This goofy Fringe and Friends Knitalong tradition of my interviewing myself about my finished project — in keeping with my interviews of the rest of the panel — feels even goofier this time around, since I’m going first! And yet, here goes:
. . .
At kickoff for the Log Cabin Make-along, you noted that you’d chosen a small project for yourself, fingerless mitts, to keep your first-ever Log Cabin project manageable. Now that they’re done, how do you feel about that decision?
I’m very pleased with myself for making that call, and have been having a blast with this little mitts project. What got me hooked on this idea was the construction challenge — exploring the various ways I could imagine of joining a square into a fingerless glove with a gusset, with the hope of finding a solution that was creative and polished and in keeping with the methodologies of log cabin knitting, all at the same time. And which would also be describable for others. (What I might have done were it just me could be different from what I ultimately did, which could be put into pattern form.) So I got to learn and enjoy the basics of log cabin knitting, while also solving this really fun construction puzzle.
I wanted a proper thumb gusset, not just a tube with a slot for the thumb (like these and these). And I wanted the right and left mitts — the log cabin patterning of them — to be mirror images of each other, which requires that they be worked differently. So in the end, it’s two book-matched squares followed by the fun of joining them into the round and sculpting the thumb gusset, which is done in a way that I’ve never seen before (although who knows) and am really proud of.
So you’re loving the process, but how do you feel about the finished object of them?
I am beyond in love with them. In fact, as I told Ann and Kay this weekend, they’re so pleasing to me on so many levels that it feels like they might be the only truly clever thing I’ve ever done in my life. Except I can’t really take much credit — unplanned bits of brilliance simply revealed themselves when I molded the first one into a tube. The top and bottom strips form extremely tidy cuffs, and the long vertical patch down the palm allows some stretch, like ribbing, so it hugs the hand really nicely. I do take credit for the sculpting of the gusset! The geometry of it all really lights me up, and the log cabin essence of them makes them unique and intriguing among all the hundreds of mitt patterns I’ve ever seen and loved. They are SO fun to make. Plus they lend themselves to so much creativity and variation as far as mapping out color and placement! They’ve given me that old “knitting is MAGIC” jolt. Not a bad way to start off a new year.
You were a little torn over yarn, wanting to emulate a textile you love on the one hand and wanting to knit from stash on the other hand. (Not literally, ha! Although that’s a thought …) How did it shake out?
I needed to knit more than one version so I had them to experiment with as far as the joinery and thumb construction. After finishing up the original one from stash yarns — which was the crudest of the rough construction attempts — I decided I really needed to see how it would work with marls, for less contrast. I already had natural Shelter in my stash, so I bought a skein each of the black and grey Shelter marls, and used those for the next iteration. Then being more torn than ever, I put a pic on Instagram and the marl version was overwhelmingly the crowd pleaser. Given that I’m planning to publish the pattern, I also thought it would be good to have the sample be in a specific, available yarn, so I went with the Shelter trio.
There will be lots more of these knitted from my random stash, for sure. I want monochrome ones, sequence textures, flashes of color … all the variations. These are an absolutely fantastic project for odds and ends.
There are sort of two philosophies or camps in the #fringeandfriendslogalong community — those who are hell-bent on keeping stitches live (binding off and picking up as little as possible) and those who savor the bind-offs. Which do you fall into?
While I totally get the impetus and would love to try something free-form and live-stitch at some point (I’m sure it’s faster), I am definitely Team Bind-off-pick-up. I really like the little shadow line you get in the work, the way it emphasizes the geometry of it all. It adds an architectural character that I really really love. But what I never imagined was how you get that sense of satisfaction that comes with binding off any project — over and over and over. I think that’s a big part of what makes log cabin knitting feel so satisfying to me. The tidiness and that “done” feeling, with each completed patch. It feeds my OCD.
Plus picking up stitches is such an important skill in knitting, so the more practice the better, right?
You originally had a bigger, more complex idea in mind and said you might tackle it after the mitts. Is that next?
First I want to knit another dozen pairs of these, lol. And I’m so into all of the boxy sweaters happening on the hashtag, and tempted to do something along those lines. So I don’t know if the cardigan/cocoon/kimono idea will come to fruition or not. Only time will tell! But no matter what, there’s a lot more log cabin in my future. I’m truly grateful to Ann and Kay for recruiting me into the cult.
And about the mitts pattern: When?
As soon as I can finish getting it written, edited and laid out! I’ll be moving on it as fast as possible, because I’m so eager to see what others will do with it. If anyone wants to test knit in the nearer term, let me know!
Pattern: Coming soon [UPDATE: Here’s the free Log Cabin Mitts pattern!]
Yarn: Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed in Fossil, Newsprint and Narwhal
Pictured with: Vanilla cardigan
. . .
To see how everyone else is faring, check out the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed.
PREVIOUSLY in Log Cabin Make-along: Insights and inspiration from the feed
Karen, I would be most interested in test knitting for you!! Let me know if you need references and/or pictures of my work.
A Single Blue Thread (@a.single.blue.thread)
I’ve never actually had anyone test knit anything before so I don’t really know how it works! LOL
Usually receive a draft of the pattern and a timeline for finishing. Some send yarn and others ask that you use your own or purchase recommendation. You receive any notes on pattern and pictures if finished product. Just depends on what works best for you.
This project would probably be fun for all if testers were allowed to use stash. However, someone should do a pair in the Shelter for a good double check.
Hope this is helpful…..
Oh, thank you!
I can’t WAIT to knit these! I wish I had timet o be a test knu=itter, but I’ll just have to wait for the pattern. Hurry! :)
These are so lovely, and congrats on engineering them yourself – that sounds so satisfying! I’d love to test knit if you still need people – just let me know.
Always fun when your idea works out — even better than you expected.
These are so great! I would love to test knit the pattern for you!
So lovely! Wonderful! I also like that they’re a bit shorter than some. My go-to fingerless mitts right now are a bit awkward with shirt sleeves.
They’re 7″ from tip to cuff, but also easy to make longer if desired.
So excited for this pattern. Am on a fingerless mitt jag right now and these look like so much fun! PS – would happily test knit!
They are a really fun little puzzle to put together.
I’m as in love with these mitts as you are! Can’t wait for the pattern: you are so inspirational! Many thanks.
Having had the delicious opportunity to try on the Wonder Mitts of Karen, I can testify that they really do fit like a dream. And they’re fun to gaze upon, because the piecework of the various squares is a bit of a puzzle to figure out. Divine! Such a brilliant exploration of what can happen when you knit a square, bind it off, and add another.
Nice job ! I wonder how they would look with gradient yarn. I’d be demighted to test knit them, and can do the French translation. That would be a funny challenge, as I don’t know how you’ve constructed these beauties.
I am eager to see them in a gradient, partly because I don’t know if it would work — it would play out differently on the right mitt from the left, because it’s worked in a different (non-pinwheel) order. But it might still be fantastic. I’ve been wondering …
Awesome! These are great! Nice job…soooo fun!
Looking forward to the pattern…woahhhooaaa!
These are so fun. if you need any more test knitters let me know I have lots of my own handspun that would be great for this pattern.
Really great! Can’t wait for your pattern release!
These would be fantastic in some colorful Noro. We are all waiting with bated breath for your pattern!
I’d love to test knit these! The finished work is delightful and I love the mirror-imaging of the pattern. Can’t wait to see a whole bunch of color combinations and variations. <3
Insta @ 1laststitch
Love these!!! The gusset is so intriguing and the construction sets my imagination in motion! Can’t wait for the pattern!
The gusset is a little bit of a magic trick! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get it just right, but it’s perfect.
You are a genius Karen. But what tempted me most: the pure joy that comes with the knowledge that one invented something. Hooray!
Someone will probably tell me there are a hundred patterns on Ravelry with a similar thumb solution, but I don’t care either way! I had a blast sorting it out, and in the end it is so perfect it seems obvious or even ordinary. That’s when you know it’s good, right?
These are totes brill! And exactly what I need to coordinate with my marl-y log cabin cowl that I’m finishing up. My yarn is DK weight but I’m sure I could fudge it by working a couple of extra ridges here and there. <3
These are knitted on 6s, the first version was a mix of DK and worsted. They’re pretty adaptable!
These a so awesome! Of course I love the colors but the whole design turned out so well. And totally different from any mitt patterns I’ve seen. Sweet…
“that sense of satisfaction that comes with binding off any project — over and over and over”
So much THIS!!!!
Wonderful. I agree with the thumb gusset you created – a real one – works so well. Every Christmas I knit my daughter-in-law 1/2 mitts (well this year I was sick and knitted 2 left hands.) These would be perfect. Portland, Oregon weather is so appropriate for gloves like this. I can’t wait for the pattern.
Those look fantastic, and I am in dire need of a new pair of mitts, having left mine on the bus last week! I would love to be part of your team of test knitters
Oh no! Well, that is urgent.
I’m guessing you have a full list by now, but I’ll throw my name in for test knitting as well
All full on test knitters yet?
I do have a flood!
I’d also like to put myself on the test knit list! I just sorted all my leftover scraps and am itching to use them up. :)
I’ll let you know! Have to sort this all out—but pattern soon, regardless!
These are wonderful and I do want to knit them !! Even in CA the mornings can be down right nippy.
Thank you for your great ideas. Bravo
I would never have survived Northern CA without my trusty mitts.
Please add me to your army of test knitters. I’m enjoying the #fringeandfriendslogalong so much that it feels like the least I can do.
I’m new to your blog – and very pleased to have found it. Love the self-interview: provides a mechanism to really think through what you want to get across. LOVE the mittens and the yarn !!!
After I finished it, I was like “maybe all posts should be q&a” … it really is helpful!
Karen, these are brilliant!! I can’t wait to make a pair and I have empty needles if you want/need another tester! And I *may*have just bought an extra skein of Silk Garden this weekend when I was Fussy Cuts shopping….
Yaaaaaas!!! They are brilliant and a pattern is needed urgently as I’m sure the weather will snap cold again soon!! I will just wait till the pattern comes out though, looks like you will have plenty of test knitters. ;)
I love these! I haven’t had the bandwidth to join in the logalong, but I will be all over these mitts when you publish the pattern. Been thinking all day about color and scrap yarn combinations. So fun!
I am looking forward to seeing the pattern. I have some odd bits of yarn that may be a be a good fit for this pattern.
Would love to test knit these! I’m in Vancouver and winter seems like it’s pretty much over so I’d love to whip these up while the weather is still mild enough for them. Log cabin is the best stash buster!
These are really cute! I want a dozen pairs too 😊
I would also love to test knit. I have a bunch of single skeins of Shelter that need a purpose. Thank you.
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Guessing you’re more than over flowing with testers but if you can squeeze in one more from across the pond I’d be more than happy to join and start immediately. Thanks
I am in good shape, but thank you and the pattern will be available ASAP!
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I, too, am anxious for your mitts pattern. Your Wabi mitts are so cute in person. When my 32yo daughter was going through chemo last year, I made a pair for her and for each one of her sweet friends who helped her along her journey. I would like to thank them again for being so special, by making them all a new set of matching mitts! I’m saradenbo on Ravelry.
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