holiday wrapup part 4

This is the last holiday gift to blog about!  (Or, everything you didn’t care to know about the Very Cabley Mittens, in much too much detail).

I’d mentioned Brigitte’s Very Cabley Mittens before, when I complained about the sizing issues I was having, and how I’d basically spent a day knitting to have to undo everything.  In the end these mittens were knit waaay too many times.  I think the first mitten was knit at least 3 times before I got it right. 

To sum up…I’d knit the cuff on 4mm as directed (and after getting proper gauge) but I found the cuff much too loose.  Had I kept going and knit the body of the mitten it might have seemed ok, but I wasn’t thrilled.  I changed to 3.75mm needles and got a great cuff, but working the rest of the mitten as written led to a mitten body that was much too tight.  I added length but the width was crazy tight- I couldn’t even uncurl my hand, and Brigitte’s hand is about a centimeter wider than mine.  At the end of the first day I undid the entire mitten body and kept the cuff from the smaller needle. 

That night (Dec 23rd) I redid the mitten body using the 4mm needles as required.  This width was perfect, and everything came along swimmingly until I got to the end.  Even with the added repeats the top shaping came up too suddenly and it was too short.  Twice I had to undo it and and more length.  I realized quickly that trying on the mitten as a tube didn’t give me an accurate length, because it pulled the tube up higher than it would sit normally but closing the mitten top would make it actually too short.  When I removed the waste yarn for the afterthought thumb and THEN tried it on, the mitten was able to snug down around the base of my thumb as it would sit properly, and actually be shorter than it had appeared before.  Once I realized this I was able to measure the length properly while having it tried on with new waste yarn holding the live sts but keeping the thumb hole open.

The second time I had to undo the top and add more length is because apparently I can’t follow a pattern, or count, and somehow I’d managed to mis-align my cables and it looked stupid.  In any case, by the time I went to bed on the 23rd, I had one full mitten (sans thumb) and a blueprint for making the second one to match.  On the 24th I figured I’d get everything finished up during the day, but I only worked a half-day due to the holidays and since I wanted to get some actual work done (you know, in case I went into labour before going back to work on Saturday) I didn’t really do more than cast on and complete the 2nd cuff.  After work I had my hair appointment, but quickly decided that even though I had a good 40 minutes to sit with the color in my hair, I didn’t want to risk my only ball of CREAM COLORED yarn to the Fates.  The last thing I’d need is to get some dye on the yarn!

Luckily our Christmas Eve plans were to stay home and veg in front of the TV since we see Yannick’s mom’s side of the family on Christmas Day, and his dad’s side on New Year’s Day, so Christmas Eve is often just us celebrating together.  Yannick didn’t mind me knitting (especially since his name would be on the gift too!) and by the time I went to bed on the 24th I had 2 complete mittens.  Well, both were thumbless.  I should totally have had time to complete the entire pair of mittens and be done…but somehow I’d screwed up.  I finished the 2nd mitten and closed the top, laid them side-by-side, and realized that the 2nd one was longer than the first.  Visibly and noticably longer. 

I spent longer than I should have trying to figure out the mistake, and eventually ripped back to where I knew things were good and redid the top part.  For the life of me, I still can’t figure out what I’d done wrong.  I was about 4 rows too long, and the pattern DOES have an option for ending on either row 4 or row 8 depending on the length you need, so theoretically I could have worked an extra 4 rows before doing the top shaping…except that would have meant I’d have had to follow the “modified top shaping” instructions, to get the cables to flow properly, and I’m SURE I didn’t, and yet the cables were perfect.  I’m still very confused.  It didn’t take long once I actually started undoing it, and I did manage to reknit the top before bed.  But I still had no thumbs.

The next day (Dec. 25th- talk about close!) I knew I only had to knit 2 thumbs and weave in the ends, I’d had no plans on blocking the mittens like I’d done for the socks.  Our internet was down and I had to sit on hold with tech support for a while, so while I sat there I knit, and by the time the call was over both mittens had thumbs and all ends were woven in.  I had all 3 gifts nicely labeled, bagged and wrapped by noon, and we weren’t even expecting Yannick’s family to arrive to do our gift exchange until 4pm.  I made it under the wire!  (As another plus, I now know how fast these mittens are to knit, and how cute they are when knit up.  If I ever want a pair for myself, Brigitte’s fit me perfectly so I just have to follow what I did for her.  Nice!)


Pattern:  Very Cabley Mittens by Kelly Porpiglia (Ravelry link and direct link)

Size:  one size. 


Yarn:  Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted Superwash in “White Frost”, 1 skein (which was surprisingly enough, even though I added repeats!)

Needles: 3.75mm needle and 4mm needle


Dates:  December 23 – 25 2008

Modifications:  I knit the first cuff using 4mm needles as per the pattern, but it came out huge. I went down to 3.75mm and the cuff was perfect, but the mitten itself was too small. Third time was a charm- the perfect pattern was doing the cuff on 3.75mm and the mitten and thumb on 4mm. I did have to add 2 repeats to the mitten cable pattern, and I did the thumbs on the 4th repeat (of my 7 total) not the 3rd repeat (of 5 total).

As usual you can find my finished (and unfinished!) projects in my “projects” page by clicking the tab up at the top of every page on my blog, and I also have this project in my Ravelry notebook here.


Here are the 3 gifts for my in-laws’ families, all labeled and ready to wrap.  I think next year I really have to knit a pair of socks for my brother-in-law, because this is the third Christmas where he’s seen a pair of my handknit socks and he constantly makes comments about being impressed with the detail, the tiny stitches, etc.  I felt bad that everyone else got a “made” gift and he got a gift certificate when he seemed to appreciate the work that went in to the socks the most!


productivity- not!

One more gift to go before Christmas.  (You know- Thursday).  I cast last night with the required needle size, after getting a dead-on gauge swatch.  I finished the cuff, tried it on and whoa- it was huge!  Looking back, I should have possibly waited a bit longer before ripping, as maybe off the needles it would have worked out, but as it was I couldn’t risk time I didn’t have to knit something that wouldn’t fit.  I frogged the cuff and restarted on a smaller needle.

The new cuff was perfect.  I kept going, and since I have a tracing of my sister-in-law’s hand, I was able to hold the knitting against the tracing to see that I would have to add extra repeats before the waste yarn for the afterthought thumb.  I finished the rest of the mitten, closed the top, then tried it on myself.

Too small.  As in, my fingers were cramped like toes in triangle-pointed high heels, and I couldn’t even straighten out my hand.  I traced my own hand in another color over my sister-in-law’s to see how our hands compare, and while they are the same length, hers is about 0.25-0.5″ wider.  If the mitten didn’t fit me…there was no way it would fit her.

I ripped back to before the shaping and added another repeat and a half.  I redid the shaping and closed the top.  I tried it on again.

It still felt tight.  At this point I knew I couldn’t mess around any longer.


This is where the mitten is now.  So much for a day’s knitting!  I kept the cuff from the smaller needle size, but have reinserted the larger needle size so I can work up the pattern with a little more breathing room.  I’m going to follow the same changes for the thumb hole, and try it on as I go to make sure the length is good.  I will then hopefully have a mitten that fits…so I can knit its mate.  You know, by Thursday afternoon, when we get together to exchange gifts.

No time to share photos of the other gift knits, but I delivered Jakob’s 3 teachers’ gifts this morning as it was his last day of daycare before the holidays, and I also finished my father-in-law’s socks last night.

And tonight Jakob is spending his first night in his new, big boy room!