If there is one thing that Granny Martin tried to impress upon me as a youngster, it was that you should always have warm feet and warm hands. As I’ve learned since, you can cover the rest of yourself in as much wool as you like, but without those extremities taken care of, you’re still going to be a chilly, chilly body on a cold day.
I love mittens and handwarmers. I think they’re a great accent to wrap up your winter outfit. Sometimes it’s the only thing you can see! Having lived North of 60, I’m well aware of how to bury yourself in your jacket, hopefully with hood (and plenty of layers beneath). The only thing with whimsy is the hands.
My brother’s family is still in the Yellowknife area, so I like to make the kids fun things that they can wear over the long winter. For my niece, I love mittens. She loves being fashionable, so I figured she’d love a pair of traditional, lined, Latvian (stranded) mitts.
Nope. The pattern really wasn’t working out. Sure, I got the lining right (yay!), but the pattern was getting lost in the colours of yarn. Time to take it back to the basics.
Much better! And what young lady wouldn’t like pink robots? The pattern is Robomitts by SpillyJane, only mindly tinkered with by yours truly, As they’re lined, there is a turned hem, and some extra robots to fill in the addition of the cuff. I also changed a couple of designs on some robot tummies. I also had to place the thumb a little differently due to the liner, so that made a difference as well (but not much).
The yarn is an unnamed hot pink for the lining (lost the ball band in Crafting Central downstairs many moons ago), and the outer mittens are Koigu Premium Merino. I have decided that I will only use my Koigu (and koigu-like sock yarn) for mittens from now on, as I have lost FAR too many socks of this blend to holes that came out of nowhere. Like one pair of socks that wore through in record time (they were less than a year old when the feet started fraying like nobody’s business). So new rule of thumb: Koigu is for Hands Only. We will try to find some other yarn with brilliant solid and mildly variegated patterning and a higher nylon content if we want socks.
Mum, like my niece, received lined mittens. Harry Potter-inspired mittens. The pattern is O.W.L. mittens by Celeste Young. My Mum loves the Harry Potter series, so it seemed a no-brainer. The tweaks made here? Well, again, they’re lined, so I adjusted the cuff as necessary. Otherwise, it was a pretty straightforward knit, practically 100% to the pattern. Which is an oddity for me as I generally tweak the hell out of anything I knit, but this didn’t really need it. I only had to fix a couple of spells on the palms.The helpful folks on Ravelry pointed out that a couple of the spells don’t actually exist, so because I’m handy at charting via Excel Spreadsheet, I tucked a couple of “real” spells into their place. Easy peasy.
The lining is the same unknown Fuscia that feature in my niece’s mittens, and the outer mitten is Knit Picks Palette in Pennyroyal and Mulberry. I had picked up a little of the Palette to play with as so many other mitten knitters seem to like it, and fell in love with it. Took advantage of a late-November sale to pick up even more for the coming year. I love that they give you more than enough so that you have extras for later. Seriously wonderful and warm wool!
Here’s hoping that over the long term the yarn lives up to the hype I’ve now given it!
Finally….you might want to stop here if you are offended by the f-bomb on a pair of knitted mittens.
You can’t say I didn’t warn you.
I knit these on the sly for the Husbeast. I actually knit two pairs, but only managed to get photos of Robin’s because his Dad’s mittens came off the needles and into their wrapping literally 10 minutes before his Dad walked through our door on Christmas Day. So you will have to imagine the other pair (which have a cuff more like my Mum’s mittens).
I didn’t line these, by the way. The pattern is “How Cold Is It?” by Drunk Girl Designs. These are done in Knit Picks Palette Pennyroyal and Abyss Heather. He thinks he saw me working on these at one point, but he is mistaken as I knit them Totally On The Sly when he wasn’t around.
His Dad’s mittens were made out of Cascade 220 Sport in Brown (a dark chocolate brown) and Extra Creme (kinda taupe). I knit them on 2.5mm needles. That’s Addi Turbo slang for “size 1.5 but we’ll call them size 1″. I Do Not Recommend knitting with sport weight yarn on size 1 needles. It hurts the hands. Yes, it makes awesomely warm fabric (particularly as this was merino), but it hurts. And it makes you procrastinate. Which is why, even though I cast them on sometime around the middle of November, they weren’t finished until the Very Last Minute.
The look on everyone’s faces when he opened them up was priceless, however, and totally worth the arthritic attacks suffered!.