Friday, July 27, 2012

Time to knit: Olympics edition

Public Service Announcement

Have you been following the Cast On, Bind Off blog tour?  Because it's nearing its end and if you want to win your very own copy, you probably have some commenting to do.  My turn to post (and to invite comments for the giveaway) is this coming Sunday, so be sure to stop by and find out whether or not I have anything fresh to say after a whole ton of other bloggers' posts on the same subject!

(hint: I do.  but this leaves the question: what?)

And now, back to our regular programming

(except it's not so regular, being Olympic-grade.)

* * * * *

So guys, are you ready to cast on?  And what are you going to be knitting while you watch, or follow along in the news, this summer's Olympics in beautiful London, England?

Here is my dream... to knit a pair of twined mittens that are the same size as each other, and warm enough to get me through some seriously cold winter days.  You may recall that I had a setback at the beginning of the process when I realized I'd accidentally put too much of my dream yarn into a pair of socks - too much, that is, to face ripping them out.

Fortunately I had roving in the same fiber and a very similar colour, so I decided to spin my own yarn for the job:

Of course, as I was finishing off the last of the fiber I discovered that twined mitts are traditionally made from yarn spun counterclockwise and plied clockwise, which is GAAAAAHHHHH because naturally, I had spun clockwise and plied counterclockwise.  However, that wasn't the worst.  The worst was, this yarn is too bulky for me to get the 9 stitches per inch I need for the pattern I chose.  Also: a little uneven.  Not as inconsistent with the bunching and the slimming as I usually spin - it's progress - but not easy to knit a pair of consistently well-fitting mittens with either.

Fortunately, I had more of the same fiber in a lighter weight and a different colour:

I hustled some other projects off the needles I use for this weight so they'd be free for knitting two mitts concurrently, and then discovered I don't get gauge with this yarn either.

Fortunately, while looking for other yarn I'd misplaced so I could cast on for something I should totally not be thinking about right now, I spotted still more yarn in the same fiber, even lighter weight, and a different colour again:

Or maybe not so different a colour?

Maybe... pretty darned close to the yarn I'd accidentally used for the socks, which wouldn't have worked for the mitts anyway because they are the same weight as the blue/green stuff?

Naturally, this is the one I got gauge with.  Using needles that weren't tied up with anything else at all, to boot.  Le sigh.  (someday I will learn to not second guess myself, and also to label the yarn I set aside for specific projects so I don't panic like that again.)

Honestly though, it is interesting how three yarns can look so similar and yet have such different size possibilities.  Check this out:

Looking at them together, you would never expect the bigger two to get the same gauge as the thinnest, but taken separately, I almost always do expect to.  Too much dreaming I guess.

Yarns: all romney/mohair blends from Stoddart Family Farm
Pattern: Two-End Mittens by Carol Rhoades, from the original Homespun, Handknit

Good luck to everybody who's knitting in the Ravellenics, and best wishes for a nice peaceful relaxing weekend for everybody else - see you Sunday for some Cast On, Bind Off fun!


Leslie said...

I started knitting the "Wavelength Shawl" from the May "Socks that Rock" club from Blue Moon Fiber. It's probably the most complex project I've worked on, which isn't always great for also watching tv, but I managed to get about 30 rows done last night (of course they're the short rows!). I'm enjoying the yarn, which I think is absolutely beautifully dyed! Good luck with your mittens!

Mary Keenan said...

You did better than I did Leslie - I was so distracted by the Opening Ceremonies :^) and then I realized the mitts were going to be way too tight, so I had to go back and add more stitches. Onward and upward!