Advent Mittens (or, how I learned to knit)

  So for a couple years now, I’ve been wanting Advent Mittens.  Just a string of mittens, preferably with numbers on them, which I could hang around the fireplace in December and put cute little handmade advent gifts in.  But all the ones I saw for sale were expensive.  And they weren’t quite the right colors for my taste.  And it seemed so simple!  So I knew I had to make it myself.  There was just one problem:  I didn’t really know how to knit.

Now, normally I’m not the sort of person who’d let this stop me.  But my mom knits, so I’d tried to learn to knit several times before.  And technically, I’d learned.  I knew how to do a knit stitch, and after watching someone do a purl I could remember how that went as long as I was in a project, and I’d even knitted a pair of mittens before.  But it always felt awkward, and slow, and unnatural.  I am lazy, and usually a quick learner, so I have very little patience with anything which doesn’t come easily.  So I hated knitting.  So I tried other methods.

I tried flat felt, sewn together.  Old felted sweaters, serged together.  Crochet, I think.  I contemplated needle felting, and even weaving around some sort of mitten-blank.  The thing was, all the easy ways gave a weak and/or inflexible result, and none of the methods looked like mittens.  Mittens, to me, are fundamentally hand-knit out of yarn.  So I found a pattern, and thought that even if I didn’t like it, it was just one mitten a day, and they were small.  How bad could it be?  Here are some things I learned:

  • Knitting one small mitten a day is really excellent practice, and doing it for a month will make you much better and more comfortable with knitting!
  • December is not the correct time to attempt to knit one mitten per day, no matter how small.
  • Knitting a mitten each day does not leave me time to make cute little presents to put in them.
  • The kids would rather have candy for breakfast anyway.
  • Candy for breakfast is Bad.
  • Spots are much harder than stripes, and should probably wait until more than halfway through the month.
  • Numbers are Right Out, I will embroider them or something later.
  • When you have no numbers, and no cord to put the mittens on, you don’t even need to finish the month!  Just go until you have a bunch, and then try to finish sometime before December next year.

On the whole, the project was a success.  I didn’t make enough mittens (though I found two more after taking the picture), and they are different shapes and sizes because I abandoned the pattern after a few days.  The spotted one is lumpy as well, and took three times as long as the others.  But, they look like mittens!  And they look good in my living room!  And they hold presents!  And I’m comfortable knitting now!

This opens up a whole new potential storage problem in the craft room…

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~ by hearthwife on January 17, 2012.

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