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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


(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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