Fraternal Twins

Latvian-Inspired Mittens

Introducing the Latvian twins: Larry and Darryl. Or is it Larry and his other brother Darryl?

Since this was my first colorwork project, I thought I’d do a bit of experimenting. As a continental knitter, I was knitting with both strands in my left hand. A bit of research suggested that I should hold the background color on the right (at the tip of my finger), and the foreground color closer to my hand. I did some test knitting, and really didn’t see any difference. If anything, it seemed to look better with the background color (black) on the left, closer to my hand.

So, just for fun, I knitted the first mitten with the black on the left, and the second one with the black on the right. The pattern indicated that the red spots on the hand and the white spots on the cuff could either be knitted in, or done in duplicate stitch later. So of course, I used duplicate stitch on the first mitten, and knitted in the spots on the second one.

My plan was to see what I liked, and then knit a third mitten, knitted to match whichever of the first two I liked best. The problem is that I like both of them, and can’t really decide which I like better. I secretly sort of liked the idea of keeping them mismatched, so when Margene saw them last night and said I should leave them that way, it made up my mind, and that’s what I’m going to do.

The strange thing is that the cuffs look identical. It’s only the hands and thumbs that look different.

And the duplicate stitch and knitted-in stitches also look the same. After doing both, I decided that it was easier to deal with the long floats when knitting the isolated stitches than trying to do the duplicate stitch on the upper half of the first mitten – it was hard to keep flipping between looking at the outside of the mitten (to get the stitch right) and the inside of the mitten (to weave in the strand between stitches). In fact, for the duplicate stitches at the upper part of the mitten, I ended up doing it all from the outside, and just wiggling the needle around inside to catch the yarn floats. It looks fine on the outside, but not too great on the inside.

Pattern: Latvian-Inspired Mittens

Yarn: Patons Classic Merino Wool

Needles: I went up to US6 (the pattern specified US4) in order to get a size that would fit my hand (the pattern is only for Ladies’ small). After starting this on two circular needles, I gave up in a fit of frustration at all of the needle ends, cables and strands of yarn, and used DPNs instead.

The mittens were very quick to knit, and were fun to do. I like the fitted cuff.

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8 Responses to Fraternal Twins

  1. michaele says:

    cute! I love that you experimented with the different methods. There’s a book on Fair Isle knitting (Alice Starmore? Susan or Margene will know which one it is) that shows pictures of the same pattern knit with the background yarn held on the right and held on the left. It does make a difference, according to that author.

  2. Chris says:

    Wow, really dramatic difference on the thumbs. I can never keep straight where the dominant color should be held (I’m a continental knitter, too) – not that I knit enough colorwork for it to matter! I think they look great as they are.

  3. Carole says:

    They look terrific and I’d leave them as a pair, too.

  4. I dig them! And I like you leaving them as is. They’ll be great with your red coat, too.

  5. Miriam says:

    It’s amazing what a difference it makes for the color dominance! Wow! Great experiment and I like the fraternal mitten product. 🙂 I think they’ll be great!

  6. Lark says:

    Great experiment, and very dramatic in the black and white. Love the pancake recipes too!

  7. Carrie K says:

    Cute twins! I switched the hands during my Selbu mittens on one (because I was afraid I was going to run out of yarn) and you could really tell. It’s ……..well, fun.

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