Further to my wardrobe revamp – I started by sifting out anything I like into 2 wardrobes I usually have difficulty being ruthless but being ill seemed to help. There are huge piles of discard – The keep criteria was ‘does it look nice on and do I like wearing it’? (summer and winter). There are a lot in purple/damson, some in brown, a bit of mustard and green and a lot of black! I can now find things in my cupboard…. a big plus.
I realised I have lots of nice things I have made and really like but don’t wear and why????………… I want to keep them for ‘best’…. this I think stems from an unbringing on the farm where we wore school uniform, mucky everyday things and visiting Grandma ‘best’. What we learn as children really sticks doesn’t it?………!!!!!!!!!!!
In this cold snap I have also realised I have lots of tops with 3/4 sleeves and mitts which are too short. On one of my wanders round Ravelry I saw sleeves!!!! Traditional women’s clothing involved separate sleeves. These were detachable from jackets and could be fancy for Sunday Best and practical (you can remove to wash just the bits that got dirty). Could be just the thing to use up those nice Wool Show purchases and play and add colours to all that black.
I’ll make long mittens/sleeves and I decided to take a different approach to this project. As advised by Amy Herzog, I am going to swatch and knit to my gauge. She is an advocate of patterns being guides. Swatch – to test if your knitting and the yarn you want to use, will make fabric you want to wear!!
I have almost 100g of John Arbon Harvest Hues in Russet (it’s a little more gold than in the photo) left from another project and my favourite of all time Cambrian Mountains Wool 4ply in slate (as much as I can get!!). The sock projects at Christmas have given me a taste for the fabric 4 ply produces on 2.25mm and 2.75mm needles —- something that has crept up on me. I wanted to make them in simple colourwork. Also note … the Cambrian is a little thicker than the Harvest Hue.
Swatch – to begin with I know that I knit sloppy on stocking st – so I choose 2.25mm (13’s), I know that colourwork reduces the stretch and thickens the fabric. And that can depend on the pattern, I might have to increase and decease the number of st along the way. I had an idea for a simple to follow colourwork, with a 6st repeat and row the same so I could work back and forth….. long floats but the rows repeat help you know where you are. I cast on 60 st and set off , well it’s nearly a mitten anyway, so I intended to knit in all the elements as I went along. Basically I knit a draft mitten!! I have a mitten pattern in my head (cast on rib so much; sts st so much; increase either side of centre st for thumb to 20st; work hand so much; it isn’t written down long hand(!)
Then I measured. The gauge is 3/4″ to 6st (the repeat of the colour pattern) in the st st and the colourwork, but the amount of give varies. I needed a mitten that started at about 9″ in the arm went down to 7″ at the wrist, was 9″ at the thumb base and 7.5″ at the fingers. Blocked and measured the test was 1/2″ too small all the way. The thicker Slate coloured yarn worked on its own in a 2×1 rib needed some stocking st to lengthen the arm. The colourwork brought in the knitting gently as I got a little tighter as I got into the rhythm, then opened out as the float got longer and merged into stocking st and added st for the thumb. The number of rows to the change of pattern works for the sleeve length and by starting the thumb at that point (increasing 2 st every other row) got a thumb of 20st. By reducing the sts by 6 after the thumb I could get top to be snug again. I was also trying to remember to slip the first st of each row to make sewing up easier.
I decided to go for 8″ (between the 9 and 7) for the width of the sleeve rather than try to decease through the pattern. The calculation is 8 divided by 3/4 x 6 = rounded up to the nearest 6st. I cast on 68st. Knit 12 rows of 2×1 rib, 4 rows stst, the pattern is over 10 rows. Should I write that down????? I have got to make another one……………….