Saturday, August 18, 2007

The project I haven't been talking about

Well, that title makes it sound awfully dramatic, but actually it's just a project I rediscovered half-finished and have been working on off-and-on but never really posted about here. It's the Blackberry Mitten from Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill.

I like them. They should go faster than they do, but I keep getting poor gauge (too big! still too big! too small! still kind of small! screw it!) and ripping the mitten back out and starting over. I know, I know, I should swatch -- but it would take me almost as long to swatch as it does to knit the whole cuff of the mitten. I rarely bother with swatches for small projects and unsized projects. Sweaters, absolutely. Tricky lace patterns that I'd like to get right before I cast on 200 stitches, sure. But seriously, the thought of ripping out four inches of mitten holds little fear for me.

One thing I like about this mitten is the braid detail. Check it out -- it's created by purling in alternating MC and CC with the yarn floated on the right side and twisted. On taking this picture, I notice that I've messed up the twist direction -- see over on the left-hand side? Maybe I should rip them out again -- that would make this the fourth or fifth time I've started this mitten. Imagine how quickly the left-hand one will go.

One thing I don't like so much about this mitten is the fair isle pattern. The floats are as much as nine stitches. I know that once I finish this will felt a bit and that won't be a problem, but I don't like it while I'm knitting. It does weird things to my tension.

Also in the up-close picture, I notice how hairy this mitten looks! Partly this is just the yarn. I like Blackberry Ridge yarns a lot -- they are wonderfully springy, the colors are nothing crazy or exciting but they're very attractive, and the yarns are both spun in the US and reasonably priced, which is nice -- but they can be a little on the scratchy side. Part of the hairiness is that I left this project out on the couch, with predictable results re: cat hair.

I was looking at the Blackberry Ridge website right now, and I noticed this pattern, which I am instantly in love with: Pine Tree Double Knit Mitten. It's a pretty obvious pattern, and I could do it on my own. On the other hand, I do like to support designers.

That's why I bought a totally adorable pattern yesterday at The Yarn Basket in Portsmouth. Check it out: Child's Kitty Cat Pullover. I just thought that cat had so much personality. I could have made something similar on my own but it might not have quite so much personality, and again, I hate to copy, especially from small-time people (I would have much less guilt about copying from commercial RTW designers, although I almost never do this, because usually the RTW patterns I like would be really boring and/or expensive to knit myself). Anyhow, I have no particular child in mind for the sweater, I just thought it was cute. And the yarn store woman said that the designer used to work in that very store.

Sadly, I didn't think to ask the yarn store to validate our parking, so we had to pay the full $1.50 on exiting the garage. Traumatic!


naomi said...

Really just checking, 'cause I'm sleepy and not sure: did you mean 9" floats or 9-stitch floats? If it's 9", couldn't you carry the yarn to the next row in there?

Kyle said...

Ah, yes, nine stitches is indeed what I meant.

Kate said...

Those mittens are awesome. I especially love the braid. You don't see that kind of detail on mitten patterns, usually.

Kyle said...

It's a cool detail -- I will probably use it somewhere else sometime, though I wonder if it would be fussy-looking on a larger project.