Posts from the ‘Knitting’ category

Hickory Mittens: Choosing Colors

It’s easy to grab a bunch of yarn with colors that sing to you, but when you’re doing colorwork, particularly colorwork with fine lines, small stitches, or many colors, knowing the value (relative lightness or darkness of a color) is important, too.

Taking a black and white photo is a great way of finding out the values of the yarns you’re thinking of using.  The person who chose the yarns below is good to go.  She’ll be able to create a wide variety of color combinations in her mittens that will contrast both in color, which she can tell by eye, and value, which is seen in this photo.  I think this photo trick is great because you might be surprised by what colors have really similar values.

Checking Yarn Color Values

The reason you can see a gnome in this mitten, with its million sts. per inch, is because Cheryl used colors with different values.  See?

Gnome Mittens

For the Hickory Mittens, I definitely like a lot of contrast between the values of the main color and the second main color (the motif outliner). As for the contrast colors, there are some different, wonderful, options.

You can see that in this pair, that there is a darker value outlining each motif, and separating medium value colors from each other:

Hickory Mittens in Black and White

Would you ever guess that the blue, gold, and orange were so similar in value?Hickory Mittens

In this pair, there are two with dark values (charcoal and maroon) chumming it up in the diamonds, but note that the outlining color stands out against the background, and check out that cream:

Hickory Mittens in Black and White

Hickory Mittens

In David’s pair, there are similar values right at the center.  It creates almost an optical illusion of depth at the center of the mittens:

Hickory Mittens in Black and White

Hickory Mittens

I think they’re all great combinations. Take note that there are differences in values in each pair, just that you don’t need to have a certain number of each to make awesome mittens.

I know that people at Mitten School had iPhone apps that took b&w photos, but I can’t remember the names. The new Flickr app has a filter that works well. Very handy for in-store comparisons.  For these photos, I turned my DSLR to B&W and just looked at the screen. Works a treat!


New Pattern: Hickory Mittens

I designed a new mitten!

Blue Hickory Mittens

The Facts:
Yarn: Cascade 220 solids and heathers
Pattern: Hickory Mittens (straight to Ravelry with you!)
Needles: size 3, 4, or 5 US or size needed to get gauge
Gauge: 28 (26, 24) stitches and 28 (26, 24) rows = 4” [10cm] in colorwork pattern. Finished mitten size is determined by gauge/needle.
Size: Unisex adult S (M, L)


The Yarn:
I used Cascade 220 for these because it’s a fantastic sturdy yarn for mittens and because chances are, you have some of it laying around.  The motif outlining only requires 50 yards and all the contrast colors less than 40 yards, so chances are, you can find the yarn in your stash or you’d only need to buy the main color skein.

The Chart:
The chart for these mittens is in black and white, using symbols for the colors, which means that if you have a set of markers or colored pencils, you can have a grand old time coloring in the chart and testing color combinations.

The Knitting:
It’s a little bit of a challenge, and a whole lot of fun.  There are up to four colors per round, which means they’re not a good first colorwork pattern.  That said, if you can strand two colors, you can do four.  It just requires a little organization of balls or butterflies (check out this video) of yarn. Take special care to make nice loose floats and you’re good to go.

all hickory mittens

No Lining:
For once, there’s no lining!  These mittens don’t need it.  They’re plenty puffy and warm with all the stranding that’s going on inside.

Thanks, everyone! Let me know if you have any questions that aren’t addressed on the info page.

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Horatio and Oren Mittens

I’m not even doing any actual Christmas knitting this year, but I’m knitting like I am.  This week alone, I’ve finished 4 projects.  I think my favorite is this pair of mittens.

Horatio and Oren Mittens

Pattern: Horatio and Oren by Barbara Gregory
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Tweed in 5302 (ivory) and Rowan Scottish Tweed DK in 007 (charcoal)
Needle: size 2.5US for the mitten and 3US for the thumb
Gauge: 21 sts = 4″, so larger than the largest adult size in the pattern

Horatio and Oren's Butts

I changed these a bit to suit my fit taste and the yarns I had on hand.  Without even realizing it, I chose an Aran weight yarn for the contrast color.  It looked like it was the same diameter as the charcoal, but it’s nowhere near as squishy.  So, I ended up with a larger gauge and figured I’d line the mittens.

Since the mittens were quite large and I wanted them to stay on well, I cast on fewer stitches (4/5) for the ribbing and increased before I started the colorwork.  They’re actually really comfy like they are and stay on fine, so I think I’ll leave them as they are.

Do you do like I do and use a larger needle for the thumb?  I could see in the pattern photos that the sample knitter had the same issue that I do- knitting a very small circumference makes for a much tighter gauge than knitting a larger one on the same needles.   I went up half a needle size for this pair and could have gone up more.  I went up two full sizes on mittens I’m currently making and that did the trick perfectly.

The pattern is very fun to knit and the product couldn’t be lovelier.  I recommend it!

Tree Cutting

The mittens are shown laid out on our Christmas tree, which we cut yesterday at the coolest farm. The people at Pieropan Christmas Tree Farm practice “stump culture” to grow trees repeatedly from the same stump.  Some of their stumps are more than 50 years old!  Isn’t it strange to see someone cutting a tree that starts at eye level?!  It was so interesting to look at the landscape that’s created by these trees growing on trees.


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