Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Quest

I have always believed in quests, though bk (before knitting) the quest was likely to be for a teapot with a strainer1, or some other such item. Knitters also go on quests, their quests are likely to be for the perfect substitution, the perfect hoodie, etc. My personal quest is for the perfect mittens. This quest actually began bk, and has continued ak (after knitting). My hands get cold easily, gloves have done nothing to keep them warm, I tried every combination of gloves, including a fur lined leather glove2, but my fingers still froze. One day bk, I finally threw up my hands and gave into mittens. Mittens, you see, are impractical, all your fingers jammed together, and they are goofy, what person over age 10 wears them? Well I bought a machine knit pair on sale for about $15, and to my amazement my hands were warmer than they had been in the gloves. I was actually starting to like the mittens when tragedy struck, on mitten went AWOL. I remembered that I had some mittens from when I was younger that I never wore (see previous anti-mitten comments for reasons). They were white fur (fake I believe) lined with a fleece (fake also I believe). The fur mitten look is, granted, over the top, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so I pulled them out of storage and wore them, I wore them until they fell apart (which wasn't that long actually), I continued to wear them safety pinned together, my hands were warm for the first winter since I came to MA. They were not the perfect mittens though, they were very goofy looking and falling apart. K partially saved me though. She gave me a pair of mittens that were fleece lined and exceptionally warm. They would have been the perfect mitten but for the fact that I have to take the mittens off in order to get my keys, unlock my building door, use by bus pass, etc. This may not sound like that big of a deal, but the bus pass part is exceptionally problematic because my fingers don't warm up again. I did nothing about my mitten problem though until ak, at which time I discovered The Broad Street Mittens. Bingo, all my problems solved, right? Not quite. The pattern said it was for a large woman's hand, I didn't know how to judge the size of my hand. Well, what I learned is that my hands are not large, the mittens were way to big. Spring came, I put aside my quest and worked on other projects. In September I took the quest up again, after knitting the sweater hereinafter referred to, I had several skeins of a 50/50 silk cashmere blend yarn that I bought at the Webs annual tent sale, this was a thicker gauge yarn, but I figured that I could knit it down, and that might make for warmer mittens. I calculated the changes I would need to make and started fresh. I also dressed up the mitten by adding a cable, which took me to the second mitten to finalize. The fit was perfect, I was ready to go, the quest was over, right? Again not quite. Now, even though the mitten fit, it wasn't warm enough. I know, the weather hasn't gotten that cold yet, how can I tell that they won't be warm enough? Well, my fingers got cold one brisk Sat morning as I wore them outside on a trip to Woolcott & Co. in Cambridge. What a disappointment, after all, isn't cashmere supposed to be very warm? After poking around at the yarn in Woolcott I settled on some Plymouth Baby Grand Alpaca, which I was going to use to make traditional mittens to wear over my defective Broad Street Mittens. Then, K to the rescue again, this time she told me about a pattern for a Broad Street type mitten made at a worsted gauge. Even though the Alpaca is a bulky, I decided to knit it to the worsted gauge and give it a try. Well, the first one is done, very quickly I might add, though still a touch to big. After finding the pattern, I modified it quite a bit, made it smaller, did the fingers more like the Broad Street, than as described in the pattern, and did a cable surrounded by garter stitch on the cap, only issue left is to discover if they will do the trick. The other question I have, and please give me your opinion, should I reduce the size of the second one to try to make it fit, or should I keep it the same, to have a matched pair? I am leaning towards sizing down.

The next item on my blogging agenda is the start of purchasing yarn for my next major project (major mostly in terms I price I guess). After the holidays I plan on making the Victorian hooded jacket from the holiday VK. I am going to use the called for yarn, and have chosen a color and bought my first skein from Circles, where Allison is allowing me to pay for one skein at a time, the yarn will still need to be ordered, I am just getting the money into the store so that I won't have one large payment. Here is the main color I will be using in all it's sunlight glory.

Finally, what was meant to be a grand finale to this post, but which is really something of a disappointment, I finally seamed together my Vittadini, Fall 2004 cover sweater. I finished the collar last night. I planned on modeling it today and posting me in it. Unfortunately, there was a hitch. My big head won't fit through the neck hole. Now I will try to un-bind off and do it again looser and hope that will resolve the problem, though I am not sure it will. It fit without the collar. This is the first time this has happened to me. Any ideas? In the meantime, here is a picture of the wrong collar sized sweater. Hopefully, on Thursday I will be able to model the sweater.

1 Now to find a teapot with a strainer doesn't require a quest but at that time it was a quest that ended without major victory, the strainer was not just right.
2 I do object to fur, but my hands were freezing and something had to be done!


Anonymous Lissy said...

I just read on someone's blog that if you can't fit it over your head, try binding it off with a needle three sizes larger than that called for.

Your iconoclastic preoccupation on mittens is impressive and encylopedic. You remind me of the guy in Moby Dick -- Ahab, right?

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

I love this blog... from both of my favorite cities!!

4:37 PM  
Blogger bitterknitter said...

I hope there is an easy fix for the sweater. It is beautiful and looks absolutely gorgeous on you.

8:41 AM  

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