Project Re-Visit: Komi Mittens
Posted by Jared Flood on
I always love to read about finished knits - when something is fresh off the needles and takes its final shape, it's a great moment. You can get a full summary of the process, complete with frustrating details and lessons learned, with the knowledge that in the end everything turned out great (or at least good enough, I believe we always take something away from our process, even if its not a 'wearable' garment). Its unfortunate that after the big 'show-and-tell' is done, the piece falls out of our (readers) collective consciousness. That's just the nature of knitblogging I guess. For the lucky knitter who finished something wonderful, though, they get to enjoy their garment for months (and if the wool is a quality one, years) to come. I love seeing hints of past projects popping up in current blog photos - a piece of your knitted past cropping up in the background or someone wearing an old FO nonchalantly now that the excitement of the finish has past. I like to place old knits in the background of my photos from time to time (sometimes some of you notice). In this vein, I really love the idea of project re-visits, months or years after the item was knitted. This year I'd like to work a little bit to revisit some of my old favorites and update you on how they've been wearing. I think its a great way of reviewing pattern, yarn, and design - all being important factors in our future project decisions. So today we start the re-visit program with one of my favorite knits from 2006:
These are Komi Mittens by Charlene Schurch from her wonderful book Mostly Mittens: Traditional Knitting Patterns from Russia's Komi People*, knit last winter. It was my first real stranded knitting project and the one that got me hooked. The detailed post is here. These have seen a lot of wear, especially in the last couple of months - not by me (I'm not a huge mitten fan), but by another on-the-go-New-Yorker type, and I figured it was time to put them back under the magnifying glass. The yarn is 'Palette' from KnitPicks. A fingering weight Peruvian wool that comes in a pretty basic palette (haha) and lends itself well to colorwork mittens, socks, hats, and if you have a crazy amount of time on your hands, sweaters. For the price, you can't beat this one, especially if you're searching for a basic color representation and relatively solid wool (the project cost was under $4.00 after all). I was mostly curious about how this yarn would hold up over time, and as I report at this point, its done pretty well. There is a bit of pilling, but its a rather "clean" pill that is easily shaved. You can see some of the pilly halo on the edges of the mittens in the above picture. These were shot last weekend and have had no shaving done to them whatsoever since their origin.
This is what happens when the photographer's patience outlasts the model's
Pattern and designer I regard very highly, in fact, Ms. Schurch is the reason I would like to bring these mittens to your attention once again. Charlene has produced many wonderful books, Mostly Mittens and Hats On! being two of my favorites. Sock Knitters, I'm sure you're familiar with Sensational Knitted Socks, another one of hers. If you like colorwork and have a veritable weakness for traditional knits (that you can surely spin for a more contemporary look) as I do, I think you would definitely benefit from having a look at these books. At least check your library, they seem to be well stocked, at least in the libraries I've checked. I've had the itch to get some fingering-weight stranded gloves on my needles. I greatly enjoy colorwork in general, but there's something ultra satisfying about working it in fingering weight on US1's. Therefore, I loved knitting the mittens, but as I mentioned above, I can't deal with actually wearing them. I'm too annoyed by the loss of finger mobility. It feels too much like a puppet show, and I don't know about you, but puppets kinda freak me out.
*This book also masquerades by another name: Knitting Marvelous Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia. I believe this is the newer edition. From what I can tell, the contents (patterns) are exactly the same.