Happy New Year

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Ringo mittens

Snowy owl mittens

Here’s to a New Year filled with adventure and creativity!

Some of my best-loved knits this past year were colourwork accessories for little ones. Barbara Gregory’s Ringo the raccoon and Horatio the snowy owl mittens are two classics – both patterns are available from Twist Collective. Ringo even made an appearance in my #2016bestnine, worked in two of my all-time favourite yarns, Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight and Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight.

I wish you all happy knitting and woolly goodness in 2017.

Ecclefechan Mitts

Ecclefechan Mitts

The fabric of these mitts almost looks woven. I used a worsted spun, 100 per cent Shetland wool yarn from Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Heritage line. The result is a soft fabric with a smooth finish.

Ecclefechan Mitts Ecclefechan Mitts

Kate Davies designed the pattern; an interpretation of traditional two-colour gloves made in Dentdale and the Scottish Borders. Ecclefechan, a Borders’ village, is on the map as the birthplace of satirist Thomas Carlyle, as well as for its butter tarts. If you need incentive, the pattern comes with a recipe!

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Newfoundland Trigger Finger Mittens

Newfoundland Trigger Finger Mittens

Newfoundland Trigger Finger Mittens

Three fingers are kept together for warmth, while the index or ‘trigger’ finger and thumb are separated in these traditional mittens from Newfoundland and Labrador. I first came across the concept at a 2011 David Blackwood exhibition at the AGO in Toronto. Blackwood is a printmaker, known for his use of the intaglio technique where depressions are cut into a printing plate. He also works in woodcuts, paintings and drawings. I loved this etching, For Edgar Glover: The Splitting Table (Emma Butler Gallery), in particular.

For Edgar Glover: The Splitting Table by David Blackwood, 1999 (Emma Butler Gallery)
For Edgar Glover: The Splitting Table by David Blackwood, 1999 (Emma Butler Gallery)

I’ve dug up a couple of patterns in the years since: Mrs. Martin’s Finger Mitts by Harriet Pardy Martin, which was published in Favorite Mittens by Robin Hansen; and the one I ultimately used to make these mitts for Chris, which is from Operation Homespun: Traditional knitting patterns of Newfoundland & Labrador.

Newfoundland Trigger Finger Mittens

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Narwhal Mittens

Narwhal Mittens

Narwhal Mittens

Happy Holidays! I’m taking a break from a Christmas goose-filled haze to share the last of my holiday knits. These mittens were so much fun to make. Not only is Ysolda Teague’s pattern a fantastic one, and Quince & Co. Chickadee really very nice to work stranded knitting with… but they have narwhals on them! Knowing how Jane feels about narwhals, they were a perfect fit!

Enjoy the rest of the year – here’s to a wonderful 2013!

Note: the main colour is Peacock (109) and the contrasting colour is Glacier (105)

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Moonrise Mitts: pattern sampling

Photograph courtesy of Focus Features
Photograph by Niko Tavernise, Focus Features

I loved Wes Anderson’s latest movie, Moonrise Kingdom. It’s witty and innocent with so many incredible details: the soundtrack, the miniature sets and one eye-catching knit. I was hooked by the pair of mitts worn by Bob Balaban’s Narrator and used some screen grabs to draft a chart.

I’ll be experimenting with different yarn weights and sizes before sharing the pattern with you – Chris commissioned this first “pattern sampled” pair, which I knit in worsted weight Dream in Color Classy and Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair.

I took the photos at Lake on the Mountain – a beautiful provincial park if you’re ever in Prince Edward County. I have it on good authority that The Inn restaurant right beside the park is a tasty spot. We had packed a picnic so we’ll just have to make another trip sometime!

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Magic Gnome Mittens

Magic gnomes for a gnome impersonator. These colourwork mittens have been specially outfitted with conductive thread at the tips for touch-screen navigation. Jensen, the gnome impersonator below, received an iPad for Christmas this year and so far has no fewer than 10 fart apps installed. This is serious business.

Courtesy of my cousin, Paul

After I had finished and blocked the mitts, Chris shared some of his conductive thread with me. I made the first attempt and duplicate stitched conductive eyes on the gnomes at the tip of each mitten where the index fingers would be. I failed. It sporadically worked when I tested it on an iPad. Chris offered his expertise in functional fabrics and I ripped out my duplicate stitching. The trick turned out to be having enough conductive thread on both the inside and the outside of the mitten. Inside, it’s almost like a small button that you can feel with your index finger and put pressure on for touch-screen use.

Warning: This video contains gnomes, bacon and a high tech whoopee cushion

The pattern is spillyjane’s Gnome Mittens pattern and I used the yarn called for – seven different shades of Knit Picks Palette. Here’s a detail so you can see what the conductive eyes look like.

Courtesy of my cousin, Paul

[Photos #1, 3 and 4, and video courtesy of Christopher]

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Garden Gnome Mittens

My cousin’s wife Brenda is a huge fan of garden gnomes – she has a varied collection in her garden that goes back further than Amélie or Gnomeo & Juliet. As soon as I came across Betsy Farquhar’s Garden Gnome Mittens pattern I had to get on it for Brenda’s birthday. Spillyjane’s Gnome Mittens pattern is another good one. Decisions!

These mittens are too small for me but I think they should fit Brenda. If I make the pattern again I’ll definitely change the tab thumb to a thumb with a gusset. It’s a bit of a kick that I’m on at the moment while I draft my first thumb gusseted mitt pattern but it just makes sense given hand anatomy. The gnome chart is awesome but there’s room in the pattern for modifications.

I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in Cardinal and Winter White. Can’t get enough of the Ultra Alpaca – it’s great for colourwork.

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

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Newedist Handknits Sneak Peek

Newedist Handknits

I hope you’re having a very happy September so far! I love this time of year – the colours, the flavours and of course the knit-friendly weather.

I wanted to share a little sneak peek with you – my new line of knit goods called Newedist Handknits. More details to come shortly but I wanted to share the clothing label and logo that Chris designed for me. I’m really happy with Chris’ work and how the labels turned out! It was a fun process – researching clothing label makers all the way through to finally holding the woven labels in my hand. The company I ordered the labels from is appropriately called Fashion Tag and Label and I would definitely recommend them if you’re in the market for some labels.

Coler

Coler

I’ve been knitting a lot this past month but have been a bit slow on the documenting. Today was the perfect temperature to wear these fingerless mitts out on our morning (okay, more like early afternoon) coffee run. The pattern is Coler by Stephen West (from Westknits Book Two) and I used Viola M/C/N worsted in Slate. A super cozy pair of ribbed mitts with some cabling to keep things interesting.

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

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Dala Horse Mitts

Dala Horse Mitts

Dala Horse Mitts

I fell in love with this pattern when I saw Erica Knits’ version. The pattern is a free download by Wenche Roald and is a Dala Selbu Hybrid — a mitten mashup inspired by Norwegian Selbu mittens with a Swedish dala horse motif. I knew as soon as I saw them that they would make a perfect knit for Jane’s birthday (which is today, yay!). Jane told me how much she liked them as well but I played it cool… hope I didn’t give it away!

I used St-Denis Nordique in Pewter and Silver — my first time using St-Denis and I loved it! It’s 100% American wool from Montrealer Veronik Avery. St-Denis recently launched an e-commerce site and carry Briggs and Little yarn from New Brunswick as well as their Nordique and Boreale.

I have one word of warning when it comes to this pattern. It’s essentially one mitten charted. So, I thought, no problem, I’ll just invert it for the mate. Ha. I neglected to switch the thumb placement so when I cast off, feeling pretty good about myself, I realized I had made two left mittens. Ack!!! Beware the thumb placement!

I tried a new technique with these mitts — turning the work inside out when you start the colourwork. I have to thank Siga for this tip, I’d never heard of it before and it really helped to keep from bunching the stitches. I didn’t have to block as vigorously with this pair compared to my Fiddleheads and Franks.

Do you have any tips or tricks you use with colourwork? Please share!

And a very happy birthday to Jane!

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

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Frank Mitts

Frank Mitts

I learned something new while making these mittens. Check out those Latvian braids at the cuffs! A very nice touch indeed in Lauren Osborne’s Frank pattern. The first time around I was lax in my interpretation of the instructions. Ahem. And what resulted didn’t look much like a braid at all. My second try worked nicely though and I’m very pleased with the nice finish the braids give.

Frank Mitts

I tried to relax my gauge a bit more with the second mitt and I think it worked out more evenly. I wasn’t focusing on keeping my stitches evenly spaced on the right needle in either my Fiddlehead mitts or the first in this pair. So a little tip if you’re new to stranded knitting as I am, make sure those stitches on the right needle don’t get bunched up! It makes a huge difference. Thankfully not too huge though, since I think these two still make a nice pair.

Frank Mitts

I used about a half skein each of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in peat mix and steel cut oats so I should have enough for another pair of stranded mittens. More practice on getting an even gauge!

Thanks for a great pattern, Lauren!

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