I knit a mitten! Emphasis on “a”, since there is only one mitten so far. : ) I didn’t get any sewing done this past week due to my back injury, but all that time sitting on the couch was a great way to bring back my knitting mojo, at least temporarily. These are the Forest Mushroom Mittens (on Ravelry) by Elinor Brown, published in November 2010. I started knitting this mitten in December 2011 and just managed to finish it now. It sat in a drawer for almost the entire time in between, how sad! What can I say? When I got my sewing machine, my knitting took a back seat!
I’m quite pleased with how this mitten turned out, even though it’s not my best knitting work. (BTW, have you seen Tasha’s latest colorwork cowl? That woman is a fair isle ninja!) The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in brown, white, and red, and I used US 2 (2.75 mm) double-pointed needles throughout. Lots more photos below, and full Ravelry notes here.
My favorite part of this mitten is the cuff, featuring three Estonian braids. This is the part of the mitten I had knit in 2011, when I was much more well versed in knitting, and I think it came out really well. : ) The colorwork will even out a bit when I block it, but I’ll probably wait until the other mitten is done and block them together. Even unblocked, I think it looks pretty nice!
This was my first time knitting Estonian braids. I was pretty intimidated at first, but they turned out to be much easier than I had anticipated. The directions in the pattern are clear and complete, so don’t worry if you’ve never tackled something like this before. It’s very do-able!
The rest of the mitten and thumb feature the all-over mushroom pattern. I especially like how the direction of the mushrooms is mirrored on the inside of the thumb, so that everything is facing the same direction when the thumb is up. Also, the pattern perfectly places the mushrooms on the front and back of the thumb such that the pattern flows smoothly from mitten to thumb in all directions. I appreciate little details like that. This is a solid pattern!
Long-time readers may recall that my never-ending dissertation project focuses on fungi, so knitting a mitten full of these delightful creatures really warms my heart. I may not love grad school, but I do love fungi. : )
Since the mitten is worked from the cuff up, the top of the mitten and top of the thumb are grafted together. Now, I hadn’t grafted anything in years, but I dusted off my knitting reference book and just went for it. The grafting on the left of the mitten, where I started, is a little wonky, but it gets better as I moved to the right. I was in a very ambivalent mood and didn’t feel like starting over! This was at the height of my back pain, so my patience was limited.
By the time I got to grafting the thumb, I knew what I was doing again. It’s only a small area, but I think it came out pretty well.
Mitten innards! You can’t blog about a fair isle knitting project without showing the stranded colorwork on the inside. : ) I’m very conscious of keeping the various colors of yarn untwisted while knitting in an effort to keep the insides nice and tidy. Things get a little hairy at the beginning of the rounds (as you see on the inside of the thumb above), but overall I’m happy with the stranding.
Remember when I said this isn’t my best knitting work? Yeah, I totally made a huge mistake at the top of the mitten! Can you spot it in the photo above? There are two floating white stitches on the side where I forgot to leave out a mushroom to accommodate the decreases at the mitten top. OOPS! I don’t know why I didn’t rip out that row and re-do it, but my guess is the aforementioned back pain ambivalence.
Then again, don’t quilters sometimes purposefully include a “mistake” to make their quilts more personalized? Yeah, that’s totally what I did here… riiiiiight. : )
Any guesses on when I’ll finish the second mitten? Which will come first, my PhD or the second mitten?? Now THAT’S a head-scratcher, my friends. : )
Anyway, thank you again for all your kind words about my back injury, and I’m sorry to hear that so many of you have experienced similar issues. Let’s all take good care of ourselves so we can keep sewing (and knitting and whatever else…)!