This page contains notes on knitting figerless mitts using stranded colorwork. I will be using Jamieson & Smith wool in five colors (added one, so six).
This is a free pattern download at Ravelry for the Fair Isle Mitts. The pattern has charts and written instructions with two hand / palm motifs to choose from. I put one on the top and the other on the palm.
Needles, Gauge, and Cast-on
Pattern suggestion is Size 3mm, 2.5 US, with 30 stitches in 10cm (gauge).
I just began the Cat mitts (which turned out huge, but will give me gauge) with a size 2 needle (same yarn) and got 33 stitches across 4 inches. So I will knit the mitt using a size 2 needle. I have circular 9 inch and DPN’s in size 2. I am no good at casting onto DPNs, and small circular needles are my preferred go to.
Cast on 56 color A, after knitting one round, do corrugated rib with two colors in 2×2 rib. (I do not begin with knits for my rib. It’s easier to begin with 2 purls of the main color which is attached. Then I add a new color (to hold in my left hand) and do 2 knits. This way I am knitting using my left hand – I don’t know how to purl with my left.)
Set Up: Choosing the Yarn Colors
This pattern uses five colors, and I added a sixth. The pattern designer used a different yarn than what I have, but I will closely follow the color placement suggestions.
I’ll be using wool yarn by Jamieson & Smith. My colors were chosen by looking at the mitts pictured and reading through this pattern. Placement of colors will help me picture the finished design.
Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight yarn colors used:
- A – Blue – FC47 Mix
- B – Tan – 1281 Mix
- C – Purple-brown – FC55 Mix
- D – Light gray – 203
- E – Pink – 72 Mix
- F – My additional color: #9097 (red)
A dark color makes up the cast-on, rib and mitt borders at top of hand and thumb (COLOR A – blue).
There are two light background colors. One is used for the corrugated rib and continues with the top and bottom accent color (COLOR B – tan). The other background is used behind the large “star” motifs on the hand, which also carries onto the thumb (COLOR D – gray).
The accent color (COLOR C – dark purple-brown) is a 4 stitch repeat, for three rows, with 2 MC rows at top and bottom. Substitute? This is a zigzag pattern, which I will substitute for a 3-row peerie from Alice Starmore’s book (page 49). The new motif / peerie must have a multiple to fit 56 stitches: 2,4,7 or 8 stitch repeat (I chose two different peeries seen at top and bottom over the tan color). This accent color is also used for the center stitches of the large motifs on the hand.
The fifth color (COLOR E – pink) makes up the remainder of the star / flower motif (top and bottom), and carries onto the thumb. (I added a sixth color – red – to the flower section for more color.)
A B & C colors at bottom and top of mitts. C D & E colors hand motif and thumb.
The pattern offers two different larger motifs for the hand section. Chart B and Chart B2. Chart B is the star / flower shown on the front of the finished mitt above. The other motif is a more open flower image and I wanted that for the palm of the mitt.
To do this, knit Chart B2, then thumb, and carry on with star on Chart B. It will create the left hand mitt (as shown above). For the same outcome on the right hand mitt, knit the Chart B star first, then thumb, and Chart B2 last.
If you want the bolder motif on back of hand and palm, just follow Chart B.
Changes, or Mods, I made to This Pattern
I changed quite a bit of things while knitting this pattern, but nothing too significant. I did not change needle size and used a size 2 US throughout. Holding a circular, 9-inch needle is much easier than using DPNs. I only needed the DPNs for the thumb.
I kept the pattern cast-on number, and only added height to the thumb where I knit about four rows of tan before doing the blue. Also the thumb is quite wide, so I will use fewer stitches on Mitt #2.
While knitting the corrugated rib, I made an additional strip of color with the pink, just for fun. That tan color is so beautiful on it’s own, as are many of the “mix” colors by J & S.
I played around with little “peeries” on the tan strips at top and bottom of hand and didn’t follow the jagged motif from the pattern. All four are different (the tan strips).
My favorite mod, which I am very happy with, is the additional color within the big motifs. Only two colors are called for in the pattern, but I thought the light pink was too dull and wouldn’t look good with that dark center.
Because my needle size was smaller, I was afraid the height would be off. Turned out, I love the finished height – but I did add stiches to the thumb, as I mentioned.
I also like the garter ridge for finishing the tops. The wool yarn just kind of melds together once it’s washed, and creates a beautiful little mitt! On to number 2!
Things You Should Know
My hand measures 7.5 inches at widest part.
I found the increases (make one) at the thumb to be a bit difficult to do, so for the second mitt I did a simple backwards loop increase which looks fine.
I do not find this wool to be scratchy to wear and it blooms nicely after washing.
Skittle loves attention, even when taking her cat naps. 😉