After the success of the plain blue, doubled mittens, I knew I had to pump up the volume, LOL. Rob really liked his alpaca gloves, but found the cuffs stretched out, and they weren't as warm as mittens, obviously. I thought, what about doing the mittens with the inside in alpaca, and the whole cuff in the outside yarn? He has a red/white/grey coat that he wears, and I happened to have red, white, and grey sock yarns. For the grey, I actually used an unknown ball of yarn from Value Village...it did come with a little spool of matching thread, so I know it's actually Lang JaWoll sock yarn. But not enough for socks, or anything on it's own. But in a Fair Isle pattern...great!
I really haven't done much with the punch cards...rectangular items with no shaping, and with patterns that had only a two row repeat...I could look at the card, and figure out what was going on. However, the row you look at on the punch card while knitting, is not the row that is actually being knitted! It's kind of freaky, actually. I did actually make two tops in a tuck pattern, but never finished up either of them, and I hadn't done anything with fair isle. Now was the time to try. The mitten pattern suggested doing a pattern in the area between the thumb and the mitten top, but gosh, why limit yourself?
First step....swatch! You can see in the first grey band on the right, that it's not centered on the white cross. Oops. That's why we swatch. I also realized that I wanted it "the other way"..what was white should have been red, so that when I switched to the grey, the crosses would be grey.
I've got to say...knitting that swatch was one of the most fun things I've done on the machine! You feed both colours into the carriage (two colour limit, sadly...until I get a "colour changer"), and it knits with both colours across the row, in one pass! The floats are even and not puckering. I'm not sure I can hand knit Fair Isle again!!! I had to do a bit of math for these mitts, although I was lucky that I already had some details from doing the original alpaca gloves. I also had some info on gauge from the blue mitts, although of course, Fair Isle is a different gauge, but the big swatch helped with that. My challenge, after I got hooked on the Fair Isle, was making the pattern match up...I hadn't thought about that. The repeat is 24 stitches....what if I needed 65 st? As it turned out, somehow the math gods were on my side, and I needed approximately 72 stitches, or three repeats! It did mean that they would appear a little 'off center' but strangely, my husband isn't bothered by that.I did stick with the 'after thought' thumb, I thought that would be the easiest way to deal with the thumbs, and he had never stated a preference (although I had never made him this style before, LOL). Looking at these pictures, and how great it looks, I almost forgot about the huge headache they caused me! When I sewed up the first mitt, I found out I had done the thumbs on opposite sides! I tried it on, and I could swivel the inner mitt around so they lined up. I figured that was good enough, and went on to the other mitt, making sure I had both thumbs on the same side. Well, I managed that...but they were on the same side as the outer thumb on the first mitt!!
I ran through a few different options, but I didn't want to unravel the first mitt as the ends were all woven in and trimmed, and I had used exactly one ball of the red, and the remainder of a ball of the alpaca, and I didn't want to break open new balls (oh my!). So...I unravelled the outside thumb and grafted closed the slot, and snipped open a new slot on the opposite side. A little scary, but I think it worked out! I also messed up one row of grey, in one of the mitts...but that's minor!
I stayed up very late, finishing the mitts, and tucked them into his coat pockets before going to bed. Of course, the weather instantly warmed up. LOL. He really likes them, although he says the wind does blow through a bit, and could I line them with something windproof....umm...I do have some polyurethane film, like for use in making diaper covers, but it's just the plastic, it's not laminate to fabric. However, then you're into sewing, etc, and then you can't pull apart the two layers to make them dry quicker...I told him he shouldn't walk so fast that he creates hand wind :)