Honey Tapestry Mittens

October 4, 2015


How I love this mitten pattern.  I just finished these for my future daughter-in-law’s birthday.  I love the two-color knitting pattern  and it has a lining, which makes them so warm. They took me quite a long time to knit, but were so worth the effort.

Instead of the I-cord cast on, I did a picot hem cuff, which I took from Post War Mittens.  I really like it.  And I love the contrast between the stark black and the honey/white of the mitten.


These were knit in the beautiful wool from Quince, a wonderful little company in Maine that makes U.S. yarn.  The yarn is super soft, squishy and a joy to work with. The lining is a blend of super warm alpaca/wool, Berocco Alpaca Light.  So these mittens have a good three layers of warmth!


I knit them entirely in Magic Loop, which I love for mittens.  You can try the mittens on for size as you go, unlike if you use double points.  It’s also great for the thumbs.  I use Addi Lace circulars and they are so pointy that picking up stitches is a breeze.



Tapestry Mittens
Needles: Addi Lace Circulars #4, #2, #1
Yarns:  Quince Chickadee n Honey and Egret
Berroco Alpaca Light in Black
Ravelry Page


Crocheted Jewelry Tray

August 3, 2015


Here is another project from one of my favorite little places to visit on the web:  The Purl Bee.  It’s a crocheted jewelry tray and was so easy and fun to make – and quick. I loved working with that small hook and really stiff thread.  I used some of my wonderful natural linen thread from Lithuania that I got off of Etsy.  It’s sooo nice and I love the colors.  I used two different colors and held it double.

After I finished it, I sprayed it with starch, shaped it and let it set overnight.  I love it so much I may have to make the other versions – a circular and a rectangular.


Pattern:  Crocheted Jewelry Dishes
Yarn:  Lithuanian Linen, fingering and lace
Hook:  2.25 (B)
Ravelry Page


Tapestry Mittens

April 25, 2015


I do love a good mitten pattern and this new one I found might be my favorite yet. The Northman Mitten is right up there, though.  There’s a couple of things I look for in a good mitten pattern:  it has to have a decent thumb (either an afterthought thumb or a thumb with a gusset)  and it has to be a two color pattern.  This pattern has both and it also has a lining, which is really nice. And it was a really fun knit.


This pattern is from Elinor Brown, a knitting pattern designer who I was always in awe of because she designed all these wonderful patterns and did all this knitting while attending medical school.  The pattern gives three sizes for the mittens.  I knit the Medium and I thought they seemed just right for the average woman’s hands.


I chose to use Quince Chickadee for the outer mitten yarn so that the pattern had a lot of stitch definition.  It’s a 100% wool yarn.  Sometimes, in the past, when I have used a wool and alpaca blend for an outer mitten, the alpaca fuzzes up a little too much and the pattern becomes a little blurry.  But I like the warmth of alpaca so I used that for the inner mitten.



Two color knitting is so fun and it’s addictive to watch your pattern coming off the needles.  When I knit in two colors, I hold one yarn (the contrast color) in the left hand and knit Continental with that and I hold the other yarn (the background color) in the right hand and knit English on that side.  It took some practice to learn, but it’s natural for me now and very fast.  if you hold the contrast yarn in the left hand, it becomes dominant in the finished knitting. The background color is held in the right hand, and stays in the background.


I knit all my projects in the round on circular needles using Magic Loop instead of double points.  It makes it very easy to try on the project and assess sizing as you go. Plus I hate all the double points sticking out and having to work around them.  And it makes knitting the thumbs very easy.



The only thing I did not totally love on this pattern was the i-cord cast on. The result just wasn’t worth the aggravation. If I knit another pair of these (and I will) I’m going to do a different kind of cuff – maybe a picot edge.

Pattern: Tapestry Mittens
Needles:  US#4, #2 and #1 Circular Addi Lace
Yarn:  Quince Chickadee in Frost & Storm and Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light in Viola for inner mitten
Ravelry Page


Sideways Garter Stitch Vest

March 28, 2015


this vest is vertically reversible!


If you do not subscribe to Purl Soho’s e-mail newsletter, you really should.  This great little shop in New York’s Soho neighborhood puts out an awesome mailing that includes free patterns.  That is where I saw this pattern for a vest that is done entirely in garter stitch.  It caught my eye right away, so I looked it up on Ravelry to see how  many people were knitting it and what their creative spins on it might be. One great feature of this vest is that you can turn it upside down and wear it the other way, with the contrasting color on top.  Each way gives you a different size collar.


This was such an easy project to knit – it’s just one big rectangle of garter stitch -but it does require doing afterthought armholes, which I kind of love doing.  I’ve done a lot of afterthought thumbs for mittens and afterthought heels for socks, so I know the technique well.

You just knit a length of contrasting waste yarn across the required number of stitches, slip these stitches back to the left needle and knit in your regular yarn.  This leaves you with this contrasting yarn embedded into your piece:


To make the armholes, you slip your stitches just under your waste yarn, picking up one leg from each stitch underneath:


Here are the stitches on the needles after they are all picked up, both below and above the waste yarn:


Now you can get rid of the waste yarn by just picking it out and cutting it as you go to remove it:


Now it’s a matter of just binding off those stitches you just picked up:


After they are all bound off, behold – an armhole:


It’s really pretty easy.  A lot of people on Ravelry decided not to do Afterthought Armholes and, instead, just bound off the stitches as they knitted the garment but as I understand it, this method does not make as nice an armhole.  I guess the tension can vary too much.


I really love this vest.  It turned out with a very nice drape – I used a Made in Michigan yarn called Shepherd’s wool that I really love.

Pattern:  Sideways Garter Vest
Needles:  US # 8 Addi Lace 40″ circulars
Yarn: Shepherd’s Wool in Pewter and Black
Ravelry Page


Cozy Mittens Knitted Flat

January 5, 2015


This has to be the craziest pattern for mittens I’ve ever seen – and the easiest. Mittens are almost always knitted in the round, on circular needles or DPNs, but these are knitted flat – and not a mirror image flat, like you would think and then just folded together.  When I first saw these, I couldn’t figure out how they were seamed up, so when I knitted them I took photos to show you how to fold them.




The pattern calls for  these mittens to be knitted with worsted weight yarn.  When I did a mitten the first time, they were way too thin and way too small.  So I experimented and knitted another mitten with the same worsted weight yarn, only held double and they were perfect!  As I was knitting the piece, it looked huge, but after it was seamed together, it was just right.  It makes a double thick, warm mitten this way and the cuff comes up a full 3.5 inches on my wrist.  They’re a nice size.



After you knit the flat piece, the mittens are folded up by seaming them together with a crochet hook, contrasting yarn and using single crochet. This was simple as could be – but a couple of tips for you: the pattern says to do it in two intervals, by crocheting across the top and down to the thumb and then cutting the yarn and then crocheting up the rest. I did mine in one pass – I started at the top and crocheted all the way to the bottom and then went around the cuff.  Also, the single crochet looks better on one side than the other – so be sure to begin it with the top of the mitten facing you.  You can see the sequence in these photos:




Fold the mitten together, aligning the top halves. Crochet the two halves together along the top. After you crochet down to the the thumb crotch (above), turn the whole piece over:




now flip up the thumb on the left (above), 



then fold over the thumb on the right to match the thumb on the left and continue to single crochet them together (above)



crochet down the thumb, the lower side seam and then just continue right around the cuff.

I hope these photos help you if you want to knit these.  These mittens knit up incredibly fast!  I loved this pattern.


Pattern: Cozy Mittens
Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash Worsted, held double, Doeskin Heather
Malabrigo Merino in Indigo
Needle:  US #8, circular, Addi Lace
Ravelry Page


Snow Buddy Family

December 3, 2014


I think one of the nicest yarn shops I have ever visited is the Yarn Garden in Charlotte, Michigan.  I was in there a couple of years ago and was so impressed with this shop.  I wish I had taken a picture of the interior. Old fashioned downtown shop with high ceilings, brick interior . . . just a really welcoming space with lots of quality yarns.  I loved this place.  And on one of the display shelves sat the cutest little knitted winter family of characters.  I immediately bought the pattern and finally got around to knitting a few of the little guys.

snowbuddymama snowbuddy

These tiny people are quick to knit up.  You stuff the bottoms with dried beans for weight and then add poly fill for the rest.  The pattern is easy for just about everything except the little baby’s earmuffs – I never did understand the directions for those and so I just improvised.  Other than that, there were no troubles with the pattern and I had so much fun knitting them.

snowbuddybaby snowbuddykid

This is a great pattern in which to use up scraps of yarn.  All the little accessories do not take up much yarn.  I knitted these in worsted weight yarns.

Pattern: Snow Buddy Family
Needle: US#3 & US#6
Yarn:  Various Stash Yarn (I used a lot of worsted)
Ravelry Page


ColorPlay Scarf

October 27, 2014


Have you ever knit anything with Rowan Kidsilk Haze?  If you have, you know how gorgeous this Italian yarn is.  It is a lace weight blend of mohair and silk that is light as a feather.  It is an expensive yarn, but it’s very special.  Whatever you make from it is very warm and has fantastic drape.


This pattern is, once again, from one of my favorite pattern resources – Churchmouse Yarns and Tea.   The pattern calls for four solid colors, but I used six because I wanted a much longer scarf.  The yarn is to be held double.  The pattern has you knit one of the solid colors for a big block and then cut one yarn and add in one yarn of another color.  Now you are knitting with two colors at once and you get a great new color.  Then you cut the first color and add another end of the second color and knit with just that color.  It’s fun to see the colors that two different skeins produce together. I did not follow the pattern regarding how long to knit in one color – I just knit until I felt like switching colors.



The scarf is all stockinette stitch, except for a 7 stitch border on each side done in seed stitch, to keep it from curling.  It’s very effective.  All that stockinette makes for easy knitting while you watch TV.  The scarf lies very nicely.  I damp blocked instead of wet blocked it.  I figured it would be way too heavy to handle if I wet blocked it.  I just threw two towels in the washer on rinse and spin and then wrapped the scarf up in there overnight and then pinned and blocked it the next day, as the pattern suggested.  It worked really well.  The scarf ended up being 82″ x 13″ after blocking, a really nice length.  I did not quite use completely all six skeins.



I’m definitely going to knitting more of this pattern, it’s so great.  I can see all kinds of terrific color combinations. Kidsilk Haze is about $15 a skein, so it’s ends up being about $90 to knit one of these scarves in this length.



Pattern: ColorPlay Scarf
Needle: US 7 Addi Lace Circulars
Yarn:  Rowan Kidsilk Haze in 6 colors:
Hurricane, Steel, Smoke, Anthracite, Tornado and Heavenly
Ravelry Page


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