Monday, July 26, 2010

Fiddleheads

Hello!  I am back from a vacation to Kentucky, followed by a Flaming Lips concert that was my anniversary present, followed by our first anniversary, followed by Snowflake's first day of work at a new job.  Very exciting!  I will now tell you about a pair of mittens that I knit during this time.


Meet the Fiddlehead mittens.  These babies have been in my queue for a long time.  When I realized how much of the Classic Elite Fresco I had left over after I made the Enid Cardigan, I looked for a pattern to use up the scraps and this is what I found. About a year later, I finally got around to making them.

The instructions start with an I-cord cast on, which sounds like a brilliant idea.  You cast on stitches and make a lovely I-cord at the same time.  However, I knew from my Luminen sweater that, at least when I do the I-cord cast on, it looks like crap.  (Whoops, is that another sweater I knit and forgot to blog about?  Bad blogger!)  The stitches are way looser than the I-cord... it's a disaster.  So instead, I used a slight variation on the cast-on for the Yellow Harvest mittens.  I knit a 4-stitch I-cord for n-1 rows, where n was the number I intended to cast on.  (I should have gone for n rows, but I'll just know that for next time.)  Then, being very careful not to twist the I-cord at all, I used the cast-on tail to graft it into a ring.  Then, using the live yarn which I had not broken, I picked up n stitches from the I-cord ring.  Not only did it produce an absolutely lovely cast on edge, it also avoided the ubiquitous problem that the cast on always feels weak for the first few rows.  This was strong and structural right from the start, and a perfect start to knitting in the round.

From there, things went pretty simply.  More simply than usual, actually, because I didn't worry about long floats.  When there were long floats, I simply kept them long, and did not worry that my fingers would snag since I planned to knit a lining.  And so I did!



For the lining, I used the seventh and final color from the Enid cardigan, a lovely reddish purple.  I picked up stitches from the inside of the I-cord and proceeded.  If I have one regret about these mittens, it is that I think the lining is too big.  It is done on fewer stitches, which helps a little, but if I were to do this again, I would have used a fingering weight for the lining (this time, I used sport weight for the whole thing,) and also gone down a needle size or two.  The decreases in the lining are more round, which makes them shorter than the pointed outside mittens.  I think that was a good idea on the part of the designer.

Oh, and did I mention how much I love this yarn?  This is pretty much the best yarn ever.  It is so soft and addictive to knit with.  It feels like butter in your hands.  The Enid cardigan has developed a crazy halo, but I don't even care.  I love the feel of this yarn.  Oh, and I didn't use it up.  Each of the contrast colors on the outside mittens used less than 10 grams, and I still have a hank and a half of the brown left over.  Only the purple I used for the lining is almost gone.  So I guess I'll have to figure out something else to do with the remnants of this lovely yarn.  For now, it's in my "Will trade or sell" section of my stash.



Now, if it were only cold enough to wear wool/alpaca/angora lined stranded mittens, then we'd be in business.

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