Saturday, January 31, 2015

The search for the perfect mitten continues…

These mittens were intended to be a quick, gratifying project following on the heels of finishing the epic chevron blanket. I spied this pattern on Ravelry before Christmas and was completely enamored with how darn cute this particular version is.

Mine came out like this: mittens_crop

I’ve been looking to upgrade my warm handwear this winter, since I tend to lose circulation in the tips of my fingers when it’s cold. This past fall, I’ve been wearing commercial fleece gloves with a pair of handknit mittens on top. The mittens are made from a warm blend of merino and angora from Jamie Harmon. I haven’t had any trouble with cold fingers, but the angora creates a lot of fuzz that gets in the way and makes a mess. I wanted some mittens that would be as warm as that combo, but more durable. This pattern seemed perfect!snowball cropWhile I’m fairly happy with the result, the process of creating them was frustrating. I had to modify the pattern a lot, starting before I even cast on. The designer calls for a gauge of 8 st/in on the outer mitten, which is made of sock yarn. I chose a ball of Trekking XXL for my outer mitten. I just made a pair of socks from Trekking XXL last fall, and I got 8 st/in on a 2.0 mm needle. The larger mitten is only 1 stitch bigger in circumference than my socks, so I put the socks on my hands. They were WAY too tight and small. So, I upsized. IMG_4992The pattern calls for an i-cord cast-on. I thought it looked nice and I hadn’t tried the technique before, so I worked it. But the wrist opening for the mitten was WAY too big and would have let a lot of cold air in. So I ripped that back and replaced it with ribbing.

IMG_0136

The pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn in the liner mitten. I reached for this Julia out of my stash, since it is a warm blend of 50% wool, 25% alpaca, and 25% mohair. But since the yarn weight was different, I essentially had to rewrite the pattern AGAIN. I did a fair bit of ripping and reknitting to get these done!IMG_5428 The lining is just whip-stitched into place. I put the mittens over my phone to hold everything in the right position. I used segments of the sock yarn that matched the stripe I was sewing into, just to make sure it wouldn’t show on the right side of the mitten. Here’s a finished one from the inside:

IMG_5430

The ribbing fits under my coat sleeve but doesn’t add nearly as much bulk as it would if it were lined, too.IMG_5432 I’ve worn these quite a bit during the past two weeks. They aren’t quite as warm as my fleece glove/wool & angora mitten combo, but they are pretty good. What I really appreciate is how TOUGH the outer mitten is. That XXL is rustic stuff. I have wiped ice off my windshield wipers with the mitten, and it doesn’t seem to be worse for wear. Plus, no moisture got down to my skin. That is really nice.

I’m not giving up on lined mittens, but I’ll make some changes next time. I think I’d like to use fingering weight yarn on both layers. I’ll use a tough yarn on the outside and a much softer one on the inside. And I think I’ll use Susan B. Anderson’s Waiting for Winter mitten pattern as my guide (though she specifies worsted weight yarn so maybe not). I’ve made her pattern and it was perfect the first time.

snowball throw

So far, I’ve had TWO unsatisfactory pattern experiences in 2015. That’s annoying!

1 comment:

Steven said...

Gosh -- I don't in any way see this as a failure. You really MacGyvered this project. Love Trekking XXL. I'm knitting a pair of socks with it right now.