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Friday, March 02, 2007

Listen to this post as an mp3 file (for posts after 3/6/06)
Shawl Fixes, Austrian Mittens, and Bacteria

Thanks for the supportive comments about my shawl problem. You gave me some good things to think about.

As Cattycorner pointed out, since the shawl is circular, I would probably wear it folder over. However, I'm thinking that I would like to wear it not quite doubled, but with the top 12 inches or so folded down -- I like the look of having the center of the swirl in the center of my back. And I think I will be annoyed if every time I go to wear it, I need to arrange it so that the stupid error isn't falling right smack on my butt (thereby drawing unneeded attention to that part of my anatomy ;)

franticom suggested that I try to hide the mistake under some embroidery, which is an interesting idea. However, my embroidery skills are sorely lacking and I think I might just totally mess that up.

SJ suggested that I do some creative blocking to make it LOOK like there are yarnovers in that row. I'm really intrigued by this suggestion and I think I'll try it. I'll let you know how it works.

I'm in the process of making a test swatch for the kitchener fix, just to see if it works. If it turns out to be too difficult or annoying, I will just leave the shawl as is. The mistake does kind of blend in and look like a variegation in the yarn, especially when seen at a more normal angle (and against a darker background).

Well, enough about my shawl. In an attempt to give you something interesting to look at, I am finally posting pictures of some mittens I finished a couple of months ago (during my blogging hiatus).

click for bigger picture
Austrian Mittens

I made these mittens after taking a Strickmuster class with Candace Eisner Strick at Webs, back in October. This was a great class, in which we learned all about Austrian twisted stitch patterns, including some of Candace's special adaptations. Candace gave out the pattern for these mittens as part of the two-day class, and I started them on the 2nd day.

Here are the details:

click for bigger picture

Austrian Mittens, designed by Candace Eisner Strick (provided as part of her Strickmuster class)
Reynolds Whiskey [100% wool],
color: 16
US 3 (and US 4 for the i-cord at the bottom)
7.5 sts/inch in stockinette, about 9 sts/inch in pattern
My gauge with this yarn was a little tighter than that specified in the pattern, but I did not change the number of stitches for the hand since the mittens made from the pattern (which Candace brought to class) were a little big on me.
I started with the i-cord edge, but I kitchenered the i-cord together at the ends, instead of having extra i-cord hanging down (kind of like tassels). Also, I did not want to include the gauntlet part of the cuffs, so I cast on just enough stitches for the hand of the mitten. I widened the thumb and knit the inner part of it (the part toward the palm) in reverse stockinette, instead of twisted ribbing.
I really enjoyed making these mittens, although it did require me to pay a lot of attention to the chart. Once I got about halfway through the first mitten, all of the manipulation of the stitches started to come more easily, and the project moved along more quickly.
I really like the way this pattern had you start with an i-cord edge and then pick up stitches from the side of that to start the hand. That makes a nice, clean bottom edge for the mitten.
I used Reynolds Whiskey for these mittens because it was one of the few yarns then available at Webs that was the right fiber content and roughly the right gauge for this pattern. It really doesn't show off the stitch pattern to its best advantage (a lighter color and a smoother yarn would probably have been better), but my choices were limited and I do like the color. I would definitely use this yarn again for a different sort of pattern.
I love these mittens and they fit great. I intend to make another pair of them sometime, but using a yarn like Louet Gems Merino (the recommended yarn for the pattern).

Oh, and I wanted to let you know about one last thing. I was just on the website for the Boston Museum of Science and I stumbled across a very interesting bit of science news. Apparently, some new research has shown that the amount of certain types of bacteria we have in our intestines may help determine how fat we are. Check out the museum's podcast about it -- fascinating.