Knits Men Want: fingerless mitts

tealmittsBruce Weinstein’s Knits Men Want is subtitled “The Ten Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting For A Man.” Most of the rules proceed from a heavily stereotyped place.  Women like knitted stuff fancied up and colorful and men like only simple knitted stuff in shades of brown, gray (and possibly navy blue if they are daring). It’s not true in my world. But once you get beyond the point of view, Weinstein’s patterns are compellingly utilitarian. For me, there’s not anything to not like regardless of the gender of the wearer.

These are his Fingerless Mitts, knitted in Berroco’s worsted weight version of Comfort. It’s an acrylic/nylon 50/50 mix that is enjoyable to work with even though it tends to be splitty. For the wool adverse we knit for, it’s an excellent choice.

My only modifications were to shorten the top ribbing and the thumb ribbing to five rounds.

Before you buy Knits Men Want, you might want to read up some on Weinstein’s idiosyncratic pattern writing. Everything was correct, in both patterns I’ve knitted from this book. He provides directions for just about every weight of yarn, by gauge, and for a variety of sizes. This is a great feature. But, to handle the variant gauge issue, he uses multiple charts, with multiple columns, for every step in the pattern. It’s confusing until you get in the swing of it. It works, after you think about it for awhile. Making a copy of the pattern and highlighting the direction in each step for the size and gauge you are working helps a great deal.

My Paradise Cardigan

norlin_cardiThis is Sandi Rosner’s sensibly named “Infant Set III.” As you quickly see, I didn’t make the set, which included this cardigan, a cute cap with earflaps, booties and a blanket. Somehow I was only drawn to the cardigan. The pattern is Ann Norling #86. Her company’s patterns are not available for download. But there are many shops and sites selling them.

My only modification was to extend the button band to include a bottom band. I picked up stitches all around and mitered the corners. To accomplish the mitering, I placed a marker at the center point of the two corners and then increased one stitch on each side of the marker, every other row. I am very pleased that the modification gives this little sweater a more finished look.

The cardigan is knitted in Vintage DK by Berroco. It’s an interesting bouncy blend of 50% acrylic, 40% wool and 10% nylon.

While I have nothing but kudos for Rosner’s simply named pattern, I’ve called it my Paradise cardigan. That’s because I purchased the pattern in the small Upper Peninsula town of Paradise, at a multi-craft shop with an interesting selection of quality yarns: Village Fabrics & Crafts.

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Ruffed grouse

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This is a ruffed grouse in the woods about two  miles northwest of Long Lake, off Sorenson Road. Its ruff, which both male and females have, is  a bunch of black feathers on the sides of the neck that the birds can fan out. The male birds can also fan their tail feathers like a turkey. This grouse is big–about the size of a chicken (16 to 19 inches long).

You can call this a ruffed grouse, or you could sound snooty and call this a bonasa umbellus.  Bonasum is “bison” in Latin. If you’ve heard the loud drumming sounds these guys make you might think you’re hearing the sound of bison hooves.That’s an exaggeration, but the drumming is loud. They drum by cupping their wings and using their strong breast muscles to move their wings very fast. They don’t beat on their chests. Instead, they move their wings so fast that they produce the booming sounds. The umbellus part of their species name comes from the Latin word meaning “parasol.” It seems that would be a tad like what their ruff or maybe their tail feathers look like when they are spread. Only the male birds do the drumming thing. They are looking for a female and also trying to keep the competition away.  
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All grouse have large feet with four toes. The front three are webbed, a bit. That webbing allows a ruffed grouse to walk on top of deep snow. Feathers cover their legs down to the toes. So, this is a bird with natural snowshoes and leggings.

If you are walking in the woods and a big bird suddenly flies up and you hear a loud wingbeat, it will very likely be a ruffed grouse. And in the winter, they may explode out of snow bank as you get near, because they burrow into the snow to keep warm. But this guy was just taking a stroll on a nice sunny day in Michigan’s “up north.”

Melinda VerMeer’s Bayfront Cap

bayfrontMany knitters have favorite patterns that they knit many times over. For me, those patterns are often hats. Melinda VerMeer’s Bayfront Cap, available for download on Ravelry at the very reasonable price of $2.99, is so far the only sockweight yarn hat that keeps me coming back for “just one more.”

I like to knit it extra long, so that it can be cuffed over the ears. But it’s wonderful without the cuff as well. Here it is knitted in Lorna’s Laces Solemate, an interesting yarn of 55% superwash merino wool, 15% nylon, and 30% of some Rayon concoction that goes by the trade name “Outlast.” Outlast is supposed to “interact with the body’s microclimate to moderate temperature from being too hot or too cold.” I’m not sure about that. But the yarn has a nice soft bounce to it.

The very best part of Bayfront is this knock-your-socks off crown section:

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Here are various versions I’ve knit in recent years. Click on the thumbnails to get a more clear view.

 

Coler Fingerless Mitts

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Stephen West’s “Coler” fingerless mitts look a bit odd laying on a table, what with that eight-legged spider wrapped around the wrist. But on the wrist, these mitts are wonderful. Stylish without being over-the-top. And maybe I’m the only one who sees a spider instead of just some classy cable work.

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The 2 by 2 ribbing is wonderfully stretchy and will accommodate DK or worsted weight yarns and still fit most sized hands. This is Stonehedge Fibers Shepard’s Wool in the milk chocolate colorway.

A change of yarn and the mitts become quite feminine. Shown next in a discontinued Berroco 100% worsted wool version of “Vintage.”

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The mitts have a very nice thumb gusset, which help to situate them properly on the hands. For smaller hands, you can either shorten the mitts, or wear them cuffed.

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