Sunday 7 January 2018

Yarning Along: Mitten addict

One of the things I want to do this year is to knit more patterns written by other people: most of my knitting is work knitting, and sometimes I think it's good to look at things from a different perspective and to try out new techniques. With this in mind I've decided that, where possible, weekends will be dedicated to non-work crafting. Late last year, lots of knitting podcasters (Woolenvine, Stranded, Tea and Possibilities to name but a few) were talking about knitting Norwegian style mittens. It wasn't something that had specifically appealed to me before, but after watching so many people talk about them, I started to think it might be something I was interested in. During the Giftalong last year I discovered designer Erica Heusser, who has designed some beautiful colourwork mitts and mittens, and I decided that I really, really wanted to knit her Songbird Mittens. I put in an order to Knit Picks for some of their Palette yarn (which is perfect for colourwork), but when it arrived, I got a little intimidated: stranded mittens in 4 ply yarn at 40 sts to 10 cm, what was I thinking?! So I started looking for something a little simpler.

After a quick search on Ravelry I decided that the Selbu Mittens by Skeindeer Knits might be a good starting point - they're knitted in DK weight yarn, and come with full instructions (so many patterns for Norwegian Mittens are just the charts, which I'm sure I'll be fine with after a little practise, but maybe not for my first mittens!). I had DK weight yarn to hand - Willow and Lark Woodland - but when I sat down yesterday to cast on, I quickly realised that the yarn was much too thin, and that I would need something a little bit thicker.

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to do all non-work knitting from stash, so having decided that the yarn I had to hand wasn't going to work, I stepped away and got on with something else for a bit. It was only later in the evening that I realised I had the perfect yarn in my stash, an odd couple of balls of DK weight Bluefaced Leicester that have probably been in my stash for five years. 

Having found the right yarn, I decided to jump straight in and cast on the mittens (yes, I should have done a gauge swatch, but a stranded swatch in the round isn't far off knitting a mitten, in terms of time and effort). I immediately loved knitting the mittens, the pattern was pretty intuitive and before long I had knitted a decent portion of mitten, and even better, the gauge was perfect for making mittens in my size! This morning at soft play I even managed to get to the tip of the first mitten! I am really excited to get the second mitten knitted and on to my hands!

Another resolution for this year is to read 26 books. I'm doing pretty well so far as I've already finished the Susan Calman book (which was brilliant) and am now reading A Very Distant Shore by Jenny Colgan (it's a short book that is set on the same island as The Summer Seaside Kitchen, which I read last summer). The book is good so far, focusing on the arrival of a new doctor (a refugee, whose medical training is his ticket out of a war torn country) on a Scottish island. I'm sure it's not going to take me more than a couple of days to finish the book, then I might move on to one o of the books I got for Christmas - there's quick a pile!

Linking up with Rachel for Yarning Along.

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