’m expecting it to be slow but I hope it will change when TMP it up an running! I have created a Facebook page for you who want to have TMP on your facebook feed rather than using the RSS 🙂

The Mitten Project on Facebook

I am still working on ideas of how to do it but lets see if this shouldn’t help a little. Ideas and advise is always welcome!

To give a little overview of how it looks with themes: I have gone from 42 to 35 to 30 themes. There is many that looks really interesting both motif-wise as well as technique-wise. But there is still a growing maybe pile. The process of sorting has been paused a bit due to Christmas gift making and exam preparations. Butbut I have bought the pattern for the Gnome Mittens! I will be casting on shortly.

Soon to come is also a little How I’m gonna do a mitten a week-strategy.

2. + 3. round of categorizing

I can tell you it’s looking good! I have done the second and third round of categorizing. I have deleted a few themes, created a few new ones and twined others so it would make most sense. Mainly I’ve split Technique Time into four categories:

  1. Technique Time
  2. Cables
  3. Knit-Purl
  4. Fingerless mittens

A big criteria for the themes/categories has been that if there were not at least four mittens that all could bring their own to the table it deleted it. Each theme should have either good and interesting motifs or have a particular detail that made it a bit different, be it in the detail, technique or what not.

I do have a maybe pile for themes I am still in doubt of. If I don’t find them to be missing on the list, they are not adding something on their own and wont be part of the project.

Each theme is now down to 4 patterns except Technique Time as I think it should cover a much wider range.

It has been tough! Most of the themes had so many wonderful mittens that I could hardly choose. It took about four days I think but it’s done now and it feels and looks great!

First round of categorization

Have used the last couple of days sorting through around 700 mittens. Phew! And this was just the first round. It’s not a secret: I loooooove organizing and sorting and having order in a big project. So it might sound horrible but I love this part. Also I know I’m gonna be glad for it when this project really starts.

From time to time the thought ‘what have I gotten my self into’ pops up. Then I remember: oh yes! I’m gonna have a full year of knitting wonderful mittens 😀 And the feeling of dread disappears.

Back on subject. This was the first round of organizing. This is how it looks, all themes that have 4 or more mittens in the folder. Some have been added due to the need – others have been spliced together.

  • Animals, other
  • Animated/cartoon
  • Around the world
  • Asia
  • Birds
  • Cats
  • Christian
  • Deep Sea
  • Eastern Europe
  • First Snow/Wintertime
  • Flowers
  • Food and beverages
  • Forest Animals
  • Geometry
  • Halloween/Dias de los muertos
  • Kids
  • Lines lines lines
  • Manly month
  • Month of hearts
  • Moose month
  • Music month
  • Nature
  • Nerdy
  • Odd and different
  • Owl month
  • Roses
  • Spots, dots and do dats
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Technique time
  • Fingerless
  • Twirls and swirls
  • Traditional
  • Vintage patterns

Next step is to choose at least 4 patterns in each theme I think have good qualities and write a little text to why. Then I think I will do a pull here and/or on facebook. First of it will be only on the Themes. The chosen themes will be put into a calendar so that there is some order in that as well. And then a couple of weeks before the month a pull on what patterns you’d like to see knit (Do I even make sense? Hehe. Well I have a plan!).

That reminds me: Do a facebook page for this project! I need to post it on some of the knitting community pages as well. It would be nice with the help of

As you can see I might need to do another year. Darn so many wonderful mittens out there! And here I was thinking of doing a year of my own designed mittens – I might just have to postpone that. Or make a mixed year. One month my own, one month. Oh well, lets see when I get to that. I might just be so tired of mittens. Who knows!