I had an interesting day yesterday.
I Knit an Entire Sweater
Continuing my theme of making miniscule things, I whipped up a tiny sweater for festive purposes; I cannot say more at this time. The free pattern for this wee top-down raglan is Tiny Sweaters by Malia Mather. It’s fantastic, should you need to whip up a sweater for Barbie or Ken to wear while walking their fox.
Stop, Drop and Knit
I thought a lot about these mitts that Gale Zucker was wearing when I saw her earlier this week. Gale is a living rebuke to my theory that fingerless mitts only exist because knitters like to make them. A location photographer, Gale would need fingerless mitts even if she weren’t a knitter.
Gale’s newly released Trip Mitts are rectangles, knitted flat, in a simple welted stitch pattern. They start with a provisional cast-on and end with a three-needle bind-off. (My favorite bind-off!) The bind-off is worked in a contrasting color, and placed off-center, so that the functional necessity of the bind-off becomes a graphic element. The thumb opening is a buttonhole. If you used a reflective yarn for the bind-off, these mitts would be fantastic for walking the dog or riding a bike at night. The Trip Mitts are calling to me, loudly, so today–throwing aside crazy thoughts of Christmas knitting– I’m going to cast on a pair in a charcoal grey Noro Silk Garden Solo.
The highlight of my day was a visit from Ina Braun, a passionate and expert knitting teacher. A few posts back, when I was back-stitching the sleeves onto the body of my Monomania cardigan, Ina jumped into the comments with sound advice to set in the sleeves using mattress stitch. (Which I did.) Ina also imparted the intriguing news (news to me, anyway) that if mattress stitch is worked a half-stitch in from each edge instead of a whole stitch (as I was taught, and have always done), the seam is more flexible, less bulky on the wrong side, and nearly invisible on the right side.
While Ina was in the house, I switched on the KayCam, jumped onto the Periscope app, and broadcast 17 minutes of priceless Ina instruction on mattress stitch. She starts out demonstrating a typical mattress stitch seam–worked one whole stitch in–and then pulls it out and shows the better, sleeker way.
It’s fascinating television for mattress stitch-heads (you know who you are). (Hands up if you didn’t know how to do it this way! Hands up if you’ve always done it that way without ever thinking about it!) Ina also covers the life-changing magic of Clover Wonder Clips, and the importance of storing them properly in jam jars.
One fun thing about Periscope is that during the live broadcast, the audience can write in questions, and you can answer them on the spot. The recording then stays on the app for 24 hours before disappearing (or something). But you can save the video yourself and do whatever you like with it. Living in the future!
Ina has my everlasting thanks for taking the time to set me straight on mattress stitch. She also set Olive straight on how to greet visitors in a kinder, gentler, and overall less terrierizing way. Wish I’d gotten that on video. Hauling Olive out of her crate was very Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. (Ina was Marlin Perkins, I was Jim Fowler, and Olive was the crocodile.)
I hope there are more how-to videos to come, and I promise to work on getting better at making them.