Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sucking less at: learning new things

I decided a while ago I should learn how to knit stranded colourwork. I didn't think much of it until the Yarn Harlot came along with her obsessive mitten love. I wasn't sure I was ready to buy a whole book, so I took note when Wendy knit kit mittens. That's what I needed, right? A kit where someone else has done some of the thinking, leaving me to concentrate on the new technique*. I still have a rather poor sense of my own limitations, so I ordered the most intricate kit on the smallest needles at Nordic Fiber Arts: Frostrosen.

Well, one mitten down, in the unmarked "extra freakishly tiny" size in grey (403) and purple (496). Sizing on this mitten kit is determined by one's choice of needles; I used 2mm INOX. I figured it was almost certainly impossible to knit an adult mitten kit any smaller than my hands, which worked out perfectly.

Unlike Grumperina, another continental knitter, I found it intuitive (even easy) to knit with both yarns in my left hand. When I wanted to knit a grey stitch, I grabbed the grey yarn with with the needle from the bottom. When I wanted to knit a purple stitch, I grabbed the purple yarn with the needle from the top. By maintaining consistent directions, the yarn didn't wrap around itself while I was knitting.

The mitten obsession is firmly implanted (my fiance even said that he could use a pair of mittens). I think I might need the canonical obsessive intricate mitten book and an enhancement to my fingering-weight yarn stash. The more I knit, the smaller my needles seem to get!

* A note for anyone who might order these kits: they're not exactly heavy on directions. They're basically a chart for the cuff, one for the mitten, and one for the thumb. If you tend to get confused with implicit directions, make sure you have someone to ask.

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