mitten fail...then success...sometimes simple is the best

On Sunday I had this bright idea to knit my friend a pair of mittens for Christmas. My brother Joe's socks were getting nowhere (gauge issues, sizing issues, and today I am finally on track, which is good since I only have a week to go!), I'd already made 4 attempts at knitting a hat out of chunky alpaca yarn (more on that later), and I needed something new and quick. (Ha. The 4-try hat was already supposed to be new and quick and it took 4 tries and no, it's not done, though once I get back to it I'll be able to finish it in an hour or so).

There's nothing like that sort of impulsive casting on for a project that you only have 3 days to finish. It pretty much guarantees you're going to be screwed.

In any case, I pulled out some Romney wool yarn from Yorkshire Rose Farm that I bought at the farmers' market this past summer. It's hand-dyed in a lovely "bronze green", and it's a dense 2-ply with a lot of sheen. It's a sturdy yarn, not for those with sensitive skin. I'd never make a scarf out of it. Romney is perfect for mittens, though, and this shade of green is my friend's favorite color. I've wanted to make the Woodruff mittens from Brooklyn Tweed

I knew there would be issues when I started swatching - at least I bothered to swatch - and I had to keep going down, down, down in needle sizes to get a stitch gauge close to what I needed. I started on 8s and worked my way down to 5s before I just decided to dive in and get started. A mitten is hardly bigger than a swatch anyway, right?

Ha, again. It took three tries to get past the cuff, which was enormous until I finally cast on with size 3 needles. I got this far -

- before admitting that the project was doomed. See that lovely green? It's ever so slightly mottled, which hides the twisted stitch pattern. And remember how I said the 2-ply was dense? It's very dense, and the plies have a lot of depth, which create a shadow on the yarn itself, so the added texture of the cables just kind of got swallowed up. I gave up just after working the bobble and realizing that it doesn't show up at all. It looks less like a bobble, more like a mistake.

This took the whole day. It was frustrating. At this point, I should probably have given up on the mittens and just baked her some cookies like a normal person, but I was starting to feel like the Universe was trying to kick my knitting ass and I wasn't just going to roll over and take it, so I kept on going. I kept the cuff (finally the right size at this point) and knit a plain old mitten on top of it on size 4 needles.

The knitted fabric on these is, I hope, warm, and quite dense. You could probably knock someone out with these things if you tried. I am pleased with how they turned out, though. See the lovely color variations?

Yarn: 2-ply Romney from Yorkshire Rose Farm in the color "bronze green"
Pattern: Just a generic mitten pattern from my head. I took a few notes in case I wanted to write it out here, but I don't think I need to bother. Just find a basic mitten pattern in whatever gauge you are working with and start with a welted cuff.
Sticks: size 3 (3.25mm) and 4 (3.5mm) DPNs

I gave the mittens to my friend this afternoon, and she loves them. Now I'm buckling down to knit these socks for my brother and have already gotten distracted with an idea for a hat...maybe I'll work on that after Christmas!


juicyknits said…
That's what I call a true knitting perseverance. They turned out pretty.
WildflowerWool said…
The mitts turned out great. Love the colour. Good luck with the socks!
Jessi said…
So nice!

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