Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mitten Saga

"To be a good knitter, you must be a good ripper." These are the words of my Grandmother and I can hear her saying them still, and she's been gone a long time. She didn't teach me how to knit, but did teach me how to crochet when I was six. I taught myself how to knit with a little book called "Learn How" published in something like 1950 or so. I was so enthralled and enamored of knitting that I quickly became pretty industrious, and really good at it. I rarely had to rip out my knitting and got pretty good at translating complicated patterns so I wouldn't have to.I've been knitting a three color mitten, from the book "Folk Mittens: Techniques and Patterns for Handknitted Mittens" by Marcia Lewandowski. It's a fantastic book, loaded with technical expertise, history, stories, and amazing patterns. If you are into two and three color knitting, it's a great source for wonderful patterns. Here are some photos of said mitten in progress.
It's been a challenge, I've got to say, and mostly because I'm too distracted to follow the pattern strictly enough to avoid serious "ripping". I made the right hand mitten. My tension was way too tight, mitten was small. Ripped out whole thing. Start again.

It helps that the yarn I've chosen is a softer-than-you-can-imagine baby alpaca and bamboo called Qina by Mirasol in Peru. Their project is worth looking at. Anyway, when you are knitting more than six mittens for yourself, you need some soft yarn. I started the right hand mitten again, this time relaxing my tension and the mitten is perfect. Just need to add the peasant thumb and right hand will be done.
Pictured below is the right hand mitten, nearly completed, and the left hand mitten on the three needles in the process of being completed. You can see it in the first photo too. I was NEARLY done with the left hand mitten when I realized that I had placed the thumb opening in the right hand mitten position. After realizing my mistake I examined the thumb placement trying to figure out how to NOT rip out the 40 rows I'd knitted above it. I said to myself, "I am NOT ripping out all this work!!" And after careful consideration, and lots of bitching, I realized it would be a waste to have two right handed mittens. It just wouldn't work. I heard the words again, "To be a good knitter, you must be a good ripper" in my Grandmother's voice, and I ripped out the rows.


  1. And therein lies the reason, even though I know how to knit AND crochet, I chose crochet as my favorite!! LOL Ugh! I would get so frustrated!! And I couldn't keep my attention on it that long...I must admit though, the patterns for mittens and socks to knit are VERY pretty! This one you're doing included. :-)