Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ironwork Mitts

I am so jazzed to get this pattern up for sale. 
It's the Ironwork Mitts!
I am a little obsessed with Fair Isle knitting these days, and if you are too, then this project is a good one for you to use for practicing your two-handed Fair Isle technique. That's why I originally came up with this design a couple of years ago. I love the look of Fair Isle, and while I'm learning the complex color choice process involved with real Fair Isle, it's fun to work these mitts, which are easy, thanks to the hand-dyed yarns I chose and the simple color pattern. 

If you've been reading my blog for very long, you know I like combining sock yarns in knitting projects. When you knit a lot of socks and gloves and mittens, there's usually leftover yarn, right? Sure, you could knit a hexipuff blanket or a stripey hat (which I've done!), but you can also just knit more socks and gloves!

The fun is in choosing yarns from your stash that work well together. 

Of course, the easiest match would be two of the same yarns in different colorways, like these.
Cascade Heritage in buttery 5611 and heathery grey 5631

I was inspired by the tester of this pattern, Amanda, to try a dark main color with a lighter contrasting color. While this yarn is a little too smooth for two-color knitting, I just had to try it. This picture also gives you a look at how uneven colorwork can look until you block it. Giving the fabric a wash and either laying it out flat or placing the mitts on a form allows the fabric to relax into itself. I'll definitely be back to show these after blocking.

Here are some more tips for choosing two different yarns for colorwork:

1. Choose two yarns that have the same fiber, like two superwash wools, or two similar blend yarns (like wool/bamboo).

2. Make sure the yarns have the same ply structure, as in 2-ply, 3-ply, etc. For instance, I would not recommend using a single-ply sock yarn in conjunction with a plied yarn of any kind. They just won't play well together.

3. Choose compatible colorways. For example, you might want to use two hand-dyed yarns or two heathered yarns, or just two pure single-color yarns that you like together. 

I've chosen these two yarns from my stash to use for my next pair of Ironwork Mitts. 
This is Universal Yarns Pace (discontinued) in taupe 08 (more like an oatmeal) and SRK On Your Toes in ON222001, another heathery grey. They are both 4-ply fingering made of 75% superwash wool and 25% synthetic.

Freeing the ends and laying them out together for a closer look reveals that they are quite compatible. They even have the desirable hairy, somewhat scratchy factor desirable in colorwork. This allows the yarns to grab one another and facilitate the colorwork process. However, these are both very soft yarns. And the On Your Toes has aloe in it--even better! This time it will be On Your Hands, or rather, on the hands of one of my gift list folks, because these last two are for Christmas gifts. 

I hope you will try the Ironwork Mitts. It's a fun, fast project allowing you to use about 150 yards of main color and about 50 yards of a contrast color--a great sock yarn stash buster!


Hanasaurusrex said...

these are wonderful mitts! and that video on two-handed fair isle technique was A+mazing! i can already knit with both hands; it was the weaving as you go stitches that blew my mind! totally pick up this pattern, and i can't wait to make them. thank you!!

fig said...

Thank you! I linked to Philosophers Wool because that's who I learned from. They are great! I always do as they say and never float more than three stitches. It really makes a difference in socks and gloves where fingers and toes can get caught in overlong floats! Have fun!

Evelyn said...

Your new pattern is gorgeous! Congratulations and thanks for all these helpful hints and tips.

fig said...

Thank you Evelyn! And you're very welcome. :-)

pinkundine said...

Those are really beautiful, and thanks for the hints of choosing the best yarn combinations :)

fig said...

Thanks, pinkundine, and you're welcome!