When I recently traveled to New Hampshire, one thing I wish I’d taken along was a good pair of fingerless mitts. My emerging plan was to go home (to Florida) and begin creating my own mitts Fair Isle pattern.
I’m not a pattern writer, I am a pattern follower. I have no idea how to go about setting up a knitting pattern but, why can’t I learn? I’ve already learned so many things in the past decade which I ever would have imagined would be necessary for life after 50. My brain is working well, and I’ve taught myself numerous new tasks. The best way to do something new and challenging is to jump in!
My favorite yarn for colorwork, or Fair Isle, is pure wool, like Jamieson and Smith, Rauma, and the likes. I’ve used it for knitting Katie’s Kep (twice), Tettegouche hat, and the Keramos Cowl.
Jamieson & Smith jumper weight yarn comes in many colors and in affordable, little skeins, so I can gather lots of colors without spending a ton of money. (Fairlight Fibers has this yarn at a great price.) I also have a few skeins of Rauma Finull, and Tuku wool.
Knitting in stranded colorwork means using a little of each color, with more used for the main color. Mitts, mittens, socks and hats will use very little yarn compared to bigger projects like shawls and sweaters. I plan to focus on these smaller projects for a while.
Ideas For Getting Started With My Mitts Pattern
The best way to figure how many stitches I will use, is to have a mitt or mitten that is already knit. If I know the count, and that mitten fits me, I can begin my own pattern (for my own personal use) with that number of stitches. This works as my gauge.
The Hedgerow Fingerless Mittens (Ravelry page) is a FREE pattern offered by Mary Ann Stephens. I considered knitting this one first. Knitting up a free pattern would be a good place to start when creating my own mitts.
Although I like the Hedgerow mitts, I chose to knit a free pattern called Fair Isle Mitts. I was happy with the outcome and loosely based my own mitts pattern after that one.
Planning the Cuff
What I like about these mitts patterns is that they have a fairly short cuff. I don’t like a long cuff going up my arm for something like this. These mitts will be used for in the house when mornings are chilly, or when the weather is not quite bad enough for mittens. No long cuff is needed.
I can begin with a Latvian Braid, as I did in the Glissade mittens. Or I could begin with a corrugated rib as with the Oulu Mitts. A simple K1, P1 rib would work too.
I chose a simple long-tail cast on, then 2×2 rib. I changed color after five rows. I cast-on only 52 stitches, because my daughter has skinny wrists, and then increased to 56 for the colorwork on the hand.
Planning the Colorwork
After knitting the Fair Isle Mitts, I can follow the thumb increases suggested. I needed to find colorwork patterns to follow for the top of the hand and the palm.
My knitting book library consists of some nice examples of Fair Isle graphs. These mitts will be for my daughter, so I’ll look for motifs that would be cute or pretty to appeal to her.
It really helped me to see the design by drawing it out and using colored pencils.
I’d like the palm of the mitt to have a small, repeating pattern, and the top of hand to have a larger design. The thumbs could be stripes. It helps to have books on hand which offer lots of little patterns to choose from.
Colors will be purple and green, with possibly another overall base color which is lighter in color.
The Mitts Design I Chose to Knit
After deciding on the flower pattern and finding yarn colors I liked, I jumped in and began knitting!
The first mitt I knit was for the left hand. I followed a flower pattern, for the top of hand, came from a book of hats I own. I also did a repeating pattern from another book. I changed that on the Right Hand mitt and gave the palm a pattern of rows with alternating colors.
I just carried the colors as stripes on the thumbs.
For the second mitt, I also added a neutral line of white up the edge to separate the top from the palm. I did not do a line of alternating color after the braid either. In other words, I changed what I didn’t like about the first mitt.
Final Words on Knitting My Own Mitts Pattern
The size is good on these mitts and I’m fairly happy with the colors. I learned a few things which I can carry over to the next pair of mitts I knit.
This design is for my own personal use and not a pattern you will find anywhere. The flowers are part of the Peerie Flooers hat in the Milarrochy Heids pattern book. I may have to knit the hat now to go with these mitts.