Thursday, November 15, 2007

In which I am reminded why I prefer wool

This is the beginning of NHM #5. I do like those NHM mittens. But the yarn they call for is not in my stash, and I am diligently working from my stash, at least for a while. (Practicing what I preach - I told Filia not to get yarn for a big project until after Christmas, and I shall do likewise. Fortunately, I've got those 3 skeins of Misti Alpaca Lace, and am getting closer and closer to casting on for something.)

(A serious aside: Yesterday's NHM mitten called for Jamieson & Smith jumperweight 2-ply. I thought that sounded pretty close to fingering weight, so I cast on, knit a mitten, and did no more than notice that the drape was a bit looser than I prefer for mittens. But, not everyone likes their mittens to be windproof. The mitten came out lovely. BUT, though the pattern called for 25 grams of 'dark' and I had 30 grams, I only had 12 grams left after the first mitten.

Not good.

Also, I learned this morning, while the mitten was blocking, that the yarn called for was actually more DK weight. Oops. )

NHM #5 mittens, toddler sized, call for Dalegarn Baby Ull, size 2 needles, and 8 sts/". I figured I would use some acrylic stash and make some pretty mittens for a local women's shelter. After all, Folk Mittens uses worsted weight wool at 7 sts per inch all the time, and the mittens come out nicely. And if the mitten fit a youth instead of a toddler, that would be fine as well. I picked my skeins, selected some size 3 US needles (instead of the US 2 called for), and settled down to knit. Why swatch? The mitten is only 36 stitches around.

After two inches of stockinette, the mitten was demoted from 'Women's Shelter' to 'Sample for Future Class'. It feels like steel wool. I wouldn't be surprised if it stops bullets. No, it didn't squeak on the needles, but I think that's a reflection on Harmony needles, and not on the yarn. This mitten could hurt someone. So, after finishing off the star, and working some short rows so the top of the star wasn't right at the cast off edge (which I thought would roll terribly, and it does, but you can put the mitten on an anvil and hammer out the curl), I cast off using 3 different methods. If it's a sample, I can do that.

The moral of the story: Red Heart at tight gauges is scary. Wool at tight gauges is cozy.

Next on the agenda: Simple acrylic mittens with BIGGER needles.

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