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Mittens for my nephew, Harrison

Completed in October 2007 for Christmas


The last of the Christmas Mitten Project is intended for Harrison and will be in the following colors.

It's now 16 August 2007 and I have been thinking and thinking about these mittens but have done no knitting till now.

Harrison lives in the mountains of Colorado and so I thought it appropriate to design snowflakes falling from a blue sky, onto green pine trees. Harrison is an outdoorsy boy, who fishes and hikes and camps in the wilderness.

In Harrison's hometown, there are often elk wandering about, through the town, into people's yards. Elk are everywhere, sometimes in huge herds.

An elk looks kind of like a reindeer or a moose. And so, I took pencil to graph paper and came up with this.

Notice that I frogged the green pine trees. They were just too much. The trees had to be ripped out.

So, the overall idea is: there's snow falling from a blue sky, onto the elk which are walking on green grass.

Why there's green grass during a snowfall, I'm not quite sure.

And here's the palm side of the mitten.

Today is 21 August 2007, and I am about to frog this entire, finished mitten. I just don't like it. The elk needs a little more meat on his bones. There needs to be more snow in the sky. The thumb is too fat.

So, now I am trying to dream up Design #2.....

Today is 17 September 2007, and I chopped off Harrison's thumb. It had to go. My friend, Caroline, suggested that I "re-use" the mitten; I could turn it into something else. So, I sutured the thumb wound, and felted the thumbless, lone mitten in the washing machine. Now, this little felted pouch is a perfect place to keep my computer backup drive.

Today is 20 September 2007, and I have now re-started Harrison's Christmas mittens, although they are no longer mittens. I am designing a hat for Harrison, in the good woodsy reddish-brown color (that reminds me of the color of his father's hair). On the hat will be a repeated motif of elk in the forest....

I think that Harrison might get more use out of a hat than mittens, anyway.

Today is 23 October 2007 and I just mailed Harrison's "mittens" to him in the States. We've been having postal strikes here in London (without, surprisingly, anyone going postal) and I hope the package reaches Colorado safe and sound.

The elk theme was central to the hat, and here's the motif. We call this pattern "elk in the forest". The motif is free from knitscene, and it's an interesting way of using two colors to achieve a picture. There were no terribly long color floats, thanks to the animated tree branches.

I really hope the hat fits. It was an interesting knitting project, but not necessarily one that I would replicate.

The problem is, it's really difficult, I find, to create a landscape/picture/scene in a rounded hat shape, because obviously at some point you're going to have to decrease for the hat crown, and that may distort the image that you're trying to achieve.

The crown was achieved via centered double decreases.

I will definitely experiment more with hats and Fair Isle coloring. I love the play of color, and the usefulness of a hat.

Knitting specs:

Hat was knit with Jamieson & Smith brand yarn, 100% Shetland wool, 2-ply jumper weight, in the dark rust color #FC38. Knit on five-inch Brittany birch DPNs, purchased from Patternworks, size 2.50mm.

To knit the hat, start with a tubular cast on, 164 sts onto 3.0mm circs, then k2 p2 rib on 2.0mm circs, then change to 3.0mm for colorwork.

January 2008 update:

Harrison liked his Christmas gift alright, but I'm a little concerned that it makes him look like a thug.

What a good boy, Harrison wrote Aunt Jenny a thank-you note:

Harry's an outdoorsy yet introspective kind of boy. I thought it was interesting how well crafted the note was. Really, I'm impressed-----he's in fourth grade!

March 2010 update:

Likewise, his apology notes are equally interesting. This one was written after I babysat Harry and his younger sister while their parents were away for the week. The kids were not on their best behavior. When the cat's away, the mouse will play.

The really funny part of this apology note, for me, is the discovery that Harry thinks I'm not cool at all.

Truth is, I am sooooo not cool. I have never been considered cool in my life. But I didn't realize little Harry was so observant!

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