February 2008

I am not a cynic, but I am a reasonably sceptical person, so when I first noticed all the fuss around Wollmeise yarn, I thought it was mostly a result of The Allure of the Rare combined with the Harlot Effect (remember last summer when she did a sock in Spice Market and the internet exploded?) But I did admire the colours, so after awhile I joined Ravelry’s Wollmeise group, figured out how to work the site and even managed to get a couple of skeins in the last godless buying frenzy shop update. After the adrenaline faded, though, I experienced a twinge of buyer’s regret, and was afraid I wasn’t going to like what I’d bought.

Then, my package arrived.


The paper bag was cute, and I enjoyed the sensation of opening a present after opening the package (who doesn’t like presents??) I slid the skeins out, and a little packet of Goldbären plopped on top of them. Ich leibe Goldbären!!


After scoffing them, I got a good look at the yarns.


But my pictures of them sucked!! Stupid cloudy winter days! It’s been snowing for months now, and the light inside can best be described as “dim”. Not so great for capturing the intense colours of my Wollmeise.


“I wish I had a lightbox,” I thought to myself. A bright white background to bounce indirect light onto my subject. But where could I find a bright white background and indirect light??

It took a few seconds to sink in, but then it came to me.


Dude! With the seventeen hundred feet of snow that’s fallen in the last few weeks, outside IS a lightbox!

Meet Emil


and Suzanne!


Please excuse Suzanne’s dandruff, I couldn’t shake off all the snow when I repositioned her. Such is life.

I think I’m going to knit with Suzanne first, I’ve got a really good sock pattern in mind for her: Skyline Chilly’s beautiful Pearl’s Diamond Socks. The pattern can be downloaded from her site for $5, with the proceeds from the sale going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honour of her Aunt Pearl. I think the yarn-over pattern will really complement Wollmeise’s Wild Thing pooling action, and I can’t wait to get started!

But first, I have a lot of unfinished business to attend to…which will have to be addressed in a future post. Today is my lovely mother’s birthday, and I should spend some time with her, especially since the provincial government declared today a new holiday in order to give us a long weekend in the most blah month of the year. Happy Family Day, Ontarians!


So, lately I’ve been making quite small things, maybe to contrast with all the big things I have in my head and on my needles that linger unfinished and unloved (sorry, ufo dudes). One of my favourite things came off the needles last week after four days of almost constant knitting and reknitting:


It’s MagKnit’s Evangeline fingerless gloves! Well, sort of. I adored the cables running up the back of the glove, but I sort of hated the finger/thumb part. I tweaked the pattern a bit and came up with something I really loved, so I decided to write up a little tutorial in case anyone else was looking for a mod for this pattern.

I didn’t use the recommended yarn, or even a yarn that was the same weight as the recommended yarn, so already I was knitting by the seat of my pants. I still had almost a skein and a half of Handmaiden 4-ply cashmere (the same yarn I used to make my Odessa) and I really wanted to make gloves with it. So I grabbed some 3.25 dpns and cast on. My hands are fairly small and the cashmere is fairly stretchy, so using Michelle’s numbers worked fine for me, but it would have been the easiest thing in the world to add (or subtract) any multiple of 4 additional stitches to improve fit.

The first real mod I made, though, was to make the root of the cables match up with the ribbing:


This is a fairly small, nitpicky thing, but it makes me happy every time I look at it, and it was piss easy to do. All I had to do was transpose the pattern over one stitch. That is, after I finished the last round of the K1P2 ribbing, I took the marker off the needles, knit one more stitch, and replaced the marker. This means that the first two knit stitches of the cable pattern occur directly above two knit stitches. A little thing, but a nice thing.

I wanted these gloves to extend quite a few inches beyond my wrists, so I knit four complete repeats of the cable pattern before starting hand shaping. You could wait ten cable repeats before you started hand shaping, or begin the shaping as soon as you started knitting the cables. The point at which you start the hand shaping depends on how many stitches you want to end up with for the thumb, and how long (or short) you want the wrist portion to be, but it’s probably easiest just to start at Row 1 of a new cable repeat. As you can see in this picture, I moved my round marker back three stitches, so the increases start six stitches from the first cable stitch. This centres the pattern more precisely on the arm, and keeps the increases looking nice and neat.


The thumb shaping is exactly the same as described in the Flying Gloves “pattern”: increase one stitch per pattern row, and knit all stitches plain each plain row. Although I only wanted twelve stitches for the thumb, I knit four cable pattern repeats (four repeats x four increases per repeat = 16 extra sts) to give myself some extra ease across the hand, since my gauge was so tight.

Another thing I did to give myself some extra ease across the hand was to perform a few increases on the other side of my hand:


I started these at the beginning of Cable Repeat #7 (aka Repeat 3 of the hand shaping). I stopped increasing here at the same time as I stopped increasing for the thumb gusset, but if you felt like you wanted some more ease for your fingers, you could easily keep increasing here until you were satisfied. Anyway. Eight extra stitches here plus the four extra stitches that were left over after separating out the twelve stitches for the thumb equals twelve extra stitches of ease across the hand, which added to the 40 stitches I originally cast on makes 52 stitches total. It’s important to note that 52 is divisible by 4; however many stitches you increase, be sure it is a multiple of four so your final ribbing turns out nice and even!

The last mod I made to the pattern was to knit a couple extra repeats on the fingers to make them nice and long. I wanted gloves that were kind of more like pseudomitts; the fabric comes down to shield my fingers from the wind, but it doesn’t get in my way when I have to dig around for something.


And if it’s not too cold outside (or I want my fingers free, like for driving), I can fold the ribbing down and the fabric doesn’t get in my way at all:


I picked up four extra stitches for the thumb, and topped it off with some ribbing to make it easier to flip down. Cast off the fingers and the thumb with something extra stretchy (I used the sewn bind-off method, outlined in this great knitty.com article)

Aaaaaaaand that’s about it! I’m not sure if anyone cares, but at the very least I have some “notes” written down in case I ever want to knit these again the same way. And I might; they’re really cute, and very, very easy. And the cashmere makes me feel like a princess every time I wear them! I’ve got two more skeins of Handmaiden cashmere that I don’t have plans for yet; maybe there will be some more modded Evangelines in my future…!