Thursday, 16 July 2009

Diamond Fern Stich Mittens

After finishing Nina's mittens I decided to make something for myself; a pair of fingerless mittens to keep my hands warm whilst working at Wentworth Falls. It should have been a pretty straight forward project. I found a pattern on Ravelry for fingerless mittens in a feather and fans lace stitch, knitted flat and then stitched up the side leaving a hole for the thumb. Having already knitted the fan stitch sample square back in May I didn't think I would have any problems.

I first came unstuck with the pattern when it called for me m1 (make one). I am by no means an expert but as far as I can gather there are many different ways to m1. My bible on these matters, the 'Readers Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft', describes 8 ways to increase by changing yarn position. The pattern also asks me to do yo
(yarn over) increase, after a knit stitch and before a knit stitch, which again is omitted from the Guide.

In a fit of frustration I decided to scrap the project. I was not that passionate about the pattern and thought that I could improvise a similar pattern with a stitch I hadn't tried before; the Diamond Fern Stitch. Referring once again to my trusty Needlecraft book, I cast on for the third time (there was also a case of rib gone wrong) and knit the 8 rows of 1:1 rib and the first 20 rows of the lace stitch pattern. It was at this point that Jamie said to me "but the diamonds aren't going to match up!". And he was right. The stitch pattern in my trusty book started with the solid part of the pattern and finished with the open lace part.

CO #4 - I try to wing it, adding an extra 6 stitches to the CO and hoping this will complete the half diamond at the end. Something goes very wrong (I actually think I dropped a stitch to tell you the truth) and my lace starts going haywire.

Finally, I decide to get myself a pad of graph paper and draw up a stitch chart (below). And what a revelation! I am a very visual person and with the help of the stitch chart I could finally make sense of the relationship between the stitches and the pattern, and was able to complete the missing half diamond correctly.

Unfortunately the first prototype turned out too big, even for my wrists. They even fit on Jamie's calves. I didn't even bother sewing up the second one or photographing the finished one. But I am determined not to get despondent, and will revisit the project soon (after a few baby presents are knitted). Not too bad for my first attempt at an improvised pattern.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Recent FOs

I have finally finished my 1-month stint of working full time and can now dedicate some more time to my knitting projects and blog posting.

I recently subjected Nina to a photo shoot to show off her new beret and mittens ensemble. Unfortunately I couldn't catch her with both on at the same time, and she's not very keen on wearing the mittens.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Milo Armadillo

Nina and I recently joined the library and today I came across this lovely picture book, 'Milo Armadillo' by Jan Fearnley. I was drawn to it by the gorgeous illustrations, which combine drawings with a collage of textures, scanned fabrics and knitted panels. Particularly one where Gran is pictured in an armchair knitting furiously with her needles going "clickety-click" (very much like Nina's own Granny).

It wasn't until after we got home and I put a tired and grizzly girl to bed that I was able to read the story, which is that of a little girl named Tallulah, who wishes for a pink fluffy bunny but her Gran knits her something very different.

I was even more delighted to discover that you can download a free pattern for Milo Armadillo.

I'll have to put this one on the queue. Meanwhile, I have had a week of disappointment with my attempts to knit a pair of fingerless mittens (it really shouldn't be this hard!). Tonight I cast on for the 5th time! A tale for another time...

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