Sunday, January 24, 2010


Thanks to Flipflopping Mama's encouragement that "fair isle knitting is a pain but it's not hard", I finally decided to try my hand at the task. For several reasons I figured it was time to stop being a scared ninny and learn this unique and beautiful way of knitting. (For non-knitters, Fair Isle is sometimes called Stranded Knitting, because it's done while holding several strands of yarn at the same time but only knitting the strand of yarn that's called for according to the pattern or chart).
My first reason for attempting this daunting task was because it's pretty.

My second reason was that I was really looking forward to making a mistake and then whining to Flipflopping Mama about it. I considered it just retribution for her unjust complaint that every time she calls me with a knitting question she ends up frogging ten hours' worth of work.

After looking through several patterns on Ravelry, I decided to try my hand at a pair of mittens called Anemoi.
I have a deep-seated aversion to geometric shapes, so the swirls and whorls on this mitten were right up my alley. Plus, it only used two different colors, so I wouldn't be required to hold more than two strands at a time, making my first attempt at this a tad easier.

The cuffs were the starting point, and my first cuff was a little too tight for comfort, but thankfully I can still slip my hands into the mitten. Gauge is slightly different when doing fair isle, and I started with a needle size that was a bit too small (US Size 2's).
I messed the cuffs up several times, each time cheerily cursing FlipFlopping Mama under my breath as I frogged. And frogged. And frogged. ("Frogging" is what happens when you make a royal whoop-up and have to "rip-it rip-it" out. Get it? Sad, yes, but knitting is a corny craft.)

After several attempts I finally got the cuff done and began the mitten itself, which went much smoother. I tried several different ways of holding the yarn, and finally settled on holding both strands in my left hand in the Continental style as being the fastest and most comfortable for me.

The thumb on this pattern was really cool, as it grows from the pattern itself in a shape called a gore. I love the way it fits snugly onto the palm of the hand.
My only dislike of the mittens are that I knit them about an inch too long, so they're a bit floppy on my hands. Well-fitted mittens are warm as well as easy to wear, but these are just a tad too long to make them practical. *Sigh*. Oh well, better luck next time!
(For more pattern specifications, please view my Ravelry page here.)


Ellen said...

I saw you knitting those and I am completely amazed at how you can keep all that yarn straight while three destroyers are dismantling the house!

yoel said...

Those look great! Very cozy and colorful.

hakucho said...

Very nice mittens...I think I'll need to work on something like your mittens after my latest big project....I am very sick of the great expanse of off white ;)

Nikki said...

wow, you and Lynn are my heros...