Posts categorized "Mittens"

My favourite mittens (a goodbye)

My Fiddlehead mittens have been the hand knit I've worn the most. I love the fit. I love the short cuff that covered my wrist but didn’t mess with the cuff of whatever coat I was wearing. I love the colour—colourful but grounded in a neutral. I love that they had a built in liner to keep my hands warm. 

I knew they were perfect the minute I finished them  

I wore these mittens most days in the winter. I rode my bike wearing these mittens even in the coldest weather. (Okay, so they weren’t great below -20C, but that’s asking a lot of hand knit mittens). 

They’ve been repaired and washed and loved. But then they were too worn out to repair (shifting gears on the bike is the likely culprit).


This year it’s time to say goodbye. 


I snipped out the liners and added a cuff. They can line some other mittens and live a little longer. But the outer mitt is done. 



Yes, I can knit another pair, but they may not be the same. The Tanis kit is no longer available so I might use two colours of the same yarn this time (If you have a kit in stash I will buy it!). Maybe I’ll strand in some kidsilk haze for extra warmth. Maybe I’ll knit something completely different just so I won’t compare. 


We had eight great years together. I already miss you...


I’m back knitters. BACK. Knitting. Thinking about knitting. Writing about knitting. 


I knit 5 swatches this week. Not counting the mitten I started which was to serve as a swatch if I didn’t get gauge. I got gauge and the mitten is half way done.

Could be that my Fitzcarraldo knee socks were the stopper. Two years to knit two socks. I got that done and bam! I’ve knit a sweater in a month, start planning two more and got to making new mitts before the winter is over. 

And after only posting 3 times in 2017, it’s time for me to use this blog again. Sure it’s very 2009, but it’s a space I like. I’m fine with Instagram and Twitter and would be lost without Ravelry, but all of them are only parts of my story. I like that here I can consolidate. A place that’s partly social, but not driven by stupid algorithms and that I mostly control. 

So here goes...

Fitzcarraldo Knee Socks by Kate Atherley, the smartest knitter I know, and who’s instructions I should read and follow the first time. Ripping out and reuniting 5 inches of twisted rib is my punishment and I took it willingly after putting the first sock in a time out for a year. I am not always a patient knitter.

image from

Cold Breath, by Joji Locatelli, made from recycled Indigodragonfly merino silk. This sweater is perfect. I want to wear it everyday.

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New basic mittens following Kate Atherley's instructions in her new (and fantastic) book: Knit Mitts. Yarn is my handspun, Into the Whirled Merino/Yak in Captain Tightpants


The other two projects are where all the swatching is happening. I'll leave that to my next post which is about Kate Davies, her beautiful work and the West Highland Way Club. I joined after seeing a sweater that had me entranced, and it's been a complete delight. 

How to shorten a mitten cuff in ten years or less

Stranded mittens are beautiful but I find getting the fit right can be a challenge since the colour work pattern will determine the size of the mitten and row gauge (something I almost never seem to knit to) is crucial.

If the mitten has a cuff without the main pattern there's a opportunity to adjust the length a bit but again I can't always tells how it will all come together AND interact with my various coat sleeves. I like my winter outerwear to be free of gaps to I can keep warm.

I made these mittens almost ten years ago, wear them often, but never liked the length of the cuffs. They are a bit too long and bunch up against my coat sleeves or I have to tuck them in like when I was a kid, but I have no mom to do the second sleeve (remember when your mom did that?)

Last week I decided to fix them by shortening the cuff. Crazy? A little. But I got out my scissors and got brave.

The pictures are of the second mitten. The first one took a LOT longer and had to be redone after the second mitten because it was longer and I didn't like the bind off. Hacking an old knit can take a lot of time and may yield unexpected issues.

Step one: figure out how much you want to remove and use a stitch marker to hold that stitch. I used my absolutely perfect Fiddlehead mittens as a guide. Also, I found that I ended up taking off an extra row or two because the corrugated ribbing is more complicated to undo, so plan for that.

Step two: cut, yes snip, one stitch and start unravelling that row. It's a bit like doing a reverse Kitchener and is a bit fiddly. I found it easier to use a needle to unpick the stitches. These mittens are well worn and the stitches are happy and snug where they are.

I'm about halfway here. Don't worry too much about the live stitches. Knitting doesn't easier unravel this direction so the stitches will stay put until you need them.
Step three: once the cuff is off, use smaller than called for needles (guess if your mittens and really old and you have no idea what needles you used) pick up the live stitches. They're a bit weird with the two colour ribbing and because they're upside down, but the idea is to get all the stitches back on the needles. You might have to unpick another row to get this accomplished.
Step four: this one is easy. Knit a row. I used the brown yarn because it was the colour I used for the cast on and would be the one I'd use to bind off. There was no way I would try to do any ribbing on these.
Step five: with a larger needle, bind off neatly. This took me a few tries. A sewn bind off would have been really nice, as would an icord, but at this point I wanted them finished.
Step six: try on an admire. Now the mittens graze the cuff of my coat without bunching!
Should have done this year's ago. I'm wearing them a lot more now.



More catch up

I slept just over nine and a half amazing hours last night and now I'm getting shit done.

I feel like I'm always playing catch up on the blog and can't quite seem to find my way out of that. I always have something to say and I say a lot of it on Twitter, but feel like I should be taking those ideas over here to a better space where I can express my ideas more fully except I don't have the time for that kind of reflective writing. Or, when I do, I'm just too damned tired because I have a mentally demanding job and the brain just tells me that I need knitting, or running or TV or just stupid Two Dots on the iPad instead (omg can I please just get the last level and make it end?)

Enough of that, now let's look at something pretty. I finished my Rickenbacker Shawl and I'm so happy with it.  I made this out of handspun and I spun the yarn so it would stripe and it all went so well.  The shawl is a tad small but that was all the yarn I had so I have no complaints.  


I would also knit this pattern again--super easy and really fun.


And I finished my Rhinebeck Sweater: Brandied Orange (aka Brandied Cherry).  This was a fun knit.  It didn't come out quite as I imagined it in my head, but I love it all the same.  I had this idea it would look great with a skirt and well it doesn't.  But it is a perfect cozy on the couch, skinny jeans sweater and I'm wearing it a bunch for casual wear.  The Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted is divinely soft (though it does pill) and I'll be wearing it a lot.


It did stretch a bit funny in the photo, but I was also in the car for 10 hours coming home from Rhinebeck so I'm a bit rumpled.


I should say more about Rhinebeck, but that deserves a post of it's own.  Instead I'll show you what I knit on the annual pilgrammage.

Smile and Wave.  I needed a new portable project and didn't feel like knitting socks.  So I grabbed a skein of Indigodragonfly Mergoat sock in Obviously You're from District One and got knitting.  I LOVE the colours and the planned pooling.  


While Emma is modelling, so far these are mine.  I might make the next pair a bit shorter for variety--these are in heavy rotation for biking to work right now--just a little extra warmth for the morning.

Well, that's a start.  Now I need to get some stuff done around the house and I'm going to bake bread because it's November and snow flurries have already happened and today is about woolies and soup and warm fresh bread.


So maybe I can knit nice things

I'm happy to report two finished objects that I am rather pleased with.

I finally finished the Willow and Oz knee socks I started in October.

Randomly striped knee socks are definitely nifty, but these were a slog. I think it was the knitting with two balls of yarn. Not portable and a bit fiddly.

Emma loves them and that makes me happy. The colours are fantastic: Indigodragonfly merino sock in My world is all askew and Hootenanny: Well it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.

And yesterday I finished something nice for me:

Sweetums fingerless mitts in beautiful Indigodragonfly merino silk. This is not a colour I would pick for myself. That the nice thing about clubs. They push you outside of your normal boundaries. Now that they're done I love them. The colour is so pretty (top photo is more accurate; it's hard to photograph your own hands).

These were the ones I stumbled on a few weeks back. Once I got over that it was smooth sailing and for a little bit I felt like I had my knitting groove back.

They're very warm and cozy. And sadly, still needed. Actually, it was too cold to wear them today.

I think I'm going to stick with some small things, it feels good to finish some pieces that I'm happy with.


Pattern Release: Ellipses Mittens

I have a new pattern for sale on Ravelry: Ellipses 

Ellipses kitty

The original release was part of the Smart Ass Knitters/World Domination 1 Skein Club from Indigodragonfly.  It was a lot of fun to work with fellow smartasses on this one as it brought out our rather morbid (but fun!) side.

Why Ellipses?  Sometimes it's better not to talk about how your design ideas happen...**


These mittens are knit in soft, fuzzy Indigodragonfly Organic Merino fingering weight, held double for a more solid mitten.  The yarn felts with wear making the mittens cozy warm and almost windproof.

The colourway is Goodbye Kitty.  You might notice the bow motif on the hands and the XXs on the cuff (poor kitty).  I believe that colour is exclusive to Club members but any varigated yarn will work nicely.  As will a dk or light worsted held single.

Ellipses carnage

These are my Spring and Fall biking mittens and they've held up very nicely under hard wear.  (In the Winter I wear my Fiddleheads, sometimes with another pair inside).  

The pattern includes options for knitting with silk hankies (yum) and to make fingerless mittens.  The stitch patterns are in chart form only and while the cuff is a bit fiddly (I love me an applied Icord), the rest is fairly easy.

 **No Hello Kitties were hurt in the production of these mittens.  

Knittin' Fittin' Mittens

Just in time for Spring, here are my Fiddlehead mittens:

Fiddlehead Mittens

They fit me perfect and I LOVE them.  I always have cold hands and the idea of lined mittens didn't really occur to me until I saw these.  Now I want to go and line my other handknit mittens (perhaps with warm fancy yarns like kidsilk haze and Bohus leftovers).

The Tanis Fibre Arts Dk is squooshilicious.  Very nice to work with.  I have some tiny balls of leftovers that I'm thinking of adding to a coordinating hat or something (which means I can buy more Tanis Fibre Arts Dk).

Fiddlehead Mittens

And Adrian's pattern is lovely.  The only modification I made was to knit the decreases for the liner mitten the same as the outer mitt.  The first one came out too long the first time, but that's not hard to fix.

Sadly, I think I'll need to wear these next week.  Our super beautiful, bike-riding, way above normal temperatures are likely to be a teaser for the Spring to come.


Well it took me almost a year, but I finally released my Hansel Mittens.  


The companion to Ysolda's Gretel beret, these mittens knit up fast in heavy worsted or aran weight yarn and have a lattice cable pattern inspired by the beret.


The pattern includes charts and line-by-line instructions and is available on Ravelry for $5.00.  

The mittens have an 8" /20cm hand circumference and are 9.5" / 24 cm long.  For smaller mittens, knit to a tighter gauge.

I used Foxhill Farms Cormo Cross, but any worsted/aran weight yarn would do--about 220yds/200 metres.

So if you made Gretel you can get all matchy and have warm hands this winter.