Like many who have knitted this pattern, I too love it. I love the pattern (and though I don’t actually know her personally, I think I might love Eunny for writing the pattern), I love the yarn I used, and I love the finished mittens.
Lest you think that I should have titled this post “mitten love,” I will tell you one more thing I love about these mittens: I love that they are mine. I have been a knitter for a little over two years now and since I picked up the sticks I have never knit a thing for myself. No, nothing. Maybe you are sitting there thinking, “what a crock, what about your first project?!” No. My first project was a garter stitch scarf made on size 19 needles with LB Homespun, you know the one, the pattern is on the ball band; I was so impressed with how it came out, I obviously couldn’t keep it for myself, it had to be given away. At least the person I gave it to still wears it, all the time as a matter of fact—I need to knit her something else so she can graduate up to some wool or something, but that’s another post for another time.
As I was saying, no knitting goods for me…you see, the idea never occurred to me. Sure, I marked patterns and made mental notes of the things that I wouldn’t mind knitting for my own personal use or wear, but if it was an accessory or something-of-the-like it went to someone else if it came out half way decent (and trust me, when “half-way decent” is your benchmark, you can achieve success quite easily). In truth, to combat this giving away of the goods I started knitting a sweater for myself (Arwen, what?) thinking, “well, if it’s made with my measurements in mind, then obviously I will keep it…” and then I let knitting for others get in the way of my finishing it, because “it’s just for me, I can wait…” But then there were these mittens, these Anemois mittens with beautifully curved scrolls reminiscent of Kelmscottian design.
The special collections librarian in me that deals with rare books, of course, loves that detail. So I got the pattern thinking that this would be the knit, for me, that I would get around to some day. Perhaps it was Project Spectrum, or maybe it was my tiring of the cables in Arwen, but “some day” happened a lot sooner than I expected. And I must say, this knitting for one’s self, it’s the cat’s pajamas (yes, I really do say cat's pajamas--yes, I know).
There are a some who dub knitting for one’s self as “selfish knitting,” I never thought of it this way when I was doing all that knitting for others, or “gift knitting” if you wish, it just never really occurred to me to knit something for myself at the time. But now, I have all sorts of crazy plans…but there will still be the knitting for others, because I am a giver (it gives me some sort of weird high, I really like doing things for other people, it's a compulsion). But, really a knitter knitting for the sake of producing personal goods, that’s not selfish at all.
I think there is a certain art to knitting for one’s self. Pattern selection, is perhaps, the key to success, maybe this doesn’t apply to small things or accoutrement; but, with sweaters, it’s nice to know in advance that just because it looks good on that red head in Interweave Knits, there’s no guarantee it will look half as good on you. So maybe that’s what scared me off of Arwen, because honestly, I am having my doubts about how it’s going to fit me, but mittens, they are a safe bet. And well, these mittens? Well, of course they will look good, and of course they are totally worth the effort, and of course I should keep them.
Another part of the “art” involved in knitting goodness for me was not obsessing over small details. When I knit for others I usually obsess about the knitting (because to be truthful, I obsess over things in general), while knitting these mittens, I made it a point to enjoy the knitting, every moment of it. I enjoyed knitting the Anemois so much when I noticed mistakes two are three rows back (as I did many times) I had no problems ripping back and re-knitting. “Oh, rip back and have the opportunity to prolong the knitting of this Koigu fabulousness in this gorgeous pattern? Yes, please.” There are a few things that could have been improved, there is a “wobbly” stitch here and there; but, I can see the forest from the trees—I just don’t care. And if I don’t care, then no one else should.
The last “art” I am going to mention is that of use. Some of you may think that there is no art to using knit items, but I think there is art in all sorts of things, my friends. For me it would be very easy to not use these mittens because of the work I put into them and the possibility that I could lose one (because, as you may remember, I love them). And then there is the very likely possibility of getting them dirty…with things like baby drool …
But if they don’t get used, they wouldn't live up to their functional purpose, and what possible good would that serve? And though I don’t like to draw attention to myself, for the most part (I mean, I do have a blog after all), I want people to see my mittens and tell me how great they are, because I LOVE them, and the recognition of their greatness gives my mitten love all sorts of validity.
So if you aren’t already doing so, go knit something for yourself. You know you’re worth it.
Pattern: by Eunny Jang
Yarn:Koigu (love), 1 skein each of off-white (0000) and medium blue (sorry, I have no idea about the color code/dye lot)
Needles: Aluminum US 2s, Bates? Boyes? I have no idea, they were fast and smooth.
Modifications: Just one, I knit the cuffs on 2s instead of the prescribed 0s. With the 0s I kept getting a cuff that Special K “thought was the start of a baby sock…”