Thursday, November 25, 2010

Still Stranded

I still can't stop with the stranded colorwork. Now that I've created two stranded designs of my own, I feel ready to tackle a project that I have wanted to do for 2 years now: the Potpourri mittens from Vogue Knitting Fall 2008. I'm not doing the colors as prescribed in the pattern. I almost never do, unless the colors are critical to the pattern or unless they really speak to me. I'm doing my own thing, using one hank of a lovely Koigu KPPPM colorway and one hank of KnitPicks Stroll in "bare" (undyed). I llllove Koigu. Adore it. I am making it a policy to grab a random hank of Koigu every time I'm in a yarn shop that carries it. Not nearly enough shops do. I hope to stop at Weaving Works when I'm in downtown Seattle for my birthday, and while I'm there, I'll grab a hank or two. The hank I'm using for this pattern is one I got there a few years ago, and it's sat in my stash just waiting to be turned into something.

And from another angle...

I am in love with it! The colorwork chart is super-easy and fun to follow. The only challenge so far was the picot cuff, which uses a provisional crochet chain cast-on. I had never done one of those before, and there was a learning curve, not to making the cast-on, but to removing it when folding the cuff together. I learned not to pull the chain out and let the stitches pop off, because they will quickly unravel. Stick your needle into each stitch one by one, and gently pull the chain out stitch by stitch. That's the way to go!

The cuff is kind of insane. You do the provisional cast-on, knit 3 rows, then do yarn-over, k2tog for a row, then knit 3 rows. You then pull out the provisional crochet chain cast-on and put those stitches onto a second set of dpns, fold the cuff together, and knit a stitch from each dpn into one stitch (like doing a three-needle bind-off). So there is a point in time where you have the stitches on SIX size 1 dpns, while knitting them with a 7th. It is beyond fiddly and challenged my dexterity, but I did it, and the beautiful picot cuff that results is totally, totally worth it.

I was inspired to use the Koigu with a plain white yarn when I saw this ingenious use of this pattern on Ravelry. I'm doing the same thing, only with Koigu instead of Noro Kureyon Sock. I think they're going to be gorgeous! They will be warm for sure, with all that stranding!

Aside from these beautiful mittens, I'm also working on a crocheted shawl of my own design that I plan to submit for publication. It uses Lion Brand LB Collection Cotton Bamboo, which is to.die.for. It's super-soft and cool to the touch. It makes a garment that would be comfortable in hot weather as well as cold. I am totally loving it!

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