This week, I’ve been…

1. … kinda sick. I’ve been drinking lots of hot liquids. Mostly hot water with honey, lemon, and ginger.

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2. …working on my super soft angora mittens (pattern here, yarn here). This project has gone SUPER quickly.

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3. …making soup. This is the beginnings of very tasty onion soup. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, except I didn’t have wine (sad), and I added some rosemary and a parmesan rind, because obviously. I didn’t bother with the croutons, but I did add cheese to my bowl. Soup is good for sick people.

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4. …blocking the finished mittens! Yeah!!

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5. …not finishing my Shepherd sweater. Not yet, folks. I did wind up yarn for a new sweater project, though! More details when I get it cast on :)

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Mitten fit.

So, here’s the thing. I’m an experienced and pretty confident knitter. I adjust patterns all the time to create garments that will fit me the way I want them to – shorter sleeves, adequate busts, buttons where I want them, all kinds of modifications.

Even though I can and usually do take my actual body’s measurements into account when I’m knitting, until now, I’ve only ever knit mittens that are too big for me.

I really have no explanation for this. I tried them on as I went. I could see that probably they would be “a little bit long”. But I still finished them.

Exhibit A: a basic mitten recipe, and handspun that I got at one of Victoria’s yarn stores.

Long

The cuff is WAY too long. The wrist-to-fingertip portion isn’t too bad, but the too-long-cuff means it never sits quite right. Also notice the lobster claw thumb, which is weird and wrong but I love it.

Exhibit 2: Beautiful cabled mittens out of Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn, which is unique and gorgeous.

SO long

WHO HAS ARMS LIKE THIS?! (Just to be clear – the birth mark on the left of the photo is about 1″ away from the inside of my elbow. Is there a name for “inside elbow part”? Inbow? Brb googling… “Antecubital Fossa”.) Pattern, you crazy. Sarah, you also crazy for not realizing you made a mitten sleeve, and then MAKING ANOTHER ONE. So beautiful, so too long for me.

Exhibit III: Okay fine, these pretty much fit. But the button loop at the end makes them a little bit impractical… or at least a little bit quirky. (The pattern is by the super talented Ysolda Teague.)

Also kind of long

Finally, enter New Favourite Mittens That Fit And Also Have Nostalgic Childhood Resonance!

Just right :)

Following another Raveller’s modifications, I eliminated several sections of the (very nice, and very free) pattern, in order to shorten the cuff, the palm, and the thumb, substantially. And behold! A my-hand-sized mitten! It’s made out of 100% angora, which is BANANAS soft.

Mitten party!

When I was a kid, I had a pair of plain white angora mittens and a matching hat that were super super soft, and only for special occasions, and I treasured them. They weren’t handknit, or cabled, but they were soft and pretty and made appearances on the kind of days when my sister and I had to wear matching dresses my mom had sewed with crinolines and too tight sleeve elastic. I’m pretty stoked about the new, adult version, that I can wear anytime I want :)

Pretty mitten!

Guess who has two thumbs and two sleeves?

This guy!

Two sleeves and the start of a hood!

Remember, this is Kate Davies’ Shepherd Hoodie knit in Juniper Moon’s limited edition Shepherd & Shearer yarn (which you can STILL GET right here!)

How about a super blurry selfie modelled shot? I’m expecting it to look a bit different once it’s been blocked, but you can see the general shape of the garment.

Blurry selfie!

Once the sleeves were finished, I moved on to the last big knitted element – the hood! Working the hood requires you to collect stitches on hold and pick up new stitches, from the front button band edges, up along the shaped fronts, and across the back. (Bonus cat hair in the photo! Thank you, cat, for spreading your body hair all over everywhere.)

Smooth pickups across the front

Tiniest hood progress!

Then there’s a sea of seed stitch to work!

Seed stitch ocean!

The hood requires quite a lot of yarn, so I ended up unravelling my swatch to reclaim the 30+g it had used up. Here’s the swatch yarn unravelled…

Ramen yarn?

…and after a soak and air dry! Much better.

That's better!

I’m so looking forward to having the finished sweater available to wear, because it’s been quite cold lately (cold for my corner of the country, anyway). But I’ll also be a tiny bit sad when the knitting is done. This piece has really been a pleasure to knit, and the yarn is an absolute favourite. I’ll be looking for more hard-wearing, lanolin rich yarns in the future, for sure: they’re awesome to knit with, and they result in garments that wear and last extremely well.

I admit that I’m looking ahead to what’s next too – a pretty, shiny lace project!

Shepherd Sweater: Sleeves, part 2!

I hope you’re into the Shepherd Hoodie, because it’s all hoodie all the time around here these days :)

I finished the first sleeve!! Aaah excitement! I modified the length and adjusted the decrease placement slightly to fit my actual arm. The cables look so lovely all long and lean!

Sleeve cables!

Here’s what the underside looks like – you can see that the cables in this section get a bit distorted as you integrate decreases into the pattern.

Underside of sleeve - decreasing in pattern

The cuffs are worked in seed stitch, and are designed to make a bell shape, which I find extremely charming.

Seed stitch progress

Sleeve cuff

I bound off my cuff using the plain old “Work 2, *pass second stitch over first stitch, work 1, repeat from *” method. I bound off purlwise, so that the bind off would be less visible from the right side of the work. (You can see how it looks on the inside of the cuff below.)

Sleeve cuff - inside bind off view

It was a pretty exciting milestone to finish the first sleeve. One more sleeve to go, then the seed stitch hood, weaving in ends, and buttons! I can almost see the finish line if I squint!

Seed stitch bell cuff

One sleeved sweater!