Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More Mitts

I have been hard at work on Taylor's mitts. I'm through most of the thumb gusset on the first one. It's relaxing to have a project that's all stocking stitch in the round, as I don't even have to purl!

And don't worry, I haven't forgotten about Highland Triangle #3. I'm about 1/4 of the way through the border on that. I just decided I needed a break from all that shawl knitting!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Knit Mitts

I'm starting in on an exciting new mini-project. Taylor, one of my friends on livejournal, mentioned that she is afraid of freezing to death at the Saratoga reenactment in October. She said she didn't have mitts to go with her outfit, which got me thinking about knitting some. Long story short, I am now making Taylor some knit mitts.

I began with some research, starting with Richard Rutt's A History of Handknitting. This book deals mostly with European knitting, but I was able to confirm from it that most knitting was done in the round in the 18th c. The book also seems to indicate that bar increases for thumb gussets were common. Then I looked at No Idle Hands: A Social History of American Knitting by Anne Macdonald. This book is more about the social meaning behind handknitting, as opposed to talking about knitting techniques. However, there is is nice picture of an 18th c mitten, which clearly shows a worked thumb gusset.

With this knowledge in mind, I looked at some pictures of mitts on the MFA website. They have some gorgeous pieces here. Looking at these examples made me realize that 18th c knitters had one major difference when compared to modern knitters. 18th c knitters didn't mind rolling edges due to the way stocking stitch curls. The MFA site is littered with mitts where the top edge and the thumb edge roll in on themselves. Us modern knitters would freak out if this happened, and would instead use ribbing to finish off these edges. But I haven't seen any garments with ribbing from before the 1830s. So I guess I will have to suck it up and deal with the slight rolling. Maybe I can do something with the bind-off to make it less noticeable. At least I've found examples of mitts with turned under hems, so I don't need to worry about rolling there.

Anywho, after looking through these sources, I came up with a plan for Taylor's mitts. I got some lovely wool, Brown Sheep Naturespun Sport, in the color "ash." It's a sort of beigeish white. The Naturespun is made from US wool and is a plied yarn, which seems to be a good modern substitute for period yarn. It's a little heavier weight than would have been the norm, but not too bad.

I have now worked out a rough pattern, and I am a few inches into the body of the first mitt.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back from Turkey

So I went on another trip, this time to Istanbul, Turkey. One of my classmates was getting married, so Mike and I decided to use that as an excuse to take a vacation. Istanbul is fascinating, what with its rich history and culture. It's an interesting mix between Europe and the Middle East. Turkey is about 98% Muslim, which was a change from the predominantly Christan or Jewish places I have been before. The Turkish government, which is democratically elected, is quite secular compared to those in other Middle Eastern countries. Turkey has also been avidly seeking membership in the European Union and is a member of NATO. This makes Turkey a unique environment in which an American can learn about Islam. The country welcomes tourists, and there is PLENTY to see. I highly recommend visiting!

The store owners do like to target tourists with their sales pitches, though. Like Gloriana, I did get propositioned by more than a few folks asking if I would like to buy a carpet. However, I found nearly everyone I met to be quite friendly, especially when compared to the average person you would meet on the street in the United States.

And of course I have pictures:

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Back from Switzerland

I'm back! It was a good trip, and I learned a lot from the class I took at the Graduate Institute of International Studies. Plus, I got a chance to do some sight seeing. Geneva is beautiful, right on the Rhone, and full of gorgeous parks. This picture is of a HUGE fountain they have on Lake Geneva. It shoots water up 132 feet in the air. I could see it from the plane! As you can see, when I took this picture the wind was blowing in such a way as to create a rainbow effect.

I also visited the Art and History Museum while I was there, and I came across this interesting painting. It's from Delft, and I believe that the woman in the picture is using a swift to wind a ball of yarn. I thought it was an interesting piece.

In addition, I managed to knit a bit on the plane to and from Switzerland, so I am now a ways into the border on Highland Triangle #3. With any luck, I will finish it soon!