Finished Objects: Mom’s Mittens

I kept these under wraps on the blog because I didn’t want my mom to see them before she got them, but now I can show what is one of my most favorite projects to date.


The Facts:
my hand-dyed 70/30 mohair/wool sport weight (14 wpi) 2 ply yarn for the outside and fingering weight cashmere for lining
Pattern: my own
Needles: size 3 40″ Addi Turbo for magic loop
Gauge: 6.5 sts. and 7 rows per inch
Size: women’s medium
Started: not including the dyeing, November, 29, 2007
Finished: December 16, 2007

The Yarn:

My interest in using yarn that had a halo for stranded colorwork was rekindled after knitting the Fantom Bohus, which has such lovely, feathered color transitions. The patterning in these is much more graphic, but the halo softens everything just enough to keep things from being stark. Also, mohair= strong, which is a great thing for mittens.

The Dyeing:

I dyed the yarn for these ages ago, with some kind of mitten in mind. The yarn was hot pour dyed* in nearly solid colors with acid dyes. Despite dyeing what I thought was far too much lining yarn, I ran out and had to have a mismatched thumb. The horror!

The Pattern:

The chart is my own, but no doubt influenced by various sources, including Turkish socks. Spirals are good. We can never have enough spirals, is my motto.

The Knitting:

These are knit from the bottom up with the circumference about an inch bigger than the recipient’s palm measurement. I usually like mittens to be about 1/2″ larger in circumference than the palm, so the extra 1/2″ of space is needed for a lining.

Stitches for lining were picked up in the cashmere at the inside edge, decreased a bit, and a second mitten was knit. This second mitten can be popped right inside the first. They are unbelievably cozy.

The thumb has a side seam gusset (sore thumb), which is great for not disrupting the patterning, and also allows the back and palm of the mitten to be identical. There’s no right or left mitten, which helps to ensure even wear.

I used an i-cord cast on for the mitten edge. It’s a lovely edge, but be warned- it wasn’t enough to prevent curling (as seen in the progress photos above) without the lining added.

The Kit:

I love these so much that I’m planning to sell them as a kit, with pattern and dyed yarn. These will be test knit in various simple and complex color combinations and sizes. I’ll keep you updated. The lining won’t be cashmere for the kits, due to the problems associated with producing it. The cashmere I used for these was bought ages ago, before I knew of these problems, and I’ll work my way through it and that’ll be it for cashmere for me, unless I come across American cashmere yarn. My yarn is from ColourMart, which sells mill ends, so it’s a less destructive way to get cashmere, but I’m cool with not using the fiber at all, myself, and don’t want to sell it. I’m testing alpaca for the lining right now. I think it will be plenty scrumptious.

The Boasting:

Mom liked them!

I hope everyone got awesome presents. (Of course, we all gave awesome presents, right?) I know I was treated like royalty this year, receiving all three seasons of Deadwood and the first two of Buffy- excellent knitting entertainment- as well as all kinds of other treats. There are two containers of hot chocolate mix left over. Who’s thirsty and cold?

*There are excellent instructions in The Twisted Sister Sock Workbook, by Lynne Vogel.

86 Responses to “Finished Objects: Mom’s Mittens”

  1. Mom

    I have the world’s most beautiful mittens, even with a mismatched thumb.

  2. Gwendolen

    I have to tell you that I’m a tremendous fan, and I’m so glad to have discovered your blog and flickr site. I’ve been knitting for about five years and just recently have been inspired to take my knitting to the next level. I’m enrolled in an aran workshop to learn the art of cabling, bobbling etc so that I can knit the sweaters that my English family knit so well. After finding “Hello Yarn” I’m now inspired to also learn stranded colour work knitting. I just received my book on Selbu knitting and I’m over the moon about your mom’s mittens! I would buy the kit in a heartbeat! Anyway, thanks for sharing all of your wonderful projects, its been a true inspiration for me!

  3. LEO

    Wow, I really had no idea about the issue with cashmere. Thanks for posting that link. Also, thanks for involving your conscience in your business. I’ll look forward to those kits!

  4. Erica

    Those mittens are breathtakingly beautiful. I am excited to hear you are going to make kits! I haven’t yet tried colorwork, are they as tricky as they look or do you think I might need a kit with which to learn? :)
    Merry Christmas!

  5. Kathleen

    Gorgeous mittens. I like the colors and the strong graphic design. I agree–there can never be too many spirals:)


  6. jess

    they are gorgeous! they definitely remind me of some Turkish patterns in one of the anna zilboorg books. :)

  7. whitney

    Oh my goodness, they’re so gorgeous! I have been admiring the little glimpses of these you’ve shown on Flickr for awhile now. I’m so excited to hear you’ll be selling them as a kit…I look forward to being able to knit these! And thank you for posting about the problems with cashmere. I try to avoid it, too. I’m perfectly happy with good old alpaca.

  8. Jody

    Those mittens are so great! I will definitely have to get your kit when they are ready!

  9. wendy

    Such lovely mittens.Even better that your Mom loved them. I’ll be looking for the kit(please make a bunch so I don’t miss

  10. regina

    Amazing mittens! I will happily buy a kit or two. Thanks for the link to the cashmere article. How tragic.

  11. knitizen

    gorgeous mitts. i’ll take a kit, definitely! i’m really bugged about the cashmere thing; that just makes me want to pull it off the shelves of my shop. bit of a quandary tho’ since i also avidly support the indie dyer. i’ll have to ponder this some more…

  12. Frith

    These are so much fun! I look forward to seeing the kits, and I’m sure they’ll sell ridiculously fast. (I blame you for single-handedly driving up the popularity — and price — of Magnificent Mittens, by the way).

    Two words for the lining: bunny blend.

  13. stacey

    beautiful! the colors and the scrolls (I’m totally with you on that one – never too many!) I’ll happily volunteer to test knit if you are looking for people – I need to branch out from socks!!

  14. Jodi

    What beautiful mittens! I’m looking forward to the kit — could you maybe do a merino lining? Alpaca can be itchy even though it’s soft!

  15. Amber Lee

    Oh how I love these! So beautiful, wonderful colors. Thanks also for the link, I too had no idea about the cashmere issue.

  16. ChristyH

    Those mittens are fabulous and I will need a kit when they come out. I saw the mittens first over at Ravelry on the stranded group and will be trying my hand at mittens very soon, although something easier.

  17. cosy

    unspeakably perfect, even with the mismatched thumb. your knitting truly awes me.
    happy holidays!

  18. Mel

    Oh those are loverly and please let me know as soon as kits are avaliable! I do believe that those mitts will be involved in poping my stranded mitt cherry!

    And I agree one can never have too many spirals! Three of my tattoos are celtic/pictish inspired spirals.

  19. Pat

    They are just beautiful – the flow of color – the scrolls – everything! I want a kit!!!
    (thank you for the cashmere link)

  20. Ella

    Must have mittens! Love the colours. It looks like you might run out of kits though ;-) Will you be selling just the pattern too?

  21. Cirilia

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! I should thank you, I gave tins of hot chocolate mix heavily influenced by your recipe (three flavors, Mexican, vanilla and peppermint), the double dose of chocolate makes all the difference. It was a hit!

  22. Alice

    I love these so much! Every time a photo of these popped up on Flickr I got so excited. I am glad to hear you are putting together a kit for these, awesome!

  23. kerry

    Positively stunning, gorgeous, fabulous … all the superlatives! The colour combo is amazing and I especially loved the limey green lining (my current fave colour!). I’d definitely be interested in a kit!

  24. Kirsten

    Scrumptious!!! The colors, the pattern it’s all perfect. As if that weren’t enough, I’m sure that cashmere lining is heavenly!

  25. Marlena

    They’re beautiful! I’m loving brightly colored yarn paired with white. Also, I am really wanting to try out lined mittens. Maybe this will be the winter. If you do make kits, do you think you’d offer any without mohair/alpaca, or if not that, just the pattern without the kit?

  26. E to the M

    Your mom sure is lucky! I’m so excited you’ll be offering these as a kit. Drop me a line if you need some more test knitters.

  27. Cheryl

    These are so stunning! What a wonderful combination of texture and color. A great ending to an amazingly creative year – hooray!

  28. Katherine of it All

    Oh my! I hunger for those lovely mittens, and will gladly buy a kit.

    More importantly though, thanks for the cashmere education. I had no idea, try as I might to make informed shopping decisions.

  29. Arlene

    WOW…absolutely stunning. I’d love to have a kit. I’ll be watching to see when they become available. Thank you for sharing.

  30. Janine

    Delurking to exclaim over your lovely mittens. Your mother is lucky woman.

    Who’s thirsty and cold? I am! I took inspiration from your hot chocolate/marshmallows/cookies idea for Christmas. I added some coasters that I made from scraps, like the ones over at kelp! knits. Inexpensive and delicious – but I gave all mine away! Shoulda kept some for myself – it snowed today, and hot tea simply doesn’t have the same comforting richness :).

  31. merete

    i am drooling over these. i love your mittens. all of them have something cute and romantic about them and reminds me of a song by nick cave about girls who lost their mittens under fifteen feet of pure with snow (may that never happen). there is also something orla kiely about them. love the prints of this irish designer (who does a bit of knitwear as well).
    you are a real unventer.

  32. julia fc

    I hereby award you the Mitten Ambassador Award for your undying promotion and increased visibility of the knitting through beautiful Mitten design!
    And dude, count me in a customer for those!

  33. Rocksolana

    What gorgeous mittens! Count me in for a kit as well. I love the colors of these mittens and hope you offer the kit in the same colors. I adapted your “We Call them Pirates” hat pattern for a headband for my daughter’s boyfriend for Christmas and he loved it. your patterns are great. Thanks for so many wonderful freebies, and I will be more than happy to purchase the mitten kit when you’re ready to offer it.

  34. beth

    thump. That was my jaw hitting the floor.
    These are beautiful! I love them! I picked up the Knitters book of yarn the other day and I totally want to make all of your mittens! even this one! I know this one isn’t in the book. But WOW !! I want to buy the kit! sign me up!

  35. melissa

    Beautiful mittens! I live in California where any kind of mitten is rarely needed, but a lined pair is NEVER needed. I’ve only knitted a couple of pairs of mittens–would I have to change the pattern a lot to get them to fit properly without a lining? Thank you.

  36. nuttnbunny

    Fab Mitts and thanks for the article link. I just dyed my first and last cashmere. Great education.

    Can’t wait to buy that kit!!

    ps. Here in MN we’ve so much snow. Definitely cold and workin up a thirst!

  37. k

    Those are so pretty – I love them! And I bet they are divinely soft to wear. Your mom is very lucky!

  38. Terry

    Love that your mom’s comment was first! The mittens are beautiful, really, really beautiful. I enlarged the pic so I cd. admire them in detail – just gorgeous in every! way. Ah, this is the kind of work you read of that makes one stop their current projects and try it :)

  39. Max

    Adrian, you are my Czarina of Mittens. I love them all, and *these* are just luscious.

    Your stand on cashmere cheers me up no end. We all have our hand-wringing, despair-inducing issues, and that’s one of mine. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there :)

  40. smug sheep

    They look fabulous. Looking forward to the kits going on sale!

  41. WendyM

    Adrian those mittens are just lovely, I will certainly want a kit. I also have all 3 seasons of Deadwood, how disappointing they did not continue on to the 4th.

  42. astrid

    to add something new;-) :absolutely gorgeous. Wonderfull colors that suits the motif very well: great job

  43. Kim

    Oh my goodness, I adore those mittens! I can’t wait to get the kit and knit these for myself!

  44. Lisa

    Moms mittens are so beautiful. If any of my girls gave them to me as a gift I’d be totally blown away. I’m sure your mom loved them. Happy New Year Adrian and thanks for all the great yarn and knitting inspiration.

  45. Christy / Not Hip

    So amazing. I may be lining up for one of those kits. And thanks for the article link, it is so easy to use/buy things that we don’t know the story behind.

  46. Marta

    I’ve been reading your posts and shop for a while, too, like Gwendolen and others. Count me in for another vote for kits of your beautiful work! yes! yes! yes! All your work is fabulous…I went a little crazy with your Pirate patterns. It’s incredible that you are so generous to share your patterns and allows us (out there in web-land) know a bit about your giving, talented, hard-working personality.

    heh – “hung dei” indeed, although another quote from Deadwood bounced into my head which would certainly be censored…thing Calamity Jane.

  47. Heidi

    I just stumbled upon your mittens on Ravelry and am in awe of how fabulous they are. I can’t wait for the kit!

  48. Amanda

    GORGEOUS mittens! I constantly marvel at how many beautiful, creative things you knit! Stunning! I’m anxiously awaiting the kit!

    Thanks for shipping the “Espresso” roving so quickly! Got it a few days ago, and it’s sitting where I can walk past it several times a day and drool! All that toasty brown goodness – can’t wait to spin it up! Thanks again!

  49. peanut

    Those are great mittens. I love the lining and I think alpaca would be great (so warm). I’ll be watching for the pattern :)

  50. Lisa

    Love all your photos and comments about your projects. Very inspiring! Selling the mittens as a kit is a great idea.

    Just out of curiosity, how many hours a day do you knit? You are SOO productive! I’m always amazed at people who are able to turn out so many projects so quickly. I gotta find ways to pick up my pace ;-)

  51. ali

    Oh my goodness! Those mittens are just gorgeous!!! Simply scrumptious!
    beautiful job.
    Happy knitting-

  52. Sara L

    I love these mitten & am REALLY interested in a kit. Please keep me(us) posted!
    Just started your double thick’s last night. LOVE LOVE LOVE them

  53. Judith

    My niece loves these mittens. Let me know when you have the kit available. They are lovely!

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