Thursday, 20 December 2007
These are not new, but eighteen months after finishing them, they are still one of my favourite pieces of knitting. Since I put them up on Ravelry, I've discovered that other people seem to like them too. Sadly, non-knitters rarely notice them. It's immensely annoying the way you can slave over something, only to find that the general public assume you bought it in Gap. Four evenings of garter stitch on ginormous needles, on the other hand, and suddenly you're in demand (not that I mind all that much).
These were knitted from Carol Rasmussen Noble's 'Knitting Fair Isle Mittens and Gloves' (out of print). At the time I was annoyed by how much work I had to do; the book provides basic recipes for mittens, gloves and fingerless gloves, and separate charts for the individual items pictured. The knitter is expected to use her (or his) common sense to put the two together. These were my first excursion into fair isle knitting in the round, in fact my first fair isle beyond isolated stripes on solid coloured jumpers, on 2mm metal needles (which I bent, such was the tension in my hands), and I would rather have had my hand held a little more. Now that I understand how the book works, however, I've forgiven it.
I coped, as you can see, and I've never managed to entirely follow a pattern for gloves again. I always seem to end up improvising, and it always seems to work. I think this is because while superficially a hand may seem a much more complicated shape than a foot, we are far more familiar with the geography of our hands than we realise. These days I gaily shift the thumb around towards the palm, and start the little finger well before the other fingers, and barely register that I'm ignoring the pattern again. I know what shape a hand should be, after all.
These were also one of the first items I blocked properly. I wish I had taken a photo of the lumpy uneven mess they were when newly finished. I spent quite some time with a cable needle teasing the most misshapen stitches back into order before I got bored, and a gentle soak in warm water fixed the rest.
I really want to do some more two-colour work soon, probably more gloves (or just possibly mittens). I certainly have plenty of odd balls of 4-ply in a wide choice of colours.
Needles for the shawl have arrived, so I can relax about that, and one of my other worries is over, as there was also an envelope with an Open University logo on. Not only did my dissertation pass, it got a distinction, which was somewhat unexpected. Sometime next May, after I've put on the fancy robes and collected my certificate, I will be able to call myself a Master of Arts (although I'd prefer to be a Mistress of Arts).