Monday, December 28, 2009

The Benadryl Mittens

If you read my previous post, then you know that I've been experiencing some difficulties working with some yarn for a pair of mittens. I've been wanting to make these mittens for a while now, but it seems that projects keep popping up here and there that took precedence over these.

Well, after lots of thinking, I decided to try working with this yarn with a bottle of Benadryl next to me, to see if I felt any allergic reactions, and then to see if the Benadryl quelled them. It was probably not the smartest thing to do, and I'm sure all those with allergies out there are screaming at me for doing so.

I started knitting, I felt the itchiness in my throat, and then I took a dose of Benedryl. I kept working, and then promptly forgot about any weird sensations because I was distracted by the episode of Family Feud my dad was watching (he loves game shows - and so do I).

I worked and worked and worked, and then finished the mitten. Then, I took a nap, because the Benadryl makes you drowsy. Then, the next day, I made the other mitten. No strange reactions.

Maybe I was reacting to something else.

Anyway, I finished both these mittens, washed them, blocked them, and here they are:

They are LONG mittens. I wanted them to go well up my arms so that my wrists wouldn't get cold. That worked out fine, except that, when I blocked them, they grew a little, so my fingers have LOTS of stretching space, should they decide to stretch, I suppose.

If you look carefully at the right mitten, you can see there's something a little weird about the space an inch or so below the thumb:

This was the original thumb hole, but after I created it using Elizabeth Zimmermann's Afterthought Thumb, I realized that it was much lower than I needed it to be. So, I finished the mitten all the way to the tip of the fingertips, then went back and inspected this hole I'd made, did a bit of research, and concluded that I would have to graft it shut and make a new thumbhole further up the mitten.

Now, I did have it in the back of my mind how I was going to do this. I was going to find the area where I would need the thumb hole to exist, and then snip one of the threads of yarn, unravel it a few stitches, and then pick up the live stitches and knit myself a thumb.


I don't know why this didn't frighten me as much as steeking does, but I had read another one of EZ's books about how she made afterthought pockets in this manner. It made sense to me.

So, I cut open my mittens. I took the cut ends and spit-felted a length of yarn to one, then darned it in, then spit-felted the end of my ball of yarn onto the other one, and then picked up my stitches normally.

I make it sound so easy, but sometimes, spit-felting (yeah, I know it sounds disgusting, but I do it) sometimes just won't work for me. It took a lot of moisture and twisting to get that thing to work, and I did end up tying a knot in it in the end, just to be sure it stayed attached.

Anyway, my mittens are done, and I've started a hat. I'm still watching out for reactions, though. Now that I'm back home in my own house, eating my normal foods and all, and I really make sure nothing is amiss with me and this yarn. At any rate, at least I made these mittens. If I can't wear them in the end, well... we'll call them art. Art, for mitten's sake.

A little note about gameshows: my family takes them very seriously. We were all sitting around watching Wheel of Fortune (which, in all honesty, I can't believe is still on), and this guy is spinning the wheel, guessing all the right letters, filling in the puzzle.

"Solve the puzzle!" my dad yells. The guy decides to spin.

"No! No! You're going to lose all that money!" I yell. Gameshow-time is loud at our house. But he doesn't hit a Bankrupt. He guesses a T.

"Noooooo!" I yell, because I know he's thinking the wrong answer. And he loses his turn. The next person spins the wheel, guesses a correct letter, and promptly solves the puzzle.

"He got greedy," dad says. "That's what happens when you get greedy."

"He was only thinking of himself. He got blinded by the money, and lost his good sense," mom says.

"He did all the work, and then let someone else win," dad says.

"You get greedy, and then you lose everything. That's what happens," mom says.

And so, this is how gameshows become lessons in morality at my house. Pat Sajak has no idea how he has contributed to my life. Come to think of it, I've knit enough with Vanna's Choice to be heavily influenced by Vanna White, too!

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