Knitalong and woollen mittens

21 April 2009

Despite my gentle reminder about slowing down, I've been very busy of late and today will be no exception. I have a few other things I should be doing, but I have made a commitment to you and to this blog, and it's incredibly enriching for me to write for you, so here I am again, albeit with a shorter post.

There are two plants here. The climber is a Richmond green cucumber, which is an old Australian variety that I grew up with; the larger leaves in the foreground belong to an unidentified squash.

I have some good news about our lovely chooks. Lulubelle, who is the barred Plymouth Rock chook on the sidebar has recovered and Margaret Olley, our buff Sussex, is not yet better, but is on the road back to good health. Hanno is doing a really good job looking after them. He lifts Margaret onto the nest to sleep instead of having her on the roost with the others. Margaret has an ear infection which is slowly getting better. BTW, in chook talk, barred is a colour - it's a black and white stripe, and buff is a dark blonde colour.

I have been meaning to write more about knitting and when someone asked about the knitalong rug, I knew I had to make a knitting post. The rug is still going well, in fact, it's a good project to do because the knitting can be done at any time. I'm just doing plain knit now so I can be knitting while I talk to people as I don't have to look at what I'm doing. For those of you who missed the original posts about the knitalong, you can find a link to them in the right sidebar. It's a knitted blanket - Shaker style. The blanket is made up of knitted squares so it's perfect for a beginning knitter and even though the knitalong has been going a few weeks now, I've still only done a small number of squares, so joining in at this point is no problem. I have made a Flickr page for the knitalong photos if you'd like to show what you're doing, you can load some of your own photos. That's also in the right side bar. I have done three more squares since I last posted about my rug and I'll update my photos next week after I do a few more squares.

I haven't put a lot of time into my squares lately because I've been working on a sewing project and then started this pair of mittens for one of my sons. There is something about the coming of the cooler weather that draws me back to winter knitting. It must be something to do with either the mothering instinct or the nesting instinct, both very strong impulses that reside deep within me.

This pattern for fingerless mittens is so easy, even I can do it. I am not a great knitter. I hope to be one day and that is why I keep going with my knitting. All these little projects help build my skills while I become more proficient with the needles.

I have used UK size 8 metal needles - a vintage pair an older lady gave me that I find are really easy to knit with.
3 balls of the yarn pictured above - Panda machine washable 8 ply crepe. Probably about 2½ balls. It's pure Australian wool. I bought this at Spotlight for around $3.50 a ball. Any worsted weight yarn would do but try to use pure wool, or another natural fibre like alpaca or cashmere. Natural fibres are much better at keeping the warmth in than acrylic yarn.

Cast on 52 stitches, leave a tail of yarn a few inches long for sewing up later. This is for a man's hand, you would do 40 or 44 for a woman's.
Make the wrist band by knitting a rib - two plain and two purl for the entire row and continue that until you have the length of wrist band you like. Try to find a spare hand to measure on as you're knitting.
Then knit plain for most of the mitten. Keep building it up until you come to half way between the base of the index finger and the first joint.
Go back to the rib knit to finish off - two plain, two purl, until you knit up to the first joint on the middle finger, then cast off.

Sew the mitten along the side seam with the strands of yarn at both ends of your mitten, leaving a hole for the thumb to poke through.

Depending on how much time you have it will only take a day or two to complete. If you're knitting for a woman, you might like to add some buttons or wool embroidery to the finished mittens.

Are there any men who are knitting at the moment? The last time I wrote about men knitters, two men emailed saying they were keen knitters. I wonder if they're still reading.

So, how are you going with your knitting? Please let me know what you're up to, it inspires me to keep going. Also, if you'd like to join in on the knitalong, do so. The instructions are in the knitting link in the right sidebar. Add your name to the comments so I know who is in the knitalong, I'll make a list of the knitters' names and add it to the sidebar. I'd also love to know if you're knitting other projects. If you have your current project pictured on your blog, please give me the link so we can all have a look.

HA! So much for a shorter post. Happy knitting everyone!