16 May Sweater Weather Second Chance
After a couple of really nice spring/summer weather here in Southern Ontario, last week we were hit with one of those sneaky cold snaps that happen almost every spring, but still feels like a horrible surprise every time. I saw snow fall from the sky, a sight I was sure I wouldn’t see again until October at least. And it made me wish that I hadn’t so hastily set my cold-weather accessory knitting aside in favour of fair-weather projects…
These little fingerless mitts I’d started in the last of the cold day in April and set aside when the balmy weather and bright sunshine hit. They’re just the kind of transitional garment I tend to wish I had, for chilly morning bike rides or wearing with cropped-sleeve jackets.
This is a nameless, totally improvised pattern. The original inspiration came from a pair of mitts that I had seen on Pinterest, that were a commercial item, machine-knit, and acrylic. I searched Ravelry for a similar pattern, but had no luck finding one. I knew that I wanted to use the new Mirasol Nuna, a sport-weight 40% Merino/40%Silk/20%Bamboo blend, so I checked the stitch counts of a couple other sport- or dk-weight fingerless mitt projects, used the needle size recommended for the yarn and made a couple calculations based on the recommended gauge and the circumference of my arms, wrists, and hands. I settled on a cast-on number of 44 stitches, and away I went! I knit them two-at-a-time (practicing for the Magic Loop 2-at-a-time KAL day I’m doing later in the summer), which actually helped with the thumb-positioning, because I knit them so that the mitt for my left hand *was* on the left and vice versa, so I could try them both on while still on the needles.
This is a very different process for me – usually I fall in love with a pattern, and while I may not follow a pattern exactly as written, I usually prefer having the guidance that a well-written pattern provides. But I have to say, the adventure of knitting these little mitts without the safety net of a pattern was pretty enjoyable! Sometimes it’s worth it to take the risk.
Because it was still cold by the time I finished these garter-panel mitts (which means I actually got to wear them!), I decided to keep going on my fingerless mitts tangent and cast-on a pair of Camp Out Mitts as a shop sample.
I’ve wanted a pair of these mitts in the shop for a while, they’re a perfect solution to the I’ve-fallen-in-love-with-one-skein-of-Noro-and-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-it problem! I cast-on for these on Tuesday and was weaving in the ends mid-afternoon yesterday, so they are a swift and easy project. One skein of Noro Silk Garden or Kureyon will make a pair, but a fraternal pair. I know of a few knitters who have knit these in double pairs with two balls of the same colourway – one mitt from each skein will usually match pretty closely with one of the other skein. Or you can just have fraternal mitts! Who cares? All of Noro’s colours are gorgeous anyways. 😉
These mitts will be hanging out in the shop now, lurking near the Noro. The pattern suggests a couple of different options for the garter stitch band, so on one mitt I did a 3-needle bindoff and did backwards loops to cast on the stitches for the thumb. On the other mitt, I Kitchener stitched the two sides closed and used the cable cast-on for the thumb stitches. Each mitt is labelled with the techniques that I used, so you can check them both out before you decide which technique you want to use!
As a side note, the shop will be closed this Sunday (and Monday, of course) for the Victoria Day holiday. So pop in sometime before 5 p.m. on Saturday for everything you need for your May long weekend knitting project!