Stars To Steer By

The misadventures of a creative mind

Snow in Seattle, All Year Round May 30, 2014

A couple of years ago I discovered the beautiful art of multistranded knitting – knitting with different colors of yarns to create intricate patterns. This can create some of the most beautiful patterns, the kind of stuff that you see in norwegian or scandanavian patterns. I started experimenting with this technique on mittens. And it is awesome. I started with a chrysanthemum pattern with are now my mothers favorite mittens, then made a squirrels under the stars pattern and a peacock pattern for my two college roommates, and finally designed a pair of fingerless mittens featuring hello kitty skulls on the back for a friend who was joining the marines.

But enough of past projects, this year my boyfriend one-upped all of my other Christmas presents and gave me….yarn. I was floating on cloud nine and showing off these beautiful skeins he’d gotten me, super excited because it was still pretty early in the relationship and yarn meant he was really getting to know me and was okay with my odd 1940’s homemaker hobbies. One of the skeins is a gorgeous brown yarn with a copper strand twisted through it, and I immediately knew what project I wanted to make with it. The tree mittens.

The tree mittens were a pattern I saw on Ravelry ages ago but was too nervous to try. But I kept saying when I found the right yarn I would make these mittens. And this was it. I stopped by one of my favorite yarn shops and picked up an off white silk yarn, and started knitting up my test swatches. The first thing I noticed was that the two yarns weren’t exactly the same weight, so they didn’t knit up quite the same, but also that they didn’t match the gauge listed on the pattern site. However they were pretty close to the gauge for some of my earlier mittens. Since I hadn’t purchased the pattern yet, I held off on that and instead took an old pattern and created my own bare trees color chart.

Mine is very close to the original pattern, I did use pictures posted on the site for inspiration. But I did a few different things. I adjusted mine so it fit my hand (while knitting the first one I kept trying it on to make sure I got the placement of the thumb and the length of the fingers right), added a picot edging, and did a pattern on both sides of the mitten. As a fun idea I actually did both mittens so that no matter what hand you wear them on when you put the edges together (this can be either the thumb side or the pinky side, it works with both) the mittens create a seamless images of trees. That makes me smile.

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They came out perfect. They fit like a glove (even though they are mittens). And they look just like icy trees getting hit by sunlight in the snow. The latvian braid around the cuff makes me so happy, and honestly I just sit there when I’m wearing them and twist my hands back and forth to make the copper strands twinkle. I just can’t stop smiling when I’m wearing them. It’s possibly my favorite project ever. And I can’t wait to start another project with some of the other yarns – though I do need help on one thing. He gave me a gorgeous blue variegated yarn, it’s possibly my favorite of the bunch, but unfortunately it’s a high wool blend. So I can’t wear it. But I don’t want to tell him, because it’s so absolutely beautiful. So I thought maybe I could making something for him, but he doesn’t wear gloves or mittens unless they’re waterproof, and he doesn’t really do hats or scarves…what’s a knitter to do? Ideas from anyone?

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