Monday, November 28, 2011

Cabled Mitts and the Magic of Charts

And another WIP goes down.

Pattern:  Glorious Cabled Mitts (Ravelry pattern)
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 in Cherry Mist

I may have inched along initially on the second mitt, but once I hit the chart it was all over.  Something about being able to cross row after row off makes me a more productive knitter.  And well, once I finished the chart, I was just SO close that it didn't take too much effort to push through the last few inches of ribbing.

Pattern mods:  cast on 64 stitches instead of 72 and took out cables that are supposed to run alongside the lattice pattern.  As written, these would have been rather roomy and I like my mittens snug.  I lengthened the top ribbing so that it would cover my entire palm and knuckles.  This has never been a project I've had much enthusiasm for, but the end result is a nice pair of soft squishy mitts that I will wear as soon as mother nature realizes it's autumn and shouldn't be 60 degrees.

Yarn:  With 20 percent cashmere this yarn is soft and smooth and feels wonderful.  It doesn't have a super tight twist but isn't too splity and I liked the light feel compared to some of my denser sock yarns.  The one thing I really don't care for is the color.  The yarn can't decide whether it wants to be red or pink.  The end result is a sort of washed out red with lots of white splotches.  I've been told yarn is sometimes dyed like this on purpose to create a certain effect knitted up, but honestly it just looks like the skein wasn't fully dyed to me. I think one of these days, the mitts are going to take a swim in the crock pot with some red food coloring.

This brings me to ten projects finished with stash yarn this year and down to five WIPs.  Of the five projects left there are two that I've thought it might be a longshot to finish by the end of the year.  The first of those is an elaborately cabled sweater; the second is a pair of fair-isle socks.  The socks were started last summer as a mystery KAL.  I put them aside after finishing the leg and heel flap for both socks.  At the time, I wasn't in love with the pattern or my yarn choice.  For whatever reason, on Friday evening I settled onto the couch and pulled out these socks.  It only took about two rows before I was completely enthralled.  I knit for hours and finished more than half the foot.  By Sunday evening I was grafting the toe.

I credit the chart.  Every time I pick up a fair-isle project, I'm reminded how much I love stranded knitting.  Cable and lace charts will keep me motivated, but there is something magical about color charts that make me unable to put down the project.  After finishing the first sock, I figured I would try to finish off a couple of other projects before moving onto the second sock, but last night when I couldn't fall asleep, I reached for the sock and knit ten rows before putting it back down and going to sleep.

When I got home this evening, tired and with a headache, I went straight to the sock.  The gusset decreases are now finished and I'm itching to get back to it.  I don't think I'm going to have any problem finishing this project by the end of December.  The same cannot be said for the cabled sweater.

1 comment:

  1. You might try a quick dunk with a packet of red Kool-Aid for your mitts -- I've done that a lot when the yarn isn't quite as tonal as I'd like. Knitty has great tutorial on it.