I hate thinking about Christmas before Thanksgiving even arrives, but I am determined this year to get some hand knits into the gift stash before December 24th! Last year I was knitting frantically right up until midnight on the 24th and I will not do that this year!
One way I'm working to prevent the last minute Christmas knitting dash (and resulting repetitive stress injuries) is knitting small projects. No sweaters and Fair Isle vests for me this year. Don't know what I was thinking last year. Not that the gifts weren't warmly received and well loved, but I was a mess by Christmas. This year, it's all about the mittens…
This is Elizabeth Zimmermann's Norwegian Mitten pattern from Knitting Around. I used the spruce pattern for the back and just alternated colors for the palm. The colors in these pictures are so far from true, so here's an indoor shot that is not great but shows the color a little better.
(click on thumbnails to enlarge as usual)
The yarn I used, as so many others have also used for these mittens, is Knit Picks Telemark in the colors Poppy and Pesto (check out their site if you want to see what the colors really look like). I struggled with the pattern at first, and in fact knitted a 3rd (well, actually a 1st–these are the 2nd and 3rd mittens) mitten with a different palm pattern before deciding that I wanted something easier just to get thru the first pair and get the technique down (the first mitten was too small anyway so needed to be frogged regardless of what I thought of the pattern). I have also discovered that I am a very tight knitter in stranded knitting. Most people, it seems, who've knitted these mittens have managed the proper gauge of 6st/in using size 3 needles. I, on the otherhand, had to jump up to a size 5 and the right mitten is still snug! I think my gauge was more like 6 1/2sts to the inch rather than 6. The left and final mitten was a bit looser. I tried to concentrate on relaxing my gauge, but I do have a pair of sz 6 dpn's on order for the next pair, just in case.
Overall, it took me about 3 weeks of knitting off and on and about 15 hours to finish these. But that has not detered me from starting yet another pair:
I'm trying out the magic loop method with there. I'm not sure how I like it yet and may go back to dpns. We'll see. I've designed my own cuff for this one but will use an EZ pattern for the main back pattern. It will be interesting to see how much faster I can whip these puppies out compared to the first pair. Hopefully I won't end up hating mittens by the time this is all said and done!