The Saga of the Silkpaca Fingerless Gloves (or Why I am Such an Idiot Sometimes)

How hard could it possibly be to knit a pair of lacy fingerless gloves for a Knit Along? Surely not hard at all, considering that I have knit both fingerless gloves and lace many times in the past. I consider myself a competent knitter, able to follow a pattern, but somehow my knitting skills alluded me in the most unusual of ways. That is to say, when I mess up, I do it with creative panache.

Firstly, because I had already read through the pattern days before, I cast on with size 0’s without even consulting the pattern.  I should have seen the red flag right off the bat because 45 stitches in lace weight yarn on size 0’s is freakishly tiny. I’m ashamed to admit it took me many rows of knitting before my brain kicked and and said, “this doesn’t look right. Are we making mitts for an American Girl doll, ya moron?!?”

So, I consulted the pattern which very clearly states that I was supposed to be using size 2’s. Hmm. I could have sworn it was 0, but I can admit my error. I have a lot of things on my plate. It isn’t inconcievable that I would remember the needle size wrong. Odd, to be sure, but not impossible.

Frog. Cast back on. Knit another insanely long time before that voice in my head was back. “This is still way small. Sure it could fit The Blessing, but do you really want to knit lacy fingerless gloves in expensive yarn for your two year old?” Nope.

But what was wrong? I followed the pattern this time. I was careful to make sure to do it right.

That’s when I looked to Ravelry to see if this was a common problem with this pattern (when in doubt, blame the pattern, right?).

And that’s when I realized I was using the wrong pattern. I had set out to knit Alpaca Warmers and had instead started knitting top down alpaca mitts!

But it was worse than that…

I wasn’t even in the right book!!!

I have all the 101 One Skien Wonders books. The pattern I needed is in the “designers” one and I had pulled the “luxury” one off the shelf.

Gigantic sigh. And total (well mostly) redemption of my sanity (which I was really beginning to question!). It is size 0 needles. I just needed more stitches, 72 in all. And that looked much better. I think.

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Only now it was looking a bit too big!

As I resisted the urge to fling it into the back yard and run away screaming, I tried to come up with a new plan for them. If they are too big for my 11 year old’s birthday present (with her birthday coming up fast, I had hoped to have a pretty lacy thing for her), why finish them at all? Lacy mitts for me? Back up gift? Think of someone who’d like them? Hope they fit my daughter after all? Or maybe she won’t care that they are loose?

Of course, I kept knitting, all the while thinking these things, getting deeper into a project that I have serious doubts about. Because there is nothing like frogging some great work of art after knitting most of it knowing it was going to be frogged in the end.

But I persevered and was glad I did. The first glove turned out pretty good and fit me just snuggly enough to make me think that they could still be a good gift for The Dancing Queen.

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At this point I was in love with everything about this project – the yummy yarn, the tiny needles, the pretty lace all making me so happy. But my favorite thing about it was that with only 50 grams of lace weight yarn, 6” DPNs, and minimal notions, the entire thing fits in this little pouch.

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Call me crazy, but I just love that!

Things were trucking along smoothly enough, but I didn’t finish the second mitt without a few mishaps.

The two year old pulled the needles out and I had to rip out all the lace and start at the ribbing.

The same two year old dumped The Man’s glass of wine all over my book.

And then the pattern for the second glove wasn’t the same as the first and I didn’t catch it in time, so there is a little shaping that is off. I left this as it was. At that point I couldn’t bear another frogging.

Drama, drama, drama.

But then I did it. I finished the second one. And it was all worth it.

IMG_4100-resized_medium Alpaca Warmers in malabrigo silkpaca. SO Scrumptious! 

These are seriously gorgeous. And warm despite being lacy and thin, because of the alpaca content (which is crazy warm even in tiny amounts!).

After all the uncertainty, I am going to give them to The Dancing Queen for her birthday. She has been eyeing them and fretting when I told her they were for me. I have played that card before, so she is probably suspicious. If she loves them and wears them then I can get over her lack of surprise.

I did say that I liked adventurous knitting, didn’t I? Well, I do. And after the monotony of recent knitting projects, the thrills and chills of this latest knitting was just what the doctor ordered. So happy ending to my knitting saga. And a few lessons learned along the way – lessons like,
Make sure you are in the right book.
Don’t leave the knitting within reach of the 2 year old,
and 
Sometimes the doubts in your head are totally wrong and there is an awesome finished project waiting for you at the end of the tunnel if you’ll just press on. 

Soaker Knitting Extravaganza and a New Opportunity

Have you ever knit the same pattern twice? How about three times? Four times?

Have you ever knit the same pattern twenty eight times? And still have some in the queue?

Until recently, my answer to all of the above was a resounding “heck, no!” I am an adventure knitter. Never knit the same thing twice. EVER. If the need arose to knit more than one, I always changed something to make the second one different than the first. Knitting for me is creativity expressed. Never follow a pattern to the letter. Always see what the yarn wants to do and go with it. And NEVER knit the same pattern twice.

But no more. I have found sweet comfort in repetition. Let me tell you why.

It all started with a commission knit. One large Curly Purly soaker in each of six different colors, plus one stripey soaker with the scraps. Knit with O-Wool Classic Worsted in Saffron, Coral, Barn, Ash, Peacock, and Coast.

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These were knit for Heather at One Love Diaper Co. When she ordered them, I had no idea that I was auditioning for a greater role. Before she even received the first batch in the mail she ordered more. Lots more.

An enormous bag of yarn arrived at my door and I set myself to knitting.

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And knitting.

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And knitting. Still to come are some different stripey options. Heather now carries my knitting in her gorgeous cloth diaper store!

This is the biggest knitting job I have ever done and I was afraid, at first, of the monotony. But there is something truly nice about knitting a pattern so many times that your hands don’t ask your brain “what now?” There is something soothing about knitting around and around and around. There is something very satisfying about a tall stack of exactly matching and perfect little knits.

That said, I am so glad that stripes are next. It breaks up the monotony somewhat and gives me something to look forward to.

So check out my exclusive handknit soakers at One Love Diaper Co.

And maybe try knitting the same thing more than once. You may, like me, find a surprising pleasure in following a pattern precisely and repeatedly.

Or not. 😉