Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Finished: Quicksilver Fingerless Mitts

Say, those aren't socks at all! The first of my set of 4 things
to be finished (perhaps my previous appellation of an "avalanche" of FOs may have been a slight overstatement--more like a slowish mudslide) is off the needles and on my hands! And, boy, are these babies my new best friends!

Finished: Quicksilver Fingerless Mitts
Pattern: Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts (sans schmancy colorwork)
Fiber: Yarn Pirate merino/tencel sock yarn in "Quicksilver" and dark gray Koigu KPM for the trim and cuffs.
Needles: sizes 0 and 1 DPNs
Date Started: February 2007
Date Completed: February 2007
Modifications: There were many minor modifications to the Endpaper Mitts, as I just used the pattern as a general template to make these mitts.

Okay, time for my few cents on merino/tencel, since it is a relatively new phenomenon in sock yarn, and several commenters asked me specifically what I thought about knitting with it. Merino/tencel has this magnetic, corporeal quality about it, definitely. The tencel added in makes wool tough and beautifully sheeny and lustrous. And soft and silky. When you see a merino/tencel blend in person, you immediately want to own as much of it as you can. And want to knit everything you can with it. Well, you do if you're anything like me (read: attracted to shiny, shiny prettiness). All the wonderful physical properties aside, however, I found knitting with it a little on the annoying side. It's significantly slipperier than 100% wool, so my gauge tended to be more loose and if I wasn't paying attention at all times, some of my stitches would become loose during transfer from left to right needle and become wonky looking. So, basically, I had to keep the yarn pulled somewhat taut as I knit. And the slight lines that are created when knitting in the round on dpns--the ever-so-slightly more loose stitches right at the "corners" where you shift from one dpn to the next are exaggerated, which I found a little bothersome (back, perfectionist, back!).

Merino/tencel is also somewhat less stretchy than pure wool, so I am not convinced that the tencel blend is best suited for knitting socks--that is, unless you compensate for the lack of stretch and make slightly bigger-fitting socks, in which case they may turn out a bit saggy. That said, the added tencel does provide wool with a great amount of added strength, which makes it seem appropriate--if not perfect--for sock knitting. Turns out, given all of its qualities, I really love the merino/tencel for mitts such as these. The added strength is perfect for taking the mitts on and off all day, for one thing. And the smoothness of the fabric is also perfectly suited to mitts. Okay, that should suffice for an opinion on merino/tencel. I feel compelled, though, to admit that I have purchased more merino/tencel and will probably be knitting socks out of it. I suspect I'll grow to love merino/tencel indefinitely with time.

I have a few more cents to throw into the bank: the Yarn Pirate yarn (When did I become such an opinionated-and long winded- knitter?!). Yarn Pirate sock yarn has this sort of surreal, ├╝ber-alluring quality to it. I am not typically one of the many who are lured by the siren song of variegated yarns, but for some reason, I am drawn to the variegated Yarn Pirate sock yarns. And as much as I don't want to admit it, there is that "For a Limited Time Only, Get it While It Lasts!" appeal to Yarn Pirate as well. That stuff sells out on Etsy pretty much instantaneously. Not as instantly, perhaps, as Sundara, but you can't ponder your desires for very long, or you'll miss out. I don't fully understand the strong appeal it has for me, but the Quicksilver merino/tencel was the first Yarn Pirate yarn I have tried, despite my skepticism toward variegated yarns (pooling is one of the most horrific knitting-related things to me... if it pools, I rip. period.). And I had a helluva time getting it to not pool. Every darn sock pattern I tried pooled like a mofo. I tried many a sock pattern and many a needle size to no avail, and I finally gave up. Then I realized that if I reduced the number of stitches, the pooling disappeared... unfortunately, I had to reduce the number of stitches by too many to knit a regular sock. Enter Eunny's Endpaper Mitt pattern. Marvelous! Perfectly pool-less! Because my wrists are significantly twiggier than my calves!

Just look at that thumb gusset! These mitts were my first foray into thumb gussetting, so I did a bit of experimenting with methods of increasing around the thumb gusset (though I lacked the foresight to take any comparative photos of the different methods I tried). Eunny's pattern suggests the "lifted bar" increase, which I found to be a little on the holey side (perhaps I was doing it wrong?). So, I decided to try another method--not one I had seen anywhere, just one that I totally made up as I went. I think it was a way more complicated maneuver than necessary for a thumb gusset increase, but it created a hole-less gusset, so I was satisfied with it.

Overall, I love this quick little knit, and I suspect I'll be making many more of these dumbed-down, Eunny-style fingerless mitts (though I DO plan to make some of the two-colored ones, as well). They're simple, yet functional, and I can enjoy my variegated yarns in pool-less peace. That's my "Lookie at my fantastic, shiny new mitts! I heart them!" face. Otherwise known as my whelmed face. That's about as excited as I get, y'all.

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Blogger Stef said...

Whoa! I love them! They're so refined-yet-sporty. The dark cuffs really set off the Quicksilver color.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I totally have had the same reaction to merino/tencel: I just want to gaze at it and pet it all day (so soft, so shiny), but I've had a hard time keeping my stitches consistent with it.

And re: "excited face," that cracks me up, cause me too. On my chevron scarf post, Carson was like "um, why the disdainful hauteur?" and I was like, "um, that is totally my ecstatically happy face." Just call me Fox Mulder.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Gorgeous!! What a great idea to make the simple EndPapers. If I had done that, I'd probably have a pair by now. My lone mitt has been sitting around since before Christmas. The color looks great, too!

9:35 PM  
Blogger Knitopia said...

Could you describe your gusset increase if you remember it? I find the M1 to be difficult because you're supposed to knit through the back (if you lift from front to back, that is), so it's pretty tight. Whatever you did, they look good.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Jennie said...

Oh, they're beautiful! I've been craving a quick pair of endpapers ('cause my hands are so cold, typing away, these days), and this might be just the motivation I need!

Btw -- On the lifted bar increase, if you knit through the back of the loop (twisting the stitch) it shouldn't be too holey.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Mintyfresh said...

What can we do to push your reaction up into "over"whelmed? Because these are great!

9:50 PM  
Blogger Liz K. said...

Phew! That was a lot of info. No wonder you could muster a "whelmed" face. Frankly, it was nice to see you!

The mitts are great...I wonder now if I desire the merino/tencel for a scarf instead of a sock. Maybe one of those chevron scarves...

9:57 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

ooh, shiny mitts...purdy. you really did find the perfect pattern for anti-pooling. they are variegated perfectly!

and i love your pics. they show them off fabulously.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous tiennie said...

Those are great! I love that yarn. Perfecto.

10:51 PM  
Blogger cynic the lamb said...

Those are lovely! Yay for satisfying knits!

10:55 PM  
Blogger Emma said...

Those look awesome!

11:02 PM  
Blogger Laura B said...

What a good idea. They look great!

11:11 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

Nice! And great photo shoot. I haven't tried any merino/tencel yarn before; I'm intrigued

11:50 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Great mitts! And there is absolutely no pooling! I have a very animated face, so photos often show me mid-expression change with my mouth gaping open in some twisted travesty. I'd take your expression any day!

11:57 PM  
Blogger Kodachrome said...

Very nice--that is, those mittens/gloves and the tea set, and the photos, etc. etc. And thanks for the info on the merino/tencel. I've never used it, so I was/am curious. Also, I love the last photo--your "excited" face is perfect, and for a strange reason, made me feel both happy and relaxed seeing it-- (hope that didn't sound too weird-- :)

12:04 AM  
Blogger Carson said...

Look at that smooth smooth thumb gusset! Seriosuly! I'm impressed.
But as soon as I read "Lifted Bar Increase" I started getting all nervous. I'm just concentrating on keeping my knit vocab down to a 3 yr olds.

12:19 AM  
Blogger jen said...

Very Very Nice! They fit you very well. Although Eunny's original is beautiful, I like your version too for a different look.

Thanks for the review on the tencel/merino blend. I've never really seen it yet but I haven't been looking either.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I love your use of the words "schmancy" and "corporeal." Nice job!

3:14 AM  
Blogger Kellie said...

Great idea! I love the originals but I think I need to do a 'simple' pair first as a run through - yours are definitely inspiring!

3:48 AM  
Anonymous Nora said...

Gorgeous colours Megan.

I've been spending some time over here - going through your archives - you've made some beautiful things.

And no, I'm not stalking you - just trying to get an insight for the Zakka pouch. I think I've got it!

4:23 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

ohhhhhh I loooove them. I should try eunny's pattern all others see to be too bulky for my wee hands.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Miss Scarlett said...

What a good idea to knit a plain version. I love them - they look fantastic! Thanks for the tip about the tencel - I too am attracted to shiny, my friends compare me to a toddler re: distractability for pretty things.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

pretty mitts! Thanks for the description of merino/tencel. I have some yarn pirate with that blend in the stash and I've been trying to decide what to cast on for.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous diana said...

Pretty, pretty mitts! I love the dark cuffs with the silvery gray. And not a pool in sight. Excellent!

8:10 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

those are great - she has some wonderful variegated colorways that don't tend to pool as much. I made a pair of socks from Dave's Cabin Cove merino/tencel (in an almost solid) and LOVE LOVE LOVE them. I think as long as the pattern has a little give, you are ok. I so love the sheen they have!

9:10 AM  
Blogger Kristy said...

It was such a good idea to make simplified mitts with that fancy yarn! Thanks for sharing your opinions about tencel-- I love the shininess, but I haven't actually knit anything with it yet.

9:51 AM  
Blogger gleek said...

very nice! i love the contrasting colors on the tips and wrist. i also love the yarn pirate sock yarn and totally want some! i've been hoping to score a skein for a while but never get to etsy quick enough. oh well.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous anne said...

Really very pretty. I'm looking forward to your reports on tencel-blend socks, as I don't think I'll be needing so many pure wool socks once I move back to GA...

11:06 AM  
Anonymous nova said...

Being rather magpious myself, I appreciate the thorough account of your experience with merino/tencel. And those mitts, fabulous!

11:20 AM  
Anonymous seedless grape said...

Beautiful mitts! The color is really lovely. And thanks for the info on merino/tencel blends--I haven't yet tried those yarns yet.

11:22 AM  
Blogger The_Add_Knitter said...

Congrats on the killer thumb gusset! That was clever to do the Endpaper Mitts without the mind numbing concetration that stranding requires...

I am also a sucker for the 'get it while you can' aspect of some indie yarns--Sweet Georgia and Vesper sock yarn being the most glaring examples.

Thanks for the review, I've yet to see any of the shiny stuff in person, but maybe that's a good thing, given my proclivity to seriously lemming...

11:24 AM  
Blogger Desiknitter said...

Very nice! And I loved reading about your tencel report. Gives me a good idea about the yarn even without having used it.

11:32 AM  
Blogger iSeL said...

Thank you for your review on the tencel/wool yarn and for validating the way I feel about variegated yarn.

The mitts look perfect. I love the picture too; you look so adorable! :D

11:58 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

They look really great! I'm glad you found a good use for that yarn & managed it without pooling!!

Thanks for the review as well. I love getting a really good idea about a yarn from someone I try before I buy it!

12:12 PM  
Blogger Lolly said...

I love your take on the pattern - I haven't seen a one color (or one yarn) pair yet, and yours are great!
I recently worked up some socks in Yarn Pirate and had no pooling! Such a relief, because I feel the same way about it as you do!

5:26 PM  
Blogger femiknitter said...

Those look great! I've been thinking of making the exact same thing with some sock yarn I have in the stash. Now that I've seen yours I think I will!

6:50 PM  
Blogger Specs said...

Those are great!

Thumb gussets have always bothered me, too. They always end up a little too holey to look professional, but that's probably my knitting and not any fault of the patterns.

Also: I love your teacup and little pitcher. There's a set of dishes and bowls that look just like those in one of those local "world consciousness import" stores around here. Every time I go in I lovingly pat the bowls and tell them I'll be back when I hit the lottery.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Poshyarns said...

Oooh, these are nice, very nice, a good grown up looking colourway, I love the contrast cuffs.

Very interested in the yarn review, I haven't come across this merino/tencel before, looks like it might be nice and drapey?

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Erin said...

So cute! Your pictures are awesome too. Makes me want a cup of tea.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Opal said...

I loved your review on the merino/tencel and the Yarn Pirate. So thank you. Great looking mitts!

4:02 PM  
Anonymous brooke said...

I love them sans colorwork. Beautiful!

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Will T said...

the mitts are fine but those glasses are lovely. how long have you had those?

8:40 PM  
Blogger Elinor said...

Wow, those look great. I am totally with you on the pooling thing. I know some people like pooling or at least don't mind it but I am skeptical of any variegated yarn because of it. Ick.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

Great review of merino/tencel -- I just picked some up because of its lovely shininess, and immediately wondered if it would indeed work up to a pair socks. I'll keep your thoughts in mind as I search for the right design!

1:18 PM  
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8:48 PM  

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