Hello, crafters. How are your projects going? Christmas has come early for me – my Sydänmaa mittens are done and have been getting lots of wear.
In my previous post, I was expressing some anxiety at having to work what I often feel is the least fun part of mittens: picking up stitches around thumbs. For a while, the unfinished mitts languished on my WIP pile, the gaping unworked thumbs staring back at me like conduits to an endless void. I’m learning that things like this constitute the veritable black-holes of crafting: procrastinating provides momentary relief, but unfinished business has a tendency to hijack new projects. In the end, necessity won (it’s cold here!). I unpacked my DPNs and made a very modest beginning.
I must, at this point, also acknowledge that the input and advice from several bloggers helped to move this thumbless WIP to FO status. A big thanks goes to Agnès, Belinda, and Helen for generously sharing their knitting expertise in the comments, and suggesting various strategies for avoiding holes while picking up thumb-stitches: in sum, this entails picking up extra stitches in the ‘ditch’ that lies between the live stitches (on the DPNs in the photo above) and the non-live stitches to be picked up on either side of the thumb gusset (in the photo, these are several ‘loops’ between the DPNs. These were added by a backwards loop cast-on). In addition, knitting into the backs of stitches twists them and also helps to cinch things up for a neater finish. Except for a single rogue stitch (my fault, see below), your suggestions worked super and will be repeated. Thank you!
Some Mending Minutiae
Despite my best efforts, I wound up with one pretty sizable hole at the front of the right mitt. I tried every which way and number to pick up — whether it was my skills or the slant of the stitches, a gap was determined to be made (and my repeated angling with the needle was not helping).
As in life, however, so it is in finishing-up: when I finally accepted the truth and inevitability of this flaw, I was able to shift my energies towards working with it (or, quite literally, around it). Recalling that the duplicate stitch is not only an embroidery stitch, but also a darn fine darning and mending-method, I decided to see if following the contour of the stitch with an extra strand of yarn would work well. I think it did the trick!
After finishing these mitts, I’m looking forward to my next cable-knitting project. On that note, Tony posted a great ‘no cable-needle’ cabling video in the comments (thank you!).
I am still relatively new to cable-knitting, and had never seen this method before; it looks less fiddly and very time-saving. I will have to try this next time! Do you cable-knit with or without a needle?
And what exciting makes does your holiday season have in store this week?
Wishing you many merry makes.