Sunday, July 8, 2012

Year of Projects 2: Hilja 02



Folk Knitting in Estonia: Aino's Gloves • Anu's Christmas Gloves • Anu's Mittens • Anu's Stockings • Avo's Mittens • Ellen's Stockings • Helgi's Mittens • Hilja's Mittens • Ilmar's Socks • Juta's Stockings • Kalev's Mittens • Kristi's Mittens • Laila's Socks • Landra's Gloves • Liidia's Gloves • Liivi's Stockings • Maarja's Socks • Maimu's Mittens • Marko's Mittens • Meida's Mittens • Merike's Gloves • Rita's Stockings • Sander's Mittens • Tiit's Socks • Ulla's Gloves • Virve's Stockings

It's just the first project but I'm learning new things already. But that's why I picked the book "Folk Knitting in Estonia" by Nancy Bush - she always incorporates a variety of techniques and a variety of stitch patterns to keep things interesting!

The cuff of these mitts is worked in a stitch pattern called "Vausaba" which translates to peacock's tail pattern. Sometimes I scratch my head at stitch names - often they're a bit of a stretch - but this one really does say "feathers" to me. And the stripes really make the pattern pop.

The dramatic patterning across the hand and thumb of the mitt is also typical of Estonian folk knitting. "One characteristic that I find most charming in many aspects of folk art is the horror vacui, or fear of empty space." (Nancy Bush, Folk Knitting in Estonia, p.28). Compared to some garments where motifs are stacked, enclosed with netting and combined with others, the patterning on this mitt is relatively simple. The X pattern continues along the outside of the thumb. On the inside, where the pattern would have been a half stitch off, it's a simpler fly pattern instead. Remind me next time to show the inside of the thumb in the photo!

That first mitt was definitely a challenge; I don't think I've ever tried colourwork around such a small number of stitches as this thumb, and my tension there isn't perfect. Like anything, practice makes perfect, so on mitt two I need to take extra care not to "cut the corners" with the floats on the reverse side. One idea would be to knit it inside out, but I'm going to see if I can do a little better right way round first.

The decreases at the top of the hand and the top of the thumb were also a challenge. The pattern calls for a "one-wick decrease" which is a double-decrease worked across three stitches. When done correctly it should create a centre line of stitches with decrease on either side. On my first attempt my stitches were sloppy and uneven, with distorted stitches on the back of the mitt. Re-reading the instructions there seemed to be another possible interpretation, so I tried it differently with a better result. I'm still not sure that I'm doing it right, and I've searched for an online tutorial without any luck. If you know how to do this decrease correctly I'd love to hear from you!

One way or another these mitts will be completed in the next couple of days, and I think I'll knit a pair of socks next. That's definitely more in my comfort zone so it'll be a mental rest before I take on a more complicated pattern. Like gloves.

21 comments:

Ruth said...

I love your mitt and the colours themselves are still so beautiful and striking. I can't help you though with the decreases as I've yet to knit some mittens, they are on this years list, well fingerless ones. Great idea on the socks after the mittens.

Nicole said...

Wow I thought there were beautiful even seeing a small part of them last week but seeing your first one completely done, they're even more stunning! I'm no pro at colourwork so more power to you in doing such intricate work :)

Jen said...

The gloves are really coming along! They are beautiful. One day I hope to try colorwork.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

The decrease you're trying to do might be "slip two stitches together knitwise (and not one at a time), knit third stitch, then past the slipped stitches over at the same time"
I kow it as a central double decrease and when the stitches are stacked on top of each other in a vertical row - it creates a bit of a raised line.

Mitts are looking great though.

Dee said...

They are fabulous --- I love red, black and white together.

You'll certainly be ready for winter THIS year.

Marie/Underground Crafter said...

Wow, these are so striking and complex looking. It sounds like you are learning some great things!

Mary said...

WOW, thanks for introducing me to estonian knitting.. looks gorgeous.

Shateen said...

my goodness those are gorgeous! how long does it take you to do a round? i am really looking forward to seeing your FO!

Marsha said...

WOW! The detail work is gorgeous. Some year I will get brave enough to try color work. You impress me!

Frieda said...

Beautiful as always ! I can't believe how much you fast you're knitting these mittens ...

Faith said...

Wow those mitts look sooo complicated, I do like the patterning, hats off to you...yet again!

Kate said...

Those are so beautiful. There's definitely an affinity between you and Nancy Bush patterns. Looking forward to seeing the next socks :)

Ashley said...

That looks so incredibly difficult, this just scared me from delving into colorwork yet again.. yikes! But they look so awesome!

Kim said...

Holy Moly! That pattern/color work looks so hard. Mind you, on my goals this year is mastering simple striping! ;) Your projects are always so interesting --the color choice here perfect too.
*smiles and cheeriness sent*

Ptinutz Noisette said...

I know I have said it was not really my taste, but honestly they are gorgeous. Well done.

Kepanie said...

My gosh you are fast! They are lookin' really awesome.

Sarah (Crafts from the Cwtch) said...

Great mitts - they are looking fabulous!

RobinBrz said...

Absolutely marvelous! I am thoroughly impressed with the colorwork! I think the red, black and cream look terrific together. You're doing a great job and really stretching those knitting muscles!!

GirlAnachronismE said...

Those mitts are absolutely beautiful, and I bet no one but you will notice any problems with them at all!

HillyT said...

Just...Wow...Stunning. I salute you with my underused knitting needles.

Carolina22 said...

Oh my these are SO beautiful! I just love the colors! And I am very impressed with your colorwork skills. I've just done a hat so far but would like to try something harder one day...