The Golden Afternoon Mittens pattern can be found in the “By Hand” Lookbook No. 11 which features, among others, Harrisville Designs of New Hampshire. I mainly bought this book because of the New England focus. I used to live very close to Harrisville, but never visited. I was not a big time knitter back then, but you can be sure I will make the effort when I visit next time.
I miss my Autumn “golden afternoons” from my time living in New Hampshire. As I browsed through the book, I became very homesick. I decided to try the mitten pattern.
As I looked through the book (I bought mine from The Woolly Thistle), I was reminded of the beautiful state where I long to live once again. It’s no wonder this location was chosen for a craft book – some of the craftiest people on the planet live in New Hampshire! The book contains stories from farms (including a pie recipe), a basket maker, and a few knitting patterns. I was interested in knitting the mittens.
The designer of Golden Afternoon Mittens used Harrisville Highland yarn which I did not have, but would love to try when finances allow. This year I am trying to use stash yarn and not buy more new yarn, so I’m using my Azalea pink, Brooklyn Tweed Arbor yarn for this project. I found it on sale at Purl Soho.
Casting On For My Mittens
The Arbor yarn is a DK weight and the pattern calls for worsted (although I’ve also seen Highland listed as DK). I have two other mittens recently knit with this same Arbor yarn, so I do know my gauge somewhat. Those mittens (see Fiddlehead and Glissade) were stranded colorwork, and this pattern has a cable up the center, but is all one color, which makes it quicker to knit.
I used a size 5 needle in the small, 9-inch circular size, and casting on 44, which is the largest size in the mitten pattern. This turned out to be too large – see notes below.
The mitten was finished within a couple of days, but I did run into trouble. This mitten will be a good future reference for knitting gauge.
Size 6 needle / DK Arbor yarn / After washing and blocking my gauge was 21.5 stitches and 31 rows. Gauge in pattern is 20 x 30.
Notes to Self on Knitting The Second Mitten
One mitten is finished. It was easy and quick, but finding the right size was a problem. The cuff could be tighter, and the wrist / beginning of hand is loose. I switched down to the Medium size by knitting a couple of stitches together around the thumb gusset.
After blocking, my gauge increased (note above), so I need to stay with a size 5 to knit the hand using Medium size stitch counts.
Next time: Size 5 Needle, cast-on 40 (size Medium) and continue on with size 5 needle.
The Thumb… Ugh! I’m no pro at knitting thumbs, but I managed to pick up all the stitches and fill in the holes fine. I followed the directions for a size M which put 12 stitches on the DPNs for the thumb – this turned out to be too small! I tinked (un-knitted) back down the thumb and tried to fix it by adding more stitches. You can see that now the thumb looks horrible…!!
I guess experienced knitters would somehow tear it out and re-knit, but I don’t think I will be able to make it look any better at this point.
Use the Large size thumb stitch number – only very skinny-thumbed people could use 12 stitches on a thumb!
Final Thoughts on Golden Afternoon Mittens
I’ll make the second one and probably give them to my daughter as long as that thumb turns out alright.
- Easy pattern, once you know what C4B and C4F mean. But thumb stitch number seems off.
- I love Arbor yarn and the mitten is soft, but this is definitely a Fall / Autumn season mitten. A more wooly yarn may actually look better and be more forgiving of mistakes!
- The cable is not all that pretty (IMO)
I’m much happier with my colorwork mittens, even though the knitting is slower. The fabric is heavier and the end product was (near) perfection!