I told myself at the start of the year that 2019 would mark the Return Of The Knitting.
I’m not doing too badly with it – I’ve already finished a scarf and a jumper, and I’m hoping to cast on another jumper this Easter weekend. Okay, granted the only things to hit the blog so far have been a couple of hats – and now these gloves – but I promise there’s knitting happening in the background and those things will eventually hit the blog for your viewing pleasure 👀
Sooooo – I made mitts. Mittens? Mitts? I guess ‘mittens’ refers to something that covers your full hand but with no fingers, right? But then I’d say ‘oven mitt’ rather than ‘oven mitten’… so, I dunno 🤷🏻♀️
I’ve made things-that-go-on-your-hands.
I made our Kindred Hats with the intention of making the matching gloves – the first time I’ve made a matching set, which made me feel all grown up and coordinated. What we’ve had up until now is a mishmash of different colours, textures, and fibres, all purchased at different times, with varying degrees of bobbling. The matchy-matchy game has now been upped and I can safely say we’re winning.
The Kindred hat and mitt set is designed by Carina Spencer. She says ‘there are precious few times in our lives when we are gifted the everyday miracle of meeting a kindred spirit. We are two souls traveling parallel paths until time puts us in the same place on the same day and we are forever changed by knowing the other exists in this world’. This is her description of the wandering cables that feature on both patterns. I kinda like it.
I made the hats first, on our trip to NYC last year, because hats were more familiar to me than gloves. I’ve made more of them, they could be knitted on a circular needle, and they are pretty simple going. Gloves, on the other hand (ha! No pun intended lol 😂🙄) are a weird shape, you’ve got to knit them on double-pointed needles and there are finger-holes to contend with. Much more scary. I also figured that if I knit the hat first, I’d get the hang of that cable pattern and it would be one less thing to worry about on the gloves. See? I wasn’t wussing out, it was a bit of strategic planning 😬
I knitted the gloves on 5mm double points, even though the pattern calls for 5.5m – I’ll admit to being a tension swatch rebel (never made one, don’t intend to) but I know that I’m a loose knitter and dropping half a millimetre on the needle size usually results in something that’s close to the recommended gauge.
The gloves start out with a couple of inches of 1×1 rib, and then you proceed to knit them – in the round – alternating colours every row. The tops are finished with a few rows of 1 x 1 rib. There’s two size options – S/M and L/XL – I made the smaller size for me and the larger size for the husbeast.
I used a combination of Malabrigo yarns – Rios and Worsted (one of each on both pairs), for no reason other than colour combination preference. I actually think the differences in the appearance of the two makes for a nice effect – the cables stand out a little bit more because they’re a slightly thicker yarn (the Worsted) than the Rios.
I bought one skein of each colour (‘Volcan’ and ‘Red Mahogany’ for mine (orange and purple), and ‘Black Forest’ and ‘Illusion’ (slate grey and purple-y grey) for the husbeast) and got both the hat and gloves out of it with some to spare. Skeins were bought from Love Knitting, if anyone’s interested.
Double-pointed needles look horrific if you’ve never used them before, but once you get your head around what you’re doing is actually not that bad. Promise. I was a bit nervous about doing the thumb hole with them as I’ve never knitted anything that tiny before, but it turned out absolutely fine 💪🏻
I’ve only ever knitted one pair of gloves before, so I don’t really have much experience in the glove-knitting-world, but had no problem with these. I’d say if you’re comfortable with cables and knitting in the round, then you’ll be fine. The instructions are charted, which is fine by me – I actually prefer it. I find that when you write out each row of knitting, visually it looks a bit overwhelming. So many words, numbers and abbreviations. With a chart, I can see clearly how the cable pattern develops and it helps me knit it quicker and memorise any pattern. I find it easier to translate the chart to how the knitted fabric actually appears, whereas with words there’s no link to the texture of the fabric.
The gloves fit really well, but the yarn I chose wasn’t really hard-wearing enough for my liking. I mean sure, the gloves are soft and warm, but where I’ve carried my gym bag to work the palm of the glove has pretty much felted. It looks a right state. Sad face.
My next hat/glove set is going to be made with Brooklyn Tweed Petrie and Arbor, which I’m hoping is going to be more durable. The sweater I made myself from their Shelter yarn has lasted really well and has hardly any pilling, so I’m hoping their other yarns will be just as good. The Shelter yarn is nowhere near as soft as the Malabrigo yarn, but is it really worth spending all that time knitting something soft and squishy for it not to last and look a mess after just a couple of uses?
The pattern I’m going to attempt is the Dipyramid Set by Emily Greene – it’s my first time with stranded colourwork, so wish me luck. I’m using it as the practice run before I attempt the Oregon hat and glove set by Alice Starmore which is one of my 2019 Make Nine… not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous about it! It looks proper complicated. I’ll probably watch some YouTube videos on the best methods for carrying the floats on the inside of the work, so if anyone’s got any tips or tricks they will be much appreciated.
For his next pair of gloves the husbeast has requested half-fingers, so I’ve already started scouring Ravelry for potential patterns. Turns out, there’s a heck of a lot of glove patterns, but not that many with half fingers. No fingers – yep, full fingers – yep, halves? Nah, not so much.
I really love the Kindred Mitts and their cable pattern, so I might give them another try in a different yarn. And I know that nobody wants a too-short pair of gloves, but I think that these are just a smidge too long. They’re meant to cover your wrists and keep them warm, which I am ALL for – believe me – but in reality they don’t stay where you put them and they end up bunching around my wrist. I reckon an inch shorter would be perfect – BUT you can’t take that inch out of the ribbing (because then it’d be too short and wouldn’t fit to your wrist as nicely) and there’s no way I want to start faffing around redrafting the cable pattern. I made the size S/M and although they fit my hands well, it’s a fair few stitches too loose around the wrist. I do think I have quite unnaturally slim wrists, though, so this might be a factor.
From the photo below, it looks like the husbeast has the same problems with his as well.
I kind of knew in the back of my mind that the yarn would pill, but I didn’t expect it to it this much. I think that these hat and gloves sets will probably only last one season, maybe two if I give them a good shaving. The husband is quite sensitive to itchy wools though, so I need to find that happy place between softness and hardwearing-ness. Or, I just make him a new hat and mitt set every year 🤔Saying that, all the fuzz balls attached to the gloves (mine, at least) are one colour – purple. The worsted yarn. The orange Rios yarn doesn’t actually appear to have fuzzed up, interestingly. The worsted was a slightly thicker, softer, looser-spun yarn than the Rios, which has more of a twist to it. Perhaps I’ll give two colours of Rios a try, and see if this fares better over time.
Either way, the mitts have kept my hands warm when it’s chilly but not quite cold enough to bust out my actual shearling mittens that I picked up from a vintage shop in Paris last year. I love them, so much, because they are the only gloves I’ve ever found that actually stop my hands from going numb in the depths of winter – but they are like mini-ovens. Seriously, they are PROPER warm. They are reserved for the coldest of cold winter days, and are totally overkill when it’s just a bit nippy and I want to keep my hands warm. This is where the Kindred Mitts have stepped up and performed – even if they only last the one winter.
So yeah. Pretty gloves, but perhaps the wrong choice of yarn.
Feels a bit odd to be posting gloves here on ye olde blog when we’re having a heatwave here in London – can’t remember the last time we had a UK bank holiday weekend where it didn’t rain?!
I hope you have all had a good Easter weekend – however you’ve chosen to spend it! We decided to bake ourselves some chocolate-cornflake-mini-egg nests, and scoff the lot. We also got a few things photographed for this ‘ere blog, and I cut into some of the silk I bought from Mood in NYC to make another shirt for the husbeast. Now we’ve settled on a pattern that both I like to sew and he likes to wear, I think we’re full steam ahead on filling out the wardrobe.
With regards to my wardrobe, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need some summer tops, but thin straps give me quarterback shoulders. See exhibits A, B and C:
And if I’m totally honest, I’m not really a dress person either, with the exception of maybe a couple that I’ve made. So, I’m actually going to do something I said I wouldn’t ever do – refashion a couple of previous makes 😨
These two dresses are getting the chop:
The only reason I’m bothering to reuse the fabrics is because they were rare finds – the octopus print is a now-almost-unobtainable Cotton and Steel lawn which I managed to get from a destash on eBay, and the blue-and-coral hands print is some Opening Ceremony silk which is rarer than hen’s teeth, it seems.
The octopus print will probably become a Scout Tee (or a Republique du Chiffon Suzon blouse), the hands silk I’m not sure of yet because although I’ve got a fair bit of fabric to use from the skirt of the dress, there’s a seam down the centre back (WHY OH WHY DID I FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO DO THIS?! 😫). In later versions that I made of this dress (the Seamwork Catarina), I left that seam out and made the back one whole piece just like the front. To this day I still can’t see the point in that seam, and now it’s coming back to bite me because while I’ve got a nice big piece of fabric to reclaim from the skirt front, there’s a massive (French) seam down the middle of the back. Either I use that piece as-is for the back of a top, and leave the (not pattern matched) seam in, or I find a pattern that has separates for either the front or back – like a button-up tank or sleeveless shirt.
I’m after something to become my summer staple – the Scout Tees are great, but even in England there are days where you don’t want sleeves (okay so there’s maybe only about five of them all year, but they still exist 🤣). I have two (three maybe?) Ogden Camis, which I might have to pass to a new home – one of them is made from Liberty silk which I don’t think I can bear to part with so that one might be granted permission to stay and get worn every so often, but the others are really not flattering on my shoulders, or bra friendly, so they will have to go. I was doing a little Google research and apparently thin straps are not good for us girlies with broad shoulders – which would be why I always have that moment of shock when I see my boulder shoulders in a strappy bodice 😱🤣
I’m going to finally sew up a pattern that I’ve had for a couple of years but never got around to making – the Gemma Tank by Made By Rae:
I’m pinning all my hopes on this one looking alright, so that I can make up a batch of ’em. Wish me luck! (If you have any good summer tank pattern recommendations, holla in the comments👇🏻)
Enjoy what’s left of your weekend everyone! 💜
Next week on the blog is my second Madeleine skirt by Victory Patterns 🖤
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