Yep more hand stuff

These are Susie Rogers Reading Mitts. Yep, the pattern is old enough that they aren’t texting mitts. They’re reading mitts. This is the old Susie’s Reading Mitts from Dancing Ewe Yarns (now closed) updated by the original designer, Susie Rogers. You can work from the English directions. Or the French directions. Or the Polish or Korean directions. I picked English since my Korean is a little rusty. It’s a great little free pattern with an international pedigree. Thousands of Ravelers around the world have knit these mitts and taken the time to post their knits to a Ravelry project page.

My mitts have a bit of history. They are knit from String Theory Merino DK in the Rose Madder colorway. Wonderful yarn.

In 2014 I knit myself a hat. Jo Klim’s Dawnlight Slouchy Hat. It was beautiful. Was is the operative word. Somehow it didn’t work well on my head and I wasn’t wearing it much. But I really liked that yarn. So eight years later, I unraveled the hat, steamed the yarn while it was on my swift, and started over.

I knit my mitts slightly under gauge, using size 4 US needles. Instead of picking up one stitch at the beginning of the thumb, I picked up two. In fact, I picked up two stitches together and knit them as one and another two and knit them as one. Then on the next row I knit those two stitches together. That worked well to pretty much eliminate those pesky holes at the base of the thumb. My size called for 13 stitches in the thumb gusset. I knit until I had 15 stitches. The result is an excellent-fitting mitt that’s a tad long (5.5 inches, as the pattern directs) to the start of the thumb gusset.

I really like these mitts. I know I’ll wear them often, though probably not while reading.

Next up is another incredible freebie mitt: Gansey Wristers by Kalliopi Aronis. I knit mine in yarn that’s been in my stash since 2017: the discontinued Kollage Yarns fingering weight Sock-a-licious. My “was” theme continues. Sock-a-licious was 70% merino, 20% nylon, and 10% silk. I wanted something with excellent stitch definition for this pattern and Sock-a-licious fit the bill.

These mitts are a foray into the slow knit movement. It was fun. I used US needle sizes 1 and 1.5. I wanted the mitt to cover more of the hand so after round 116 I added 16 rounds of knit 2 rounds purl 2 rounds. And for a longer thumb, I knit 10 rounds (rather than 6) before starting the ribbing. The top of the thumb, elongated this way, came out a tad wide because there are no decreases in the thumb. If I knit these again I might decrease a few stitches about half way through the added thumb rounds. But the mitts are still a great fit.

These next mitts you’ve seen before: Alicia Plummer’s rather barrel-shaped Raw Honey mitts. This time I used a new-to-me yarn: Berroco Lanas. Berroco says it’s a “special blend of South America wool.” It’s good worsted weight yarn. I found it at a wonderful price point at Fillory Yarn a few months back.

Raw Honey is a roomy fit on most hands. But that’s OK by me. The chevron pattern is an easy knit that looks complex but knits easy.

Here’s another recent version of Raw Honey.

For this pair I used the now-discontinued Sugar Bush Yarns Bold. Wear this pair while you’re directing traffic. Yep, “Clover” was that bright of a shade.

For the next two pair of mitts I gave myself a yarn chicken challenge. Would I or would I not have enough yarn in one skein of Malabrigo Rios to knit two pair of fingerless mitts. And the answer is…”Yes.”

First is another in a long stream, actually 12, of  Fetching(s) I’ve knit. At 21,274 project pages on Ravelry, Fetching is the most-knit pair of fingerless mitts on the web. Inquiring minds want to know what’s the second most-knit pair? It’s Susie Rogers Reading Mitts. Fetching is a free pattern published on Knitty and designed by Cheryl Niamath. I made zero modifications to the pattern. It used up 46 grams of yarn (96.6 yards) of my 100 gram skein of Rios.

Jessica Ayr’s Narragansett Fingerless Mitts was even a more dainty yardage gobbler than Fetching. All it needed was 44 grams (92.4 yards).

Narragansett mitts use what I think of as “cheater” brioche. I am not casting aspersions on brioche or trying to elevate it by dubbing it a cheater stitch. However, despite buying Nancy Marchant’s first book and her Craftsy class and taking an in-person brioche class from Olga-Buraya-Kefelian, and even though these designers are excellent teachers, I haven’t been able to learn brioche well enough to fix mistakes or use two colors of yarn. True Confessions time.

But I can manage this mitt’s knit-in-the-row-below kind of brioche. It’s still very difficult to fix mistakes. But the stitch is easy enough that I can keep my head together and power through it. As with all brioche, it’s the texture of the stitch that commands the knitter’s and wearer’s attention. Ayrs’s pattern is an excellent and fun knit. Give it a try. If you are brioche-impaired like me, tell yourself that it’s not real brioche.

100 grams of yarn, two pair of mitts. I even have 17 yards left for my Rios oddments bag.

Fingerless mitts

This was a totally fun knit. Brigit Grunwald’s Norwand. I knit it a pricey yarn that I do not enjoy working with: Kate Davies’ Milarrochy Tweed fingering weight. Apparently it’s high on the fair isle authenticity rating but to me it just makes the work look indistinct. Not a look I like for fair isle. Compare Grunwald’s sample and I know who wins.

But. The point of this knit was to give this unusual fingerless mitt pattern a try. What’s so unusual?

You start with the thumb. If you haven’t knit fingerless mitts before, just trust me that you never knit the thumb first. You’d no sooner knit the thumb first than that you’d knit a butttonhole before you knit the sweater, or frost a cake before you bake it. Here, you knit the thumb. Then you increase and knit the mitt to any size you like and the slightly sloped edge ends up covering your fingers. I was skeptical it would really work. But it does.

Here’s another look. I decided that mine depicts nightfall.

I used a three needle bindoff for the final (and only) seam. And to keep the bind-off comfortably stretchy, JSSBO (Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off) worked well.

Next up is, “…yes Virginia, there really is …” another pair of Fetching mitts that snuck its way onto this blog.

Most of the time a skein of Noro Silk Garden doesn’t do this weird of a color changing trick. Not sure what happened to Noro. But I have a high tolerance for its color quirks.

Such an excellent pattern. This is Fetching #11 for me!

Patterns revisited

This is Aimee Alexander’s Antonia’s Scarf. I knit it in the now-discontinued Classic Elite Song. Song is a DK weight mix of 50% cotton, 50% wool. I wish I’d have discovered Song before Classic Elite did its swan dive. It’s excellent yarn. The feel is more cotton than wool.

I’ve knit this scarf  twice before, both times in Noro Yuzen. Even if you don’t know Yuzen, you’ll assume it’s many-colored (and you’d be correct). My Noro versions shout “look at me.” Song, by contrast, produced a subdued, calm scarf that just nestles into your coat and keeps your neck cozy.

One of the fun things about Antonia’s Scarf is that it knits up super fast. That triple wrap stitch eats yarn like crazy and adds three-quarters of an inch in two shakes of lamb’s tail.

This next repeat performer is Cecelia Compochiaro’s Swirl Hat, from Mason-Dixon’s Field Guide No 5. I knit it in my last remaining bits of Classic Elite Fresco. Fresco is, well was, a wonderful 60% Wool, 30% Alpaca, 10% Angora sportweight. I even added a machine-made pom-pom this time. Somehow the halo of the angora inspired me on that.

Great hat. Again (head to the end of the post). Such an interesting sequence knitting design. You just keep knitting the same sequence of knits and purls, each round, adjusting the stitch count at the start of a round every once in awhile. Surprisingly, the purl bumps zig first one way and then the opposite way. I didn’t understand much about why or how it worked the first time I knit it. And the light bulb didn’t go on the second time either. But it does work.

I had only 80 yard of worsted weight Rhichard Devrieze Fynn left after completing a recent project. Fynn is expensive enough that I’d saved my two skeins for years until the pandemic came along and I started to wonder what I was saving it for. After knitting myself a pair of bedsocks (yes, bedsocks), I set to looking for a pattern that would make good use of my remaining 80 yards.

Seventy-eight yards is all it took to knit myself one of the headbands from Knitwise Design’s Rugged Trail Headbands.

I’ve already found reason to wear this during the chilliest of these recent sunny late winter days. Great yarn, if you can forgive short yardage (175) and a major price tag.

Someone asked if my helmet/facemask could do any coronavirus duty. No. Too porous. But come next winter this helmet, knit in easy-care Plymouth Encore, will keep someone very warm. Three of my helmets are already hard at work on that task.

The pattern is from Carol A. Anderson’s a/k/a Cottage Creations R18 booklet “More Projects for the Community and Family.” Here’s the BIG Cottage Creations news. Almost every booklet in the Cottage Creations catalog, even the discontinued ones, are now available for download and purchase on Ravelry. Such great news!

No post on repeat performers of mine would be complete without including my newest Fetchings. These three sets of mitts are knit in my favorite yarn for this pattern: Noro Silk Garden. Unless you can find it on sale, it’s a splurge for a quick knit. But oh the colors!

These are my 8th, 9th, and 10th Fetching. Yep, I have a major stutter going when it comes to this pattern. My ten Fetchings posted on Ravelry contribute to the 21,216 total finished projects. I typically knit them just as Cheryl Niameth’s 2007 pattern directs. Some knitters lengthen the mitts some before binding off. Some work the bind-off to tame the bit of ruffle. But I find all the features somehow endearing.

Frogging your knitting

This beautiful yarn is Karen Bradley’s hand-dyed Kaloula Yarn in her Grand Merino worsted weight. I found it once, late in 2012, at Knit Michigan. That’s a cancer benefit smallish yarn meet-up in the Detroit area. My eyeballs were dazzled by this yarn. But later it was hard for me to find a pattern that would suit. Even though these three skeins are all one colorway, the colors aren’t evenly disbursed or even all represented in each skein.

I searched Ravelry’s database and decided I’d knit a rustic shawl with an unusual construction: the Portuguese Fisherwomans shawl. It’s a Vermont Designs by Shelagh pattern. At that point, Shelagh Smith’s pattern was still downloadable from vtyarnco.com. (The pattern isn’t available anymore and, of course, I have no permission to share it or copy it and since I want to keep it in my library I can’t give it to anyone either.)

It’s a pretty thing, hanging there on the hanger. And I feel as if I did the yarn justice with my pattern choice.

The lengths of color worked out nicely.

Knitting that long garter stitch band and sewing it on wasn’t easy for me. I wore the shawl, a bit. Around the house. Where no one could see me in it. Knowing where all the mirrors in my house are located, I could easily avoid them. Steve knew his job was to answer the doorbell while I scampered out of my fisherwoman’s costume. Taking nothing away from Portuguese fisherwomen, they must go for warmth rather than style. Or else their body type isn’t portly (being charitable to myself) or buxom.

In 2018, I decided the shawl needed to be frogged. (“Rip it…rip it.) The yarn was just too special to see light of day so seldom. I ended up with about 1100 yards of yarn. Just for the fun of it, I wound it up all in one ball. It was so big it wouldn’t fit in my yarn bowl. It was as big as a small watermelon.

Then I went shawl/wrap pattern shopping and came up with a new Susan Mills pattern: Licola. You might want to click away to Ravelry now and take a look at Licola as Mills envisioned it. It’s supposed to be knit in 4 colorways of worsted and to end up in alternating striped rows. That would have been lovely. But, well…I had my Kaloula Yarn.

I just couldn’t be happier with how this turned out! Without any planning at all on my part, the bobble bind off even turned out to be mostly in shades that stand out from the rest of the shawl. Some who’ve knit Licola don’t care for the rustic knitted fringe. It’s created by casting on stitches at the start of a row and immediately binding them off. It’s one of my favorite features of this wrap.

Here’s another look at Licola.

I know I will wear this wrap. It used up a bit under 900 yards.

I had enough left to knit a new Sunrise Side Bear. This bear is my freebie donation to the knitting universe. So far ten knitters have posted their projects on Ravelry and about 1200 people have downloaded the pattern. I’m pretty geeked about that. You can read more about my one-seam, knit flat bear pattern here.

This guy is my Kaloula Sunrise Side Bear.

My Ex-Portuguese Fisherwoman’s Shawl was the gift that kept on giving. I even had enough left to complete my 5th pair of Fetching mitts, by Cheryl Niamath.

Ok. So you doubt my decision to frog the Portuguese Fisherwoman’s Shawl? Here’s me wearing it. And since then I’ve gained weight–which wasn’t enhancing the look. The ends of that long garter stitch band criss-cross your back and then pull forward to tie at belly button height. I hid the knot under the top flap.

Licolo works so much better for me. Here’s another view of it

Fetchings

Recently I had a major knitting stutter. I knitted a series of four Fetchings, Cheryl Niamath’s wonderful free pattern. I used four skeins of Noro Silk Garden in two colorways. I got started during a long drive, continued during a week-long visit to Ann Arbor, and finished the fourth pair once I returned home.

It’s such a satisfying knit. I’d knit the pattern six times before and managed to keep only one of the six for myself. Fetching is a handy mitt to tuck in a coat pocket for those times when there’s just a bit of a chill in the air.

In previous Fetchings I’d used solids–mostly Stonehedge Fiber’s Shepherd’s Wool. They worked up great in that yarn. Check out my first half-dozen. But this time it was those great Noro color changes that kept me trying just one more, just one more.

Four of the mitts are one colorway and four are another. But it’s difficult to tell which sprung from the same colorway.

The current count of posted Fetching projects on Ravelry is 21,138! 6065 Ravelers have Fetching in their queues awaiting the day when they’ll cast on. If you’re one of those 6000, seriously consider knitting Fetching soon. It will not disappoint. And if it’s not in your queue, just skip the queue and cast on straightaway. There’s already a chill in the morning air here in Michigan. And we’ve gotten into the mid-forties at night. Pretty soon you’ll welcome slipping your chilly fingers into a pair of these mitts.