Warning! Digression ahead!
When typing the title for my blog post, I started thinking about Songs for Beginners, Graham Nash’s first solo album. It was released in 1971 two months before Who’s Next by, of course, The Who. Those two albums were the soundtrack for my summer that year when I was 14 years old. Whenever I hear a track from either of them (which is pretty often, given my iPod commuting playlist) I flash back to where I was and what I was doing as vividly as if it were yesterday. Sigh . . . memories . . .
Okay, digression over.
Carol S. asked in the comments:
I have always wanted to make a pair of those mittens! Is there a beginner pattern you would recommend or perhaps a book for beginners?
A good, easy, pattern to start with would be one in a heavier yarn, I think. My mittens are knit at a gauge of 9 stitches to the inch. Try a sportweight pattern, at about 6 stitches to the inch. A good place to start might be with the Pirate Mittens pattern, available free at Hello Yarn.
Another great resource at Hello Yarn for all you mitten-knitter-wannabees is the generic mitten chart, available in pdf format here. This is a blank template for a mitten knit with 48 stitches around. You can chart your own design on it.
Which segues nicely in to the next comment question . . .
Liz in IN asked:
Did you create this pattern, too, using…that software I’ve forgotten the name of? I think you must have, otherwise you would have linked the designer.
I did create this design. With Stitch and Motif Maker? Nope, I create my mitten and glove patterns using good ol’ trusty Excel.
There is an excellent tutorial for creating charts for knitting in Excel on Twistedspinster.net here.
I created some mitten and glove templates in Excel and use them to start the design for a new mitten or glove, tweaking as needed. While I love the Stitch and Motif Maker software for small charts, I find Excel to be much faster and easier to use when I’m creating one huge chart for an entire mitten.
I’ve noticed that recently (since summer of socks, I think) you knit a lot of the same thing but with many different stitch patterns and colours – first the socks and then the mittens. Do you like to have many different (but equally lovely) handknitted goods to rotate through, or do you give away a lot of your stuff?
I tend to obsess, then move on. As I’ve mentioned before, I am first and foremost a process knitter and when I start on something (like socks) I tend to immerse myself fully in it until I’ve exhausted either myself or all possibilities I care to explore.
All those socks I knit during the Summer of Socks? I haven’t worn a single pair of them. I did give some of them away as holiday gifts, though.
I haven’t worn my handknit mittens or gloves either, but there’s another reason for that. When it is cold enough for me to wear gloves on my commute, I wear polar fleece gloves because they are easily machine washable in hot water. I take the subway to work, and change trains once, so there are three sets of stairs or escalators that I walk up or down twice a day. Because I am an old geezer and because the walking surface is often slick or wet, I grasp the handrail with my left hand as I walk these stairs and escalators. You should see what the palm of my left glove looks like after just one day’s commute. Huge streaks of black dirt. And no matter how vigorously I was the gloves, it doesn’t come out completely. I wouldn’t subject my handknit mittens and gloves to this daily grind of grime.
So why do I knit them? I’m a process knitter.
(It is really really hard to use your left hand only to hold a camera and press the shutter button which is on the right side of the camera so that you can photograph your right hand wearing your mitten-in-progress.)
Stoopid Internet . . .
I’ve noticed some email issues lately. An email I sent to the KOARC last night (telling him the date and time of Lucy’s annual check-up at the vet) took hours to get to him. An email he sent me about the same time about his new Tiger Woods Nintendo Wii golf game still hasn’t reached me.
As the KOARC so eloquently put it:
Internetz sez “I can has ur e-mails with cute widdle tiger kitty kat subject lines”
Please don’t tell Lucy she is going to the vet next month. I want it to be a surprise.
Tonight Lucy and I will be watching Camille on TCM. Starring the greatest actress of all time: Greta Garbo.