Warm Hands, Cold Feet

I have been working on a really great knitting project which I had hoped to blog about today.  But if truth be told, I have had a stressful week, and I have just had a lovely dinner (cooked by Doug) and have a glass of good wine by my side, so I will instead write a quick post about two recently finished projects, and save the new sweater for another day.

Those of you familiar with this blog will know that I am not big on knitting socks, gloves, hats, mittens, shawls and all of those other non-sweater items in the knitter’s repetoire.  I have an affinity for knitting sweaters.  But those other things are really good at keeping one’s hands, feet, head and neck warm.  In October, I finally got tired enough of cold hands to knit up some fingerless gloves.  My feet are still cold, and likely to remain that way.

First up, I knit a pair of very cute mitts for my daughter Leah, who is working a bit of a red vibe lately.

They look great with Leah’s coat (from Desigual).  This pattern is for the Nalu mitts, designed by Leila Raabe (the pattern is available for free on Ravelry).  I knit them with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, which is a blend of wool, microfibre and cashmere.  I used one ball of yarn to make the pair, and had just a few metres left over.   I would like them even better if they were an inch longer, but of course then you would need a second ball of yarn.

I knit these with a smaller needle than called for in the pattern.  I used a 3mm instead of a 3.25mm, and the slightly tighter gauge works well.  These mitts are fun to knit and fun to wear.  I think that Leah has worn them non-stop for the last three weeks.

Leila Raabe is one of the designers working with Jared Flood at Brooklyn Tweed  (if you don’t know Brooklyn Tweed it is well worth checking out – Jared is a great designer and photographer and has put together a really skilled and creative in-house design team).  Leila has had some lovely designs published in the last few years and has been on my radar for a while (mostly for her sweater patterns, of course).  So I was very happy to test drive one of her smaller patterns.  The design is very whimsical and eye-catching, and I highly recommend it.

For myself, I also chose to knit with Baby Cashmerino, but in a completely luscious grey.  This grey has to be seen to be appreciated; it is rich, gorgeous, luminous (and I just happened to have two balls of it sitting in my stash).  I chose to knit the pattern called Green Thumb, by Diana Foss.  You can find it on her blog, Mooseknits.  These mitts are knit in 2×2 rib, and are ambidextrous (both mitts are identical – there is no distinction between the left and right one).

The ribbing makes them very stretchy and warm, and the Baby Cashmerino is lovely and soft.  I also knit these with a 3mm needle, which is a size smaller than the pattern calls for.  Like the Nalu mitts, this pattern also calls for one ball of yarn, and so the mitts are short.  I made these longer, adding 8 extra rows of rib before the thumb gussets and including the optional five extra rows at the fingers.  This means I had to break into the second ball of yarn, but to me the extra length was worth it.  Given the tiny needles and the rib, there are a lot of stitches in these; each mitt has over 5000 stitches.  (Yes, I counted; I am a nerd that way.)  The thing that makes this pattern is the thumb gussets:

Aren’t they great?  I love this; such a simple, but innovative design.  Once you see them, it seems so obvious that a thumb gusset is shaped just like a leaf pattern.  I really think these are incredibly elegant.  I have worn them every day at work, thus keeping my hands warm while sitting at my desk typing.

Hopefully, next week I will bring you my totally cool new project; in the meantime, I am here with warm hands (and cold feet).