Self-Striping Mittens, I Wish

I just wanted a pair of mittens to wear with my new cowl. Since the yarn, Bernat Mosaic, has long color changes I knew that my mittens, with a smaller circumference, would have wider stripes than my cowl, but I thought since the colors matched they would coordinate. I picked Self-Striping Mittens by Marian Hester for my pattern. It uses worsted weight yarn with dpns and has the decreases for the top running along the edges, which I prefer. Saturday I swatched in the round, and got gauge, all ready to cast-on my first mitten later.

Saturday night I was so careful to note how many yards the yarn’s end was from the first color change and how long of a tail I used for the long tail cast-on, because I wanted my second mitten to match. All was going so smoothly; I did the ribbed cuff, a few rows of plain stockinette and began the gusset stitches with no mistakes! The color changed from royal blue to turquoise and then to a teal. It looked good to me, gradually changing from dark to light. I thought I would finish at least one mitten Saturday night and once I set aside the stitches for the thumb, I just kept going.

Then the color abruptly went from the lightest color in the yarn to the darkest, which is a very dark blue/purple, and that color would have lasted through the mitten’s tip. It looked ugly to me and I was considering changing out the dark purple section in the yarn for a different color until I laid the mitten near the cowl. They didn’t go together at all! A change in color for the mitten tip wasn’t going to fix this. The cowl’s stripes ranged from just three to five rows wide, while the mitten’s stripes were so wide it didn’t look “striped” at all.

It’s hard to describe, and it’s too bad it didn’t occur to me to take a picture. (Sorry, I’m still new to the idea of photographing during the process) I was disappointed, having just spent all that time making a mitten I wouldn’t wear. I just wanted to unravel it and try something different. Guess we’ve all been there at some time while knitting.

So I unraveled back to the middle of the mitten’s royal blue cuff and then stared at the color sequences in the cowl. I thought about the width of stripes I wanted and then I remembered the striping method used in Jared Flood’s Noro Striped Scarf pattern. Off I went, preparing to alternate two strands of my yarn, and knit three row stripes.

Since I was starting over, I chose to move the thumb gusset from the mitten’s edge to the palm, like a Norwegian thumb, which I wanted to try. I quit for the night once I set the thumb stitches on scrap yarn. That meant I was almost back to the point I’d reached during the night’s first attempt. sigh.

In comparison, the next evening’s knitting was a breeze. I finished all but the mitten’s thumb without hitting any more snags. If this yarn had some wool in it I would count on blocking to fix my faint laddered stitches and messy jogless jogs, but it’s 100% acrylic, so I went after the mitten with the tip of a smaller dpn and adjusted a couple dozen stitches to level out the irregularities. Worth all the fiddling about in the end. (Color in photo is off,  missing the purple in the darkest blue and yellow in the lightest green.)

If anyone’s paying close attention, yes, I did re-work my cowl one more time. I kept thinking about how to keep its circumference large enough to easily slide on and off, but make it fit a little closer to the neck. I settled on making ribs that begin as K6, P1 half way up the cowl. They decrease and end as K4, P1, K5, P1 at the upper edge. Not perfect, but hey, it works!

This entry was posted in Design Process, Inspiration, Mittens and Fingerless Mitts, Scarves and Cowls and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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