Colorwork and I just do not get along.

My latest attempt is a pair of After the Rain Mittens, which appealed to me both for the bright, happy colors, and the fact that the stranding would make them thicker and warmer. Since I’ve recently become a fan of walking to work, and the weather has taken a turn for the bitter, I have been wearing my Ringwood gloves (or packing them in my bag) religiously.

But digits get cold more easily when they’re separated from their siblings. (This is one reason I’m not a huge fan of toe socks.) I was walking home one morning, thinking, “these are 100% wool, I should be warmer than I am.” Then I realized that wool mittens would help with that, allowing my fingers to share their heat with one another. I’d had After the Rain queued for a long time, I had the right yarn in my stash (for once; I can’t remember ever using the suggested yarn on anything I’ve made), and I’d even dyed it to match the colors in the pattern.

(Except, well, I didn’t dye it to match. Instead of a light and a dark green, I only dyed one green. Then I dyed a pink, which isn’t in the pattern. I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I was thinking of Starburst jellybeans.)

According to the pattern, I should be an adult medium. I didn’t do a gauge swatch, because as much as I hate swatching in stockinette, I’m sure not going to do it in colorwork. But I went up two needle sizes, so I thought it would work out okay.

And it actually did, until I separated the thumb stitches. The hand was too narrow: I could get it on, but it was a stretch. It distorted the stitches. So I decided to frog and reknit the large size. Unfortunately, I had already woven in a metric asston of ends. I painstakingly picked them out (it did make me feel better about my ends coming undone), and now I have a bag of butterflies.

file0_medium2Fortunately I still have plenty of the yarn left, since I won’t really be able to use these on a larger size (except for the thumb and the tip of the hand). I am doubtful about my ability to make a Waneka Cowl out of the leftovers. But I do have a whole skein of plain Fisherman’s Wool I can dye if I need to.

Colorwork is one of those things that people tend to shy away from because it looks hard. Personally, I’m never one to back down from a challenge (and I think it’s silly to be afraid of knitting), so my only reason for not really doing much of it, was that I didn’t really see the need to. I just don’t see that many colorwork designs that make me think “ooh, I must have that!” I mean, the fornicating deer are kind of cute, and this is pretty hilarious, but most of the designs I see, I think are old-fashioned looking.

I have seen a couple of designs that I liked: one was Cowasocky. I dyed some yarn for that, too, and I actually enjoyed making them. Problem was, I used cheap yarn (Lion Brand’s Sock Ease), and they now look dingy and faded after only about half a dozen washes. (I don’t wear them that much, because, as previously mentioned, they aren’t that good at keeping your toes warm.)

I also just finished a pair of F’Argyle Socks, which don’t really involve that much colorwork, as colorwork goes. I think I made those harder than they had to be: the pattern instructs you to switch to a much larger needle size (from US 1 to US 3) to work the color chart. I thought such an abrupt change would look weird, so instead I increased gradually, but that just made the whole leg baggy and wonky-looking. I ended up frogging three times; if I hadn’t put in a lifeline after finishing the heel, I probably would have thrown the cursed things in the fire pit. (Finally I just trusted the pattern, and it turned out looking fine.)

I think after these mittens are finished, I’m sticking with solids for a while.