Celebrating 200 Years of Pride & Prejudice

Ahhh, 200 years since Lizzy & Darcy got married 🙂

It’s time for a BBC/Jane Austen marathon! Of course the most appropriate way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice is to read the book. But that does present a problem if you’re trying to read & sew or knit at the same time. Perhaps an audio book. Then again, an audio book doesn’t feature Colin Firth.

Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy. Yeah, you want him.

To celebrate this bicentennial I finally finished the Chawton Mittens from the 2011 Jane Austen Knits magazine. I’ve actually been wearing them since December, but didn’t get around to fixing the mistakes I made in the silhouettes until now.
Chawton Mittens
The basic pattern is easy enough once you’ve memorized it. But my problem was putting the mittens down & not picking them up to finish the second one until a month or two later. I just couldn’t get my tension right when I started them again, so ended up ripping out & re-knitting a stretch of the second mitten about four to five times. Yikes. Glad these are finished now! Whew.Palms of the Chawton Mittens

This was my first time doing a lot of color work & I really grew to like it. It’s also my first successful project that involved cables- they might be hard to see since they don’t look like traditional knotted or Aran cables, but they make up the white border around the silhouettes.

Chawton Mitten Silhouettes
The color of the mittens is a cross between the brighter blue in the above photos & the lighter blue in the ones below.

These mittens were another exciting first too- conductive thread! The thread was kind of hairy & very coarse. I worked it in as a combo of knit stitches & like roositud color work. It works OK, but I may go in & add more. It’s just not as responsive as I would like.

The silver/gray thread on the tip of the finger is conductive thread.
The silver/gray thread on the tip of the finger is conductive thread.

I learned a lot from making these mittens & now am excited to make more cabled & fair isle projects. My only regret is that I used two different yarns for this project & the white yarn pills a lot. A lot a lot. But they have held up to public transit well enough. Detail of Chawton Mittens Colorwork

To Jane Austen! She has influenced generations of readers in ways she never could have imagined. Who would have thought her works would inspire knitting magazines?


Roositud Knitting for Punks

Fear not beloved, I have not abandoned thee. It’s just, you’re a little fat… I mean bulky. You know, awkwardly obtuse.

This I tell my sewing machine in regards to why I have abandoned it in favor of knitting during my move. Small knitting projects are much more portable. But I promise, I’m getting back to sewing real soon. My baby won’t go bored for long. In the meantime, I’ve finished another knitting project.

Roositud, knitting, mitts
Yeah that’s me standing here. I’m super tough.

Roositud knitting is cool. It’s a traditional Estonian color knitting method where you don’t actually knit the colored yarn you’re adding. It’s as if you take the floats you’d normally find in color work & put them to the front. This makes it look like embroidery, but no awkward plastic knitting embroidery needle.

Roositud, knitting, mitts
What are you lookin at punk? Best be careful before I bring it.

The pattern, Forest Flower Mitts by Nancy Bush, comes from ColorKnits, a cool digital magazine put out by Interweave Press on color knitting (although my favorite of their digital magazines is Sockupied, obviously for the sock obsessed). It has patterns, tips, tutorials & videos.

Roositud, knitting, mitts
One look at my polka dots should have scared you off. Watch out, here I come. Get ready for a beating!

I’m pretty new to knitting with patterns & this one was very easy to follow. Plus, the mitts knit up super fast. Well, things would have gone much faster if I hadn’t done some nap knitting on the second mitt- fall asleep, groggily wake up & knit only to realize you’ve really cocked things up & need to rip out a bunch of rows. So let me restate that, the first mitt was super fast & easy to knit; the second made me want to throw the project, needles & all, against the wall. Plus my tension somehow became a lot looser on the second mitt. Consequently, it’s bigger & I’m even more frustrated. Do you think blocking will help? I’ve never actually blocked before, which I know deserves a good finger waggle from experienced knitters.

And before I forget, look at that green sneaking its way in again! Some of those flower petals are even lime green (same yarn as my seaweed socks). I wanted to knit these from stash & naturally the most of a single color way (in fingering weight yarn) I could find was green. But they are all a little different in loft & thickness & even pliability. The dark green is hemp, so it’s harder & doesn’t like to cooperate as well as the others, which is why I had a hard time getting it to lie exactly where I wanted it. The rest are wool blends that lie on the knitting pretty easily.

The best thing about this project was that I gave myself the latitude to not be perfect. Yarn not lying right? Oh well, looks good enough. It let me focus on enjoying the knitting instead of obsessing over tiny details that only another knitter would notice.

Roositud, kitting, mitts

Wait, isn’t starting your new colors an entire row too soon a big mistake? Yes. I’m still mad about it & considering taking out that bit of color work & redoing it with an actual embroidery needle. And that’s the beauty of roositud. You can do that without having to rip out everything you’ve knit because the color is wrapped around your knitting.

That’s why I’m ready for more roositud, but a quick glance around the intarwebs reveals few patterns, so I may have to make my own, an exciting prospect.

For some technical details, chek out my ravelry page.

This picture is the closest I could get to the actual colors of the greens (& one yellow) I used.