Glorious Cabled Mitts by Karen Adams caught my eye on Ravelry before I even knew how to knit, and it's been in my queue for a while, waiting for me to feel ready to tackle cables. Learning new techniques is one of my knitting goals now that I feel pretty comfortable with the basics, and now that I've tried cabling on my secret rough-draft project, it was time to cast on the mitts.
I'm using The Fibre Co. Canopy Fingering in Plum, using a US 1 needle. This combination is mostly due to my stubbornness. The pattern calls for a light fingering, which the Canopy Fingering is not, and for a US 0 needle, which I translate to "at least US 1". Since the yarn is a little heavy for this pattern, I feel like I should have used a US 0, but I don't have one and didn't want to go buy one. Or, since I wanted to use the needles I had, I could have bought a more appropriate yarn, but I really wanted to use the Canopy Fingering. Conclusion: I'm knitting stupidly tight, again, because I'm worried about the mitts turning out too big.
Now that I've gotten as far as the thumb gusset increases, I think the fit is fine for me. All those cables are driving me nuts, though, and I would like to do them without a cable needle, but it's too tricky. Not only are my stitches too tight and tiny, but the yarn is a little fuzzy and splitty, so it's hard to get it all back on the needle.
Whining aside, I really like this pattern. I'll probably make it again, using different yarn - these mitts might make nice gifts.
In the spirit of trying different things, I also picked out a pattern from this amigurumi book that I bought in Japan last November. Japanese patterns are given as charts, which is nice if you can't read Japanese, but I'm not a huge fan of charts. It's going pretty well, though, and I can definitely see the advantage of charts. They make me a little dizzy, but it's easier to visualize what you're doing and where to put your increases and decreases, than it is when you're trying to mentally transfer written instructions into a three-dimensional object.
I'm making the tanuki, which is the little guy in the third row down, second column from the right on the book's cover. As you can see, I've got about half of his bits and pieces done. I'm not super thrilled with how he's turning out, but again, this is because I'm using yarn that doesn't feel quite right for the project. I don't really have the appropriate colors, and this brown is a little too "blah" for him. I actually really want to make the maneki neko (the waving cats), and I do have yarn that works for them, but I thought I should do a warm-up project first. Not a great idea, since this guy will probably go into hibernation soon. Still, it's nice to get this book out and actually use it, not just let it sit around as a souvenir.