Thursday, October 19, 2006

One of these things is not like the other

Here's what I've been working on (inbetween other things) for the past week:

Tina's mittens, almost done, it would seem. (How crazy is that perspective? My feet look Barbie-sized and the mittens look Gigantor-sized.)

Unfortunately, the one on the left is poofier than the one on the right. This is what happens when you knit the first of a pair of something using a new technique (in this case, mittens with thrums) and then you wait a really long time to knit the second one. I knit the first one last December/January. (It's been so long I forget when it was.). This is about the time I knit my first Pomatomus sock, using Norwegian purling, because I couldn't purl Continental, and my method of throwing the yarn when I knit English requires anchoring the needle in the junction of my hip and thigh, which doesn't work so well with DPNs.

My wrists ached after I finished the first sock, so I waited to knit the second one. I waited three months, during which time I got better at the Norwegian purl technique. By "better" I mean that my purl stitches weren't so loose compared to my knit stitches. As you can probably imagine, the second Pomatomus was a bit ... skinnier than the first. A bit...shorter. Just a bit, but noticibly shorter. Those socks were a gift for a friend, and by the time I'd finished the second sock, she'd sold her first book. (Treasure, by Helen Brenna, Harlequin Superromance, February 2007) and I wanted desperately to give them to her in celebration of her hard work and persistence. I had a decision to make: knit a third Pomatomus (something I didn't think I had the fortitude to do, at least not before she'd sold another book or two), or give Helen socks that didn't quite match?

She wanted the socks. She loved the socks. She loved the yarn (Koigu). She apparently loved the fact that they DIDN'T quite match. Mostly she loved that I made them for her, which is all a knitter really wants from the recipients of her work.

Back to Tina and her thrummed mittens: do I knit a third thrummed mitten for her? Or do I give her one puffy mitten and one not-so-puffy. I tried to tell myself the difference in puffiness was due to the age of the first one -- it has been turned inside out a lot, and tried on a fair number of times, so I decided the thrums had just felted down and that's why the first mitten was flatter.

I tried them on. The skinny one is warm. The puffy one is REALLY warm. The kind of warm that will block the coldest Minnesota winds. The kind of warm I was shooting for when I started these things.

I'm going to need more black Cascade 220.

In other knitting disaster news, the socks I was knitting (for yet another friend) weren't working out.

Here's one side of the sock:

Here's the other:

This isn't pooling so much as oceaning, and it's what I dislike about handpainted yarn. I love it in the twisted hanks, with all its beauty and potential, but not so much on the needles, where it can be unpredictable, even unattractive. These socks were for a friend who loves blue and yellow. I spent six months searching for yarn that had blues and yellows in it. Perfect. Except they were for a friend who asked for a scarf, not socks. For a friend who isn't a fan of handmade anything. I didn't think a pair of handknit, handpainted, pooling oceaning socks would go over that well. I didn't see the point in expending all that time and energy for a gift that would be underappreciated. So I decided I'd give her what she asked for, sort of.

A scarf. In blues.

Garter stitch, made tolerable by short rows and yarn with a better color mix (Mountain Colors...something. Mountain Goat? Could that be right? Why can't I keep track of yarn labels?)

Sure is purty.

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