Sunday, April 19, 2009

Iceland in Spring

A couple of months ago the cousins got together for a reunion Pot Luck dinner. It was fun catching up with them and it gave me the chance to get to know some of the spouses I'd never really spoken to in the past. In thinking about why, I realized our usual reasons for getting together are either weddings or funerals. With those events, everyone is distracted, or the crowd is large, or it's just not the time and place to simply relax and let a conversation flow. So it was a real treat to just come together for dinner and catching up. It was also oddly liberating to have none of the Aunts and Uncles around.

During the evening cousin Patti and her husband Neal talked about experiences out West and good friends who own a sheep farm in Oregon. They were all excited about my knitting and described the Icelandic sheep on the farm - cute and really wooly little guys!

Icelandic Mitts 1

That was all I needed to remember I had some wonderful Icelandic yarn in my stash and the next day I pulled out my options and started swatching for some fingerless mitts. In addition to the gorgeous gray and Mustard dyed Icelandic I picked up in Rhinebeck, my friend Rosie G decided to sell some fingering weight yarns from her stash. At the time I was in an Icelandic state of mind and snatched them up immediately!

At first glance one would not think these fingerings to be complimentary. The yellow is a variegated with mint green, apricot and pale blue - overall it leans toward the pastel side. And the purple is a dusky tone, with just enough shading to make it well rounded, interesting, lively.

All winter long I've been hankering for some fingerless mitts and was afraid that using just one color as a stand alone would not stretch far enough. So colorwork it is.

Initially I thought I would use these for some Endpaper mitts and try my hand at colorwork. I made a valiant effort, and every time I sat down to work a few rows of the pattern, I would put the project down and stare at it. Something just didn't work for me. Something about the fuzziness of the yarn bothered me when worked up in this pattern. Looking at the half finished mitt now, maybe it wasn't the yarn so much as my knitting skill. I need to practice the two color fair isle technique. Ahem.

Mitt Fail!

I kept going back to my little striped swatch. Finally I succumbed to the siren call of the stripe. Oh, the stripe, you know I love thee. The project certainly took on a quicker pace once I switched over to the stripe. And maybe that's what I needed: something finished. Something I could use at least once or twice before the Spring finally made them unnecessary till months from now.

Icelandic Hat and Mitts 4

The mitts fit great. And that Icelandic wool - it's really warm. After finishing the mitts I realized there's enough yarn left over to whip out a slouchy hat. Many are the mornings I am racing out of the house to work and my hair is still wet. The 5 blocks to the subway can get mighty cold, but wearing my other hats gives me a serious case of hat head. Why not a slouchy hat to protect the hair from icing up without smashing it like a pancake?

Icelandic Hat and Mitts 1

The hat borders on the frumpy and it's key to wear it with a bit of slouch and some hair hanging out. Otherwise it takes on a look of 'shower cap'. Not a good thing. But I am happy with the way it turned out as it will serve it's wet hair purpose nicely.

Icelandic Hat and Mitts 3

Now if I could just find an easier way to model my work and shoot it at the same time. I need to find out if this little camera has a remote control. My arms are just not long enough!


bitterpurl said...

ooo definitely stripes ftw! I love how the colors work together

Rosi G. said...

Stripes DEFINITELY worked better!! Those came out great!

Katie M. said...

Lovely stripes! They looks so perfect in the Icelandic yarn.

I come from a family of sheep farmers out West (as a descendant, not a participant) but I don't know if they ever had Icelandic sheep. Might be a bit hot for the poor things in the summer.