The idea of knitting a Christmas gift for all of my close friends and family, brought me more joy than I had anticipated. Unfortunately, as is so often the case when you’ve left yourself with very little time to achieve something, mistakes can be made.
Maybe that’s just me, is it?
Choosing a gift to make for my friends was pretty easy once I stuck with the plan set out in Part 1 of this post.
The chosen pattern(s), must be
- Quick to knit
- Use double knitting weight yarn or above
- Take less than 200 metres of yarn
- Suitable for many recipients
- Easily customizable
- Knit using stash yarn
I made myself a cuppa, got comfortable and began my search on Ravelry, but found I didn’t get much further than the first page, where I spotted the Camp Out Fingerless Mitts. Designed by Tante Ehm, it’s a favourite pattern of mine and one we featured in the Ravelry Design Spotlight in Issue 7 of Olann and. It fits all of my criteria, including the all important point 6, totally doable in stash yarn, in fact they’re a fantastic way to use up bits and bobs.
I have to show you this though because it made me smile. Isn’t it lovely?
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Back to the mitts, I knew I wanted to make my friends a pair of individual mitts, more suited to each of them so I popped into my Yarn Museum and rifled through the exhibits marked aran and worsted weight. My recent romance with pure wool aran weight yarn, means there’s a good bit of stash that’s really not suitable for next to skin projects. After much digging, I ended up with a bag of single or partially used balls from which to choose from.
I did cheat slightly with this pair, but only this pair. They’re made using a non stash yarn, it’s West Yorkshire Spinners new yarn The Croft, which I am more than a little taken with and will rabbit on about in a blog post for Olann and very soon. The yarn was sent to us to review for the mag and begged to be knitted into something more than a simple swatch – even with all that purple.
The pretty Raspberry Ripple yarn in these ones is called Yorkshire Lass from Yorkshire Dale Yarn, which is literally one of the softest yarns ever. I would love a big cosy jumper in the Yorkshire Lad colourway, but I’d probably ruin it within an hour of putting it on. The solid is Mondial by Biolana, one of several balls I bought in 2016 to play with. Needless to say, they’ve been tucked away in a crate waiting ever since.
I used Sublime’s Natural Aran in shades Royal (422) and Teal (425) for this pair. It’s a single yarn, which creates a beautiful soft pair of mitts, with a great deal of lustre, which makes it difficult to photograph (especially when you’re rushing).
Cascade 220 and what I think is Hedgehog Fibres Merino Aran, but as I’ve misplaced the label I can’t be 100% sure. I only had the tinniest amount of the multicoloured yarn, but it’s like the never ending hank, as I probably have enough left to use n another pair of mitts at some stage.
The same shade of Cascade 220 as before, this time I used it for the top of the mitts which I made slightly longer than the pattern suggests. The contrast school uniform grey, is a Rico Design Merino Aran and is one of those shades that looks great with most colours.
So far so good, but it was only when I was photographing and wrapping all seven pairs before heading out, that I noticed my mistake.
They looked fine on first glance and it was only on closer inspection that I noticed this pair, wasn’t a ‘true’ pair. Made using a One of a Kind from Dharma Dyeworks and Blacker Classic Aran from Blacker Yarns, this pair felt a little more substantial than the others, which is probably why I didn’t notice my mistake earlier.
When making the Camp Out Fingerless Mitts, you begin with the garter stitch cuff and then pick up the stitches to knit the sleeve part. (technically, I’m not sure it is a cuff and a sleeve, but I assume you know what I mean?)
You knit a strip of garter stitch and then join together with a three needle bind off so the seam that you’ve created for the cuff is pretty well hidden. Except I wanted to ensure the seam was as unobtrusive as possible, by placing it under the fingers. No problem there, pick up the stitches and continue as before right? Well you do, but you also have to remember to pick up the stitches on the second mitt in the opposite direction to the first. Or else, like me, you’ll end up with two mitts for the same hand, rather than a left and right one 💩
As per usual with me, I’d left myself with no extra time to rectify the situation and if that wasn’t bad enough, on closer inspection I realised I’d made the same mistake on another pair too.
My second Camp Out Fingerless Mitts cock-up was on the final pair I’d made. Worse still, I’d played a serious game of yarn chicken with these and almost lost. The semi-solid shade is an Irish Fairytale worsted weight sock yarn, whilst the solid is New Zealand, by Adriafil and the very last of the gorgeous deep turquoise/peacock blue I had in my stash.
You can imagine how annoyed I was with myself? For a few minutes I’d even managed to convince myself that I could re-knit two whole mitts in less than an hour. Then I went to cutting, knitting and grafting – not possible because of where the thumb opening is.
There was nothing that could be done in the time I had left and therefore nothing else for it.
I wrapped them up, complete with a tag that said they were a handmade gift, made with love, but maybe not as much attention as they should be and I wanted them back so I could fix them.
Well it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mess up somewhere.