Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

08 November 2007

Thumbless Mitten Progress

I can't help it: don't they look like the thumbless mittens you put on babies to keep their sharp little fingernails from scratching their faces?

The red-licorice tangle on the left is the yarn I laid in so I can pick up stitches inside and outside for the thumbs.

I laid in two stitches on the back and five on the front, so they end up being not quite a palm thumb and not quite a "sore thumb". This compromise seems to help keep the backs and fronts from shifting off to the side.

In a solid-color mitten, that's not critical, but in a strongly-patterned mitten, it's very obvious when the front is pulling around towards the back and vice versa.

Here's a shot from when I was decreasing at the top. I could hardly stand to let go of them at that point, so I put the mitten on my knee and picked up the camera.

The hardest part was shifting the stitches (two green, two white) so I could do the appropriate decrease. Needles hardly ever slip out of my knitting, but they make an exception for times when I only have three stitches on a needle!

I haven't picked up the Valdani crochet thread bag in many a month. I guess summer was just too hot and sticky to try and touch it. But maybe in reaction to the scale of the mittens, yesterday I heard tiny knitting calling my name again. (It's tiny, so it's a very small and very high-pitched voice.)

I'm grateful for the return of cool, dry weather, and the impulse to knit in miniature again.

Julie (Samurai Knitter) was blogging recently about the incredible gauges found in some of the really early knitting artifacts, crazy stuff like 20 stitches to the inch.

This bag is on Dritz doll needles, 1.010 mm (oh, man, do I love my new micrometer!), knitted with size 8 and size 12 Valdani pearl cotton. And I'm getting about 15 stitches to the inch. I just measured the nothing I have on 4-0's (1.25 mm) knitted with tatting cotton, and that's still right around 15 stitches per inch. (Okay, okay, 14.6, if you must know.)

Dang it, what's it going to take to get down to 20 stitches per inch? The probably-Dutch petticoat in the V&A, T.177-1926, is supposed to have about 22 stitches per inch. And it's 120 inches in circumference.

I leave the stitch count as an exercise for the reader.

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Blogger amy said...

ack. that's my response to the petticoat math.

beautiful mittens, they truly are. lovely job.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Good grief, I hadn't realized that petticoat was at such a small gauge. My head is swimming just from the estimated stitch count. I often wonder what motivates a person to knit something like that. Was it a masterwork? Were they bored? Was it for a special occasion? (I'm betting on special occasion, or the thing would have been worn to rags and thrown away. Wedding, I bet.)

If you do get down to 20 stitches per inch, please let me know what size and material the needles are, because I'm going to be contacting a metallurgist (whose wife knits) about that whole steel/spread of knitting topic. Plus I'm really curious.

Oh. And you're insane. I like that in my friends, but you're insane.

10:03 AM  

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