Finished Persnickety

So going through my box of mittens I discovered that I had actually finished the persnickety mitten! Which means it has been done for about as long as the other (the first+a week). So of course I’m going to share it with you …

Finished Persnickety Mittens. Pattern by SpillyJane Knits. Knit by: Anne Grove.

Finished Persnickety Mittens. Pattern by SpillyJane Knits. Knit by: Anne Grove.

In the first post about the Persnickety Mitten I asked what persnickety means. I love the name as it seems whimsical to me. Ellen Anthony answered my question and thank you so much, Ellen!

persnickety means something that is difficult with small and demanding parts, and is not correct unless you do the parts right! It can be 2 colors of pale pink and if you use the wrong one you won’t know until you have finished the second mitten, or it could be a very complicated recipe from your grandma, or it can be your grandma herself!
So something difficult with small parts! That is has this pattern, but I must admit I did get into a rhythm that made it easier as the mitten progressed. So don’t worry about the name 😉
Persnickety Mitten back side.

Persnickety Mitten back side.

The autumn has ben crazy. I’ve been occupied with school to such a degree that I have had no energy for doing almost anything outside of school. The little energy I’ve had I’ve spend on relaxing and my volunteer work. I’m the chairman in a steering group that runs an educational role-play for 14-17 year old, and the steering group has had a very tough year so a lot of work has gone into getting us on top again. And luckily we are getting there.

I need to close the mitten project and I’m going to do that by posting the last 2 or three mittens that I have found in my stash and then hold the give away. There is two pairs done in needle binding! The technique used in the Northern Europe before knitting came up through turkey and Central Europe. The two pairs I have are of different stitches so I hope you look forward to seeing what they are!

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Rosa Ros

Rosa Ros is a modern version of a traditional scandinavian motif. The rose is seen throughout Scandinavia but are of course mostly know as the selbu rose (from Norway). Gotland (Sweden), how ever, has a lot of roses – less figurative than the Selbu.

Solveig Larsson, the knitter behind has dedicated her life to mittens. She published the book The Mitten Book and I tell you, it’s an inch+ thick book of mitten after mitten. Almost every other page is a new one.
All Solveigs patterns are

Rosa Ros. Pattern: Solveig Svensson. Knitted by Anne Grove.

Rosa Ros. Pattern: Solveig Svensson. Knitted by Anne Grove.

This project, let me tell, it was a joy! The stitches just flew from one needle to the other and before I knew of it I had finished the first mitten. I had actually intended to knit these on the span of two weeks as per the setup of this project. But as a good book I just couldn’t put it down. It has been a joy doing these mittens. I think they might be my favorite so far. I’m sure they would be yours too if you could feel them. ‘Cos yum!

Solveig is very clear on her choice of yarn: alpaca. And this does give a wonderful mitten. If you are not used to knitting with different qualities of yarn you should do yourself that favor. A wonderful project can be amazing with a good quality yarn. I am glad I did these mittens in the recommended yarn^^

Front and back picture.

Front and back picture.

The cuff

The pattern doesn’t have a start to the cuff, non of her charts do. Normally most mittens will have some kind of edge before the charted cuff part. In The Mitten Book, Solveig have a chapter in the beginning showing different kinds that one can pick and choose from. I don’t remember if she writes this, but I have seen her use it on several mittens. I did a 12 rounds garter stitch. Plain and simple. I like that it doesn’t take from the pattern, but I do figure that others will like some cute edging – luckily you can choose which you use for your project 😉

Close-up of cuff, Rosa Ros.

Close-up of cuff, Rosa Ros.

Notes and thoughts

1. Choose an edging for the cuff. I chose a simple and somewhat stocky cuff: 12 rows of garter stitch.

2. I also added a very little detail to the pattern. I don’t know if it shows in any of the pictures but casting on I used both green colors. Giving a small row of light green loops before the cuff. I didn’t do it in any fancy way, I just made a loose knot to tie the two strands together and unwound it afterwards.

3. Yarn choice. Do yourself a favor and knit this pattern in alpaca! It deserves it and it’s what Solveig would do. It makes it a little fluffier, softer, smoother and much more yummy^^ I used DROPS alpaca for these, but you can use any alpaca

4. Color choice. The three shades of light pink for the rose can be tricky. I love the three colors I chose, while on their own. But the leap from first to second was just too big. Several times while knitting I discussed with myself if I should unwind and do it only in two. Just have in mind when you pick out colors that one color isn’t too powerfull and take out the pallet.

Besides being an awesome knitter and author she is also a wonderful person! She helped me to the pattern without much ado about nothing. And thank you for that, Solveig!
If you want to see more of her amazing mittens she has about 160 on Ravelry, you can see them here. You can also go to her webpage, though I could only find it in Swedish. Her website can be found here: solveigs vantar.

If you want to get your hands on this pattern you can get it, and many more patterns by purchasing The Mitten Calendar 2013 through the webpage. I will also recommend buying her book. It’s simply amazing. It comes in scandinavian languages and english (at least! that’s just what I know of).

Closeup of rose pattern - just because I'm in love with it!

Closeup of rose pattern – just because I’m in love with it!

Eithor Or test mitten – now with partner!

Yup. I made a partner for the Either Or testmitten. They are not identical but I though I wanted to make them a little interesting – also I wanted to see how the different methods in the pattern would look like.

Either Or Test Mittens. Pattern by Meredith Lee. Knitted by Anne Grove.

Either Or Test Mittens. Pattern by Meredith Lee. Knitted by Anne Grove.

The picture isn’t as good or pristine as I would want it to. But hopefully my new camera will be up and running soon. For more picture awesomeness 😀

If you want to read more on the Either Or pattern and first pair, you can find it here.

 

Dr. Zoidberg in the house

And in the living room too! These mittens are as fun and easy as they are fast to knit. You only need to be able to knit, purl and make a stitch.

I haven’t met anyone so far that hasn’t gotten shiny eyes from seeing these. Oh how I wish these were adult size. It’s gonna have to be a project to come^^

Lobster Claw mittens. Pattern by Morehouse Farm. Knitted by Anne Grove

Lobster Claw mittens. Pattern by Morehouse Farm. Knitted by Anne Grove

I made the medium size. I must admit I don’t have a clue about for what age child this is. The only directions for size is small, medium, large and then with how to size for your own child. As I don’t have a child at hand to test on I have no idea what the measurements tell. On the finished size I would guess a size 4-5 years, but I am not all sure. If any of you have any input on what age fits a hand that measures 4.5″ do tell!

In general I actually don’t have much to say about this pattern. Normally I would do a ‘notes & thoughts’ but I don’t really see the relevance this time, so I will leave it out. The only “problem” I had was about the size.
The pattern call for a double stranded cast off – I did a single as I like how it roles. That’s the only change I made.

I normally rave about the layout, as it’s in my opinion very important for the comprehension and the overall impression. The pattern is easy to understand and doesn’t fill more than one page (and no more is needed!) so it’s very easy to keep an overview.

Lobster Claws

The Lobster Claw mittens can be found here on Ravelry or directly on  Morehouse Designs. It’s priced at $5.00 USD. You aught to check out their other patterns. Many fun and quirky! They have some scarfs that will make you giggle all day long.

Finished Owls

So there Owls In Tree mittens are all done! And they are adorable. I must admit the pattern grew on me during the project^^ Not that I didn’t like it before, I just like it much more now. They were fun to do. I love the cuff with the edging, the latvian braid and the cuff chart. And of course the mitten chart in it self. Also I love the palm chart. It’s simple and very classic and makes the mitten more durable.

I wrote in the long post about the owls in tree mittens that I was trying to knit looser so all my mittens wouldn’t be size S/M women’s and it worked out! I have a tendency to knit very tight – and changing needles doesn’t seem to help a bit (Im strange!) so I used quite a lot of concentration to make myself knit looser throughout this project. I think I found a good flow in it so this experiment was a success.

Finished Owl In Tree Mittens. Pattern: Fact Woman from Mod Knits. Knit by: Anne Grove

Finished Owl In Tree Mittens. Pattern: Fact Woman from Mod Knits. Knit by: Anne Grove

I had a little trouble finding the time for blocking these mittens as I sunday: went to Copenhagen to teach a course in needle binding (for what must have been about 80 people – and two other teachers), monday: worked 8am to 8pm fixating and washing about 14 meters of banners I dyed last week and tuesday: worked from 9am-3pm cutting banners, overlocking sides and generally finishing it all up. So it totals to about 49 working hours in three days. Phew! I’m happy to start a fun and silly kids mitten now.

Oh and here is a little thing about how to finish up. You know those single stitches that just seems to disappear into your knit work? Well here is what I do to make them come out into the work again:

How I treat hiding stitches in colorknitwork.

How I treat hiding stitches in colorknitwork.

Mittenz with a set

While waiting for the sunlight to come out, so I can take a good picture of the finished Owl in Tree mitten, I give you Mittenz:

I wrote in the Either Or post a little tip about doing an simple and easy project alongside a very complicated one. Well Mittenz was my easy project. I often do this when I’m working with something complicated as I have moments I just need to knit – not think. These were in the poll alongside Either Or Mittens for the first round of Technical Time. They didn’t win or come close, but I had to try them out!

Mittenz. Pattern by Mariella Apadaco. Knit by Anne Grove.

The pattern is made by Mariella Apodaca and is available for free on her blog here. I love the pattern as it’s a mitten done a 100% in stockinette stitch AND it’s knit flat. This means it’s a nice project for the beginner and an easy one for an experienced, however not too boring for you to loose your interest. I’m quite into those where everybody can be in. The pattern is sized for child or small woman but can easily be accommodated for bigger sizes.

This mitten differs from traditionally knit mittens as it’s not only knit flat it’s also knit sideways. You use increase and decrease to shape thumb and fingertip and knit in garter stitch which makes the mitten have a ribbing effect and gives it a snug fit around the hand. So don’t be alarmed if you think it looks ‘skinny’ It’s intensional 😉

The Mittenz mitten not sewn together.

Her pattern is written out, row by row. Personally I prefer my patterns as short and cut to the bone so this is a bit too much for me. I normally write those patterns down in the abridged version, and this one didn’t take more space than an A5. Perfect for having in the bag with you on the go!

The material was Ragg-Strømpegarn from Hjerte Garn in variegated blues. A skein didn’t quite do it, so I have an almost full skein to use for something else. Any suggestions?

Mittenz

Notes and thoughts

1. When choosing your stitch markers (you need two) use two different from each other! I confused myself to begin with a lot because I had only one kind of stitch marker.
You are working flat so you are turning your work again and again and it’s easy to forget which marker is fingertip and which is thumb.

2. I found when sewing the mitten together it makes the nicest seam if you lie the work flat and sew it together rather than sow with back loop stitches.

Apodaca has more mittens knit sideways in a bit more complex version: Longway sideways mittens and Original sideways mittens. This, mittenz, is however the simplest version as you don’t have to make new stitches only cast off.

Either Or off the needles?

Either Or is not just the title of Februarys second mitten but also that of a very well known  philosophical work. Either Or was written by Soren Kierkegaard a Danish philosopher of great importance. It consist of two volumes Either and Or (Enten-Eller in Danish).
This book had a special place in my childhood home as my father is an academic in the field of religious philosophy, he works in particular with German philosopher Schleiermacher and with Kierkegaard.

Either Or Mitten. Pattern by Lee Meredith of leethalknits. Knit by Anne Grove.

Either Or Mitten. Pattern by Lee Meredith of leethalknits. Knit by Anne Grove.

The pattern is written by Lee Meridith of leethalknits. She makes wonderfully whimsy patterns that make great projects for homespun and art yarns. She is good at explaining the techniques used which is really great for this pattern. It looks very difficult but it is  simpler than that!

The pdf contains patterns for three different Either Or mittens. The short fingerless, the long fingerless and the mitten. This pattern is shaped around your hand as you knit, which means you need to size it on your hand. I am doing the long fingerless. As it was the pair that I fell in love with and it’s most versatile. Also very important it fits several sizes easier and as I have tiny hands I need not to fit them too much to my self.

Either Or mitten. Pattern and picture by Lee Meredith, of Leethalknits.

Either Or mitten. Pattern and picture by Lee Meredith, of Leethalknits.

This week has been a bit different from the other weeks. Which will also show in this blogpost. This pattern isn’t just ‘plug and play’ it’s a 28 pages long pdf. Which is pretty daunting! It is very well made and it’s great to look at but it is a bit confusing the first time you read it. I want to make it clear I can’t see how this pattern should be any shorter than the 28 pages. Just make sure to read it a couple of times before starting your project and have in mind that sometimes patterns doesn’t make sense before you just knit it.

One tip I can give is to follow the directions and don’t question them (I’m really good at that!) then it all makes sense. It’s a bit like knitting heels on socks for the first time. Don’t think, just do it.

This mitten differs from regular mittens as it’s knit from the thumb and out, working around the hand. When your work is large enough to fold around your hand you gather and work back and forth and “seem” the mitten up.
This technique confused me at first as it’s not until you get quite far down in the pattern you can see directions for sizes. I at least need directions for sizes as I have tiny hands and knitting for this project I need mittens not to be my size all of them as most of you wouldn’t be able to fit them afterwards.

On the test mitten I tried a little of it all. I did the stripes, I did the garter stitch wrist and I did the stockinette stitch wrist. I ought to knit another one so there is a pair, don't I?

On the test mitten I tried a little of it all. I did the stripes, I did the garter stitch wrist and I did the stockinette stitch wrist. I ought to knit another one so there is a pair, don’t I?

What I did was to knit a test mitten. To learn the pattern. To see how the different wrist/hand parts would look. I chose to knit the mitten in a soft store bought alpaca that already had a gauge guide on the wrapper to take that part out of this first calculation. Also I did the mitten in two different colors to test out that part of the pattern.

I originally thought I would do that with the final mitten as well but I changed my mind after I looked in my yarn stash. I wanted to use handspun yarn for this project as it’s in the spirit of Leethalknits but also because this patterns really can showcase the yarn.

I found an amazing wool blend. What it is I don’t know for sure as it didn’t have a label on it. Also I had to go look deep in the craftster logs to find out who made it. I got it in a swap a while back and it truely is amazing. I love earthy colors combined with turquoise. The woman behind this yarn is nicknamed Bugaboo1 – her real name is Stephanie Woolever (preeeetty perfect for a spinner if you ask me!).

The mittens are different from each other because of the handspun yarn. You can see differences from mitten to mitten as well as on the two sides of the mitten.

The mittens are different from each other because of the handspun yarn. You can see differences from mitten to mitten as well as on the two sides of the mitten.

WPI-method

WPI is short for wraps per inch. As simple as it is, you wrap your yarn around a ruler or a knitting needle and count how many wraps there is per inch. Use this method to help you determine what size needle you need for your handspun yarn (or a skein that lost its band).

For this pattern I would recommend not using a yarn that has super bulky parts as well as fingering parts. But using a yarn that varies is not a problem as you can see on the picture with the three types of mittens. Have in mind if you knit with varied thickness yarn that this might effect the row count for the thumb of this pattern.
Try to find an average, if the wraps per inch count is an uneven number use the highest number. That way you allow the thick yarn not to end up being knit too tight. What happens when your textile is knit very tight is that it get stiffer and can seem a little coarser.

This part a compilation of what you need for this pattern. To find chart and read more on the WPI-method see my post here.

The unblocked Either Or Mitten twists and turns a bit. The different knit directions and the change in stockinette and garter stitch makes it twist.

The unblocked Either Or Mitten twists and turns a bit. The different knit directions and the change in stockinette and garter stitch makes it twist.

I would recommend Meredith to try to revise her pattern. Not because it’s missing anything as such. But I think that a different way of organizing it could help immensely on the difficulty level. It seems completely impossible to get an overview to begin with and it was only when I had done the third mitten I could maneuver around in the 28 pages long pdf with confidence.

It would probably make an even longer pdf, but it would make a big difference if she had chosen to gather the pattern for respectively short fingerless, long fingerless and full mitten each in their segment. It is extremely confusing in an already confusing pattern to have to scroll back and forth (/jump from page to page – if printet). I think that such a change would render the pattern much more comprehendible and thus easier to use.

I do however like the last 6 pages that is made to print only the pattern without the pictures. However I needed the pictures to understand what she wrote on the first and a little in the second mitten. So I was dependent on the full pdf throughout most of this project.

Notes & thoughts

1. Do a test mitten! The first mitten takes AGES to do as you try to find your way through a lot of numbers and abbreviations. In danish we have a saying that directly translated is “to keep your tong straight in your mouth” (At holde tungen lige i munden). You need to focus a lot to understand this – the first time.
Already when you knit the first mitten of the pair (the second, counting the tester) you will find that it’s much much easier. And the third – well that’s just like any other easy to regular difficulty leveled pattern.

2. Thumb: You count how many rows you knit for the thumb and you write it down, according to the guide. But have in mind if you are knitting in a homespun yarn that varies a lot that this count might not be the same.

Notes for Either Or Mitten

3. I would recommend doing notes when knitting this pattern. It helped me a lot. Just a little pad to note down on next to your pattern. If you print the pattern you have boxes to put on little counts but I like to have them on one page compared to a minimum of 4-6 pages of the pattern. Personally I prefer to have it all on one pad so I have all the notes on one page.

4. Use different colored or sized markers! All 7 of them – otherwise it can get really difficult to follow the pattern. I used:
mA blue, big  (beginning of round)
mB1 white
mB2 red
mC1 purple
mC2 light red, big
mD1 blue, small
mD2 light red, small
It was a huge help to me that I noted down what markers had which colors. Working with 7 markers I needed to be able to color code them to make sure I didn’t loose my way during the pattern.

5. If you are doing a mitten for someone else (= a different handsize than yourself) go to page 12 to read what to do. If you follow the pattern slavish don’t think about this, but if you like me like to know a little about sizing before you start, you will find the information on page 12, last section.

A little tip: When you are doing a project that is very complicated have a super easy project to work on as well. Sometimes you just need to knit. Sometimes you need to see progress and that can be hard to see in a project that is very intricate and needs a lot of focus on the technical side. This helps me keep up the spirit and joy of knitting while attempting new challenges.
Edit: For this project I did the Mittenz by Mariella Apodaca.

Despite all the hardship I would enjoy to make more of these mittens. It’s a joy to knit when you get the hang of it and it’s a perfect project to showcase amazing yarns! And who doesn’t need a good excuse to buy amazing yarn – now that you have a pattern to use it with? 😉

Either Or Mitten