knittingjuju

Julie knits and writes and knits.

Archive for March, 2009

iPhone Mitts: The Worsted

The iPhone Mitts are proving to be such simple, useful hand warmth delivery systems, that I succumbed to pressure to do the math and provide here proof of a worsted-weight version that knits up in a quarter of the time of the fingering-weight wonders…. and here they are:

So instructions: Download the iPhone Mitts pattern, and change the math thusly:

Use Worsted Weight Yarn (in this case my leftover Noro Cash Iroha, and precisely two skeins and 182 meters, US Size 6 dpns

Cast On 40 stitches.

Knit 34 rows before starting thumb gussets.

Work until thumb gussets are just 9 stitches

Cast on just 2 stitches when you resume knitting after putting the gusset stitches on hold.

The whole length of the tube is 90 rows from cast on to cast off row.

Pick up 5 st for a total of 14 thumb stitches.

Work 12 thumb rows after pickup.

These are stretchy monkeys. I knit them to fit my hands, but they easily fit my son-in-law (my man model here) and my husband’s much larger hands.

Having worn them for a couple of days, I’ll observe that the worsted versions are much warmer, of course, but also much bulkier. When the weather warrants it, I’ll gladly upgrade warmth for bulky discomfort, but for 80 percent of winter, I still want the fingering-weight versions. They just let me move my hands more easily, afford my hands more mobility.

By the way, my sister-in-law, Betsy, a new knitter who easily took on the iPhone Mitts for her daughter, would have me note that the convenience of tucking the thumbs into the palm fold and scrunching these babies up onto your wrists while shopping is a really critical feature of the design. “Forget iPhone Mitts,” she says, “These are Shopping Mitts!!” Not much of a shopper myself, I defer to her.

They have been taken up by folks doing fine work outdoors. These range from dog trainers and fishermen to photographers and bicyclists. Skiers note that when you fold the cuff inside, you have three layers of wool protecting your fingertips, which they love, being able to quickly squinch these back to fumble for change or lip balm makes their whole day. Runners note they can use the superwash wool, and not feel bad about using them to wipe noses and face sweat mid-run, just wash them along with their other running gear…

Everyone notes that they are very dull knitting. Mindless. But who doesn’t need mindless knitting? Once in awhile?

Christine’s Forest Canopy

My friend, Christine, is a knitter and a writer and a painter. And a lot of other things, too, but for the purposes of this story, let’s just stop the list right there. I guess I’ve known Christine for a million years. We met giving a reading of our work selected by a local literary magazine. We bumped into one another at local writing events. Two entirely separate strands of wool in the wash, follicles catching here and there. Then I started working with her dear husband. Then she helped me along when I started knitting. And now we’re more or less felted.

When Christine decided to get serious about painting again, not so very long ago, I wasn’t surprised to see an explosion of spectacular, moving, accomplished work in a very short time. Delighted, but not surprised, because this is how Christine would paint if Christine painted. Of course. Of course.

I asked her to consider making a portrait of my Mom. Some day. Maybe. If she wanted to, but no pressure. At all. Because, you know, maybe she wouldn’t want to, and that would be cool. I sent her a photo of my mom as a young woman. Expecting her to think and let me know.

Within, like, a week or so, Christine told me we had to meet at our LYS. I figured on some sort of hat emergency. Mittens gone wrong. Something. But no, she had this for me:


That’s my mom, Vivian. Absolutely. Amazing. Just… wow. Amazing. I was stunned. Thoroughly. Still am.

And immediately willing to hock the family jewels to pay for it, provided I could find the family jewels. Or a family with jewels. What could I possibly offer in return for this? Christine started talking trade. Knitting for art.

“Um… dood, you sure?”

She was sure.

She had a lace shawl firmly in mind, already. And all we had to do was find the right yarn…

The exact right wool was already in my stash. Cash Iroha, Noro’s cashmere, silk, wool blend, light and soft and shimmery, in a color…. This color is what red would be if it were made of chocolate. That’s about the best I can come up with. It’s a color I appear to love a lot, judging by the number of yarns in various weights resident in my stash in this exact hue. The Cash Iroha chocolate red is sort of a worsted weight, slubby yarn, dear and yummy.

Christine liked the Cherry Leaf shawl I had made in a fingering-weight yarn awhile ago, but that same pattern wouldn’t have translated to this yarn. Good old Ravelry made short work of finding a great, leafy shawl pattern in worsted for my little stash: Forest Canopy Shawl by Susan Pierce Lawrence.

Within a few minutes, I bought the pattern from her site, loaded the charts onto my iPhone, and cast on the few stitches at the top center from which all the rest of the shawl just blooms. Well, eventually it blooms, the rows getting longer and longer as you go, until you finish, casting off all those scallops.

A completely pleasant knit from first stitch to last. I made minor modifications, adding a few repeats of the main pattern to lengthen the piece, and a couple of extra rows in the edging pattern to balance the new length. This is four skeins of Noro.

The finished piece is light as air and really warm. Vivian would have loved it. The color and texture are pure Christine. A very good trade.