Everyone Loves Fingerless Mitts

Photo of handknit fingerless mitts
There’s been a craze ‘round these parts.  Young and old alike, male and female, everyone’s gotta have a pair of fingerless mitts.
It started with the Pageturner Mitts, which was barely a pattern, but gave me a jumping off point. I had a lone and lovely skein of Noro Silk Garden, aching to be knit. I enjoy wearing my fingerless mitts in my chilly basement office:
Photo of Noro fingerless mitts
Then I made a pair in teal blue as a gift:
Photo of handknit teal fingerless mitts
My daughter, fashionista that she is, immediately demanded a pair.  In pumpkin orange:
Photo of orange fingerless mitts
My mom wanted cranberry red (modeled by Matt):
Photo of red fingerless mitts
At the same time I was making my mom’s pair, I was also designing the Fabulous Fingerless Mitts as a free pattern for Happy Fuzzy Yarn (I also did the photography). They use one skein of DK Silk yarn.  Special consideration was taken to not only use the entire skein — no more, no less — but also to knit them at a tighter gauge because silk does not have the bounce back that wool does:
Photo of handknit silk fingerless mitts
Matt needed a pair of fingerless mitts too.  He loves warm accessories and has a desk in the basement office too, which he was using daily last fall and winter.  Somehow I don’t have finished picture of these, but I used a beautiful sea blue-green-grey color of Shepherd’s wool left over from making myself a sweater.  I should get a picture of them now because it’s great — he has worn them a lot and it shows. The only thing better than knitting for loved ones is having them use and use and use your handknit gifts.
My neighbor Amy wanted a neutral-colored pair of fingerless mitts.  For these I bust out a deep stash ball of Rowan DK Tweed in grey that I bought at a tiny wool shop in York, England.  I love the nubby texture of these:
Photo of grey handknit fingerless mitts
Meanwhile, Ellie gave her orange mitts (which were really too big) to her brother, and asked me to make her another pair, one blue and one lime green. I think they represent sky and earth:
Photo of handknit fingerless mitts
(No, I didn’t ask her to pose like this.  Yes, she is a ham.)
All the random single skeins in my stash suddenly have definite purpose.  But still I bought this beauty — DK Silk in Granite — and have plans to make myself another pair of Fabulous Fingerless Mitts:
Happy Fuzzy Yarn DK Silk in "Granite"
Fingerless mitts are great for in-between weather, when it’s not hot or cold and a chill can creep up on you suddenly. They’re also a little punk, a little grunge, a little counter-culture.  Fun for kids, practical for adults. Quick to knit and a great way to use single skeins and leftovers.  What’s not to love?

My Inner Child Wants Everything to Be Rainbow-Colored: Afghan Edition

Photo of a crocheted afghan in rainbow stripes

Raise your hand if you remember me starting a scrap project to use up the yarn left over from the scrap blanket I made for my daughter when she was born.

Yes, I am a serial scrap blanket maker.  I pull out a pile of yarn (or fabric or cut up t-shirts… my desires to both thrift and make things feed each other), decide I am going to use it all up on a scrap project, choose a project, start said project, run out of something and go buy more materials, finish said project, and then — and only then — realize that I have more materials left than when I started.  Doh!

First there was Squeaky, the quilterly knitted blanket I made for my daughter (ostensibly to use up random balls of Wool-Ease) while I waited for her to spring, fully formed, from my womb.  Which, she pretty much did if you’ve ever heard THAT story.  Oh and I ended up buying a lot of yarn to make the colors in the blanket work.  Wool-Ease has a weird palette.

About six exhausting months later, I lit upon the idea to crochet an afghan to use up Squeaky’s leftovers.  I had spied a pattern that was basically a giant granny square, but looked like an Around the World quilt.  I’m not much of a hooker, but I can handle a granny square.  So I lined up my leftover Wool-Ease and soon realized I had a rainbow palette.  Well, almost.  I just had to buy a bit more yarn.  [Cue scary music.]

Four and a half years later, the rainbow afghan of my dreams and nightmares is finished.

Photo of a crocheted afghan in rainbow stripes

 

What else do I have to say about this project?  I didn’t work on it constantly.  In fact, years passed sometimes between putting hook to wool.  It was really fun at first because crochet is FAST.

Also, I am never actually sad to buy more yarn, which this project amusingly and repeatedly required to be completed to my spec of 4 repeats.  It has 13 different colors, 12 Wool-Ease, 1 Plymouth Encore (light blue) because Lion discontinued the delft colorway.  (Why do companies get rid of good, basic, timeless colors like baby blue?  It’s Lion’s loss ultimately because now I have seen the Plymouth Yarns website and know what an amazing palette their wool-acrylic blend Encore has.)

About 2/3 of the way through this project, the rows became very long, hours to finish just one, and it was a slog.  I just wanted to be done.  I could have stopped at any time, but stubborn ol’ me wanted to stick to The Plan.

So I did.  And now the rainbow afghan lives on my couch and gets fought over — when we’re not all four crammed together with it draped over us.

When Your Space Heater Dies in May, Knit Up Some Fingerless Mitts

Photo of Noro fingerless mitts

Feels a little bit like I’m living in a Dickens novel, but I am stubborn enough to wait until fall when space heaters are available again at the corner hardware store.

Photo of a fingerless mitt

Meanwhile, in this cold spring, after working for an hour or two in my basement office, my hands ache from the cold.

It probably goes without saying, but taciturn I am not: it is really hard to take pictures of your own hands when one is using a cell phone.  Do I have a fancy camera that attaches to a tripod and has a timer?  Yes.  It is a DSLR hand-me-down (oh, but we paid for it) from my fancy brother.  I wish I knew how to use it better.  I also wish there were 25 hours in the day, but my tiny tyrant is home in an hour and I need to get this posted, pronto.

Photo of a fingerless mitt

I take breaks from grousing to admire my lovely Pageturner Mitts knit out of Noro Silk Garden.  The yarn was a random lone skein I had and lone skeins, especially those that are beautiful, are so hard to do something with.  Maybe that’s just me.  Now I want to make myself a pair of mitts for every day of the week.  The pattern is the classic and elegant, yet simple Pageturner Mitts by Sarah Jo Burch.  I cast on 40 stitches instead of 30 because I wanted some extra coverage.  I knit each block of garter 6.5″ before sewing up, which gives a nice amount of negative ease.

Pageturner Mitts would make a great quick gift if you use a beautiful yarn, like Noro Silk Garden, or something tonal or handpainted.

I finished these on Mother’s Day weekend and haven’t even worn them out of the house, but they are getting noticed.  My five-year-old thinks they’re the bees knees and keeps stealing them so I am making her a pair.  She is normally into pink, as our species demands of these young females, and when I pulled out pink yarn for her she said, “No, I want orange.”  Okay darling, I will make you orange ones.  And I am.

Matt laughed to see me wandering the house in May, wearing wooly-silky fingerless mitts and all I have to say to that is: polar vortex.  It is still happening, my friends, even if it is only in my mind.  It may not be snowing, but damn this weather continues to be weird.