Monday, September 18, 2006

easing up on things

Since I learned to knit as a youngster, people have told me I knit like my grandmother. Whenever I hear this, I am flattered, encouraged, nostalgic. It was she who taught me to knit in the first place. She filled our closets with beautiful sweaters. She was devoted to wonderful yarns, bought by friends on their travels around the world. I am honored when anyone says I knit like she did.

I am also sure that because I knit like my grandmother, I cannot do colorwork.

Granny was a tight knitter. My mother, a former loose knitter who no longer knits at all, used to make raglan "ski sweaters" with colorwork at the yoke--but Granny's attempts with two colors left her with puckered fabric and an uneasy feeling about her imperfections.

For a long time, I have hesitated to try colorwork, knowing that my hands pull the yarn taut just as Granny's hands did, knowing my desires for perfection rival my grandmother's.

But here I am, too-tight strands and all, loving it. I love holding one yarn English, one yard Continental, watching the pictures appear as I draw with my stitches...


...watching the side motif march forward on the sides of the mittens...


...and looking that peasant thumb, marked with contrasting waste yarn, so lovely that I cannot dream of ripping it out and replacing it.


But then, I realize, I do not have enough yarn for a second mitten....

12 comments:

Liz K. said...

Oh! Oh no!

Perhaps now you can channel Grumperina who made those spectacular stranded knee sock just as an experiment. She learned all kinds of things from that one sock.

Or you could curse and mutter your way back to the LYS for more yarn.

Kathleen C. said...

I'm looking at doing my first stranded color work as well, and I also was planning a mitten...
What book is this pattern from? It looks like a good, basic but interesting, pattern.
And I love your color choices!

Specs said...

Oh, I'm so sorry, but I laughed when I read that last sentence. This has happened to me (with socks) and I've frogged more pairs than I'd care to mention. Maybe you could turn it into something else? A soap holder? A barbie sleeping bag? A pencil case? Glasses case? Hamster motel?

It is beautiful, and at least you now know that you can make things like this!

Sheepish Annie said...

Arrggg!!! But it is beautiful and that is sometimes enough. Nice work.

Lazuli said...

What a beautiful mitten! Great job!

Mouse said...

its a single beautiful mitten though.. so I wouldn't be too heartbroken about it. I would definitely try to get more yarn and chance that the dye lots weren't close enough to make mittens match each other (or even just "resemble" each other). Well done.. I'm still colorwork-phobic.

Kate A. said...

I say go with deliberately different, but complementary, colors for the second mitten.

And how can you possibly complain about colorwork anymore??? That stuff is GORGEOUS!!!!

Sara Skates said...

Oh dear - I agree - find two complimentary colors, and make a mis-matched matching pair ;)

YES re Pat Humphries - I have pre-ordered their next album and we all wear the Peace Salaam Shalom t-shirts here too. They came through here about a year ago and we brought Hannah to the concert - Hannah was *enthralled* and sang along every word to just about every song - endearing herself to Pat and Sandy rather completely :) Someday, I'll skate to one of her/their songs ...

amy said...

Look at that stitch definition! I've only fair isled once and the hat came out very tight where the colorwork was and way, way looser where there was only the solid color stockinet. I think an all-over colorwork project would have created a more uniform product (even if it would have turned out smaller and not-too-stretchy). My next FI project will be the We Call Them Pirates hat.

FemiKnitMafia said...

Oh, it's beautiful! With too little yarn, perhaps this can be a show piece?

hillary said...

Oh no! There are few things that can spoil a project for me like running out of yarn. The motten looks great though. Perhaps it's served a greater purpose in convincing you that you CAN do color work.

beadlizard said...

Just do the same stitch pattern in another pair of colors you like, then use the first pair for the thumb of the second mitten, and vice versa. If you use the cream for both, assuming you can get more of it, they'll have more visual affinity.

As for tension, starting small is good. Choose patterns with an average of 3-stitch floats (you did!) and work up to 5-stitchers. Did your grandmother hold both strands in one hand? That can be the source of uneven tension.

When you knit the corrugated ribbing, did you put the purl strand in your right/English hand? That's usually the easier method.

Very nice work! --syl

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