Mittens but no kittens

I told myself at the start of the year that 2019 would mark the Return Of The Knitting.

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I’m not doing too badly with it – I’ve already finished a scarf and a jumper, and I’m hoping to cast on another jumper this Easter weekend. Okay, granted the only things to hit the blog so far have been a couple of hats – and now these gloves – but I promise there’s knitting happening in the background and those things will eventually hit the blog for your viewing pleasure 👀

Sooooo – I made mitts. Mittens? Mitts? I guess ‘mittens’ refers to something that covers your full hand but with no fingers, right? But then I’d say ‘oven mitt’ rather than ‘oven mitten’… so, I dunno 🤷🏻‍♀️

I’ve made things-that-go-on-your-hands.

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I made our Kindred Hats with the intention of making the matching gloves – the first time I’ve made a matching set, which made me feel all grown up and coordinated. What we’ve had up until now is a mishmash of different colours, textures, and fibres, all purchased at different times, with varying degrees of bobbling. The matchy-matchy game has now been upped and I can safely say we’re winning.

The Kindred hat and mitt set is designed by Carina Spencer. She says ‘there are precious few times in our lives when we are gifted the everyday miracle of meeting a kindred spirit. We are two souls traveling parallel paths until time puts us in the same place on the same day and we are forever changed by knowing the other exists in this world’. This is her description of the wandering cables that feature on both patterns. I kinda like it.

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I made the hats first, on our trip to NYC last year, because hats were more familiar to me than gloves. I’ve made more of them, they could be knitted on a circular needle, and they are pretty simple going. Gloves, on the other hand (ha! No pun intended lol 😂🙄) are a weird shape, you’ve got to knit them on double-pointed needles and there are finger-holes to contend with. Much more scary. I also figured that if I knit the hat first, I’d get the hang of that cable pattern and it would be one less thing to worry about on the gloves. See? I wasn’t wussing out, it was a bit of strategic planning 😬

I knitted the gloves on 5mm double points, even though the pattern calls for 5.5m – I’ll admit to being a tension swatch rebel (never made one, don’t intend to) but I know that I’m a loose knitter and dropping half a millimetre on the needle size usually results in something that’s close to the recommended gauge.

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The gloves start out with a couple of inches of 1×1 rib, and then you proceed to knit them – in the round – alternating colours every row. The tops are finished with a few rows of 1 x 1 rib. There’s two size options – S/M and L/XL – I made the smaller size for me and the larger size for the husbeast.

I used a combination of Malabrigo yarns – Rios and Worsted (one of each on both pairs), for no reason other than colour combination preference. I actually think the differences in the appearance of the two makes for a nice effect – the cables stand out a little bit more because they’re a slightly thicker yarn (the Worsted) than the Rios.

I bought one skein of each colour (‘Volcan’ and ‘Red Mahogany’ for mine (orange and purple), and ‘Black Forest’ and ‘Illusion’ (slate grey and purple-y grey) for the husbeast) and got both the hat and gloves out of it with some to spare. Skeins were bought from Love Knitting, if anyone’s interested.

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Double-pointed needles look horrific if you’ve never used them before, but once you get your head around what you’re doing is actually not that bad. Promise. I was a bit nervous about doing the thumb hole with them as I’ve never knitted anything that tiny before, but it turned out absolutely fine 💪🏻

I’ve only ever knitted one pair of gloves before, so I don’t really have much experience in the glove-knitting-world, but had no problem with these. I’d say if you’re comfortable with cables and knitting in the round, then you’ll be fine. The instructions are charted, which is fine by me – I actually prefer it. I find that when you write out each row of knitting, visually it looks a bit overwhelming. So many words, numbers and abbreviations. With a chart, I can see clearly how the cable pattern develops and it helps me knit it quicker and memorise any pattern. I find it easier to translate the chart to how the knitted fabric actually appears, whereas with words there’s no link to the texture of the fabric.

 

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The gloves fit really well, but the yarn I chose wasn’t really hard-wearing enough for my liking. I mean sure, the gloves are soft and warm, but where I’ve carried my gym bag to work the palm of the glove has pretty much felted. It looks a right state. Sad face.

My next hat/glove set is going to be made with Brooklyn Tweed Petrie and Arbor, which I’m hoping is going to be more durable. The sweater I made myself from their Shelter yarn has lasted really well and has hardly any pilling, so I’m hoping their other yarns will be just as good. The Shelter yarn is nowhere near as soft as the Malabrigo yarn, but is it really worth spending all that time knitting something soft and squishy for it not to last and look a mess after just a couple of uses?

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The pattern I’m going to attempt is the Dipyramid Set by Emily Greene – it’s my first time with stranded colourwork, so wish me luck. I’m using it as the practice run before I attempt the Oregon hat and glove set by Alice Starmore which is one of my 2019 Make Nine… not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous about it! It looks proper complicated. I’ll probably watch some YouTube videos on the best methods for carrying the floats on the inside of the work, so if anyone’s got any tips or tricks they will be much appreciated.

For his next pair of gloves the husbeast has requested half-fingers, so I’ve already started scouring Ravelry for potential patterns. Turns out, there’s a heck of a lot of glove patterns, but not that many with half fingers. No fingers – yep, full fingers – yep, halves? Nah, not so much.

Typical.

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I really love the Kindred Mitts and their cable pattern, so I might give them another try in a different yarn. And I know that nobody wants a too-short pair of gloves, but I think that these are just a smidge too long. They’re meant to cover your wrists and keep them warm, which I am ALL for – believe me – but in reality they don’t stay where you put them and they end up bunching around my wrist. I reckon an inch shorter would be perfect – BUT you can’t take that inch out of the ribbing (because then it’d be too short and wouldn’t fit to your wrist as nicely) and there’s no way I want to start faffing around redrafting the cable pattern. I made the size S/M and although they fit my hands well, it’s a fair few stitches too loose around the wrist. I do think I have quite unnaturally slim wrists, though, so this might be a factor.

From the photo below, it looks like the husbeast has the same problems with his as well.

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I kind of knew in the back of my mind that the yarn would pill, but I didn’t expect it to it this much. I think that these hat and gloves sets will probably only last one season, maybe two if I give them a good shaving. The husband is quite sensitive to itchy wools though, so I need to find that happy place between softness and hardwearing-ness. Or, I just make him a new hat and mitt set every year 🤔Saying that, all the fuzz balls attached to the gloves (mine, at least) are one colour – purple. The worsted yarn. The orange Rios yarn doesn’t actually appear to have fuzzed up, interestingly. The worsted was a slightly thicker, softer, looser-spun yarn than the Rios, which has more of a twist to it. Perhaps I’ll give two colours of Rios a try, and see if this fares better over time.

Either way, the mitts have kept my hands warm when it’s chilly but not quite cold enough to bust out my actual shearling mittens that I picked up from a vintage shop in Paris last year. I love them, so much, because they are the only gloves I’ve ever found that actually stop my hands from going numb in the depths of winter – but they are like mini-ovens. Seriously, they are PROPER warm. They are reserved for the coldest of cold winter days, and are totally overkill when it’s just a bit nippy and I want to keep my hands warm. This is where the Kindred Mitts have stepped up and performed – even if they only last the one winter.

So yeah. Pretty gloves, but perhaps the wrong choice of yarn.

Feels a bit odd to be posting gloves here on ye olde blog when we’re having a heatwave here in London – can’t remember the last time we had a UK bank holiday weekend where it didn’t rain?!

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I hope you have all had a good Easter weekend – however you’ve chosen to spend it! We decided to bake ourselves some chocolate-cornflake-mini-egg nests, and scoff the lot. We also got a few things photographed for this ‘ere blog, and I cut into some of the silk I bought from Mood in NYC to make another shirt for the husbeast. Now we’ve settled on a pattern that both I like to sew and he likes to wear, I think we’re full steam ahead on filling out the wardrobe.

With regards to my wardrobe, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need some summer tops, but thin straps give me quarterback shoulders. See exhibits A, B and C:

Butterick B6453 Patterns by Gertie dress in embroidered chambray

Seamwork Catarina dress in Opening Ceremony geometric silk

And if I’m totally honest, I’m not really a dress person either, with the exception of maybe a couple that I’ve made. So, I’m actually going to do something I said I wouldn’t ever do – refashion a couple of previous makes 😨

These two dresses are getting the chop:

Pauline Alice Cami shirt Dress in Cotton and Steel Octopus Tokyo cotton lawn

Seamwork Catarina dress in Opening Ceremony geometric silk

The only reason I’m bothering to reuse the fabrics is because they were rare finds – the octopus print is a now-almost-unobtainable Cotton and Steel lawn which I managed to get from a destash on eBay, and the blue-and-coral hands print is some Opening Ceremony silk which is rarer than hen’s teeth, it seems.

The octopus print will probably become a Scout Tee (or a Republique du Chiffon Suzon blouse), the hands silk I’m not sure of yet because although I’ve got a fair bit of fabric to use from the skirt of the dress, there’s a seam down the centre back (WHY OH WHY DID I FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO DO THIS?! 😫). In later versions that I made of this dress (the Seamwork Catarina), I left that seam out and made the back one whole piece just like the front. To this day I still can’t see the point in that seam, and now it’s coming back to bite me because while I’ve got a nice big piece of fabric to reclaim from the skirt front, there’s a massive (French) seam down the middle of the back. Either I use that piece as-is for the back of a top, and leave the (not pattern matched) seam in, or I find a pattern that has separates for either the front or back – like a button-up tank or sleeveless shirt.

I’m after something to become my summer staple – the Scout Tees are great, but even in England there are days where you don’t want sleeves (okay so there’s maybe only about five of them all year, but they still exist 🤣). I have two (three maybe?) Ogden Camis, which I might have to pass to a new home – one of them is made from Liberty silk which I don’t think I can bear to part with so that one might be granted permission to stay and get worn every so often, but the others are really not flattering on my shoulders, or bra friendly, so they will have to go. I was doing a little Google research and apparently thin straps are not good for us girlies with broad shoulders – which would be why I always have that moment of shock when I see my boulder shoulders in a strappy bodice 😱🤣

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I’m going to finally sew up a pattern that I’ve had for a couple of years but never got around to making – the Gemma Tank by Made By Rae:

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I’m pinning all my hopes on this one looking alright, so that I can make up a batch of ’em. Wish me luck! (If you have any good summer tank pattern recommendations, holla in the comments👇🏻)

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend everyone! 💜

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Next week on the blog is my second Madeleine skirt by Victory Patterns 🖤

Black Corduroy Madeleine Skirt 2946

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18 Comments

  1. Cindy
    April 21, 2019 / 7:51 am

    I’ve just knitted a pair of socks , an odd combination, the pattern is given on the wool band and the colour change on the wool tells you which stitch and when to stop with it, they are by Arne and Carlos two very sweet Dutch chaps who’s love is supposed to show through into their socks….well I hate them, they keep falling down, and I did a knitted sq too….so destined to be doggy socks for when we get a sick rescue with a broken paw or like to cover a plaster cast etc and the wool pattern mix was bloxdy expensive too. Have a great weekend xx

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 29, 2019 / 5:12 pm

      Ooh, how strange – that sounds like a different way to knit socks! I’m gonna have to go check them out now 🧐 Shame that they keep falling down, so frustrating after you put so much effort in to them 😞 At least there will be one super-stylish doggo! 🐶 I’m still yet to start my first pair of socks, but I hope the buggers turn out useable or I’m not knitting any more!!! 😂

  2. Barbara
    April 21, 2019 / 8:09 am

    For mitts plus fingerlets could you find a glove pattern you like and just knit short fingers? If you find a yarn that doesn’t pill when used to make gloves then please let me know. Sock yarn with about 25% synthetic is about the nearest but my skin is not sensitive and it is not as soft or as warm as pure wool. I have a pattern, which I have not made so far, for mittens with fingerlets plus a flap to go over the top when you want the whole hand enclosed ( just noticed that these are knitted flat) which I am going to do for next winter- i.e. before the end of August.
    I rarely comment but your blog is one of my Sunday highlights , long may you continue.

    • Sarah
      Author
      April 29, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      Ahh thank you so much Barbara! 🥰 I’m so glad that you enjoy the blog, I know that people have super busy lives so I’m always grateful when someone takes time out of their day to read my little corner of the internet 💕
      Ah, I see… glove yarn pilling is a problem, huh? 🤔 I’ll report back on the next pair that I make!
      I have a glove pattern like that too – I love those little flap over bits! Reminds me of being a small child ☺️☺️☺️ I’ll wait until you’ve made yours so that you can give me some pro tips 👍🏻

  3. Bren Holmes
    April 21, 2019 / 10:46 am

    I used to make lots of gloves for hubby, as he worked outdoors I always knew the short fingered variety fingerless gloves, although they weren’t quite fingerless. I knitted mittens for the children they were the ‘whole hand’ type, with no fingers at all, just a rounded shape at the top.
    I’m still looking for a summer tank pattern I’m happy with. I don’t like skinny straps, as I need to wear a bra, never mind the shoulders! I’ve checked out the Gemma Tank but, while I like the look of it, if you’re busty, like me, the hem always swings too loose around the body giving me the possibly pregnant look. I suppose I could taper the pattern a bit, but I’m still on the hunt atm.

    • Sarah
      Author
      May 1, 2019 / 5:03 pm

      Ah, I DEFINITELY do not want the ‘possibly pregnant’ look 🤣 But then, I’d probably wear it tucked into jeans, which might not look so bad 🤔🤷🏻‍♀️ I find that if I taper things too much around the waist, if it’s a popover-type too I can’t get it over my head 🤣
      Gloves and mittens are something I get a LOT of use out of (my hands are always cold!) so I’m hoping to try out lots of different patterns!

  4. Terri Kalaski
    April 21, 2019 / 2:50 pm

    Love the Gemma tank. I have the same issues with the Ogden and was looking for a summer staple. The Gemma won and I have made up three already with another two planned. I saw the earlier comment in regards to it being to swingy for those of us with larger busts but I have not found that to be the case at all. I’ll be interested to see your makes. Love the blog!

    • Sarah
      Author
      May 1, 2019 / 5:04 pm

      Thanks Terri – I’m a little bit more optimistic about the Gemma tank after reading your comments! I’ll give it a try for sure, if it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work 🤷🏻‍♀️ yaaaaay so glad to hear that you enjoy the blog! 💜

  5. Fiona in Aberdeen
    April 21, 2019 / 4:25 pm

    You could knit the “Shapely Tank” (free pattern on Ravelry) and my sister found a tutorial for adding a bust dart using short rows (possibly by Elizabeth Zimmerman). I do live in the north of Scotland, mind you – depending on where you are, a knitted summer top may not fit the bill!

    • Sarah
      Author
      May 1, 2019 / 5:06 pm

      Ooh, a *knitted* summer top – I hadn’t thought of that! I mean, we do get some hot days in London, but the air con in the office is pretty fierce ❄️ I’ll defo give it a look though, thanks! 👍🏻

  6. April 22, 2019 / 12:23 am

    For knitted half finger gloves, try a pair of Knucks from Knitty. I forget the year but they’re fun to knit up. I’ve made a few pairs for my dad and he wears them to death. I got nothing for a woven tank pattern….

    • Sarah
      Author
      May 1, 2019 / 5:07 pm

      YES! I’ve just looked the Knucks pattern up on Ravelry and it’s EXACTLY what I’m looking for…. thank you!!! 😘😘😘 (ps I’ll let you off for the lack of tank top recommendations because of the awesome glove pattern! 😝)

  7. Fiona
    April 22, 2019 / 7:06 am

    Was going to mention the knucks pattern, haven’t made them but they do look good. I’ve made the bantam vest from merchant and mills ‘the workbook’, its ace, theres also the curlew top which might be worth a look – I haven’t made this one.

    • Sarah
      Author
      May 1, 2019 / 5:09 pm

      Yes the Knucks is EXACTLY what I’m looking for! 🤩 Can’t wait to knit some up 🙌🏻 ooh I’ve not made any Merchant and Mills patterns (possibly because I find their packaging uninspiring 🤔🤷🏻‍♀️) but I’ll check out your recommendations – thanks! 😘

  8. Rebecca in SoCal
    April 23, 2019 / 6:45 am

    I think your “mitts” are simply fingerless gloves. That wearing-out on yours is exactly why a knitter I know absolutely rules out 100% wool yarn for socks.

    If you want to knit a tank, it would probably work. I know a woman in Atlanta (“Hotlanta”) who does, and wears them into the summer. I think she uses silk and/or linen yarn.

    I’m glad to know that there are some people who agree that the Camden isn’t perfect. I’ve seen it called “bra-friendly” (?), and saw oodles of them last summer. It seemed everyone was in love with them, but I always doubted they’d be good for me.

    • Sarah
      Author
      May 1, 2019 / 5:13 pm

      Ahaaaa…. so I shouldn’t use 100% wool for socks either?! Gotcha. Will remember that. Thanks for the tip 😘
      Ooh silk yarns… that sounds luxurious (and *totally* my kind of thing!)
      Yeah, I’ve kind of fallen out of love with the Ogden. Sometimes I wear a racerback soft bra, which obviously isn’t compatible with it, and even with a ‘regular’ bra you know the Ogden straps are never gonna sit perfectly over your bra straps 🤷🏻‍♀️ thicker straps are the way forward for me I think 🙌🏻

  9. astridbreel
    May 21, 2019 / 1:35 pm

    I’ve got broad shoulders too and I love the look of a racer back 🤓 although in the sun it is harder to get sun cream in all the important places (I burn very quick 🙄). I look forward to seeing the Gemma tank – there is a nice woven tank top pattern in the Merchant and Mills workbook too which I’ve been meaning to try out. What’s the tropical fabric of your Ogden cami – that is a seriously beautiful print!!

    I haven’t yet got to wearing things I’ve knitted much (even slower knitter than sewer) so the advice on durability is very helpful!!

    • Sarah
      Author
      May 29, 2019 / 8:48 pm

      Ah don’t worry about the speed of the knitting – it’s *meant* to be slower!! I’ll admit I just never even thought about the durability of the yarn for the gloves, but boy did I learn the hard way! 😨😨😨 Something I’ll definitely be thinking about for future makes that’s for sure! I’m halfway through the Gemma Tank now, even though it’s not finished yet I’ve stood in front of the mirror in it and it all seems good so far… so maybe I’m onto something good! Ooh thanks for the tip on the M&M top – will check that out! The fabric of the Ogden is from Minerva Crafts… I think they still have some, you’ll find it in their ‘silk’ section 💕

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