Narwhals are really the best (at least; the best in the sea. Sloths remain the kings of the earth.). So naturally I made some narwhal mittens from Ysolda’s Teague’s inspired design for my aunt for Christmas.
Disastrously, in my care to ensure the floats weren’t too tight (as happened in my still single fairisle sock), the first mitten turned out completely ginormous. I made the second one tighter, telling myself that I’d find a way of shrinking the first. I didn’t let myself think, hang on a minute – these are knitted out of super-wash wool and WILL NOT SHRINK. So the first mitten, on completion of the pair, was nearly and inch and a half longer than the second, and noticeably wider.
Step one of mitten sorcery was to pour a kettle-full of boiling water onto the offending mitten. I let it soak for about 10 minutes, then panicked because the water was beginning to turn pale purple, and pulled it out. At this point the mitten stretched out to become around the same size as a chihuahua. Panicking some more, I pressed out the water and left it on a towel on a radiator to dry. This phase lasted about 10 minutes, after which I thought, screw it! And threw the mitten into the dryer inside a pillowcase, on the hot cycle. For the first while I was checking every few minutes in case it suddenly got the idea and started to shrink. After about half an hour I just left it alone, putting a new drying cycle on until it was dry.
Three hours later, the mitten emerged: a bit fluffier, a bit paler, a bit blowsier. But most importantly, the same length as its pair! Christmas present disaster averted.
But I think I still need to practice my stranded knitting before I try anything too ambitious.