Although the mittens have been finished for a little while (finished on November 15th), I haven't been able to blog about them. When faced with the decision to knit or blog, well, knitting won out and I'd knit until I'd fall asleep on the couch. Probably not the best thing to do: falling asleep with pointy needles on your lap. Luckily, no disasters as of yet, though. But here they are, finished mittens in Noro Silk Garden.
I must confess, these are the first mittens that I've ever knitted. I figured I'd be able to tackle them without too much fuss, since they seem a lot like knitting socks. I actually found the mittens easier. After finishing them, I bought a book from Amazon.com on mittens and gloves called "Knitting New Mittens and Gloves: Warm and Adorn Your Hands in 28 Innovative Ways." It just came in today and I'm already starting to 'squee' at the various patterns in it.
As soon as I finished the mittens, I was almost immediately casting on this next project: Noro striped socks! Noro is a self-striping yarn that comes in a variety of beautiful and bold colorways. The yarns' colors transition smoothly and beautifully from one color to the next. Fiber artists have been playing with Noro's self-striping abilities by manually striping two or more of the company's yarns in one project. The result is nothing less than striking. I've accummulated quite a few skeins of different Noro yarns in order to produce this manual stripe in various projects, but thought I should make a gift first (seeing that the holidays are just around the corner). So I'm working with Noro's Kureyon Sock yarn in color 240 - a beautiful pink/purple/gray colorway. I'm almost done with the first sock.
In order to do this, you don't need to buy two skeins. One skein is enough for two socks. However, to get the manual striping, you need to split the skein in half. Because I wanted to do two socks at time (have two sets of #2 double-pointed needles going at the same time) I split the skein in four and just matched up two balls of yarn that were opposite in beginning colors. But of course, I haven't started on the second sock yet, because I'm mesmorized by the striping effects happening in this one sock.
One thing to keep in mind: when doing this type of manual striping with a self-striping yarn, it is extremely difficult to get a matching pair where the stripes are exatly the same color on both socks in the same places. The socks will match in the sense that all the colors are in the same skein, but the striping won't match exactly. When I start the second sock, I'll post some pics to illustrate what I'm saying, but I think this type of (mis)matching is sort of charming in a handmade sock.
Looking at my yarn stash today I realized that the next few projects that I have in mind are going to be featuring Noro yarns. I'm going through a Noro phase right now, I guess. Looks like I'll have to try to work it out of my system.
Unfinished socks are calling my name...