Icewine Mittens by Aemmeleia, Patons Classic Wool.
They're finally done and I'm quite delighted with the results. I much prefer mittens to gloves, and these are at least as heavy as my normal plain mittens (made with doubled worsted or bulky weight yarn). The smaller needles make for a denser mitten, so I think these will be at least as warm and considerably more windproof than my usual. And they'll certainly look far more elegant.
There were a few bumps along the way. I'm a big fan of charts- I'm a visual learner and they're pretty straightforward exercises in pattern recognition. Nor am I any stranger to math. I use algebra, geometry and statistics as part of my daily life, both at work and at home. I'm not intimidated by calculus and I even passed differential equations in college. (We won't discuss painful subjects like 'by how much?'.) So what I'm trying to say here, is there is no reason at all why these mittens should have given me any trouble, even if they are my first heavily charted project.
Now, granted, I didn't exactly follow the pattern as written. I suspect that this style of mitten is designed to be worn a bit loose. Or else to be worn by someone with slender hands and narrow thumbs. I found that although the size was fine for the palm, I really needed a gusset to comfortably accomodate the base of my thumb.
Now you're thinking, 'ahah, she messed with the pattern, no wonder it was difficult'- but truly, the thumb gusset wasn't the problem! Okay, sure, there was some inevitable ripping to go back and add in the gusset, but I was fairly pleased with how it fit into the pattern. And there was a bit more ripping on the second mitten to get the pattern around the second gusset to match the first. But I was prepared for that, and it didn't bug me.
No, the part that started to get a little wearing was on the second mitten, when I repeatedly messed up the charting on the back! And mostly it wasn't one stitch here and there, but starting a motif too early, starting a motif too late, ignoring it altogether until I reached the bit where the grapevine loops over to join the leaf...which I'd omitted to knit. Starting the tip decreases, failing to start the pattern change that lets the pattern lead gracefully into the tip decreases. And all of this on the *second* mitten. I can only conclude that on the first one, it was all still new so I was paying better attention. The pattern, I should say, is not in the least at fault here- it's beautifully written and very clear. No, all the credit belongs to me.
There was another minor modification too, that especially pleased me. Instead of drawing the last few stitches together at the tip, I looked for a way to graft it, a method I usually prefer. I wanted to preserve the little pattern that comes up the sides and across the tip. I thought it came out pretty well:
What I did, was I decreased the front and back down to one stitch, and then knotted those two with the main color (the green). At that point I had three stitches on each side still left on the needs, and just kitchenered across the top and wove in the ends. I love it when a plan comes together!
Now onto the next project...a mystery to be sure, since even I don't know what I'm starting next!