I tried something new recently. I’ve done bits of colorwork before, and even designed a few intarsia patterns for myself, but I’ve never attempted anything I would consider “real” Fair Isle knitting before. Then a friend requested some mittens, and not just any mittens. The “How Cold Is It?” mittens by Drunk Girl Designs on Ravelry.
How awesome are these mittens? Really, really f’in awesome 😉 They bring a smile to my face every time I work on them. Plus the pattern is easy to follow! I was worried they were going to be a bit small, but with a bit of blocking, which the colorwork needed anyway, they fit great!
The designer used 9-inch circular needles for these mittens. It was another new thing for me, but I thought they would be worth a try. Anything to play with a new knitting gadget 😉 Have you used 9-inch circs before? I picked up some ChiaoGoo needles from my LYS, found some squishy yarn, and headed home to play.
OK, for the first three rows, I nearly lost my mind. Working in the round on such tiny little needles, with tiny fine yarn, and alternating colors for the ribbing? It was awful. I pressed on (only because I didn’t have any appropriately sized DPNs). I think my husband may have learned a few new curse words as I attempted to pick up the numerous stitches that I dropped.
But then an amazing thing happened.
The farther I got, the faster I got! Pretty soon I was done the ribbing (thank goodness) and I moved onto the colorwork section. And I was hooked. There was something quite satisfying about slowly and carefully creating the f-word in such a ladylike and “proper” medium. (I had a tough start to the week, so that might have contributed to the joy of swearing! 😉 )
Even more amazing, when I got to the tip of the mitten, where I had to switch to DPNs, I was disappointed! I had grown to love my tiny 9-inch circs. I dropped a stitch with them, and my tension is all over the place, especially carrying floats between two needles. If anyone has any advice on doing that, I’d love to hear it!
Have you used 9-inch circulars before? I have to say I’d recommend them for sure – just don’t give up when you first start. I’m about to cast on for the second mitten, so I’ll find out if it was just inexperience, or if the first three rows always suck (I’m expecting the latter). I’d love to hear whether you enjoy using them or not! 🙂