Sunday, 3 October 2010

Colour stranded mittens using Artesano Inca Cloud Alpaca.

Although I have been knitting for years ,I have generally stuck to what I thought were simple patterns as I thought I wouldn't be able to do more "intricate" ones.

My thought process seems to have changed somewhat .I have realised that if you can cast on ,knit ,purl & cast off ,you have the basic tools & knowledge to attempt any pattern.I have along the way learnt tips to help with following these patterns.

A year ago I never thought I would attempt to make these mittens but here I am chatting about it.OK my first one was by no means perfect ,but having done that mitten without any instruction from someone & by trial & error ,my second one is coming along quite nicely & I feel happy with it.

The first time I ever did colour change in knitting I learnt how to do intarsia.This is where a motif is knitted in a background colour.To do this I found I needed to twist the two yarns together I was changing colour with or a hole would form.

With this stranded mitten ,becase the colour change occurs over few stitches ,there is no need to twist the yarn together.In fact you can see on the finished mitten which was the first one I made ,if you look at the cuff it looks untidy.This is due to the bobble that formed when I twisted the yarn together.I have not done this on the second one & you can see the result is much neater.I should have photographed the inside of the fabric but what you can actually see is just very small loops of yarn where I have carried the unworked colour across the back of the worked stitches.I only carry the yarn that is not being worked for a maximum of 3 stitches at a time.any more than that & a large loop will form which will catch on fingers etc.I makes also a lovely almost double type fabric which is very warm so ideal for mittens.

This pattern is a first of many.I have knitted mittens once before but only from a pattern & not straight from a chart.I have also never done the stranded colour change knitting before or set in a thumb or done Kitchener stitch.These were all firsts for me & although my knitting is far from perfect,I am pleased with the result.

I also found following the chart a challenge.My colour choice was very subtle which has made following the chart very closely rather than looking at the pattern emerging ,necessary.I have since purchased another ,deeper colour to go with the grey for a second pair of mittens.

To get around the eye boggling of following the chart I started with marking the pattern at the side of the row or round in this case ,with a pencil mark.This did get quite frustrating for me as ;
1) I kept forgetting to mark the round
2) I kept dropping my pencil & had to crawl around on the floor after it ,much to the delight of Mrs Magweed who proceeded to try & kiss me profusely & jump on my head as she thought I was playing.My back is still really bad so I needed her input like a hole in the head!!Bless her!!!

I found using a post it note was the best answer.I can stick it under the row /round I am currently working on & then move it up a line for the next working.No pencil to rub out on my pattern either.I can see the chart more clearly like this & I think it has helped to double my speed of knitting like this.

I love this Artesano yarn.It is such a good value yarn .I think I paid £3.50 for a 50g ball.It may have been £3.99 but hey who cares about a few pence.Its alpaca & lovely.My first mitten using yarn from two colours weighs only 27g.So you should be able to just get a pair of mittens out of one ball ,maybe slightly over.I am challenging myself to making 3 sets of mittens with the 3 balls of this Artesano Inca Cloud.
I am also using Brittany Birch needles.I was using my cheaper DPN's I got from Lidl when they were on special offer.To be honest ,I now think they were a bit of a false economy .I had trouble with the yarn splitting ,my hands ached & I also kept dropping the steel ones.I got so frustrated I went out & bought the Brittany ones & will not use anything else now.All those problems now no longer exist & how I am enjoying knitting these little babies!!
The pattern is a free one I found on Ravelry here.If you are not a member ,you can join for free & that allows you access to so much on the net.

Why did I put off making something like this for so long?Well I thought I wouldnt be able to do it!!I really wish now I had just got on with it.

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