winter mittens

I’ve knitted myself a couple of pairs of gloves over the years, but they’ve quietly disappeared on me. I lost one whole pair moving house, and one individual glove at some point unknown. So when I realised I was going to be in Europe for the centre of the winter, I decided to make myself a new pair – I spent a while debating whether to go for mittens or gloves, but in the end chose mittens as I hoped they might be warmer for my fingers. As it happened, it’s been a pretty mild winter in Europe, but I was expecting something rather colder than I’m used to in NZ.

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The yarn I used was a present to myself the day after I finished exams last year. Fifth year exams are a big deal, and the last exams of my degree, so I felt in need of some kind of treat after all that study and stress. It’s Malabrigo Rios, which is a lovely soft and squishy merino worsted-weight yarn. I didn’t get around to casting on the mittens until Christmas – I think I started the swatch on Christmas Day, because I’d been knitting my Christmas gifts until then. It took me about three weeks to knit them, and I had wearable mittens for my birthday on the 13th January, but I decided to rip out the whole first mitten and reknit it with better tension, so I think they were fully finished a week or so after that.

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This was my first experiment with brioche stitch. Because I am not able to leave well alone, after swatching plain brioche to figure out how it worked, I then decided to knit a pattern with brioche cables. Aside from some tension issues – which are probably a given when trying something new – this worked fine, until the point where I realised I’d made a mistake. (Also the point where my needles fell out.) Tinking this back is a mission, and so is trying to pick it up. Not the most fun job, especially when I was doing most of my knitting on the train. I do like the brioche though – it’s marvelously squashy.

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The pattern for this is Kastanienfeuer, which is actually designed for fingering-weight not worsted-weight wool; I made a swatch and then did some maths with my gauge and the pattern gauge to figure out how much I needed to decrease the number of stitches. (I can’t remember the exact numbers now, but can demonstrate how to do the maths! I’ve done this a few times for different garments.) There’s some more notes on my ravelry here.

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I’m almost finished my long trip away from home now; this is likely to be my last post from afar. I’ve had a couple of fabric- and yarn-y adventures while visiting London, briefly, and I’ll certainly write about them later, but that’s it for now!

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(It was fun being able to take photos in the snow. One of those things no knitter can resist. This tree was my favourite.)

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