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PROGRESS - my crochet project log

Warm Heart Mittens and Hat set

Jan 2006knitacylic/wool< $5quickyes

My execution is a little on the shaky side here and there, but all in all I'm really happy with how these turned out. Amazed even. If you'd told me a few months back that by the end of January I'd be doing stranded knitting on dpns of tiny mitten-sized tubes, I'd have laughed at your optimism. But it turned out not to be half as hard as I thought it'd be.

Anyway, the story goes thusly: as part of my ongoing Use-The-Stash-Not-The-Cash new year's quest, I looked around and found that I had three colors of wool-ease left-over from this project and this project. It didn't look like a whole lot (2.5 ounces?), so I thought maybe I'd see if I could make at least one mitten. So, my estimation skills, still lacking, considering that I in fact had enough to make two mittens, plus the hat, and there's even a tiny bit left-over.

I googled around a bit, and finally settled on these mittens from Knitting Now. Since I only had the three colors, I made both Color C (purple in the original) and Color D (red in the original) the cranberry red, leaving Color A (originally green) to be the light Gray and Color B (originally magenta) to be the dark gray. Then I just followed the pattern, pretty much verbatim, though I had to squint at the picture and guess a bit as to the exact chart as the pattern didn't precisely specify what the exact stitch counts for "checkerboard" and "broken stripe" were. I ended up going with 3x3 blocks for the checkerboard and 2x1 stripes with 1x1 breaks for the broken stripe pattern (see left). If you look closely at the mittens, you'll see where I got ahead of myself and started doing the broken stripes when I should have been doing the regular stripes for the gray-on-gray band. Ah well, I think it looks okay.

Once I finished the mittens, and found I still had yarn, naturally I wanted to make a matching hat. (Especially having seen these sets in knitpicks' catalog and site a few months ago and having dismissed them as too advanced.) The charts from the mitten pattern were so amazingly easy to memorize, I didn't even have to look at my finished the mittens or the pattern while working on the hat, just went straight from memory. Which is good, because I didn't have either handy. Not having to constantly check a piece of paper may explain why the hat went so amazingly fast. I think it was around 2 or 3 hours from start to finish. I just cast on a likely sounding number (80) and worked until I had about 4.5 inches and then started doing a little dance of decreasing, and trying it on, and then decreasing some more, and trying on again, until it fit right.

For the hat cuff, I decided to do 1x1 rib rather than the stockinette that the pattern calls for on the mitten cuffs. If I ever make these mittens again, I will definitely do the 1x1 rib again, as I think that looks much nicer than the curling stockinette. I really like how the 1-row-of-purl separating line looks though, I will have to remember to use that again!

After I'd finished everything up, and whilst reading Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears I had one of those "duh!" moments. I had been looking at my newly finished hat the night before, and thinking to myself how the extra strands made the knitted fabric double-thick when the pattern was all-over like it was in this case, rather than just a little decorative band as I'd done previously. And then I read "I... came to the conclusion... that designs were originally put in Scandinavian sweaters not as ornament, but as a way of carrying two wools at once and thus making a double-thick and double- warm garment; in fact these designs were truly functional. " And the lightbulb went on, and I said, "duh!". It had never even occurred to me that all the pretty designs were actually a byproduct of the desire to make the knitted garment thicker/warmer, but it makes perfect sense. So that was my knitting revelation of the week.