I fight crazy with more crazy

So, it’s January, and the first Monday of January, and it’s back to the real world and I am unsurprisingly going back kicking and screaming. The holidays always go by so fast. To add special agony to the lack-of-holidays, I am entering into a semester of the highest teaching load I’ve ever had, and I fully expect to be experiencing moments of full-on whacko.

I think when your brain is going off in a zillion different directions, and you’re looking to your knitting for a distraction, a plain stockinette sock will not do. The knitting needs to be equal to the crazy. I fight life crazy with knitting crazy. In this case, with a stranded colour-work pair of gloves knitted at 12 sts to the inch.


The pattern is the Sanquhar gloves from here (in the tradition of Scottish Sanquhar knitting, described here), and is more of a collection of charts and basic instructions than a full pattern. Let me tell you, this is the kind of project that rewards skill, intuition, and endurance. I am loving every. single. stitch. Elspeth and I have even been having talk of a Knitalong. Care to join?

It should put things into perspective when I say that my execution of the pattern “only” uses light fingering weight (and not laceweight) and is “only” at a gauge of 12 sts to the inch. As written, these instructions call for a gauge of 14 sts to the inch, but that would be less likely to fit my hand. And because these gloves have been knitted for centuries with the same traditional patterns and the little blocks and motifs within, the easiest way to change the size of these gloves without completely changing the motifs, is to change your gauge and needle size. So at “only” 12 sts to the inch on 2.0 mm needles, these are more likely to fit me than the original instructions.

Also – and I think this is the most hysterical part – even if I wanted to go to a tighter gauge of 13 or 14 sts to the inch, I would need to go down to 1.75 or 1.5mm needles (that’s size 00 or 000 for you ‘Murricans), and (get this) when I went out locally to find such tiny needles in person, they didn’t exist. Not all needle manufacturers make them. (I later went to the internets – said needles are now being sent to me from Elann. I must have them).

The yarn is a very light fingering weight in grabby heathery wool from my Rhinebeck 2008 purchases, procured from the A Touch of Twist booth. I started in on some Daina mittens with it the week I returned, but then discovered that the yarn was too light for those. At 270 yds per 50g, it’s not quite the laceweight that the Sanqhuar pattern asks for, but it’s darned close and a fine substitute at a slightly looser gauge.


I’m loving them. I sort of want to bite them just to sink my teeth into the knitting because that’s how great it feels to hold this up and look at it and know that I can knit crazy shit like this and it is beautiful. Of course, it is entirely possible that I’ll get to the fingers, make a horrible mistake and have to re-do, but even if I do I think I’ll be OK with that. I had to rip back and re-split for the thumb gusset twice, and I’m still loving this. Today I’m working from home and I keep wanting to slip away from my desk just to look at the glove in progress.

And sometimes, that’s what you need from your knitting.
May your knitting be close by today!


  1. Your knitting is fricking gorgeous. I’m a total novice and can not do what you are doing above for one because I am too slow and the length of time that would take me would make me INSANE…and I’ve never done a thumb gusset and the thought of having to rip out that many stitches would kill me….but maybe in a year I can give it a go!

    I know what you mean about holding your work out and just having to look at it. Sometimes I keep my (much less spectacular) work in my bottom desk drawer and knit a couple of rows until I see someone coming towards my office when I quickly throw it in the drawer and slam it shut with my foot….

    Love your blog!

  2. knittingdodo · ·

    B-e-a-utiful! Cannot wait to see them finished. Colorwork gloves like that are on my 2009 list of things to knit.

  3. Gasp! How beautiful. And I bet that tight gauge will make them nice and warm.

  4. tinebeest · ·

    haha, just like curing hot with hot in Korean tradition. Crazy as a backdoor but boooootiful! Keep it up and good luck for the term’s teaching. (at times like this I am very happy to be jobless)

  5. my goodness, i would have to be in complete chaos for that kind of knitting.

    the holidays went really fast for me too but, i feel like i was ready for them to be over. its all so much for me, the present shopping, smiling when you don’t really feel like smiling, telling me people all about the presents you got, then the drinking for new years and what goes along when you have friends from out of town come to stay with you (drinking for 3+ more days).

    real life… where are you?!

  6. I’ve had those patterns for years and have not been brave enough to jump in and make those gloves.

    They’re f-ing beautiful.

    Happy New Year !

  7. birdwoman · ·

    Those are amazing! I bow to your patience and mad knitting skillz.

  8. It is indeed crazy. And beautiful!

  9. Oh nos! I am the loosest knitter on the planet and if you couldn’t find the needles without the internets, I fear I may be a later knit-a-longer than I planned. Still, those gloves are totally fabby.

  10. I’m sulking for lack of such an engaging project in my knitting basket full of stuff that’s okay but just doesn’t inspire! That sneeking away just to gaze at a the wonder of a project is the best isn’t it? Enjoy!

  11. Holy cow! I fight crazy with easy knitting with squooshy yarns. Maybe I need more of a challenge?

    They’re looking gorgeous, and best of luck with both them and the busy semester.

  12. “Full On Whacko” That’s a great expression. BTW – Great gloves too.

  13. Oooh I was just looking at those gloves yesterday… I love that it is a traditional Scottish design on a Japanese website 😉 I can’t wait to see how yours turn out!

  14. WOWEE! Thanks for sharing Knitting from the Pinnacle. They are divine, you are a wonder! I, like Jodi, fight “crazy” towards the other end of the spectrum. Sloggin’ on the Log Cabin is what calms…

    Happy New Year! Yours in the Knitting ‘sphere.

  15. Elizabeth L in Apex, NC · ·

    Those are beautiful… I’d come to Canada just to wear them!

    And I’m glad to hear that someone else thinks complicated/busy life must be countered with complicated/challenging knitting. Simple stuff just doesn’t occupy my brain enough to shut the voices up, and then I make more mistakes than usual! Anyway, I hope they continue to amuse and please you. Happy New Year!

  16. YOWZA! Oddly enough, that’s some full on whacko I can relate to!
    GORgeous! (snagged that pattern right up!)

  17. Beautiful so far. Lovely, can’t wait to see them all finished.

  18. Hmmmm…I might join a KAL for those….but it’ll have to wait fora few months.

  19. I was drooling over these just the other day on Ravelry, and thinking how adorable but completely bonkers they are! But there’s something about the madness of knitting mittens in laceweight yarn that I find almost irresistably tempting!

  20. Wow! Gorgeous. Enjoy your crazy. 🙂

  21. Knitting can be everything I conclude :o)

  22. holy.living.crap.

  23. and I mean that in a good way.

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