Friday, December 26, 2008

A New Knitting Book for Christmas

It's not quite right if one doesn't get a knitting book for Christmas. The one I got I actually picked out myself. Well actually, one could not possibly think that their husband could pick out a knitting book all by himself. The fun thing is that I had completely forgotten about the book, so it really was a surprise.

I received Nicky Epstein's new book Knitting On Top of the World. It's an incredible book. In my estimation Nicky Epstien is the most amazing knitter and designer. I can't right off the bat think of another American knitting designer that I like - okay I just remembered - it's Nancy Bush. She's also amazing.

I was reading the reviews of this book on Amazon, and for the most part people don't like it. But a few free thinkers liked it very much. I think it's terrific, though I'll be the first to admit that there are many objects in the book I'd never make. But most knitting books are like that. At least the ones I wouldn't make have scope for the imagination, and that's worth a lot.

Take for example the Edwardian lace coat on the cover. No matter how it was designed, I wouldn't make something like that, but there are numerous lace patterns in that coat that would be great for a scarf or baby blanket. Or how about the Fair Isle Tam Capelet - that thing is so ridiculous that it gave me and my family all a good laugh.

I think that the Black Forest Mitts are gorgeous, but I would not make the bobbly buffs, that's just a bit much for me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mittens for Emily

I tried several mittens before I got it right. It's because it got quite cold. The first mitten I tried was chunky, and much much too small. The second mitten was not quite as chunky, but in the end was too small, and too difficult to get her thumb in the thumb place. So finally I came to the conclusion that you can't really make chunky mittens for a two year old. At that I did a lot of research, looking at other people's patterns for mittens for kids. I could see that Emily is just on the borderline between thumb/no thumb. And then while I was going all the looking, I also inadvertently came across a ball of wool that I'd been looking for for quite some time, and it seemed perfect. It's the same yarn that I used for the little mitten I had made for Emily when she was three months old.

I settle on making a mitten that is of lovely part angora wool and knits at a tension of 22 stitches to the 10 cm. The yarn is from Italy, and I'm quite certain it's not sold in America any more, but it's fabulous stuff. I tried the unfinished mitten on Emily as soon as I could, and I could see that she really liked it. It's soooo soft.

Material: Illusion Tweed, by Erdal Yarns (50% angora, 25% lambswool, 10% nylon, 15% acrylic) 20 grams
Needles: double pointed 4 mm needles
Tension: 22 stitches per 10 cm

Cast on 28 stitches (10, 8, 10) and work in 1/1 ribbing for 4 rows.
Purl a round, then work 2 rows in 1/1 ribbing.
Purl a round, then work 3 rows in 1/1 ribbing. (This is a mistake, but if I'm to get the other mitten to match I have to go with it.)
Pulr a round, and work 4 rows in 1/1 ribbing.
This next round is to bring the cuff in just a bit for snugness.
Cr3F, p1, repeat all the way around.
Work 2 round in 1/1 ribbing.

Work 2 round in stocking stitch.
Now start the increase for the gusset:
K14, M1, K14.
work one round even
K14, M1, K1, M1, K14
work one round even
K14, M1, K3, M1, K14
work one round even
K14, M1, K5, M1, K14
work one round even
K14, M1, K7, M1, K14
work one round even
On this next round the thumb is put on a length of yarn.
K14, slip next 9 stitches on to a short piece of yarn, K14
Work 15 rows in stocking stitch.

Decrease for the top of the mitten:
Place the stitches so that the first needle has 14 stitches, and the next two each have 7 stitches.
rnd 1:( K1, ssk, k8, k2tog, k1)(k1, ssk, k4)(k4, k2tog, k1)
rnd 2: work even
rnd 3: (k1, ssk, k6, k2tog, k1)(k1, ssk, k3)(k3, k2tog, k1)
rnd 4: work even
rnd 5: (k1, ssk, k4, k2tog, k1)(k1, ssk, k2)(k2, k2tog, k1)
rnd 6: (k1, ssk, k2, k2tog, k1)(k1, ssk, k1)(k1, k2tog, k1)
rnd 7: (k1, ssk, k2tog, k1)(k1, ssk)(k2tog, k1)

Break off the yarn and put the end on a needle and thread through the stitches.

Thumb: Place the reserved stitches on to needles, three to a needle.
Knit up 11 stitches, beginning by picking up a stitch, then knitting the nine stitches, then pick up another stitch.
Knit 4 more rounds.
Decreasing the tip of the thumb:
rnd 1: k1, ssk, knit to the last three stitches, k2tog, k1
rnd 2: work even
rnd 3: ssk, k1, ssk, k1, ssk, k1
Break off the yarn, and thread through the stitches.

Sew in the ends;

Make another one to match.