insanity

One of the things I had planned to make over my winter holiday was a new pair of plain black mittens. When I make plain mittens, I use the same Patons leaflet pattern I have been using since I was twelve years old — I think it's called "Two Needle Mitts for the Family" or something like that. I almost have the whole thing memorised, and can do a mitten in about one round trip on the streetcar between the Beach and downtown.

Instead, I wound up making these:
They took a bit longer than a couple of streetcar rides.

The mitten and gauntlet pattern are from different examples in Anna Zilboorg's Magnificent Mittens, and the only saving grace of the whole thing (besides that I can keep my hands warm to about -25C with ease now) is that I used up a nice chunk of stash yarn. I deliberately chose the patterns to maximise the stashbusting — I had more red than black left, and that dictated which patterns I knit.

I wasn't paying attention to row counts when I picked the gauntlet pattern. I just cared about the proportions of the background and foreground. Most of the gauntlets in the book go a few inches past one's wrist — enough to go over a coat cuff nicely and block out the wind. These gauntlets go almost all the way to my elbow, and I have long arms! I feel like a superhero with some kind of DIY angle to their identity when I'm wearing them. They sag a little when I'm walking with my arms hanging down naturally, but they still stay over my coat cuffs, so that's fine.

The second time I wore them, I got the best compliment a DIYer can get from a stranger. A lady came up to me and asked me where she could buy a pair. I gave her the book title, but she doesn't know any knitters who could tackle mittens in two colours. Pity.

Actually, if you're a knitter who would like to try out two-colour knitting for the first time, I'd recommend mittens. They're small and it's easy to find patterns that can be committed to memory easily. The Zilboorg book has clear instructions and lots of variety, and is as good a place to start as any.