The good news is that last night I cast off and delivered Adorable’s Nereid mitts (a fingerless glove adaptation of Cookie A.’s Pomatomus socks) and she seems to love them. The bad news, for me at least, is that I’m now facing the whole Memorial Day long weekend with no knitting project at all.
Here is the finished product, modeled by Adorable herself:
I really enjoyed making the mitts, first and foremost because I got a chance to play with the Koigu KPPPM that I picked up at String in New York. I’ve worked with self-striping and variegated yarns before, but never with a fiber that just feels so super-saturated with color, even in the muted brown and pink colorway. The yarn itself is beautiful to touch as well as to look at, and the finished knit had a spongy, rich feel that is frankly luxurious. I can already tell I’m going to be a sucker for this yarn! I worked the mitts on Clover Bamboo needles — a bit sticky, but so soft that I actually broke off the tip of one — and I’m still undecided about whether I’ll reach for the bamboo or the aluminum next time.
At first I wanted to work both mitts at the same time, but I just wasn’t happy with the feel of the fabric on the size 2 or even size 1 needles I have (see my this-is-not-a-sock-it’s-a fishing-net dilemma from my last Cookie A. sock attempt). On size zero, the fabric was just right. Confession: one of my key motivations for liking two-at-once socks is not second sock syndrome, it’s that I just can’t seem to count properly. Invariably one sock or the other ends up being longer or shorter which is sweet and, yes, confirms that the finished pair is truly homemade, but just doesn’t give me that happy feeling of successful completion that I’m looking for in a knitting project. What should have been obvious to me is that working a sock in pattern means that socks become error-proof. It’s far easier to keep track of 10 rows of ribbing for a cuff than for 150 rows in the entire length of a sock. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me — perhaps because Jaywalkers seem like “patterned” socks and I managed to mess up their length — but I suddenly feel free to try more complicated patterns on DPNs. I guess I am having a somewhat backward sock experience, but hey, that seems typical for me.
One issue I had (really the only one) was that the scallops on both mitts faced the same way instead of going in opposite directions. I guess the way to reverse this phenomenon would be to work the chart backwards. Or maybe upside down and backwards? I’ll have to look into it for the next time I knit something that is directional. I must admit that as I worked the mitts (and I added an additional chart repeat to make the mitts arm-warmers instead of simply wrist-warmers) I admired the way the tubular lace pattern looked and thought that it might make a very pretty knitted sleeve, especially given the subtlety of the varigated yarn against the subtlety of the pattern itself. I’m filing that idea away for the day in the far far far future when I attempt another adult sweater again.
My favorite thing about this project: I pulled out my trusty Knitter’s Handbook and taught myself the Tubular Bind-Off (aka Kitchner Bind-Off or Grafted Bind-Off) for K1 P1 ribbing. I’d create a tutorial but there is a fantastic one here if you are interested. It’s actually quite simple, if a bit tedious, and creates an edge that looks something like the edge that’s formed by folding a square of stockinette fabric in half. I’m curious if there is a similar bind-off for garter or stockinette fabric, but from now on I’ll be using the Tubular Bind-off for ribbing on most everything.
After writing all this I’m thinking that maybe taking a stab at a toe-up patterned sock is the way to go for this weekend. Nothing like a new project to get the heart racing! Or maybe I should return to the dreaded Monkey socks . . .