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Posts Tagged ‘gauntlets’

Appreciation

I’ve given a lot of thought in my 5 years as a knitter to the hardly insignificant issue of appreciation. As a knitter it is wonderful to have an appreciative “giftee” around who truly loves receiving knitted loveliness from you. We all have them, and they are often easy to find. However, we also all have people in our lives who put on a badly faked smile while enduring the token try-on and say “wow…this is just what I have always wanted,” while really thinking, “Really? Doesn’t he know that you can buy socks for 2 bucks at Wal-Mart?”

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My girlfriend Michelle is a knitter’s dream. She proudly wears and shows off anything that I make for her. She loves that her boyfriend knits cool stuff for her, and that in turn makes me incredibly happy. In this pic she’s wearing a lace scarf that I knit her over the summer and a pair of cabled gloves I designed for her that include conductive thread so that she can use her iPhone without getting her fingers cold. She totally geeked out over both gifts, and that fuels my knitting addiction in joyous ways.

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My younger daughter is another one who has shown her appreciation time and time again. Here she’s sporting her Christmas gauntlets that she loves dearly and wears often. She also has a sweater that she rarely is seen without…an item I had knit for her rapidly-growing big sister who outgrew it before it was finished.

I have had some knitting projects go unused by the people for whom they were knit. I still occasionally think about the co-worker who emailed the staff enough pictures to make a grandmother want to vomit, and yet I never once saw the baby blanket that I’d spent 2 months knitting for said baby. Trust me, I was looking. A lot. At every picture she sent.

Now I do understand that hand-knitted garments aren’t for everyone (though in my biased opinion they should be). I don’t stop knitting for “newbies” out of fear that they will never wear the item that I invested my time and energy in. Not all knitwear will be hits, but those that are, like the socks I knit for my friend Georgia, will make it all worthwhile. 2 months later, she’s still raving about those socks.

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After four months of knitting, learning, cursing, and experimenting, I have finally completed the much-blogged-about Bex Gauntlets!! Based on a sock pattern by that legendary innovatively wonderful torturous mathematician of a sock designer Cookie A, Bex is cables. Loads of cables. Probably thousands of cables. This is why it took me all stinking summer and part of the fall to finish the things.

I completed the knitting at about 2:00 Sunday morning, and sewed in the ends during church (because my church is just that cool!), which normally would’ve been insane, but since I had Columbus Day off (still think it’s a stupid holiday) I knew I could catch up on sleep (got 10 hours last night). I just wanted to finish them. I was too close to the end to set them down at a reasonable time Saturday night. I am very happy with the product, and more importantly, Megan loves them! She didn’t take them off until bedtime last night, and even then she hung them over her headboard so she can put them on first thing today. I know this is one gift project that will be worn. Happy daddy.

So here are the specs on the project in case any of you may be insane enough to try this same project:

Needed: Size 1 dpns or long circular for magic loop (I tried on dpns; too damn many needles); 2 cable needles, unless you learn how to cable without a cable needle, then you only need 1; 2 50g skeins of mini mochi sock yarn or your sock yarn of choice; 1 copy of Cookie A’s “Sock Innovation” (p. 97); alcohol, which should only be consumed AFTER a stint of knitting–you need to be able to concentrate.

I highly recommend learning to cable without a cable needle, or all those little one-stitch cables will take forever. Even so, the big cable that she calls for two cable needles on will still require one.

For the cuff, follow the directions exactly as written, then move on to knit 2 full repeats of the pattern. Complete a 3rd pattern repeat only through row 28.

Next row: knit row 22 of the pattern for half of the stitches. pm, m1 (purlwise), pm. Complete row 22. This is the first increase of the thumb gusset.

Knit rows 23-24 of pattern, purling on the extra stitch that you made on 22.

Knit row 25 for half of the stitches, slip marker, m1(knitwise)tbl, p, m1tbl, slip marker, complete row 25.

Knit rows 26-27, continuing on the gusset to ktbl, p, ktbl.

Knit row 28 for half of the stitches, slip marker, m1(purlwise), ktbl, p, ktbl, m1(purlwise)

Continue repeating rows 22-28, increasing every third row alternating between knitwise and purlwise increases (we’re going for a raised rib on the thumb) until gusset reaches 23 stitches.

Next row: knit half of pattern stitches according to pattern; remove markers and place gusset stitches on waste yarn to be dealt with later.

Knit 13 rows according to pattern, still repeating rows 22-28.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: When getting to the fingers, we are working toward a raised rib on the fingers. As such, as you get to the end of those 13 rows, you need to switch the first and last stitches of the rib/cable pattern to ktbl, and switch the first stitch of the diagonal traveling stitch to a purl, working your way to a raised rib (p, ktbl, p, ktbl, etc.) as you complete each row of the traveler. It will make sense once you’re there.**

On row 14 after thumb gusset, knit (according to pattern) until last 11 stitches. Transfer last 11 stitches and first 11 stitches of next row to waste yarn to be picked up later for pinky finger.

Knit 2 rows according to pattern. On 3rd row after pinky, knit according to pattern until last 11 stitches. Transfer last 11 stitches and first 11 stitches of next row to waste yarn for ring finger.

Knit according to pattern next 11 stitches. Transfer next 22 stitches to waste yarn for index finger. At this point all you should have left is the middle finger.

Knit raised rib (gradually working diagonal traveler to raised rib) for 7 rows. Bind off loosely.

Transfer index finger stitches to needles, plus pick up one stitch at beginning and one stitch at end of the row from the base of the middle finger. Knit raised rib (gradually working diagonal traveler to raised rib) for 7 rows. Bind off loosely.

Repeat index finger instructions on both the ring finger and the pinky finger.

Transfer thumb stitches to needles, plus pick up one stitch at the beginning and TWO stitches at the end of the row from the main part of the hand. Knit raised rib for 7 rows. Bind off loosely.

Turn inside-out and sew in all ends.

** A couple of final notes:

1. The pattern really does get easier once you’ve spent a little time on it. Though it is a time-consuming project, there does come a point when you don’t have to be glued to the pattern and you get into a bit of a groove.

2. Variegated yarn: you must be very careful where you are in the yarn patterning when you pick up the finger stitches, in order to keep color consistency. I had to hunt through the yarn to find just the right shades of color in this self-striping yarn for each finger.

3. Pattern is the same for both gauntlets. No need to do it differently for left or right.

4. Be prepared for lots of people who see this to request a pair for themselves. Get good at saying “no.”

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It’s the 13th. My daughter’s birthday is the 17th. I’m still about 4 inches from the end of Bex. On size 1 needles. With Fingering weight yarn. And a load of frickin’ cables. And increases. And little knobbly-ass quarter-fingers. You do the math.

I’m now stressing about this deadline. Granted, it’s a self-imposed deadline and my daughter has already told me it’s okay if I don’t finish them by her birthday, but a) I REALLY wanna give these to her for her birthday, b) they will go SOOOO well with the neon green Converse all-stars she’s also getting from me, and c) I’m ready to be DONE with these things! I swear these are the slowest-moving things I’ve ever knit. Next project will indeed be in worsted weight on at least size 7 needles.

So of course, instead of working on the damned things I am blogging about working on the damned things. I know that this does nothing to progress the knitting, but sometimes you just need to vent. And I’m out of beer, so I can’t drown the stresses of my self-imposed deadline that my daughter doesn’t even care about in THAT.

(bangs head against couch…too much of a wuss to bang it against wall. It would hurt)

Okay, I’m better now. Sorry about that, folks. Back to my knitting.

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Happy @#$%^&* Day 2

I’m on day 2 of the Cookie A Bex-based gauntlets. Started late last night (10:00) while watching “The Hangover” (funny movie!). Nothing went wrong. Granted, I only did one row after cast-on, but it was a fairly peaceful row.

Day 2, no interruptions this morning. Up long before the rest of the family. Row 2 went well, despite insane increases…kfbfbf in each row. For those who have barely gotten past garter stitch (or not at all) this means that you knit into the front of the loop, then the back of the loop, then the front, the back, and the front again, of the SAME STITCH, thus increasing by 4 at a time. Nuts. But that row was fine. Counted the stitches afterward and they added up.

Then I started row 3. This one has one increase (M1 P=make 1 purl) which immediately follows the first cable of the pattern. Somehow I got to the end of the row one stitch short. Some would say I’ve been one stitch short for years. I think I’ve now identified the offending stitch, halfway through the row, but am unsure. Besides, identifying, ripping back to, and fixing screw-ups is hard as hell in the 3rd row on size 1 needles with yarn that feels like handspun (Crystal Palace Mini Mochi).

I love your designs, Cookie. They are beautiful, innovative, and oh, so impressive. But do they all have to begin with cursing and gnashing of teeth? Pomatomus started the same way. I guess true art must involve pain, but why did my daughter have to pick this pattern to base the gauntlets on? Geez!

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