Posts Tagged ‘mittens’

Custom Mitts

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

There are certain situations that inspire me to knit.

A little while ago I met a woman who has suffered a stroke and has lost the use of one hand. She was braving the cold, and needed mitts on to stay warm, but also needed use of her one hand to wipe her nose or to get a good grip on handrails.


She told me that her favourite colours are red and black. Her son told me that it’s hard to keep track of her mitts, so strings would be helpful.

After a bit of searching I found some black and red acrylic in my stash. The stranded pattern comes from Robin Hansen’s “spruce” mitten pattern. The cuff has a Latvian braid, and that technique is also used to finish the finger edge and thumb hole on the fingerless mitten. The high contrast in these mitts make me smile!

Projects like this make me really glad I have such a yarn stash….from idea to finished mitts within a very busy week!

Christmas knitting

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

This year I knit some of my Christmas gifts, and have kept them secret for quite a while!

These are elephant mitts for my mom. She has a bit of a thing for pink elephants! The stranded pattern was inspired by my Ravelry searches, but the mitten pattern is my own. They’re a bit delicate for the frigid temperatures we’ve had since Christmas, but they will be good in the spring and fall, or they’d make a good liner mitt. Yup, it’s that cold that we’ve been layering mitts around here.

Here are some other mitts that got finished in the nick of time to be given on Boxing day. Better late than never!

The yarn is my handspun from the Spunky Eclectic fiber club. It’s a DK weight yarn that is soft and really wearable. These mitts are for my sister in law, and they pass my brother’s test. He said he’d hold her hand if she’s wearing them. He’s got such a sensitivity to any slightly coarse wool, that it’s high praise for this fiber club offering.

The mittens are improvised, and rather plain in construction. The simplicity of the pattern really lets the colours in the yarn shine through.

The last pair of mitts are based on Robin Hansen’s Fox and Geese pattern. I combined the remainder of the green yarn from the previous mittens and paired it with a DK weight acrylic brown yarn.

The brown really makes the green pop.

I love knitting with handspun and watching the colours change and interact with each other. I hope that these mitts will get lots of wear for years to come!

Bowties are apparently cool!

Monday, December 30th, 2013

I’ve been enjoying a bit of time over the holidays to knit a bit. My goal lately has been to reduce the yarn stash, as it is getting a bit out of hand. These mittens are made out of yarn which I believe is wool.

It’s a bit strange as it is multi-ply, but they are not twisted together. It is a bit tricky to manage, you’ve got to make sure that each little thread is knit up properly. And if the yarn comes unwound in a bag, good luck getting it untangled!

In any case, it is a very soft and warm yarn, and surprisingly thick. In a change from my traditional fox and geese mittens, I took inspiration from SpillyJane’s “bow tie mittens are cool” pattern, and made these.


I’m not into anything Doctor Who related, but I know someone that is, and who already has a pair of TARDIS socks to match.
If you also know this person, keep it a secret. Mittens will not be given until the new year.

Elephant knitting

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

I’ve been keeping a few knitting projects secret for Christmas, but this one is not one of them.

I made these mittens for the Environment Club Silent Auction held at school.

The design was heavily inspired by a student request for grey mittens with pink elephants on them. I only knit for students for secret santa gifts, and so I came up with a plan to knit the mittens that this girl wanted, and donate them to the club’s sale, and then she could bid on them.

After a lot of drama (I may have told lots of other people to make a big deal of bidding on the mittens), she was the successful bidder. I hope they are comfy and that she is happy!

Thrumming in August

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

I’ve been working on a gift for a now-retired colleague since February.  He had asked for a matching set of thrummed mitts for himself and his significant other.

I had started right away, happy for a way to thank him for his friendship and support over the past 10 years, and also eager to use up some of the sheep fleece that I’ve got!


As the weather got warmer my progress soon stalled.  3 mittens were done, and it just seemed too hot and sticky to be thrumming in May/June.

After experiencing the crazy heat in Japan, it felt cool enough this week to get working on these mitts again.


I am very happy to announce that the mitts are now all complete, and will be mailed soon to the maritimes where I hope they will keep hands warm for many years to come.

Secret Santa

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

‘Tis the season for giving.  I love this time of year!  The weather gets colder, and it just seems sensible to wrap up in warm woolies.  I’ve been taking advantage of the long evenings to whip through a few gifts for the secret santa exchanges that I’m involved in.

My three high school classes are all exchanging gifts.  Each person is limited to $5 to prepare their project.  These limits have brought up all sorts of discussions generally starting with “you can’t buy ANYTHING for $5″.  I am a firm believer in creating gifts.  For $5 you could bake cookies/cake etc, draw or paint a picture, or in my case, I choose to knit.  I’m curious to see what gifts get exchanged.  Last year my gift was a Christmas tree ornament and a can opener.  I still use the can opener to this day!

Here’s what I’ve made for my secret santa students:  Here’s a slightly modified version of the “End of May” hat (ravelry).  secret santaI knew that I didn’t have time to knit up the hat at the gauge that was specified, so I used heavier yarn (acrylic so it’s not itchy) and worked 3 pattern repeats rather than 4.  I also didn’t work the internal lining, but rather did ribbing for one hat and a Latvian braid for another.secret santa

The yarn is scrap from my stash.  The red is not actually red, but more of a “radioactive salmon” hot pink/orange colour, which seems to be quite fashionable amongst the youngsters these days.  This yarn was rescued from the GAP where it was used as part of a display, but going to be thrown out afterwards (shameful!).  I remember the day when a big bag with many balls of fluorescent yarn appeared in my office–thanks so much to Rachel for giving me some.

secret santaThe third gift I made is a pair of 100% wool mittens (Sean Sheep brand from Walmart, purchased AGES ago). It’s a very cozy softly spun single ply yarn that sometimes didn’t hold together under tension.  I knit these mitts with extra long cuffs, then decorated them with snowflakes embroidered on top.

I hope that my students realize that although their gifts cost me less than $5 to create, they are worth much more.  I invested my time, and my care to create something specially for them.  I have high hopes that teenagers can appreciate these gifts.

A Mountain of Mittens

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

mittensIt’s been a busy fall!  I’ve been working on this pile of mittens for some time now–all Christmas gifts for various friends and family members.  The vast majority of the mittens I make are my slightly modified version of Robin Hansen’s Fox and Geese Mittens.  I started making this pattern when I was in grade 8 when my grandmother gave me Robin Hansen’s book “Fox and Geese and Fences, A Collection of Traditional Maine Mittens”.

My mods are: narrower longer cuff, and using a Latvian braid to stabilize the non-ribbed cuff from rolling.

thrummedAlso from the same book, I learned the technique of thrumming mittens.  This is where bits of fleece or roving is knit into the fabric of the mitten, leaving the ends loose on the inside as extra insulation.thrummedThese mittens are the warmest ones I’ve ever made.  The only issue with them is that there is limited mobility while wearing them.  They’re big, like boxing gloves, when they are first completed.  After years of wear the fleece tends to mat and felt a bit.  I’m using fleece that I washed myself.  It is clean, but has a bit of lanolin still on the fiber (it’s good for soothing chapped hands!).  It is not combed or carded fleece, I’m thrumming with the locks of fleece.

Bartering Mittens for Leeks

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Earlier this month, while behind the scenes at a choir concert, I was busy working away on a pair of fox and geese mittens.  We need to keep quiet while we’re not on stage, and there’s nothing worse than sitting quietly doing nothing, so I usually make sure that I have a project with me to work on.  Most often, it’s mittens.  They’re so nice and portable.  long cuffs

Lately I’ve adapted the fox and geese pattern to make a more narrow longer cuff, and since I really don’t enjoy ribbing, I’ve been doing a Latvian braid at the cuff to prevent the mitten edge from rolling.

Latvian Braided cuff: cast on in main colour, join in the round.

Row 1: K1 MC, K1 CC around

Row 2: bring both working yarns to the front.  Purl 1 MC, P1 CC around (the colours line up with the colours from the row before), but always wrap the yarn in the same direction i.e. always take the next colour from underneath the other.  It will make the balls of yarn appear to get all snarled up, but do not untangle them, it will all be resolved in the next row.

Row 3: with both working yarns still at the front.  Purl 1 MC, P1 CC around (the colours line up still).  This time though, let the balls of yarn unwind themselves.  i.e. always take the next colour from on top of the other.  At the end of the row everything should reveal a nice neat braid, with 2 balls of yarn untangled.

Row 4: put working yarn to the back, and start the mitten pattern.

braided edge

Anyway, at this past concert, I was approached by a lovely lady who asked me who I was making the mittens for.  She suggested that they should be for someone who gives me leeks.  (She’s been providing my mom with squash and other veggies for the past few years, so I took the hint.)  I let her know that I was interested in that idea, but that I’d need recipes since I’d never cooked leeks before.

warm handsA few weeks later and she’s got mittens, and I’ve got leeks!  leeksI made a delicious leek and potato soup that I invented based loosely from recipes I found online.  It’s yummy!

3 peeled potatoes
2 leeks
1 soup cube
1 cup of skim milk
shredded mozzarella cheese

Peel and cut potatoes, cut leeks, and boil in water until cooked and mushy.  Add a soup cube and milk.  Blend with immersion blender.  Add garlic, and pepper.  Served warm with shredded cheese on top.

Somehow this soup seems extra wholesome since I know where the veggies came from.  I know they were raised with love.

Ringing in the New Year

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Happy new year to everyone!  I’m hoping that 2012 is full of as much excitement as 2011 was.  In our family, we gather to play silly games to ring in the new year.  Last year we had a moustache-themed murder mystery party.  This year we played the classic board game “Rat Race” the social climbing game where you strive to buy fur coats, artwork and cars to “keep up with the Jones'”.


We ended up laughing and carrying on until 12:03 before we realized that we missed the ball drop!  Luckily it was on youtube shortly afterwards.  Hopefully we wont be 15 minutes late for EVERYTHING in the new year.

During all of the fun I was working away on my latest pair of mittens.  I’m knitting “Avo’s Mittens” a pattern from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush.  {Ravelink}  It’s been a while since I’ve knit anything using a pattern book.  I think I’ll knit a few more pairs before the year’s done.  The yarn I’m using is Nob Hill Naturals which I’m really pleased with.  It’s 100% wool and is much softer than I’d imagined.mittens

At the end of the evening, as per family tradition, we each lit a candle as we made a new year’s wish.  There are a few more of us this year in our family….It’s going to be an exciting 2012.


How did you celebrate this year?




Holiday Knitting

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I’m looking forward to wrapping up some of my recent knitting, but decided to take some pictures of things first.

The first is the Lotus Hat knit from a bamboo cotton blend.  I LOVE the turquoise colour, and how the lace pattern works out, particularly at the crown of the hat.  lotus hatThe stitch definition of the bamboo cotton blend is lovely, but next time I knit this hat I will knit it on circulars.  The yarn is slippery, and when the lace pattern falls off the needles it was often tricky to get all of the slipped stitches back on properly.  I absolutely love the pattern though, and it looks much more complicated than it really is.  I lengthened the hat a little because this is intended to be a chemo cap, so the extra bit of length can cover the entire head comfortably.  I’m not sure how the bamboo/cotton blend will last–it is not elastic like wool, so it might stretch with wear.  It is easy to care for though, machine wash and dry.

The second project, fresh off the needles tonight is a pair of mittens.  These are the Spruce Mittens, from the Fox and Geese and Fences pattern book by Robin Hansen.  mittensThese particular mittens are knit in a dark brown and lighter brown wool (Georga wool, which is surprisingly soft and silky despite being 100% wool).  The cuff is seed stitch because I do not like to do a lot of ribbing.  I’m not sure who these mittens will be for–I took an informal poll at work today to see if they would suit both men and women, and the results were mixed.  What do you think?

If not clear from the picture, I’ve been busy with some baking and cookie decorating too!