Yarn Along

Well, third time must be the charm with Knut’s Christmas mitten.  Well, just over 3 times, but not quite 4.  I cast on the Northman Mittens as he requested, and used sized US 7 needles with worsted.  Even though I told him they would expand with blocking, he thought with the added lining it was still much too snug on him.  So with the outer layer of the right hand being about 90% done, I ripped back to the braided cuff (which I was NOT willing to do again) and did it again with US 9 needles since I didn’t have any US 8 double pointed needles for some reason.  I’m not sure if I ever had some, or if I just lost them.

Well, after getting about 80% done with that, (and it didn’t look quite as nice with bigger gaps caused by the bigger needles) it looked way too big, but I had him try it on anyway.  He did confirm that it was too big, and it was ripped back to the braid once again.

So after my midwife appointment, I dropped in at the yarn store close to her office, and not the normal local one I went to so that I could get some US 8 double pointed needles.  They made me feel quite the celebrity there, which shocked me a bit.  I had been interviewed for a local story in the paper about my pattern publication in Knitscene, but that was a few weeks earlier, and apparently it was just printed that morning.  I don’t get that paper, so I had no idea.

Anyway, this store didn’t sell any metal plated double pointed needles, which I’m used to.  They had some beautiful polished wood ones though.  I’ve heard that wood can be a bit slower, but the needles are so lovely that I’ve always wanted a small set so I just decided to go with it.

They are slower to knit with, which isn’t that great this time of year when knitting projects have a deadline of December 25th.  I suppose they’d be great for silk or bamboo, but for this tweedy wool, it drags a bit more than I’m used to.  Also, the color of the wood is very close to one of the colors in the mitten I’m using, and that’s a bit tricky in certain lights.

At any rate, the size was approved by Knut for this 3rd mitten.  I got near the top, and had to do my first big “off road knitting” for this project as Knut had a list of modifications he wanted me to do.  First, he didn’t want it so pointy at the top.  In order to get rid of the point, I had to extend the whole body a bit longer, while trying to make it look like it would naturally do that with the existing color work chart, and then decrease more bluntly.  I was just experimenting with that here, and after some trial and error think I’ve figured out how to do it without messing with it too much.

So he liked the new modified shape of the top, but I’ve decided I’m going to rip back about an inch and make it look a bit better.  Now that I know the shape is good, I’m going to tweak the color work a bit so that the decreasing stitches look a bit more uniform in color than they do now, and I think I’ve figured out a way to make the cast off stitches on top match up with the side stripe a little better.  Then it will be onto the lining…or thumb…or left hand, depending on my mood.  Those should all be easy now that the sizing and shape issues have been resolved.

The only last major modification to resolve is how and where exactly I should add a ribbed cuff extending from the lining that he wants.  The pattern doesn’t have a ribbed cuff, and he wants it to be mostly hidden underneath this outer layer, and extend a bit past this braided edge.  I haven’t quite decided on what sort of method would be best to do that.

You see why I’m a bit hesitant to make him a whole Norwegian sweater as he’s been asking me to do for the last few years.  If he has this many particularities for mittens, imagine what I’d have to do for a whole sweater!

It is turning out beautifully, though, and I have to be proud of that.  He is so excited to see them coming together.  I can tell already that he really likes them.

He has been telling me that it’s looser in some parts, and tighter in other parts, and I keep trying to explain to him that he picked out a pattern that is not tapered or fitted, and you don’t just increase and decrease color work on a whim.  I’m doing this because I love him, but he better be careful.  😉 He still has 1 woodworking project to finish this winter (the cabinet doors for my home school supply bookshelf) and I may make some demands that will get me some of the same “you just don’t understand what you’re asking” eye rolls that I have been giving him.

I admit I haven’t done much reading this week.  I’ve read a bit of Kristin Lavransdatter, but as I’m getting into the 3rd book, it’s rather slow going.  It has been a bit slow at the beginning of each book, and so my mind has wandered a bit to some magazines showing some fun Christmas decorating ideas.  Much lighter reading, I think!

Linking up with Ginny…like every other Wednesday.  😉  She’s also doing some big giveaways this week to support a family in need this season.  It’s worth checking out.


  1. says

    My hubs keeps asking for a sweater, but I am hesitant for the same reason. Whenever I knit him something I get “It’s great hun, but you know what could make it better?” .. I lack your patience to rip and re-do!

    I love your blog title!

  2. says

    Your knitting is jaw dropping beautiful, and you ripped it out not once, but twice? My heart stopped when I read that.
    I am just looking colorworks and hope to one day create something as lovely as your knitting.

  3. says

    That mitten is absolutely stunning! You have way more patience that I do – I would have left the mitten in the “to be finished someday” pile. I will be attempting colourwork for the first time after Christmas – a pair of socks. I hope they turn out half as nice as your mitten.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. says

    I am in awe of you! Not only is the mitten absolutely gorgeous, but you ripped it back twice. I’m not sure I would have had the patience for that. Good luck if you ever knit a sweater for hubby. 😉

  5. Anonymous says

    Gretchen, today I went shopping in wonderful historical museum/fiber mill/museum buildings in Salem, OR. There’s a fabulous yarn shop included which was the main purpose for my going there–getting ready to create a bit for granddaughter for Christmas. They had lovely knitting magazines there, including the one with your turquoise design on the front! The yarn store owner was so helpful to me, so you KNOW that I grabbed that issue also and told her of our friendship…I was afraid she wouldn’t believe me! that “I know Gretchen who designed this!…..” so I threw in lots of details. She enjoyed hearing about you, and shared a story from another magazine done by someone she knows. It was SO fun, and I’m so proud of all the amazing things you are doing. Don’t know if I have “the right” to be proud of you–but I am! You’re a delight–making amazing good use of all the beautiful things that God knit into YOU when He knit you together in your mother’s womb. Sharon

  6. Mom says

    Hey, Sharon, you have the right! I’m so proud of you, too, Gretchen. Your comments on the technical side of knitting these mittens made me dizzy. The complexity is amazing. Who knew that all that math you hated in school would come to such good use! Keep up the good work!

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