Monday, February 23, 2009

Bella's Mittens

We've been bitten by the Bella's Mitten bug here at The Alpaca Yarn Company. Tasha made a pair in Malabrigo. They were so squishy & yummy, immediate mitten-envy set in and I knew I had to make a pair for myself. The yarn selection was easy, Snuggle is a 55% Alpaca, 15% Wool, 30% Acrylic Bulky blend and was the perfect yarn for this pair of mittens, knitted on size 8 needles. The hard part came in deciding upon the color. I scoured ravelry, trying to decide which color among our 15 choices would best represent the spirit of Bella while maybe having a bit of Angela tossed in as well. I kept going back to our hand dyed colorway "A Knot of Naturals". There was some trepidation as that little voice in my head yelled, "Cables! You can't do a hand dyed with cables! You'll ruin the look of both the yarn and the mittens!" However, the other, louder voice said, "Want! Want! Want!". I am so glad I listened to the greedy voice.

The free pattern is clearly written, and written for magic loop no less, my absolute favorite way in the world to knit. I grabbed a set of bamboo circulars and cast on. I will admit, I'm not a huge fan of k1, p1 ribbing, but it flowed quickly as it was only half of the stitches on the cuff. As I was working the pattern, the cables began to just come to life. They seemed to pop off the mitten and I was quickly & deeply in love. I knitted frantically, wanting to get the first one done in time to take it to my Tuesday morning knitting group at Uncommon Threads, our LYS.

Rather than obscure the cables, as I had feared, the slight variations in the Snuggle set off the cables perfectly, giving them an interest and depth. I got to my knitting group with only the thumb of the first mitten remaining. I wasn't quite sure why the designer had asked me to switch to dpns at this point. I mean my magic loop and I had been humming along quite nicely. I decided to throw caution to the wind and continue with my looping. Okay, truth be told, I don't own size 8 dpns and I wasn't about to go buy a pair just for a thumb. I picked up my thumb stitches. I picked them up quite deeply into the row below, actually, because I feel that this usually gives a bit more substantial thumb and I hate holes in my thumbs, or anywhere, really.

The mittens were immediately declared a success with the entire knitting group trying them on and several folks threatening to kidnap the first while I made the second. There is a slight halo to the mittens which gives them that soft, smooshy, dreamy quality. I am now plugging away at the second mitten, admittedly without as much fervor as the first, but I am determined to get them done before winter is truly over. Looked for finished photos here on the blog soon.


RecoveringActor said...

A friend of mine made Bella's mittens in a black wool... without reading any of the books... and it inspired her to read them!

angie said...

I love those mittens!