Friday, January 20, 2012
I knitted a prototype of these months ago, glowered at their saggy cuffs, and put them away. This month I finally gathered the resolve to unravel and try again.
Their original problem was that I had operated under the assumption that my colourwork tension would make the mittens too snug around the wrist unless I took some measures, so I cast on extra stitches and decreased them away after finishing the stranded section breaking off the contrast colour. MISTAKE! The fabric the yarn produces at this gauge is soft and pliable, so instead of not-too-snug cuffs I had saggy, baggy, can't-do-anything-with-'em cuffs attached to otherwise perfectly fine mittens. They annoyed me too much to countenance wearing or looking at them, so I shoved them in a drawer and resolved not to think about them until the annoyance had subsided.
Their time came when I was slogging through these other endless mittens and I wanted a small treat to work on in between sessions of black cotton blend stockinette at a dense gauge (my hands ache thinking about it). The yarn (Jo Sharp Silkroad DK) stood up well to being unravelled, no undue fluffiness or breakage. I skeined it and washed it and hung it to dry to bring some life back into it since it was feeling flatter than it had before, and it revived nicely. (Since we're talking like 200m of yarn, the unravelling-skeining-rewinding took very little time.)
The knitting itself took about two days, because puffy, tweedy, heathery, soft DK yarn on 2.75mm needles in the round is my happy place.
I solved the saggy cuffs problem by doing exactly nothing about it. There's the same number of stitches in the hand as in the cuff; the double-thickness of the colourwork section and the slightly tighter tension draws it in comfortably, though it's elastic enough to slide over the hand with no problem. It was a good reminder that while it is a good idea to put thought into a project, it is not always necessary to overthink.
The tips spiral in opposite directions because I cannot stand to knit the same thing twice. Four stitches get decreased every alternate round, with the decreases spaced evenly around and the total stitches decreased to four to make a pointed tip. (I like wearing pointy-tipped mittens as an adult woman though I have never seen any others worn out in the wild except by small children. Screw you, world, I wear what I want!)
Since it is my birthday today I am going to admit something nerdy: the colourwork part is loosely adapted from what I remember of a carpet that appears in an 18-year-old video game. It turns out that my recollection: not so accurate! But the knitting is an accurate reflection of the memory, at least.