Friday, August 01, 2008

Victoria Fingerless Gloves: UFO #2

Dear "Victoria Fingerless Mittens" admirers,

When I first laid eyes on Louisa Harding's book, Knitting Little Luxuries, I fell in love. C'├ętait le coup de foudre! (It was love at first sight...isn't the French version more fun, though?)

To make matters more dramatic (to a knitter, anyway) I actually had three skeins of Louisa's Grace yarn in my stash, in this lovely cerises color. I rushed home with book in hand, eager to cast on the Victoria Mitts (the photo in the book is much prettier).

And so I did, after clearing up a little error I spotted (yarn amount for solid-color mitts was incorrect...quelle surprise when Louisa Harding herself wrote back to me with the clarification!).

This was almost a year ago.

You see, frustration began to set in when I noticed the yardage issue in the book. Then, when I realized the pattern would produce gloves sized for a 12-year old girl -- or for a very petite woman -- I felt another pang of annoyance. No problem, however, as I was easily able to fudge the gauge to make them fit my long and slender hands (read: average size).

Then...Oh, no! I realized the pattern called for seaming the gloves after knitting them flat on two needles. Now why would I do that??? Why do so many designers choose to put bulky seams on lovely gloves when the pattern could simply be written for knitting circularly? Well, you know me enough to guess what I did. (If you don't, here's a hint: I did no seaming.)

Ugh! What should have been a three-hour knit at most turned into a two-and-a-half evening affair--for one glove. And when that first glove was finished, I realized the picot edging on the thumb would forever get in the way and/or curl back on itself. Understandably, second-glove syndrome set in, and the project was relegated to the doorknob. sad.

Now, I'm not saying you should avoid knitting these gloves--they are truly lovely (especially when you do away with the bulky seaming). And the yarn? Well, Grace is simply gorgeous, and it comes in mouthwatering colors. It pills a bit, but most wool/silk singles do, so that's OK.

I'm not dissing the book, either. In fact, I love the book! It's so beautifully photographed. Looking through it makes me feel the way I do when I watch a romantic old movie. The patterns are, as you'd expect from Ms. Harding, dreamy. So honestly, do buy the book! Just be aware that you may decide to make some pattern adjustments.

And should you choose to knit the Victoria Gloves in a solid color, make sure you have two to three skeins of Grace on hand, as well as a nice selection of needles on which to get the right gauge for your hands. I can assure you they will likely be a bit larger than those for which the pattern was written.

It's a bit of extra work, but, believe me, you'll be glad you didn't take the shorter route.

Yours truly,



Indigo Lace Ribbons: UFO #1

Oh, beautiful Lace Ribbons, flowing like a summer stream over my needles! Yes, the very same needles that I bought especially for you just a few days after I casted on. All this love, and yet you're not flourishing. "How can this be?" I ask myself...

Too many projects, says my critical mind.

I'm spending so much time designing my own patterns that I don't have time to knit other items, says my rationalizing mind.

Oh, I'm too tired to focus on a lace chart, and way too tired to memorize this 12-row repeat, says my woe-is-me mind.

The truth? All of the above, I guess.

But this isn't just an ordinary FO to me. It's a project I really, really want to finish so I can wear it. The Malabrigo Lace yarn is soft as a kiss, shimmering with tones of azure, amethyst, and indigo. And it's not a boring knit, by any stretch of the imagination--it's even kinda fun. Just slow going, unless I'm feeling particularly sharp.

In fact, I see a finished "Lace Ribbons" scarf in my not-so-distant future...Maybe by October? It would make wonderful vacation knitting, and we're planning a week away in September. So, in the end, this little beauty is probably my "FO Most Likely To Be Finished" (FO-MLTBF). Someday, it will be blocked and ready to wear.

And when that day comes, you, my friends, will be the first to know.