Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Mittens and Washcloths

Two weeks ago, I told you about having to take apart a stranded colorwork mitten after dropping a few stitches at the base of the thumb. I’ve been slowly, steadily knitting it back up, and managed the thumb with success this time!

Back of hand knit wool colorwork mitten on a white background.

I learned a few things as I re-worked the thumb stitches.

The pattern called for knitting some waste stitches where the thumb would be. After completing the rest of the mitten, I was to remove the waste yarn and pick up the live stitches. While knitting the first round of the thumb, a few more stitches needed to be picked up and knit in the colorwork pattern. None of this is unusual in mitten patterns. But somewhere between removing the waste yarn and picking up the last few stitches, I fumbled and dropped some stitches. The stranded colorwork added to my struggle to pick up the dropped stitches.

This time, I ran the needles through the live stitches before removing the waste yarn. It was much simpler to determine which leg of each stitch I was picking up. (I opted for the right leg, if you’re wondering.)

Then, I did something crazy and picked up the additional stitches from each end right away so I had the correct number of stitches on the front and back needles. Part of the problem I had the first time around was accidentally picking up strands instead of stitches, leaving extra gaps. By picking up the stitches while everything was still lying flat, I was able to avoid that. I’ve never seen that suggested and don’t know if it’s considered correct, but it worked for this project.

After carefully removing the waste yarn, I was able to simply knit the thumb in pattern without fussing with anything else.

Palm of hand knit wool colorwork mitten showing outer thumb stitches on a white background.

Palm of hand knit wool colorwork mitten showing inner thumb stitches on a white background.

I love how the pattern matches up with the rest of the mitten on the outside of the thumb, and there’s a completely different pattern on the inside. And that scalloped lace toward the wrist was a happy surprise; I didn’t notice it in the pattern’s photos.

Two green washcloths or dishcloths hand knit in the shapes of leaves on a white background.

The complexity involved with fixing this mitten meant that knitting wasn’t as relaxing for me as it usually is, so I made a few simple washcloths when I needed a break. The pattern is Leafy Washcloth by Megan Goodacre, and I used up some scraps of Cascade Yarns Sierra in green. It was a quick, fun pattern — and it's free! Each leaf took only about an hour or so.

Now, onto that second mitten! If you have any tips for picking up stitches in stranded colorwork, please share them in the comments.

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