My lovely sister-in-law was very patient last January trying to teach me how to knit, so I was really excited to surprise her with a special handmade gift. I spent quite some time looking through various ideas, before settling on this one. When I was done, I loved them so much that I made a second pair, for me. Every time I wear them, I think of how much I loved my time in Turkey.
A while back a friend of mine sent me a link to this pattern from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, and I got really excited. I immediately purchased the pattern and headed out to the store to buy yarn and needles. I chose the fingering weight Heritage Paints from Cascade Yarns in color #9922, which is 75% Superwash Merino wool and 25% Nylon. When I held the needles, I thought to myself "they are just like skewers, it's ridiculous". And so the project sat on my desk for quite a while. I had also peeked at the pattern instructions and got scared that it was too hard. It is probably the hardest knitting project I've done so far, but also one of the most satisfying. I learned new techniques and was quite proud of my accomplishment, barely 8 months after taking my beginning knitting class. Ok, I'm done bragging.
Because I was so intimidated, I went back to knitting class and asked for some help. Lovely Theresa probably gave me some of the best advice: "Just take it one step at the time". I thought she was joking. Turns out she was right. I had looked at the long series of instructions, too many steps, heel edge etc. and got more scared than I should have. To this I will add a few more tips:
Read the whole pattern through before you get started. It's just like a recipe. Everything will (hopefully) make a lot more sense, and you may not make as many mistakes. If you get stuck, it might be worth reading the section over again. I got stuck for 2 days because I forgot a step and the rest didn't make sense. See, I'm no longer bragging. Luckily for my ego, I realized it before walking over to the store begging for help.
Keep pen and paper handy. Many patterns ask you to change things up every row or every couple of rows, or follow a certain sequences for so many rows. It is a lot easier to keep track of where you are at somehow. Interruptions happen. I also like to use a post it to keep track of where I'm at. Maybe it's just me, but it's surprisingly easy to forget where you stopped.
The thing about socks and mittens, it's kind of a frustrating project. First there is the 4 double pointed needles, but then you finish your first (sock, mitten) and you are really just half way done. It feels like starting over. On the plus side, they are relatively small, so they don't take too long to make. And who doesn't love warm feet and hands.