Mitten Maddness

It all started with the Bird in the Hand Mittens. I know, they’re popping up everywhere. They’re this season’s Anemoi mittens. Uber-popular. Must-Have Mittens.

Yes, I love this pattern too. Unfortunately my “e-money” budget this holiday season doesn’t allow for impulse purchases of trendy patterns, even when I do need to knit a mitten set for a gift. (Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this. Apologies if my whinging over patterns I can’t have is boring anyone!)

These mittens, they’ve really opened my eyes to some elements of design here, stirring up all kinds of thinky-thoughts. For one, they are non-repeating and non-symmetrical. Quite a change from most Norwegian mittens out there. For two, they have cute designs in unexpected places, especially the palm-motif that breaks up the background repeat. And for three, for all that they are very visually interesting, they’re also relatively simple.

I have a strange disconnect when it comes to designs I find appealing. I need things to be balanced (e.g. asymmetrical hems are not for me, unless there are an even number of points or something like that), and yet, I also have issues thinking geometrically (math intimidates me). Knitting-wise, this means that I’ll avoid both freeforms and square blocks! But charting a design that has to fill a set space, but not necessarily repeat x times over y rows… that I guess just struck the right balance in my mind.

For the past three nights I have done hardly any knitting at all. I have searched Ravelry all through, looking at cuffs and hems and stranded patterns. I’ve found inspiration in Persian textiles, Roman mosaics, and on blackwork embroidery websites (sadly, you can’t just use those charts directly). And done a lot of scribbling in knitter’s chart-paper!

In these evenings I’ve had moments of inspiration where I’ve been in the kind of zone I haven’t found for a long while. I think of these as “muse-struck” moments; when I don’t entirely know what I’m creating, I just know that it’s right. The creativity flows, everything works, and then it ebbs away… When I start struggling for the next rhyme or line or stitch, I know the moment has passed.

Oh Muse, how I have missed you! Thank you for returning in this new and strange guise.

I’ve charted at least one design that I absolutely must knit for Dru as a result of these muse-moments. (In January, when there are no more knitting deadlines!) And I’ve struck on a design for the gift-mittens I’m quite pleased with, if I do say so myself. For three evenings straight, I have been designing. Now I knit, and see how it all works out…

mitten wip

* * * * *
Remember, today’s the last chance to enter my contest! I know I said Friday evening, but I’ll probably not tally up until mid-day tomorrow…

8 Comments

Filed under contest, knitting, mitts, rambling

8 responses to “Mitten Maddness

  1. January… no deadlines… I’m not even sure if I believe that any more, but how _nice_ it would be…!

    I of course won’t believe until I try that blackwork doesn’t translate, but it is true that you’d either have to do it larger, or lose the pointy bits. Total sympathy on the poverty end, but at least you’re letting it stimulate creativity!

  2. I love the colors you have chosen for your mittens. I’ll bet your design will be even better than the currently trendy one, since it will be your own!

  3. Personally I’d still like the Anemoi mittens. So cool looking! I really like the colors you chose for your mittens, too. Makes me wish I could make my own pattern… someday.

  4. Your colors for the mittens are really cool. Wow, the Anemoi mittens look like so much fun to do! Wish it were cool enough here for mittens (I’ve been longing to try some Latvian patterns…)

    Will be fun to see what you come up with in terms of your own design!

  5. Oooh, I can’t wait to see these mittens! I LOVE that color combo :)

  6. i love the color combo you are using…hubby’s and my fav 2 colors! I am still getting new to ravelry even though i have been on for months…but, i am getting much knitting done instead of surfing!

  7. Love the colors you are working – can’t wait to see the design!

  8. You’re so smart to do the designing first! I’ve been playing around with graph paper for the past half hour (shhh..don’t tell my boss!) and think I’ve come up with something that will work – hooray!

    btw – don’t you find dpns fiddly with the two-color ribbing? I had to switch to magic loop!

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