This winter's been a long one. Grey skies. Grey mood. Grey everything. Recently, I looked up from the grey shawl I was knitting, and wondered ... "Why grey? This interminable winter needs some colour!"
I've long wanted to explore stranded knitting, otherwise known as Fair Isle or what my friend Karen calls 'double knitting'. She's a Maritimer and ought to know. One of the things that has always put me off double knitting is 'floats' ... those annoying stretches of yarn on the back side of a project. They always seemed to me to be great places to catch a finger or a toe. Most patterns say a float of up to 7 stitches is OK, but to me, it's just trouble with a capital T. Karen told me her mother had taught her to 'knit in' the carried yarn so you have no floats at all. If we'd been in the same room, she would have shown me easily the way women have taught other women for generations ... side-by-side. Unfortunately, we've never actually met, let alone sat 'knee to knee'. She found me a YouTube video though, and after watching it MANY times, and practicing for several days, I think I've finally got it. It's a pleasure to hold those yarns and manage them fluidly. A great skill to have finally learned. And as the song says, all "with a little help from my friend(s)."
So, for my first project I chose a pair of mittens. I had clipped the pattern from a Canadian Living magazine in 1987. (Yes, my 'must try' list is that long.) It's supposed to be a houndstooth pattern, but it pre-dates charts, and the line by line instructions are obviously wrong. One of the lines of the pattern stitch is incomplete. I charted what I could, and ended up with this:
Not exactly houndstooth. Not even close. However, I like it. Kind of a zig-zag vertical stripe which has no name (as far as I know). You can see how dense the fabric is, and that there are no floats on the inside of the mitten.
I used worsted weight yarn, 40 stitches. 3.25mm needles for the k1,p1 ribbing. 2 1/4inch ribbed cuff. Changed to 4.5mm needles for the body of the mitten. These mittens fit a small lady's hand (mine, coincidently).