Thursday, June 02, 2011

Microgauge Mittens

It's all Beth Brown-Reinsel's fault. Or maybe it's Arenda Holladay's. Or perhaps Birgitta Dandanell's.

Or maybe it's just that I'm not normally a sane person. I have flashes of normalcy, perhaps - but I've never quite walked the beaten path. Years ago, when I read Twined Knitting, I marvelled at the gloves that were knit out of cotton at 22 stitches per inch, and thought "would that I could do that someday! But not gloves. Gloves aren't nice." And then Arenda designed a lovely sweater using fine yarn, and I thought again - ahhh, finer gauges. How lovely. I should make one. But I'd have to revise the pattern so I could steek it. And then Beth posted her lovely photo of a hat/mitten set made at 13 stitches per inch in the same yarn Arenda used ... and then Beth posted, a few months later, a picture of a Latvian mitten at 19 stitches per inch.

THAT was the straw that broke the camel's back. I can do mittens. I can do Latvian. And I can do skinny yarn. So I decided to knit a Latvian mitten using fingering-weight yarn and a pattern with lots of stitches on small needles (that would be a US size 1, for those of you who allergic to relative terms) and ended up with Cindy's Mittens. Mmmmm, pretty, aren't they?

But there was a problem. Those were only 54 stitches per 4", and they knit up awfully fast. So I decided I must need skinnier yarn, and thus the Great Yarn Hunt began. It ended up at (don't click on the link if you don't need more yarn) RedFish Dyeworks, with some 20/2 pure silk. I really wanted to use 30/2, but the knitting community rallied in defense of my sanity and I decided to play along - for this pair of mittens.

See? Pretty yarn. I must be in a red white and blue phase, since my vacation project is also red white and blue. And no, I am NOT so insane as to think of working on these while sitting in a car going down a road full of potholes. They do require some concentration.

After the yarn arrived, I had a crisis of intent. I knew what pattern I wanted for the top of the mitten -- it came from a stocking photo at Flickr. (If you don't want design inspiration and are avoiding stranded knitting at the moment, don't click on that link either.) But I also knew I didn't want to have ribbing at the cuff, or any of the other traditional Norwegian cuffs. So what should I do??? I thought, and thought, and whimpered quietly to my knitting friends online, knit up a sample in fingering weight, threw that idea totally out the window, and cast on 150 stitches, and started knitting while perusing Latvian Mittens. (Sorry, I'm linked out.)

And, after a while, this is what I had ...

Mmmm. I like it. A sweater at this gauge would be nice, too.

But I wouldn't.

Would I?


fluffbuff said...

It's fabulous. I love those little triangles stemming from the Latvian braid.
I should never have found you on Ravelry or seen your blog, dammit. I don't need anyone to encourage me to knit at a finer gauge. You are dangerous. I have an urge to go order those 1.25 mm needles I've been resisting until now.

Carolyn said...

I think it's your fault, actually. You're the one who wrote about a tubular cast on a few years back, and so I popped your blog onto Google Reader.

HiyaHiya carries the small needles. So does Inox.

And if you've ever had an urge to knit the Unst Lace Stole from Heirloom Knitting, I know of two people who are starting this fall ...

Beth B-R said...

WOW! What beautiful knitting Carolyn! Just spectacular!

Weaving Trails said...

We love it when our yarn is used fabulously.
Sandy @ RedFish DyeWorks

madonnaearth on ravelry said...

I love the little check boxes in the middle. Sooo pretty!