Monday, December 12, 2005

Sea Change

The December reading for Knit the Classics is a novel of the Victorian era, Tess of the D'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman by Thomas Hardy. For the knitting, I thought about these boots but ended up joining the Mrs. Beeton knit-along and the Something Red for Tess knit-along and made – what else? – red Mrs. Bs.

Mrs. Beeton ruffled wristies by Brenda Dayne (she of the Cast-on podcast) is a wonderful pattern. By curious chance, mine have more than once reminded me of sea life. Perhaps it's that sea change from yarn to FO. Here's the completed pair, posing as sea anemones.

Mrs. Beeton wristies

Here's the yarn: a stray hank of Koigu KPPPM in colorway P105 from stash for the bottom bell band Yarn for Mrs. Beetonand a new ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze in colorway 606 Candy Girl for the top bell band. To complement the cherry reds and contrasting teal greens of the yarns and to play up the festive Victorian feel, I used some jet beads from stash. In the frugal spirit of Mrs. B, the beads are remnants from the December 2004 Six Sox pattern, Pink Beads by Christina Coghill.

I tried a bunch of different combinations of yarns for the two bell bands and decided KSH is perfect for the top band, but the DK weight called for in the pattern seems a bit too heavy for the bottom band. Using a finer yarn, such as Koigu, with smaller needles yields more graceful bells that are better suited to the delicacy of the KSH top band, IMHO. It also means my wristie is a bit smaller than the pattern, which suits me fine.

The beaded cast on is a bit fiddly, but very worthwhile. I love how the beads stand up on the cast on edge. (DH insists they look like alien spawn. Hrmph.) When finished, the top bell band and bottom bell band kinda look like a Spanish Dancer nudibranch. The different sized beads really enhance the two bands.

Two bells finished

Joining the bell bands is also a bit fiddly. It's very important to pass the bottom band through the top band from the top down so that the two working yarns will be properly oriented to do the three-needle join. For this step only, I found it helpful to place each band on two needles as shown.

The pattern has a nice symmetry – I like how the beads on the wrist fall at the points of the bells, which become the centers of the k3 p1 ribbing. Knitting both yarns together adds a lovely faint haze which softens the color and texture of the wrist ribbing. The photo below shows off the Koigu alone, the KSH alone, and the two together.

Mrs. Beeton showing off faint haze

I have only praise for the faint haze!

The picot cast off is another fiddly but worthwhile bit – a plain cast off wouldn't look nearly as well. I substituted knitted cast on for cable cast on to speed things up; crochet would work, too.

The finished wristies are comfortable and surprisingly warm indoors (I always have cold hands) and effective at stopping drafts outdoors. Here's one peeping from my coat sleeve.

Mrs. Beeton ready to go

This is a terrific pattern, chock full of Mrs. B's Virtues. I'll be making many more as small prezzies, but this pair is a keeper.


Whit said...

Wow!! I can't wait to make mine. Absolutely beautiful! You should join the boot kal in January!! I can't wait!!

Nessie Noodle said...

Wowow! I can't wait to finish mine. It is fun to see it done on the DPNs since I use circs. Great color combo-

Iraida said...

Your Ms. Beeton looks good. Thanks for stopping by. They have to take my name off the blog because I decided not to host. :(

Isela said...

They are gorgeous! I want to make a pair too :).

Becky said...

Beautiful! I really want to get started on some. Yours are great!

Will Pillage For Yarn said...

Lovely! I've got to make myself a set of those.

hey SP, I've got your last package here and a small problem. Your mailing address is in my laptop. My laptop has fried its hard drive. Could you possibly be so kind as to email me your snail mail info to rainwood (at) mac (dot) com or to Pepe's king prawn addy (either works) so I can get this out to you?

Thank you!

Erica said...

They're great! I had seen the pattern and was intrigued, but seeing yours and reading about the process has me seriously considering knitting a pair. AFTER Christmas.