Monday, January 4, 2016

A New Year

Light hoarfrost covers the trees and bushes this morning. I made coffee while watching juncos huddle in the linden. Later as I filled the feeder, the slightest powder of snow sifted down on my hands. After autumn, winter is my favorite season. The landscape, inside and out, is less cluttered. The garden harvest, dried herbs, and Christmas decorations are mostly put away. The open spaces are more accessible for dusting but I'd rather write about knitting projects and the season.

Before Christmas, I knit my two youngest grandsons mittens. Since reindeer were a big topic of conversation, I chose the Antler Mittens pattern. One evening I showed the five year old his mitten in progress. He asked how he could ever wear mittens with pointy antlers. My daughter explained the wooden antlers were the tools I used to make the mittens. He is a guy who likes tools so calling a knitting needle a tool made sense to him. I explained the cable as a design in one of his school art projects and assured him the finished mittens wouldn't have real pointy wooden antlers. Together we convinced him he could safely wear the mittens.

On New Year's Day I chose a skein of a soft gray wool/alpaca blend and some leftovers and decided to have another try at the Align Mitts. I like the clean look of half stockinette with half ribbing. The first time I knit these mitts, I ripped them out to get a left and right mitt. The second time, still not understanding my mistake, I left them as a mismatched pair. In the light of day, I sat down to think about the pattern. Since this pattern is free, I'm not giving away "for purchase information" when I explain my lightbulb moment. I am a loose knitter with smaller hands so I often decrease the number of stitches to get a mitt that fits snugly. The instructions call for casting on 50 stitches that are divided between 25 ribbed and 25 stockinette stitches. The thumb gusset begins in the center (stitch 13) of the ribbed section. When I knit the mitts with 48 stitches, the division was 24 stitches. The way the pattern is written, the thumb gusset can't be centered on an even number of stitches. The total number of stitches needs to be divisible by two AND AT THE SAME time be an odd number. Eureka, I think I figured it out. Maybe it is time to dust off a few more Math skills. I am a seasoned knitter so understanding the construction of patterns is a reasonable goal.

Since then, I decided to make "understanding" my word/theme for this year. Truly understanding, whether it is the perspective of a child, a knitting pattern, someone's point of view, or the winter season is a good start to the New Year.

Speaking of understanding, we are still waiting for our new grandchild. Babies have a sense of timing all of their own. After posting, I will tidy up my desk. Then I'll pack up the last odds and ends of Christmas: cards, wrapping paper, and mugs and whatever else turns up. I may dust and I may not. First I plan to go for a walk under the falling frost and enjoy the grays and whites of winter.

Happy New Year!


  1. Great mitts Jane, especially the Antler them! Hopefully your grand baby will come soon 😊

  2. hope the baby to be greets you and the world soon! I love the mitts and how nice you figured out the why and where and can implement the knowledge. I'm in a hat making frenzy just because, but soon I'll be knitting a sweater :)

  3. like you winter is my second favorite season...can't beat fall in my estimation! Hoping you have that new grandbaby by now....but like you said, all in due time.
    thanks for sharing those mitts patterns...the antler I was familiar with, but the other new to me, and I really really like the ribbing concept. They are now on 'the list'!!!