Great Ambition

I’ve only knitted a couple of smaller colourwork pieces before (my arrow pompom hat and my acorns teeth mittens), but I’ve always wanted to do more. I was thinking of a jersey, but when I saw these amazing colourwork mittens pop up on Instagram I immediately knew I would be making a pair for my sister for her birthday this year…

They’re called Lion, Badger, Eagle, Snake, by Dianna Walla. I had to make her the Great Ambition ones, and though I don’t get her love for Slytherin (they’re basically hitler youth, right?) I do love their colour scheme! I bought a skein each of Quince and Co Finch yarn in Boreal and in Kumleins Gull, and I’m really pleased with those choices. I think that Boreal is the perfect dark green and really makes the light grey stand out. Finch is really nice to knit, my stitches came out beautifully crisp and clear! I managed to knit both mittens easily out of a single skein of each, which was nice. I’ll need to figure out a project to use the random lengths of 4 ply yarn I’ve been accumulating…

This pattern is really great, full of little details that make knitting them really fun! I find knitting colourwork really satisfying, I always want to carry on with another row just to see the pattern emerging. I did get a mild case of second sock syndrome when it came time to knit the second mitten, but I gave it a week or so and managed to get back into it!

The only change I made to the pattern was to leave the tops off the thumbs, I knew that they’d never get worn if they weren’t smartphone friendly! I knitted to the point where the decreases start, and then knitted three rounds of ribbing to stop them rolling. I also knitted the cuffs in 1×1 rib instead of 2×2, but that’s just because I didn’t read the pattern carefully enough and then decided I didn’t care enough to rip it back and change it…I prefer 1×1 rib anyway! I do wish I had looked up how to knit jogless stripes for the cuffs, that would have looked better than having that step at the beginning of each stripe.

The pattern is written in such a way that there aren’t very many places where there will be big floats left on the inside, but there are a few so I had to be careful to remember to catch those long floats up so they didn’t get snagged on fingernails or rings! I always love how the wrong side of colourwork projects look, it’s very satisfying. I did find that these ended up a bit smaller than the schematic, but that’s a good thing as my sister has pretty narrow hands! I did manage to stretch them out a bit when I blocked them, so it’s all good. I think my gauge in stockinette colourwork is tighter than it would be in plain stockinette, which is something I need to remember…

I might need to knit myself some Ravenclaw ones next!

Fun with Fair Isle 

I’m continuing on with my current run of knitting posts, I’m pretty obsessed at the moment! I love Fair Isle knitting, all those gorgeous 1940’s colourwork sweaters make me very envious. I thought I’d make my life a bit easier (for once) and start with a small project before embarking on a whole jumper! I’ve had the Acorn Teeth Mitts pattern by Diana Walla in my Ravelry favourites page for ages, and decided I should get started on them before I ran out of winter…

   

(I kind of want to apologise for the quality of the photos in this post, its really hard to take photos of your own hands!)

I used the most luscious wool for these, as I only had to buy one ball of each colour. Its Outlaw Yarns Bohemia Sport weight, which is a blend of wool, alpaca and possum. Its so soft and so warm, I love it! I used the Carnivale (red), Fog (light grey) and London Town (dark grey) colourways. 

 

I thought that stranded colourwork would be really tricky, but to be honest I had more trouble getting used to knitting with the 2.75mm DPN’s than I had with the colourwork! It was like knitting with toothpicks, especially coming straight from the big 6mm needles I used for my Lesley jumper. I was so scared of breaking one, I guess thats why you get 6 in a set! 

  

The actual pattern knitted up pretty quickly. I had a few issues with getting my float tension right, especially when I was changing between needles, but I made everything looser than I thought it should be and it’s worked ok! Theres still a few patches which are a bit lumpy, but I can live with that. They’d probably even out with blocking, but I’ve been wearing them so much that I havn’t had a chance to block them yet! Bad practice, I know. Maybe I’ll get around to it over the summer…

 

I think they look pretty good from the inside too!
   

I am a bit sad that I have such a big jump in the pattern at the beginning/end of each round, I’ll definitely need to look up some of those links you all left me about knitting jogless rounds! The other stupid think I did was knit the thumbs in stocking stitch instead of in ribbing, so they’re rolling at the top. But its not annoying me enough to want to rip it out and knit them again!

 

I’m pleased with how the Vikkel braid around the top of each mitten turned out too. Learning how to do them gave me a bit of a headache, I spent ages on youtube trying to figure it out. Eventually I just went back to  the written instructions, and they made more sense once I started trying to knit them!

  

I’m really happy with how they turned out! They’re a nice length, long enough to cover the cuffs of my sleeves, but not so long that they interfere with the fit of whatever I’m wearing as an outer layer. And they go really nicely with my red duffle coat! Its like I planned it that way…

   

Looking particularly twee here…

I feel like everytime I try something new in a knitting pattern it ends up being much simpler than I’ve talked myself into believing it will be! I’d like to try a jumper pattern with a Fair Isle yoke, though that’ll probably have to be next winter now. Maybe the Sundottir? I’d like to knit this Striped Spring Shirt from Purl Bee too, thats technically colourwork… What are your favourite knitting patterns? Help me build up my knitting queue!