Project Stories

Mitten Madness

In a way, I feel like this will be an ongoing project, akin to the Great Laundry Project of 2007. Which is still ongoing. Funny thing, laundry, it never seems to end. But I digress. Like the Great Scarf Project of 2009, when, on Thanksgiving Day, I decided to crochet scarves for each person on my staff at Barnes and Noble. All 40 of them… Er, anyway, like that particular instance, I had the genius idea on Black Friday this year to knit mittens for some friends. Sure I had less than a month. Sure I had only made two pairs of basic fingerless gloves before. Naturally I chose a pattern that I had never worked with, that went above and beyond the lowly fingerless glove and made the mittens convertible from fingerless gloves to full mittens. Which included cabling, a technique I had never used before. (Hey, I’ve only been knitting two years!) But I am StitchenWitch! I am the Domestic Diva, Mistress of Soup! I am Homemaker of the Year!

I am an Idiot. 

The first pair I made according to pattern. When I say “made” I mean put in, ripped out, put in, ripped out, put in, ripped out, cried for a moment, put in, and finished. But I wasn’t really happy with them. There’s a design element of the pattern that calls for you to stop the cabling, work the pattern plain, pick up stitches, continue the cabling, and basically make an attached baby hat that becomes the convertible part of the mitten. But (a) it’s a pain in the ass to pick up the stitches, and (b) it makes a seam in some people’s project pictures. So I decided to tweak the pattern for the second pair of mittens.

Ahem. The second pair of mittens I decided to make convertible, not as the pattern suggested, but instead by basically making a 15 stitch wide “button hole” that you can slip your hands in and out of. But the process of figuring out how to do this required multiple instances of frogging back rows. Which at one point resulted in the two mittens being at different points in the pattern. Oh, didn’t I say? I’m doing them two at a time, magic loop. 

Did I mention I’m an idiot?

Ok, so I put that set to the side, and picked up pair number three. (You see where this is going, right? Well, I hadn’t yet.) I figured I had guinea pigged the process of the button hole mitten conversion on set number two, and that set number three would be ok. And it went pretty smoothly. Until I realized that the girl I was making them for had small hands. Smaller than my hands. And if the gloves at the pattern dictated “six cable repeat” repetitions were too long for me, she’d be swimming in them. Which necessitated my frogging back several rows. Which led to the same problem as Pair #2, where they were now uneven, and I had to try to figure out how to line them up again. (Curse you, Magic Loop!)


 At some point here, Darling Husband, possibly tired of hearing me (a) bitching about the project (b) lamenting my lack of knitting skills, or (c) crying in to my yarn (see A Tale of Hops & Horror), told me enough was enough. I was politely but firmly told to put the needles down. (And when I say that in my head, it sounds like Terri Garr in Young Frankenstein, “Put ze candle BECK!” Only with Needlez. Er, needles.) 

 But here we are. I have put aside my Christmas knitting projects. I have enough on my plate. We are still trying to get pregnant (Go Team Operation Raptor!) The holidays are stressful enough without me adding this on. So they are sitting in a bag, by my spot on the couch in the TV room. Silently mocking me in a way that only unfinished and unstarted mittens can do. 

I guess that’s one little Purl of Wisdom for you. Make peace with imperfection. Or, perhaps, one month before Christmas is not the time to start Manic Mitten Making. Take your pick.

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