I blame this one on Kenny...

After seeing Kenny's beautifully executed "Don's Vest," it gave me an intense envie for knitting some fair isle even though the last thing I needed to do was cast on for yet another project! I succumbed, realizing I had the perfect yarn already in my stash for a pair of Latvian inspired mittens I tucked in my Ravelry pattern library some months ago. These are knit with a silk/wool blend fingering in blue-gray and some KP's Stroll kettle dyed, superwash merino in the color "soot." I used size US0 DPN's for the hem facings and US1 DPN's for the body.

I made the mitt fingerless and repeated the bottom border of the Latvian braid before finishing it off with another hem and facing. I FINALLY taught myself to knit using one color in each hand which I'm pretty stoked about! It took me a lot of practice, as I'm VERY right hand dominate and have always knit English. It's just so much easier and quicker to knit two handed, and you don't have to worry about any yarn tangling!

I've included a picture of the mitt's wrong side because I'm always interested in what the back looks like on fair isle. I generally don't float the color of yarn not in use for greater than 2 stitches by weaving it across the back as I knit. There are some very useful videos on YouTube to demonstrate weaving both the MC and the CC if you are knitting with a color in each hand. Also, I prefer to hand stitch my facings at the end as opposed to knitting them in as I go along for a few reasons. First, it prevents the facing from wanting to flip outwardly, especially if you sew it the slightest bit higher on wrong side. Then, you eliminate the ridge or bump that forms on the right side which bugs me. Lastly, no matter how contrasting or bright your CC is you don't have to worry about it peaking through the MC on the right side stitches that sometimes occurs when you attach the facing as you knit. As you can see, it can be stitched very neatly by using a large, sharp embroidery needle and catching the outside of the "V" on the cast on edge and piercing a corresponding stitch on the inside body of the mitt.

I still have to finish the second mitt and will block them both at the same time.


Bill's picture

...the back is as wonderful as the front...

TheKnittingMill's picture

Thanks Bill! I'm the kind of knitter who whole heartedly supports knitters who don't give a damn about what the back looks like as long as the front looks good, but I have to admit the obsessive perfectionist in me wants the back to look good for my own knits. I love a good challenge too.

ronhuber's picture

Great work. You are going to have all of us casting on a new Fair Isle project. Those are beautiful.

steve kadel's picture

excellent. i definitely am going to try some fair isle this year

wherever you go, there you are

we put birds on things

Tom Hart's picture

Awesome, Mill. Really, really good looking.

Kenny's picture

Yayy!!! I finally make an impact on someone! Man Mill, those are awesome looking. i love the manly black and grey, and then your stitching is soooo even. Are those even washed yet? Cuz if they aren't, I am definitely going to say that you are NOT right hand dominant but both quite equal.

TheKnittingMill's picture

Thanks to my muse! No, they aren't washed yet, but I think the camera angles made it look a little more even than it actually is.

goatboy's picture

So Medieval-Brilliant!

Mill, what a great job! I'm doing my first fair-isle (the Crofter's Slipover from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Vests). I got slowed down and had to tink back four rows to find a dropped stitch (wow, it is heinous finding a dropped stitch in fair isle, as you can't get it to ladder to show you where it is :( ).

I'm also impressed that you taught both hands to carry a yarn, as I can only manage fair-isle by carrying both yarns in my left hand (I have tried repeatedly to use both hands, but my right hand is being retarded about the prospect).

So this weekend undid and redid last weekend's work. I promise to post some progress pictures after I have more than the waistband to show for my efforts.



TheKnittingMill's picture

Thanks! The mitts were sort of a jumping off point for a vest I want to make. I love the look of fair-isle! I'm hoping to eventually get to a Starmore sweater. I can't wait to see the picks of your WIP!

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Exquisite work, Mill. I am proud of you for learning to carry the yarn in both hands and mastering even tension so quickly. I find it usually takes a lot more practice. [It sure did in my case.] Still, if you had needed to carry both in one hand - like Goatboy - who would have cared? Not me. Whatever works is the main thing. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

TheKnittingMill's picture

Thanks so much Joe! I would have loved to be able to knit with both yarns in my right hand, but I hold my yarn a little unconventionally and it was nearly impossible to knit holding two. I had to resort to the "drop and pick up method" which was taking forever!

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I have a hard time carrying 2 yarns in one hand also. I imagine I could do it with a lot of practice [let alone swearing] but have always just done 2 hands instead. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

TheKnittingMill's picture

I have this really bad habit I've possessed since childhood about sticking my tongue out of the side of my mouth and furrowing my brow when I'm intently concentrating on something difficult. It's completely subconscious and out of my control. Well, when I was practicing on knitting two-handed I can only imagine I looked like I was having a petit mal seizure! Everyone teases me about it! So, I save my "learning curve projects" for home and have learned to bring the mindless knitting to the coffee shop/knitting circle! (",)

These are fabulous. Hope to get to this stage one day.