With the weaving soundly in time out for a bit, I've embarked on a training project for Ravelympics. I've been spinning the yarn I'll use for the mittens I'll make in competition and I was stuck not knowing if I wanted to use the alpaca singles or ply them. I had enough wraps per inch to use singles, but I spent yesterday swatching a plied sample while my wheel sat idle at my spinning circle. As is the case on Saturday mornings, one conversation led to another, and Sue asked if I'd seen the new Piecework Magazine. I had not, so Marilyn promptly put an issue under my nose.
The swatching tasks at hand fell instantly out of my mind as I paged through the annual historic issue of Piecework. Once I came to the article on Latvian mittens, it was all over but the yarn selection.
Last night I cast on for the Birch Mittens and today I've started the color work all in leftover Blue Sky Alpaca. I may have bought the magazine, but I've stayed on my yarn diet.
Interestingly, the knitter who was famous throughout Latvia for her mittens was initially limited with the yarns she could use. I think it's possible that some of her techniques for weaving in strands of yarn for detail, may have been done to conserve her stash. For instance, though I didn't do it on my cuff, the directions call for splitting the plies of yarn for the weaving of contrasted stitches (those sideways slashes that look like Morse code).
I'm usually not thankful for the rain, but I am today. It gives me an excuse (not that I need one) to stay indoors and knit. Rachel is watching Winnie the Pooh and I'm engrossed in a complicated, historical pattern. Since this pattern involves color work, I'll just chalk it up to a day in training for the events that start in just a couple of weeks.
Pattern: Birch Mittens from Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Piecework by Barbara Plakans
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca from my stash
Needles: US 1.5 (2.50 mm)