Fingerless Mitts in a Weekend – a free pattern

This weekend was Thanksgiving and I decided to cast on a new and very simple project. Something I can make to sell. Well, they’re already off to their new home and I got them started AND finished over the course of the weekend. And I didn’t sell them. My daughter wanted them and I was more than happy to oblige!

Several people have asked me for my pattern. It’s an antique pattern with a lot of little changes.

Fingerless Mitts in a Weekend

220 yards (100g) Worsted Weight wool yarn. For my sample I used Ella Rae Classic Wool in colorway #164; a heathery light purple.

Set of 4 US 4 double pointed needles

1 stitch marker

Lengths of scrap yarn or yarn holders to hold thumb stitches

Cuff: to make a women’s mitt cast on 44 stitches and K2, P2 for 3 inches. You can certainly make the cuff longer but remember you may need more yarn. On the last row (it can be an extra row after 3 inches, don’t sweat it. Just remember what you did so you can do the same on the second mitt) *k1, k1fb, p2, (k2, P2) ten times, repeat from * one more time. Two stitches increased. 46 stitches total.

Knit six rounds plain. (No increases or decreases.)

Begin Thumb Gusset increases:

K1fb, k1, K1fb, PM (place marker) knit to the beginning of the round.

Knit 1 round plain

K1fb, k3, K1fb, SM (slip marker) knit to the beginning of round.

Knit 1 round plain

Continue in this manner, increasing in the first stitch and the stitch before the marker, slip the marker and then knit to the end of the round; knit two rounds plain until there are 15 thumb stitches. (The stitches between the beginning of round and the marker are the thumb gusset, extra stitches to accommodate your thumb.) You need to remember to knit two rounds after the last increase round.

Now thread a needle with some scrap yarn about a foot long. Slip the 15 thumb stitches from the DPN to scrap of yarn (or a stitch holder. I like using a scrap of yarn because I can keep trying on the mitts.) You have 15 thumb stitches on holder and 46 stitches on the Dpns.

Cast on three stitches, connect again for knotting around the hand stitches. Knit all stitches in the round until the hand is as long as you want it to be. I like my hands (mostly) covered so I knit until the hand is about at the first joint of my pinkie finger.

Begin ribbing: k2tog, K1, (P2, K2) to the last two sts, P2. 48 sts total.

Continue on pattern as set (Knit 2, Purl 2 around) for five rounds. Bind off in pattern.

Thumb: slip 15 thumb stitches onto dpns. cast on 5 stitches at the «crotch » of the thumb (where you cast on three stitches.)

Knit 3 rounds plain

K2, P2 around for five rounds. Bind off in pattern.

Make the second mitt just the same.

Weave in ends. Block gently. Or just wear them!

Mind you, I haven’t had these mitts test knit or tech edited. I’m happy to take your suggestions and edits should you find « issues » when you’re knitting.

These are the mitts that I taught last session at the adult education program here. I also taught my students to embroider on the fabric knitted. There are lots of pictures out there of embroidery on knitting. I also used this pattern for these mitts with self-patterning yarn. Be fearless! Have fun!

Gone knitting.

Follow me on Instagram @QueenBeeKnits

I’m also on Facebook: Queen Bee Knits by LindaWarner

I’m lindar on Ravelry

The Fourth Mitten

4-Needle Snowflake Mittens

Three years ago … THREE YEARS AGO … I wrote a blog post about finishing a pair of mittens that were samples for a class that I was teaching. 4-Needle Mittens were the subject. (Laughing All the Way is the post.)

Anywho … today, three years later, I finished the fourth mitten!

These are my favorite mittens and I love knitting this pattern. They’re the first color work that I knitted and where I fell in love with the technique. I’ve made quite a few pairs, lots of different color combinations, all beautiful.

I started this mitten on Friday and finished it today (and I worked all day yesterday at the shop!) It’s not rocket science but it’s necessary to know how to follow a chart. In this pattern, the first mitten, the left mitten, is knitted by reading the chart from right to left. To knit the right mitten, you ready the chart from left to right. Obviously, when I taught my class, I made a slight(ly huge) mistake and read the chart for the second mitten the wrong way! (Duh!) This time I got smart and used a simple tool to remind me to knit the chart the right way.

Good Tools are Great Help!

The neon pink “Highlighter Tape” is a great tool to use when you’re knitting. I used the tape to mark the completed rows and added an arrow to remind me to knit from the left. I keep my patterns in a protective plastic sleeve and the highlighter tape is easy to move and replace! It helped me keep track, too, of where I am. I bought mine at my LYS and it’s available at Amazon.com, too.

My favorite, FAVORITE, part … the inside of the thumb

I’m so pleased to have finished the mittens and to have sold them to a dear friend for her daughter with cold hands. The pattern is really old and I haven’t been able to find it anywhere other than on the often-copied pattern given to me by my colleague, Bette.

What colors will I use for the next pair?

To be continued.

Gone Knitting.

Blocking

Ma Belle Amie

I’ve finished one project and made progress on a different project today.

In our house, Sunday is almost always a day to “do nothing”. I worked an extra day this week and I was pretty pooped. So I spend a good part of the day in my studio. I’m still cleaning up and reorganizing while I wait for my new cabinets to be finished.

I worked on my Stephen West Starflake KAL for quite a long while. Finally, I’ve finished the second section. I chose to do the two-color Brioche. And I only just discovered that my stitch count is right but two sections are off. Each by two stitches. But I’m moving forward regardless.

Stephen West’s Starflake KAL in Emma’s Yarn

I can see, upon close inspection, exactly where I neglected to decrease in one section. And I can see the forgotten increase at one end, too. I don’t think it’s obvious enough to worry about it. I’m not sure if “fixing it by adding an extra decrease and increase in the next round. So … I’ll go ahead. After placing a safety line.

Christmas Version of Ma Belle Amie
Free pattern on Ravelry

My cowl, Ma Belle Amie, is being blocked. I knit it I’m super squishy Jojoland Baritone. It’s a DK weight superwash wool. I’d say it’s close to a light Worsted it’s so squishy. Ma Belle Amie is a simple striped cowl in four colors. Mine is in Christmas colors and I’m looking forward to wearing it. Carrying the yarns up the side saves you from weaving in a million ends. Some of my Friday knitters have begun knitting this cowl in the round so it’s extra warm. (I’m warm enough most of the time!)

I tend to wet block all of my hand knits. Wet blocking means soaking in water with a gentle wool wash for 20 minutes and then gently squeezing out the excess water. I lift the garment into a towel and wrap it up to squeeze out lots more water. (I walk on it!) The garment is then spread out on a second dry towel under my guest room ceiling fan to dry.

In a couple of days, both Evelyn’s pullover and my cowl should be dry.

Progress! On to the next.

Katharine Cobey, A Different Voice

I don’t think I wrote about the opening of Katharine Cobey’s one-woman show at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine. Ned and I were thrilled to attend the VIP (smaller) opening on the first night and Katharine’s talk on Saturday afternoon.

We had a few minutes in the gallery prior to the opening so that Ned could get film footage of Katharine’s works on display. Our plan is to make a short documentary about Katharine in hopes to help her find homes for her pieces, particularly the larger ones.

Birds of a Feather, 2003
wool
60 x 74 x 3 inches
Mime for the Gulf War Birds, 1991
Black plastic, wood, steel
72 x 36x 36 inches
How Katharine got it done

Katharine was quite practical about how to get the job done when creating the Gulf War Birds which was knitted out of black garbage bags. She used a swift to hold the plastic bags and cut them directly into a basket.

As anyone who is creative will understand, it’s not just the finished piece that matters. The process and means by which the artist gets there is creative and necessary. How does one cut up a bunch of black plastic garbage bags into useful strips so that they can then be formed into the ultimate piece? I loved that the Farnsworth used this as an example of the ingenuity and creativity of this fiber artist!

Portal (Pillars), 2003/2008
Wool
96 x 36 x 36 inches
Courtesy of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Gift of the Artist, 2019
Detail of Portal (Pillars)

Upon walking into the gallery, I was very moved. I may be said that my “ocular incontinence” kicked in a little bit. (Thanks, Bristol, for the term!) It is very emotional to see these pieces, most of which I had seen in Katharine’s studio, hanging in an art gallery. They’re masterful and thoughtful and quite beautiful. They’re also quite big. Portal, in particular. Katharine told us that at one of the museums where Portal was going to be on display, a staff member asked if there was a form around which the knitted “columns” should be placed in order to give them form. Nope. The columns are perfectly shaped by the knitted stitches. Knits and purls. You can see them in the detail of the piece. Brilliant.

Portrait of Alzheimer’s, 1992
Silk and wool, wood base
69 x 77 x 28 inches

Portrait of Alzheimer’s is probably my favorite piece in this collection. Probably because I have a personal experience with the disease and I can understand this piece better than any other. My mother died from Alzheimer’s Disease. So did Katharine’s mother.

Beginning from the left side, with one strand of yarn, a beautiful lace shawl is knitted together. And it is gorgeous. At about the half-way point of the shawl, the stitches start to be misshapen and become a bit odd, as if there is a mistake, something is happening that is incongruous with what has happened until this point. And then the knitting becomes less “regular” the pattern isn’t regular and can’t really be recognized as the pattern was at the start. And finally, it completely unravels. Unrecognizable as a shawl. Simple strands of yarn in no apparent pattern or shape, with threads hanging out at the edges. Just like the disease that took hold of my mother. And yet, in the middle remains the form of the person whose body supports the shawl.

I have purposely left out several of the pieces that are displayed in this show. I want everyone to go to see it. Fiber Arts in a much-respected museum! A Fiber Artist, a Maine gem, being recognized for her art. This show is at the Farnsworth Museum, Rockland, Maine through April 12, 2020. Go see it!

If you know of a museum that might be interested in any of Katharine’s art, please let me know. Katharine or one of us will be contacting museums. Thanks for your help in advance.

Success!?

What is our measure of success? People measure success by the cars they drive, the homes they own, the jobs they have, how much money they make and a lot of other things. It’s different for all of us. Right?

I’ve measured my success by looking at what others think of me for much of my life. It’s only after a ton of therapy and the grace of having had a lot of time on this planet, that I can say that I feel successful. I’m content. Content with the life that we’ve built here on the lake in Maine.

Members of my Friday Knitting Group loving each other … kindness is rampant in this group!

I feel successful at work. I have created a circle of customers and friends and students who I enjoy spending time with. I feel like I am making a difference by sitting on two boards of trustees go organizations that have meaning to me. My kids are grown and living full lives. I’m deeply in love with the person I married and he loves me despite my perfect imperfections. (*ha! ha! ha!)

I’m feeling confident as a knitter. I’m wearing my Sunset Highway sweater today for the first time. It fits and it’s really lovely. I am quite proud to be able to make garments that I can wear. I have been finishing some projects, too, projects that have been hanging around in my studio for a long (long!) time!

Last year I was going to knit Christmas stockings for my daughter and son-in-love. Because I got a pretty good case of tendonitis, I wasn’t able to knit the stiff fabric for the stockings. But I just got them finished … with a little help from my friend and co-worker, Peggy. She took the first stocking, which I had begun over a year ago, and whipped it into shape while I started and finished the second one. They’re all steamed and finished now and ready to be gifted to the wonderful couple. Their anniversary is next week but I think I’ll save them until Thanksgiving and give them as an early Christmas present!

The stockings are both kits from Accessories Unlimited. Kits #402, Toy Soldiers and #103, Christmas Tree Stocking. The yarn isn’t what I would choose to knit with. It’s very stiff and scratchy but because it won’t be worn, it’s ok. They will hold up well and the stitches are pretty well-defined. I am very pleased with them both.

I’ve also finished a scarf promised as a trade with my herbalist. I had wanted it to be done a year ago as well but for the same reasons that the stockings weren’t done, the scarf was shelved (quite literally). Yesterday I brought it over to Danielle and she loved it. I’m pleased. It was (is) gorgeous. This is the first project I actually blocked with blocking wires. Lace really requires it. The pattern was a free one, Sage Smudging Scarf, on Ravelry and I knit it with the most gorgeous shade of gold Alegria by Manos. All of the details are on my Ravelry projects page. Suffice it to say that this scarf will adorn a neck and feel soooooo good!

When I was at Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat (or as I call it, Fiber Camp) this summer, we designed a lace cowl in our Lace class with Bristol Ivy. I have finally finished and photographed my cowl. The pattern was created using a process called “encoding” which was first brought to knitting by Naomi Parkhurst. In the yarnovers, there is a secret message.

Encoded lace … “I love Ned” and “Embraced” are hidden in the yarnovers

I’ve finished a new sample, a baby sweater, for Yardgoods. It’s Knitting Pure and Simple pattern #214, Baby Pullover. We chose a Cascade yarn, Pacific Color Wave, to knit it up in and since it’s teeny-tiny, it takes only one ball of yarn and knits up in no time at all.

I still have several projects to finish and a few to start, but I’m feeling the success all around me and it feels really good.

Gone knitting!

You can find more details about these projects and others on my Ravelry projects page. I’m Lindar. Also, follow me on Facebook, Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner, and on Instagram, @QueenBeeKnits.

WIP … 1, 2, 3, … No Yarn, No Fabric

In my knitting bag

Today I was up in my atelier after doing all of my day off list of activities when I decided to see what I’ve got in my knitting bag. I tend toward throwing whatever I want to have at work into the bag and taking it with me. Sometimes it just needs to be cleaned out. Today I discovered five projects, WIPs, in my knitting bag. All in process … some further ahead than others.

First, my husband’s sweater. I’m really working hard to knit up some of the projects already in my stash. If fact, I have a new mantra … No Yarn! No Fabric! I repeated it over and over again when my two friends at work and I went on the Maine Yarn Cruise. Anyway … I’m knitting my husband a Knitting Pure and Simple sweater in Ella Rae Classic Wool. I love these patterns because they are time-tested. The pattern is Knitting Pure and Simple #255 Henley Neck Down Pullover for Men. The yarn is Ella Rae Classic Wool in color 125.

And then there is the beautiful lace scarf that I am knitting for my herbalist friend. She needs a gift for a friend and she didn’t have the time (or the inclination) to knit a scarf. I love the Manos Alegria yarn. It’s very soft and not splitty. The color for this project is absolutely amazing. The pattern is pretty but it’s actually boring to knit. A four-row lace pattern repeated one hundred twenty times … or more. Pattern: The Sage Smudging Scarf, free on Ravelry. Yarn is Alegria by Manos del Uruguay in the Turmeric colorway.

For Christmas this year, my husband gave me some lovely wool yarn. And then he told me that it was for him – he wanted me to knit socks for him. Perhaps he should have put the yarn in HIS stocking?! This yarn is what I would call a heavy worsted and it’s working up really well but it’s a bit hard on my hands! He’ll love these socks in the winter. One sock is finished and the second sock is begun but I have put this one aside until I get a couple of projects finished that are “due” sooner. The yarn is Briggs and Little Tuffy in the Granite colorway. The pattern is Classic Socks for the Family by Yankee Knitter.

I’m knitting a pair of mittens as a sample for my Messalonskee Adult Ed class that begins in a couple of weeks. We will knit a pair of mittens and then embellish them with embroidery. I’m knitting with Ella Rae Classic Wool … they’ll be pretty mittens and they’ll also be very pretty. The plan is to embroider a bee on one mitten and maybe some flowers on the other. Maybe two bees! The pattern is Classic Mittens and Gloves for the Entire Family (this is a must-have pattern, by the way!). The yarn is Ella Rae Classic Wool in colorway 177.

A couple of weeks ago I saw the cutest crocheted hat on Facebook. It was made with a rafia “yarn” that I quickly found online and ordered. Oops? I had a bit of a challenge with the very start of the hat but with a couple of tries, I was successful and was going around and around! I’m making progress. I thought I’d have it done by Friday, but I remembered the scarf was promised in September. The hat probably won’t be worn until spring. The yarn is called Ra Ra Rafia by Wool and the Gang. The pattern is the Devon Hat (it’s free on Ravelry!)

I have two Christmas stockings, one Delores, a pair of socks, and several other projects on my atelier shelf. The stockings have got to be done by November! They’re the next two projects that have to rise to the top of the list! I have the yarn and patterns chosen for five more sweaters for me, too!

I haven’t sewn for a year but I have the fabric for two twin size quilts for the guest bedroom on the third floor, a tree quilt and a few other projects.

No yarn! No fabric!

Gone knitting!

Allison Cardigan

It hasn’t been an easy path for this wonderfully soft and beautifully dyed Malabrigo Rios yarn. I started out knitting one sweater and then another but both got frogged because of the fit or the style. (Both were pretty horrendous!) The yarn went into “time out” for awhile until I found the Allison Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.

Getting started!

This cardigan is knitted from the top down in one piece with US7 needles. I knew that to get the right gauge, I needed to knit this yarn on a size 7 needle. This pattern seemed perfect. It’s a simple sweater, pretty straight forward in the top down sweater world.

The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in the Cirrus Grey (845) colorway. I love, love, love this color! It’s somewhere between a denim blue and grey and everything in between. I chose the Purpureas (872) colorway for the pocket. This is another rich purple color and I think it’ll be just enough zing when the interior of the pocket shows against the blue sweater. I can’t wait to wear this sweater!!! Rios is what I would call a light worsted weight merino yarn. It’s not got a whole lot of twist and that’s why I want to knit it up on a “smaller” needle. The US7, in this instance, I think will be perfect. I loved the fabric on my swatch.

Incredibly purple pockets!

The construction of the pocket was different than any pockets I’ve knitted before. It is knitted into the body of the sweater and then seamed at the sides. Initially I thought it would be bulky but it’s not. And my hands will be so warm!

Once the body of the sweater was finished, I started on the first sleeve. One of the tricks I’ve learned over the years is that if I want to make the sleeves even and balanced, I need to use the tools that I have and mark every decrease! It really helps. And the sleeves turned out the same the first time around! No adjustments necessary! Woo! Hoo!

I was a little bit (or maybe a lot) concerned that I didn’t have enough of the main color so I didn’t finish the ribbing on the bottom of the sweater until I had knitted both of the sleeves. Turns out that I didn’t have to worry. I had enough yarn and one extra skein of the purple! Maybe I’ll knit some fingerless mitts to wear with the cardigan!

Ready for blocking!

Here it is before blocking (on my wonderful antique braided wool rug made by my husband’s grandmother.) I will post another picture or two after it’s blocked and in some good light. I blocked it tonight and I know I’m going to love wearing this cardigan this fall/winter!

Gone knitting!