Blogmas Day 1 – The Answer to Low Knitting Mojo

This is a rare occurrence, but I feel like I have very diminished knitting mojo! Pete and I drove back from a wedding in New Jersey today and I made some progress on my “Maiden Voyage” sock (more on that later), but for the most part, I just wanted to sit and do nothing while he drove. Normally I look forward to a long drive where I get to be the passenger – uninterrupted knitting time! However, I just kept losing stamina.

I have a theory that my knit-cation during the week of Thanksgiving (5 days of endless knitting) may have actually been an over-saturation of knitting! I’m okay with it, but none of my 5 WIPs are bringing me much excitement right now.

Fortunately, I know the solution to low knitting mojo!

Cast on a new project!! (duh)

Enter my very first Selbu Mitten! This year for the first time, I signed up for Knit Stars, which launched a week ago, and this evening I finally had some time to watch the first set of videos by Arne and Carlos. The videos are educational, but they are also very much a tutorial of how to knit a selbu mitten, specifically their 8-leaf rose pattern.

I did a little bit of the cuff, and realized I had to go up a needles size, and then I got pretty far along on the hand and realized I’d need to rip pack to go up several needle sizes. My gauge is still slightly off, but it seems to be fitting perfectly nonetheless. I’m using a US 3 for the cuff and a US 7 for the hand. A US 6 might have been better, but alas both sets are tied up with other projects.

I’m using stash yarn, which makes the spontaneous cast-on seem completely justified. I’m using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, of which I have about 8 different colors in stash when I decided it was my absolute favorite yarn ever.

BUT! Especially in the case of colorwork mittens that are difficult if not impossible to resize, I tend to shy a way from mittens, because I have ridiculously long, narrow hands. So the stretchiness of Alpaca might come in “handy” (totally intended).

As a subscriber to their YouTube channel, I’ve always found Arne and Carlos incredibly captivating – they are just so endearing and they clearly know their stuff. I adore how they try their best to be diplomatic, but in the end you can tell they firmly believe their way is the only way. There’s something I really admire about that level of confidence as well as their reverence for traditional methods.

However… I do somewhat disagree about their stance that color dominance does not exist, but I also learned through their Knit Stars videos that they don’t keep the floats consistently carried on the top or the bottom (I’ve often heard that the float that is carried below, will be a more dominant color). They use an interesting method of figuring out which color appears more in a row to determine which yarn goes on top for that row. Anyway, I could see that this alternating of floats would mean that both colors come through more or less equally. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I prefer the consistent, predictable approach, where everything is kept in an orderly fashion. 😉

Surely, they would fully disapprove of my use of the magic loop method rather than double points, but I hate managing all those needles in addition to the yarn management of colorwork. Magic loop does make the gauge much tighter, and it’s not as “traditional” but it’s quicker and more enjoyable for me personally.

I think I’m doing pretty good so far…

image_medium2

You might note that I did a 1×1 twisted rib instead of a regular 1×1 rib. Not sure what Arne and Carlos would think of that, but I can’t stand the way my regular 1×1 rib looks – the knit stitches get pulled width-wise by the purl stitches and it looks amateurish. But my twisted rib is neat and tidy and also has good depth. And, since it’s alpaca yarn, the twisted rib has slightly less give to it, so the twisted stitches will help to prevent the cuff from getting too stretched out.

(in case you’re wondering, I knit and purl through the back loop for my twisted rib – otherwise, the stitches go askew)

And no, I didn’t even attempt the Norwegian purling method; however, I do hold both yarns in my right hand (using a method I somewhat adapted for myself and my long-ass fingers). I have no desire to learn continental knitting (holding the yarn in the left hand). It may be more comfortable or even quicker but… I don’t want to have to go through the pain of having sloppy stitches until I get the hang of it.

All in all, it was a successful day of knitting after all despite my lack of knitting mojo!

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