Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Oh, the excitement...!

I have really been enjoying this mitten. It is excellent fun, and it has reminded me of exactly how much I used to love working Aran patterns.

In times long past - I was 16 or 17, so that really was quite a while ago - I knitted five adult size Aran jumpers in quick succession. I reached the point where I could finish one in ten days flat - I have a feeling that it would take me rather longer, nowadays. But the enjoyment is the same.

This yarn, Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply, is not ideal for aran work because of the tweedy flecks, although in real life the blue and yellow bits are not nearly as distracting as they appear in these photos. However in terms of weight it is very similar indeed to the yarn for which the pattern was written, Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, and the tension is spot-on - albeit with much smaller needles than the pattern suggests. And yes, I swatched.

Where the yarn does rather obscure things is on the palm. This is worked in half-linen stitch, which is not something that I've encountered before in conjunction with aran work. It is an excellent design feature, though. It provides what is effectively a reinforced palm, and the row gauge combines very neatly with the heavily cabled back.

I don't know if you can see it very well, but in the picture above there is the beginning of a three-strand 'plaited' cable which is going to run up the thumb. Lovely little detail!

I have, as ever, been wondering about the sizing. The pattern says that it fits a women's size small, and that the circumference is 7". Now, my hands are really not small. They are chunky and square-ish. But, at the level of my knuckles, my left hand measures 7" around, which is all fine. But my right hand is bigger, 7 1/2" around, and the lower part of my palm is much wider.

So after the initial phase of 'oooh look! pretty new project!' had worn off, it occurred to me to wonder whether the mittens would actually fit, and I tried it on.

They will definitely be a very snug fit indeed. See how the centre cable section is being pulled out widthways? And this is the left mitten - my right hand is bigger. Not so good.

It was at this point that I paused and worked a swatch by the way. Using 2.25mm needles, I get 8spi and 10 rpi, so that's spot on.

Now, it has crossed my mind that I should go up a needle size. Then the mittens would be just a bit bigger all over, and they should fit me neatly, instead of being very snug indeed.

So, I should really frog these, and rework using 2.5mm. Ouch. Not an easy decision. But the thought has been growing in my mind, and it has been becoming more apparent to me that this is what I should do.


So today I've been knitting on the Striped Sweater. I need to make my mind up....

What else.... Christmas knitting!

I am not doing any. None at all. And really, it is so much better. Last year, it became very tedious indeed.

And one more thing. I am thinking of designing something using modular knitting. Now, I am not a designer at all, I would be totally winging it, and it is entirely possible that it could all go horribly wrong. But you see, I have substantial leftovers of Silk Garden Lite from Benedikta in four different colourways, and I also have some odd balls of Tess Dawson Alpaca DK in pink and Merino DK in chocolate ..... if I put it all together, I have enough yardage to make myself a waistcoat. And it does look rather nice, all put together.

So I've been making some little sketches and thinking about sizing of blocks, and how it would all fit together.

If I do actually knit it, and it works - then I have plans for another modular knit, this time a cardigan jacket, using handspun in natural colours. I saw something along these lines, worn by a member of the Wiltshire Spinning Guild recently, and it was really stunning.

My plans are really just pie in the sky, at the moment. But it would be an amazing thing to do.....


cathy said...

The mitten looks beautiful in that tweedy wool! But it sounds to me as if you will need to frog and get it over with. You won't really be happy with such a tight mitten, will you? Maybe it would help to think of what you've done so far as just being a generous swatch in the specified stitch pattern. :)

Kate said...

Do you think the yarn might bloom enough after blocking to allow for the tightness? I think I'd just be an ostrich and carry on after getting that far. :-)

The mitts are gorgeous. I so wanted to knit these this year and got distracted by stranded mitts instead. Fortunately patterns don't have an expiry date, even if this particular one will be "last year's Big Thing" by the time I get around to knitting them!

And get designing! If it all ends up horribly wrong (which it won't), you can never speak of it again. :-)

Gabriela said...

oh, wow, the mitten looks fantastic!

Philippa said...

I have knitted one of these mittens using YT 4 ply and the recommended needle size, I didn't swatch!

I found that they are a bit loose round I have small hands and also just a bit short so if you keep going you may want to add an extra pattern repeat. The colour is lovely. Philippa