Sunday, March 10, 2013

Glove Inspiration: Making My Knitting Life More Colorful (and Difficult!)

Inspiration for my next knitting: maralenenok's "Worth Two in the Bush" colorwork gloves on Ravelry

At long last, I have finished knitting my chartreuse Georgina cardigan, and although I still have to sew in the ends, find some buttons and block the lovely soft thing, I'm super happy—it fits perfectly (that is, very snug and not all baggy and droopy like the last cardigan I made for myself) and is just soft as an organic merino wool cloud.

Which means I can look forward to my next project, something I've always wanted to tackle—gloves with real fingers! I know knitters love making mittens, but I am just not a mitten wearer. Fingerless mitts are also more popular and easier than gloves, and I've made two pairs... a Malabrigo "Fetching":

Mikhaela's Two-Tone Purple Malabrigo Fetching Mitts

... which I wear all the time when my office is chilly, but which are not so useful outside in the actual freezing winter cold. And a pair of "Dashing" man mitts for my husband...

... which I'm afraid never actually get worn, since his home office is never actually cold.

But I want gloves. Real gloves. Difficult gloves with tricky little fingers. And COLORWORK, which I've never actually done. So I'm going to follow in the footsteps of all the enterprising Ravelers who have made gloved versions of Eunny Jang's lovely free colorwork pattern, the Endpaper Mitts:

This is not exactly a new plan, since I bought the yarn for this project back in 2008. It's Koigu Premium Merino in two of my favorite colors—chartreuse (naturally) and teal:

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Hurrah for stash-busting?

By the way... It took me a good deal longer to finish the Georgina than the one and a half weeks suggested by the pattern, but who's counting? As I've probably mentioned a gazillion times, things have been quite rough over here for me and my little girl, healthwise. In January, we ended up taking little Z to an amazing two-week intensive hospital program for kids with severe eczema, asthma and food allergies at National Jewish Health in Denver. It was life-changing: little Z is no longer covered in horrible itchy rashes and she SLEEPS every night through the night from about 9:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. (No more crying and itching herself awake until 1 a.m. and needing to be held all night long).

But alas, a few blissful weeks of sleep have not alleviated my own health problems. I've now had EIGHT serious sinus infections in the last six months with fever, chills and aches, four of which required antibiotics and oral steroids. Basically, I get really, really sick, am bedridden for 2-4 days, slowly start to recover over the next three weeks... and then after maybe two or three days of feeling OK, I get sick again (There's nothing wrong with my immune system, either.). A CAT scan revealed a severely deviated septum and other anatomical issues, and I'm scheduled for sinus surgery in a little over a week. I'm really looking forward to it—to having energy, to not being snuffly and exhausted and feverish and in pain all the time... to having more fun with my little girl... and to sewing again, of course!

So, two questions. For the knitters:

  • Have you ever knit gloves?
  • What's your stand on gloves vs. mittens vs. fingerless mitts?
  • Do you do colorwork?

And for all of you: do you ever get that urge to tackle a project that is going to be really tricky and make you swear a lot? And how does that work for you?


  1. Good to read your daugther is doing better! I had eczema myself as a child and I know how horrible it is.

    I recently started with colorwork, made a hat and a sweater so far. I really like it! It's a about tension.

    When I've something in my mind it doesn't matter how difficult it will be, I just have to do it. Sometimes I regret my stubborness, but it also makes me do things i otherwise scare away from. When I'm really done with it I start a small and simple project to switch to.

    1. Thanks Anthea! It's definitely about tension... I've been trying to knit some colorwork samples and my tension is just so off that it's all loosey-goosey. I think I'm really struggling with knitting American-style with one hand and Continental with the other...

  2. I'm so glad Z has found relief! And I hope that your surgery will bring the same for you. I love to plan projects that are well over my head; then life gets in the way and I forget where I'm at... Or the right season has passed... Meaning I'm not so great at following through!

  3. I've knit a number of pairs of fingerless gloves, but never gloves (they are on my someday-list). I've made a few Fetching, but wasn't really happy with the fit on my small hands - I keep coming back to Maine Mitts, plain but effective, ribbed with a thumb gusset.

    I've done colorwork (stranded) on hats, but not gloves. I hold one color in each hand (normally I'm a thrower, but I can pick when doing colorwork) and I like to knit colorwork inside out to give me a little extra insurance against pulling my floats too tight. I took a class but I'm sure a comfortable knitter could get the hang of it on their own.

    1. I have super-tiny hands too—I ended up modifying Fetching and reducing stitches somehow to make them work for me!

  4. Gosh! I'm so glad that Z is feeling better, but sorry to hear that you're not. Wishing you both health and well-being SOON.

    Hmmm, I've never knit gloves before, but those look really complicated! Good luck!

    1. Thank you! They are SUPER complicated but somehow I feel like I need that right now. :)

  5. You can do gloves! Like all knitting, it is one (or two) stitches at a time. Can't wait to see your progress!

  6. So glad to hear Baby Z is doing better -- now it's time to take care of Mommy. Good luck with the sinuses -- I've had a lingering, low-grade sinus infection for two months, so I can relate. Feel better!

    1. Thank you! I'm sorry you've been stuffy and miserable too... there's nothing like that constant fatigue and pain in your face and forehead!

  7. Those gloves are stunning, can't wait to see them for you :-). But the reason you find your dashings not warm enough is probably that they're not long enough. Fingerless mitts imho should reach just about to the first finger joints, the further ie middle finger ones, so that they cover much of the hand, and it's easy to pull the fingers in when you're cold outside. Your husband's seem much better that way, maybe you should borrow them to see for yourself :-).

    As to sinus infections, every time you take steroids you lower your immune response, so you may simply be suffering from drug-induced infections. When I was occasionally spraying with a much lower dose of steroids for asthma, I got 4-5 violent colds a year. Now with no steroids at all I get maybe one mild one..

    1. Oh how funny, that never even occurred to me before (about the Fetching mitts being too short). It's quite true, but my fingers still get quite icy without proper gloves to cover them...

      I only wish the sinus infections were drug-induced. I actually had four of them before even needing any steroids—they had to start me on the steroids as well because the inflammation was so severe I couldn't breathe through my nose at all for weeks. I hate the steroids and their awful side effects though—they've been giving me migraines and attacks of vertigo.

  8. Tricky projects make me drag my feet. I'm glad to see another post from you!

  9. I'm sorry to hear you've been so sick, but oh, it must be such a relief that your daughter is doing better! Hooray!

    I live in SF now so mitts are always appropriate, but even through a Boston winter I found myself using them almost all the time. I didn't have a child to carry and took public transit, though, so hands were in pockets when outdoors. Have fun with your gloves, I love that pattern :)

  10. It sounds like you're excited about this project so I say go for it! Hopefully you'll have time to knit while recovering from surgery, and with your lovely daughter feeling so much better. Which is just amazing news :)

    *Have you ever knit gloves? Yes, once. Fingertip-less gloves for my grandpa, a labor of love. It'll be a long time before I knit another pair.

    *What's your stand on gloves vs. mittens vs. fingerless mitts? My fingers are the cold part, so I can't do fingerless mitts outdoors. I prefer mittens because there are no fingers to knit! They also keep my hands warmer.

    *Do you do colorwork? Yes, I adore colorwork! I've knit the Peerie Flooers mittens and have been wearing them all winter. The small rounds go quickly and it's a great way to practice tension and other colorwork techniques. Knitting an asymmetrical pattern is much harder, though, because you can't memorize the pattern or intuit the coming rounds.

    Check out Techknitter's tips for weaving in ends as you knit colorwork--wish I'd tried them on those mittens.

  11. I'm working on my first pair of gloves, though they've been temporarily shelved as other projects have taken priority.

    I don't really have a stance on gloves vs. mittens vs. fingerless mitts. Each of them have a purpose. If I just want to keep my hands cozy, I go for mittens. If I'm going to need my hands for anything, like using my phone, I go for gloves. I reserve fingerless mitts for the office because I'm not great at typing with gloves on and I really would freeze if I didn't have anything on my arms.

    I love colorwork. My first pair of mittens were Selbu design. I probably should've picked something easier, but I tend to just dive right in.

  12. I'm so glad to hear your wee one is doing better!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you don't have any more sinus infections and sending you lots of hugs as well :)


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