Posted by: jennypenny73 | August 24, 2010

A Reconciliation With Winter

You know, ever since I opened the shop, I’ve been starting to develop this strange love-hate relationship with cold weather. I can feel our all too short Newfoundland summer slowly starting to slip away.  The days are starting to get shorter again, the nights (and sometimes the days) are beginning to get a bit of a chill, and I’m once again getting the itch to knit something cozy.

For many, many years, winter and I have been mortal enemies.  I didn’t like winter, and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual.  Working for years as a truck driver, spending 10 to 12 hours a day in and out of the truck (some days out more than in) and soaking wet, really ingrained that hatred of the cold right into my bones. 

But now…something has changed.  Now, I have my shop.  Now these winter months are going to mean something different!  It’ll mean more people in the shop looking for that special something to warm their needles.  It’ll mean I get to watch our long, cold, blustery, winter from the comfort of my warm, dry, shop window.  And up until this year, my knitting has usually taken a back seat in the long, warm Nova Scotia summers.  My knitting habits have changed since moving to Newfoundland…this year I knit, uninterrupted.  A small part, I’m sure, because the summer is so much shorter here…partly bacause I’m surrounded by irresistibly beautiful yarns all day (and anyone that knows me, knows I’m a sucker for a pretty skein)…but mostly the change has come because of the wonderful knitting community I’ve become a part of since moving to St. John’s.  In the 8 years I’ve been a knitter, I was a solitary knitter…now I’m part of a family.  And if that doesn’t keep you warm through the Newfoundland winter, I don’t know what will.

I still don’t think Old Man Winter and I will ever be friends, but perhaps a cordial truce may be in order…at least for now.  Though I’m still reserving the right to complain about the gross winter weather we surely have coming our way. 

So as a little pre-winter knit, I have written up a pattern for some alpaca mittens.  By using one strand of each of Blue Sky Alpacas 100% Alpaca Sport and Blue sky Alpacas Brushed Suri you end up with super soft and fuzzy mittens that will, no doubt, be warm as toast.  These mittens are also thin enough to still be functional…you’ll have no problem maneuvering your keys to unlock the car door when fleeing the cold!

ALPACA MADNESS MITTENS

Yarns – 1 strand of each held and knit together.

  • Blue Sky Alpacas 100% Alpaca Sport Weight (1 1/4 skeins) AND
  • Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri (a little less than 1 skein)

Equipment

  • 4 Double Point Needles – 4mm
  • 3 stitch markers

Gauge

  • 5 sts/inch with 4mm needles

abbreviations

CO – Cast On
sts – Stitches
K – Knit
PM – Place Marker
M – Marker
M1 – Make 1
PU – Pick Up
K2tog – Knit 2 Together

Cuff

  • Using 1 strand of each yarn, CO 36 sts using cable cast on (or other stretchy cast on). Join to work in the round.
  • 2×2 rib 2 1/2” or desired length
  • inc. 4 sts evenly across next row
  • K 1 row
  • K 1 row to last st PM, M1, PM, K to end
  • K 1 row

Thumb Gusset

  • K to M, slip M, M1, K to 2nd M, M1, slip M, K to end
  • K around
  • Repeat these 2 rows 5 more times (13 sts between markers)
  • K 4 more rows plain
  • K to 1st M, remove M, sl next 13 sts to waste yarn, remove 2nd M, K1

Hand

  • Continue knitting hand until 1 1/4” from end of longest finger

Decrease Rows

1 – K8, K2tog – Repeat around (36sts)
2 – K
3 – K7, K2tog – Repeat around (32sts)
4 – K
5 – K6, K2tog – Repeat around (28sts)
6 – K
7 – K5, K2tog – Repeat around (24sts)
8 – K
9 – K4, K2tog – Repeat around (20sts)
10 – K
11 – K3, K2tog – Repeat around (16sts)
12 – K2, K2tog – Repeat around (12sts)
13 – K1, K2tog – Repeat around (8sts)
14 – K2tog around (4sts)

draw needle through stitches and pull tight.

Thumb

  • PU sts off waste yarn and distribute on 3 needles.
  • K around, at end of round PU and K 3 sts.
  • Next row K around to last 3 sts. K2tog, K1
  • K thumb to 1/8” of desired length.
  • K2tog around to last sts, K1
  • K2tog around.
  • Draw tail through remaining sts and pull tight.

Weave in ends.

Make second mitten same as the first.

Note: Blocking these mittens will really allow the alpaca to bloom and show off it’s beautiful halo.  I recommend doing this just for the sheer enjoyment of seeing and feeling the fuzzy softness of these mittens, but it is not essential.

* Thanks so much to Karen for the test knit and her notes 🙂

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