Monday, January 15, 2007

Latvian completed

The first of my Latvian-inspired mittens is finished! Here it is, pre-blocking, in a somewhat dimly-lit photo (stupid NYC drizzle three days in a row!).

Karabella Aurora 8 in black, off-white and bright red
Size 4 double-pointed needles
Design: my own, based on traditional Latvian patterns

The patterns are taken directly from some mittens on the Riga Summit site (linked in the posts below). There are some non-traditional cheats that I did do tailor the mitten to my tastes (and skills):

The cuff (which is unflatteringly showing the pattern jog on the right side) uses a traditional pair of patterns, but I made it narrower: 8 stitches smaller than the mitten body. This ends up being just tight enough to hold out the cold, but not so tight that it's hard to get on or looks like a weird sausage. With a body stitch count of 48 stitches per row, the cuff is 5/6 the size of the hand.

The thumb has a gore and is in a different pattern (fuzzy picture). This is partially because I am not a fan of peasant thumbs, and partially because I gave up on trying to figure out a way to have a gore and still keep the thumb pattern lined up with the body pattern. Math was melting my brain. For a while I had this feverish idea that I could cast on one entire pattern repeat more than I wanted for the fingers, then do a peasant thumb and decrease by one entire pattern repeat right above it. I still think this would be possible, I just didn't have the guts or the patience to try it. Plus, I kind of like the way the stripey thumb looks.

The biggest cheat of all is (I hope) relatively undetectable. Any row that seems to have three colors in it is actually two colors, with the third color duplicate-stitched on. So all of those red centers to squares in the mitten body pattern are actually added later. This saved me a LOT of hassle with yarns tangling and carried-over red yarn showing through on the right side. It was not quite as speedy and carefree to execute as I thought it would be. If you look closely on the picture of the cuff you can see that there is a bit of red behind one of the center white stitches; that's the stitch underneath the duplicate-stitch white.

So here it is, in all its glory, with drizzly NYC in the background:

And work begins apace on the second mitten:

When I have the time I will write up the pattern for anybody who'd like it.

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