Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mittens and the making of three dimensions from two

Well, I never did organize a project to bring along to the knitfest last night; I carted along some very nice felt-able yarn I haven't quite decided what to do with so I could practice knitting in the round on straight needles. SO much easier than it seems, especially if you don't mind a sealed edge at the bottom should you mess up the way I did (hey, even mistakes can lead to useful things like purses or pockets!)

Yep - easy, interesting, and even soothing. I need to fuss with the technique some more but I like it.

Another comfort for the sort-of failed knitting experiment was the speaker at the fest: Robin Melanson, whose beautiful patterns have been just about everywhere you want to be and whose book Knitting New Mittens & Gloves gets rave reviews that do not surprise me one bit. She had brought along some samples from the book and I think I managed to look closely at one and a half of them before I had to beeline it for the shop table that had copies to sell. They're that wonderful.

Think about it: summer may be coming but as Elizabeth Zimmerman points out in the Knitter's Almanac, mittens are a perfect summer project, being small and portable and not at all warm in your lap. Sort of like socks, really.... h'mmmm.


Anonymous said...

Surely not as year-round as socks, though *even* in Canada? And can you tell more about knitting in the round with straight needles? THIS I want to know.

Mary Keenan said...

Well, I wouldn't *wear* mittens in the summer here, or socks for that matter, but they're certainly more practical to knit than a giant cardi during a heatwave or while vacationing ;^)

The knitting in the round thing is essentially that you cast on 2x the stitches you need for one side, then work the first stitch and slip the second one with your yarn in front, and repeat that to the end. When you turn your work you slip the stitches you just worked as before, with the yarn in front, and work the ones you slipped before. After a few rows you can see the pocket that's forming in there... but I obviously missed the instructions on keeping the bottom open. I wonder though whether you could do a sock this way and have the closed part be the toe? Might be a bit lumpy depending on the cast on... maybe a provisional cast on you can cut away later, and then graft the toe stitches so they're nice and flat?

Kathleen Taylor said...

Mittens are great portable projects too, and fingerless mittens are fun.

The flat-round knitting is intrigueing, but I'd need to concentrate the whole time, or I'd have the tube connected at odd intervals throughout.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I think I was kind of hoping for a miracle. This does not sound like a miracle so much as a headache. Or something you have to be more organized about than I suspect I could manage. I'll just have to build the stock of dpn's/circulars after all.