stranded.

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So, I’ve been knitting a few rounds on the Min Ulla mittens every morning while I’m at my desk, and now that I’ve knit a few inches, I’m coming to a realization…

110: min ulla

…I’m not very good at knitting colorwork. This is probably mostly due the fact that I haven’t actually knit a stranded colorwork project in about 3 years, if Ravelry is to be believed. I guess that’s not all that surprising – while I do love the look of a lot of stranded projects, I’m a sucker for texture, so the lace/nupp/cable/etc stuff is going to suck me in almost every time. I’m also utterly and completely incapable of holding a strand of yarn in my right hand (oh, believe me, I have tried), so I’m stuck holding both yarns in the same hand, which makes things a bit slower/harder for me – hence my tendency to go for stripes when I want colors, rather than for actual stranding. In any case, my gauge is pretty sloppy, and it’s especially terrible at the end-of-round, and even more so where I switch colors, as you can see in the photo.

But I want these mittens like crazy, so I’m going to work at it. I need to rip down into the green motif, to the point before the gauge starts going too wacky, and see if I can do better. I also want to rethink my decision to add my own thumb shaping, since I think that’s also causing some of the gauge issues (you can’t probably tell in the photo, but I’ve been trying to increase on either side of the end-of-round to create my thumb). I may just give the called-for peasant-thumb a try on these mittens, despite my usual preference for “out-the-side” thumbs.

In non-knitting news, I started teaching the Spring section of my freshman writing class yesterday, and it’s amazing what a semester of experience will do. I feel completely and utterly competent now, and had a great time with the first day of class. Here’s hoping that feeling can last through the semester!

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13 thoughts on “stranded.

  1. I made myself learn 2-handed colorwork to make fair isle stockings for my in-laws in 2009. It was awkward, but when I picked up the technique again this year to make mittens for my new SIL, I found it was much easier. So if you keep plugging along, you may find it’s worth the trouble. I think DPNs are a LOT harder for colorwork, too. Are you planning to do the hat and scarf as well? If you use a circular needle for those, it may be easier (though I totally understand if your need for new mittens is immediate!!) And of course you know this, but don’t underestimate the power of blocking. A little soak can do wonders for evening things out.
    still, it looks beautiful! Can’t wait to see the FO>

    • It’s funny, for someone who is ostensibly right-handed (at least, I write with my right), I have the hardest time doing much of anything beyond writing with it! I am indeed planning to knit the hat and scarf, and it might be a good idea to work on those before coming back to the mittens. My current mittens are falling apart thanks to all of the shoveling I’ve done in the last few years, which is the impetus behind trying get the mittens done first, but I’d rather have them done well than done quickly.

      -whitney

  2. oh, you’re gonna love these mittens! it took me a while to settle into a good technique on the joins of new colors, but i eventually got it after knitting the whole scarf. good luck!

  3. The Yarn Harlot recently wrote a post on how you aren’t good at anything when you’re just beginning at it. I think you count, since you wrote you haven’t done any stranded colorwork in three years. It’ll get better! Promise! :) The mittens will look awesome, I bet.

    • I was also going to point out that post, and the fact that it also mentions that after blocking, sometimes you might find that things are not as bad as you thought they were pre-blocking.

      In any case, sick with it!

      • That’s true about blocking – but in this particular case, because of how I wove the ends in as I went at the color change, there are some really tight stitches that can’t really be pulled at or stretched at all! I’ll figure out a technique that works for the color changes and let blocking do all the rest :)

        -whitney

  4. I have a hard time with colorwork too but something that has helped me a lot is to use circular needles. I am just terrible at keeping my floats even around the dpns. I use an 8″ or 12″ circ for colorwork mittens and that has really improved my enjoyment of them!

    • Oooh, where do you find such tiny circular needles? I definitely prefer circs over dpns for stranded stuff, in as much as one can have a preference for something they’ve done so little of!

      -whitney

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