Friday, January 26, 2007

I Don't Love to Sew...

But I do love my husband.

I have been knitting this week, but on the down-low, so I couldn't share it until now. I would like to introduce the Cap'n's Felted Mittens.

The Pattern: Double-Cuff Mittens from Knit One, Felt Too (my first felted project!)
The Yarn: Bemidji's Original Homespun from A Good Yarn in Baltimore
Colorways: Oxford Grey and Charcoal Heather
Needles: Susan Bates aluminum US11 dpns and Clover Takumi bamboo US4 dpns
Time: Little over a week? I started them after we got back from Oregon and I finished today.
Modifications: I made the inside ribbed cuff longer as per the recipient's request. I also included a colorwork Shetland-style pattern around the palm, inspired by the samples knitted up in the shop.

First, the yarn is AWESOME. I purchased these two skeins plus a cream one the night before my LSAT in December. I got it on the recommendation of the girl in the shop, who said it felted beautifully. The yarn is also incredibly soft (considering it is untreated wool) for wearing next to the skin. And at $6 for 225 yards, you can't beat the price. I still have a good bit leftover from the mittens -- I'm hoping enough to make a pair of boot socks to match for the Cap'n. I'd like to modify the Country Sock pattern in Folk Socks.

The shop had a pair of these double-cuff mittens knitted up, and they were worked up in the same colors with a Fair Isle pattern across the palm. I knew I had to make some for the Cap'n.

Unfortunately, I didn't study the mittens closely enough to remember the pattern nor did I draw it out. So when it came time to do these, I cast about for another Fair Isle inspiration. Luckily I have the best one close at hand: The Art of Fair Isle Knitting. (A birthday gift card purchase last year.)

I believe this pattern is referred to sometimes as "three to the fireplace, three to the door." The author, Ann Feitelson, had a pair of gloves knitted for her with this pattern by an 80-year-old Shetland Islander who remembered her aunt making this pattern in the 1920s. The aunt was 70 years old in the 1920s and had been making this pattern for decades, according to the book. I so appreciated Ms. Feitelson's research in this book, and thanks to her I can continue making a pattern that is more than 100 years old. You can see it better in the unfelted before photo.

There is not a pattern written up for this in the book, but I just hand-charted it and inserted the pattern across the palm. The challenge was keeping my floats loose, especially since I knew it was going to shrink. The colorwork definitely came out to be the tightest part of the mitten. I probably would have liked to felt the mittens for slightly longer, but was afraid that the palm would become too small for the Cap'n. As it was, it only took about 10 minutes to felt them in the washer downstairs.

The ribbed cuff is unfelted and whipstitched in. I own absolutely no thread and no sewing needles. On purpose. I don't really like to sew and in 4-H I begged my mom to let me take Consumer Clothing instead of regular Clothing, just so I could get new clothes without sewing them. But in the space of a naptime, I overcame my fear of sewing and finished off the mittens.

When I originally purchased the yarn and book, I showed it to the Cap'n to see if he would like them. He said he would, but he wanted a longer cuff that would tuck into his sweaters. Luckily, he forgot he OK'd this project, so when I decided to make him something to send off with him to Baghdad, these mittens came as a surprise.

You will note however, they are not in Baghdad.

Despite the quick knit nature of the big double points, the mittens did not dry in enough time to get the cuffs sewn in before the Cap'n flew out last night. (I did get a call from him saying he made it to Amman safely and will make the last leg of the trip tomorrow.)

So now he has to promise to come home and wear them.

Slim approves too. (But he did rip them off quickly after this shot...)

Slim also had a fun day, playing with Thomas trains at Barnes & Noble. And I made progress on my Child's First Sock. We'll see what progress tomorrow brings...


Anonymous said...

Aw, you're so sweet Ginny! I think you deserve to buy as much sock yarn as you want! :)

The felted mittens are huge! Even after the felting! Are his hands that big? Wow - I am impressed.

There are 5 days left to January. You are working on Child's First Sock. I am working on Child's French Sock (I am about 1/4 done with the second one). Can we finish before the end of the month? The RACE IS ON!!! (Somewhere I read about sock-a-month knitting (sock pair, I should say). Unofficial I think. But I want to do this now!)

Rie said...


Those mittens look so cozy! I feel like such a slacker because Ben's mittens are only half done (since I started frogging from the bottom of the second not-so-fetching mitt and now have to start all over on that one).

You are the mitten queen!

Maybe you can give me tips on those cuffs. I'm thinking about sewing some into my latest two pairs of fuzzy feet.

Love you lots!

PS If the Cap'n is reading your blog from Baghdad, I send him my love: We're proud of you big brother! Just be safe.