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Cloudburst Mitts: Ahhh, the Serenity

A little more than halfway done (and perched high on cloud 9) with the "Cloudburst" fingerless mitts by Arienne Grey, knit up in oh-so-worth-it Anzula Serenity.

So first, let's talk pattern. This lovely creation is available free on Ravelry, with almost 3000 Cloudburst finished objects (FOs) posted so far.

Arienne Grey
Cloudburst Mitts

I stumbled upon Cloudburst by sheer happenstance, another late-night knitting rabbit hole from link to link to link to download-that-pattern-NOW! The fact that it said "free "was a surprise bonus. As per usual, I started by sorting the FOs first by "most likes" to see the knitters BOFOs (best of finished objects). This is always a fun exercise, and one that does not always lead to results I can agree with. To each knitter their own.

What I'm looking for in the BOFOs is technique, knitting craft, stitch "hygiene" and yarn matched to pattern. This also helps determine if the pattern is sound. If the pattern has many legit BOFOs there's obviously a greater chance of success. Few BOFOs? Either the pattern is brand-spanking-new, not gaining popularity or it's poorly written. If the pattern is old and has few takers and even fewer lookers, proceed with caution.

Cloudburst was published in 2018, enough time to build a wee following, and enough BOFOs to convince me to take the plunge. As to yarn. This is one of those projects the Newbee Knitters would consider a "simple statement" piece, and therefore worthy of a stellar yarn that can hold center stage. Which brings us to Anzula Serenity. (Accurately pronounced "Anzulahhhhhhh.") This yarn is hand-dyed 100% cashmere and oh-so-worth the cost and care these mitts will require once they are entered into an actual wardrobe.

Below is my swatch, knit studiously and tediously in the round on size 2's to get gauge. (For instructions on how to swatch in the round without doing an actual tube, try this quick 2:00 video from WEBS.)

Yarn knit in a swatch
Anzula Serenity Swatch in the Round

I left this picture big so you can see the snipped strands behind as proof it was indeed swatched in the round and what that means. Sadly, there is no way to unravel and re-use the swatch yarn with this method, since you cut the carried threads behind, so factor yarn lost to swatching in your project plan. Especially if you may need to swatch more than once, as I did. I also wanted to draw attention to the tension in this example. There is no purling in this piece, so you can see a nice, even tension in the stitches — no obvious "guttering," which is a benefit when working in the round. As long as you keep knitting with the same tension on your needles, your project should appear even throughout.

This image also shows off the natural dying variations in Anzula Serenity. This blue is called "Lapis" and in real life it's best described as a soothing sea of denim-hues, with a pleasing hint of sapphire. The feel is ridiculously soft ... which also means these mitts will not wear well, and so they must be worn well: Special occasions, handled with as much care as humanly possible, with some future de-pilling accepted up front. But let none of that caution burst your cloudburst bubble. These cashmere clouds are not only worth knitting, they are gift-level knitting. But only for someone who is truly knitworthy (thanks to Ysolda Teague for coining this term!)

knitted mitten
Anzula Serenity Cloudburst Mitt

I used the german twisted cast on to start this project, my go to for nearly all things because it gives a lovely stretch and has a very easy rhythm to it. (Very Pink Knits tutorial here.) As to the bind off, that left me pondering for a minute. The ideal situation was to match the cast on with a bind off that has a similar look. The obvious choice would be the Icelandic bind off, but my attempt at this failed miserably; for some reason this did not stretch at all — perhaps because of the twisted rib. Instead, I used the vey basic K2, (K2 Tog TBL, Sl 1, repeat) and though it does not visually match the cast on, it has the right amount of give for a fingerless mitt.

Knitted Mitten
Fingerless Mitt Bind Off

One final note for this pattern: Even with fingering weight yarn on size 2's, this is a quick knit. Just 53 stitches to a round, with lace, goes fast. And I even added an extra pattern repeat before the gusset because this yarn demanded a longer, more luxurious cuff. One day after bind off on mitt one, and I'm already halfway done with mitt two. Sure, there are two thumbs left and weaving in tails, but this is TV knitting at it's finest. Quick enough for last-minute making and fine enough for big-impact giving.

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