Butterfly Hat, Mackinac Mitts, and Craft Friday

Here is something I didn’t really appreciate until I became a knitter. Crafters love to see their creations in use. I wish I could rewind about nine years, to when my kids were wee. So many wonderful people gave us handmade baby gifts, and most of those people never got to see the gifts actually in use. In retrospect, I wish that I had snapped pics of the babes on their various knitted, crocheted, and quilted blankets, and sent those along with my thank you notes. I was a frazzled new mom of twins, though, and I was barely managing to keep everyone fed, clean, and dry (including myself!). Also, I just didn’t realize how much it might mean to the makers/givers.

But now I know – there is a particular joy that comes from knowing something you’ve made with your own hands is being both loved and used. So my heart is super warm and fuzzy looking at this picture:

my beautiful niece and great-nephew

my beautiful niece and great-nephew

That is the Butterfly Hat I made for my niece (previously shown to you on my stepson; he’s good-looking, but for some reason the pink butterfly hat didn’t seem to suit him), along with the Mackinac Mitts I designed and knit. My niece rocks pink like no one else I know. (It doesn’t hurt that she’s pretty much super-gorgeous in whatever she wears.) And her sweet five year-old is just killing me with the cute. It actually makes my heart hurt to see this picture because we live so far from each other and see each other so rarely.

By the way, if you’re knitting either the Butterfly Hat or the Mackinac Mitts, Tumped Duck just posted a tutorial last week on how to knit lifted strands with slipped stitches. It’s a great how-to, especially if you are a visual learner.

In other crafting news, have you read about Craft Friday? I am in total solidarity with this and I will NOT be doing any shopping on Black Friday. Here in Ann Arbor, lots of shops (including most of the mall) are opening on Thanksgiving Day, as well. I worked retail in high school and college, and working Black Friday filled me with a special kind of anxiety and dread; I can’t imagine how I would have handled leaving my family, including out-of-town guests we only saw once a year, before Thanksgiving dinner was even done. I guess there is no way now to turn back this tide, but I won’t participate in it. I’ll be having brunch with out-of-town family on Friday morning and then settling in for some craft time later in the day.

I hope you find some craft time, too, in the midst of these busy days!

More Mackinac Mitts (say that 10 times fast)

Thank you so much for the Mackinac Mitt love. It still surprises me how much work goes into preparing and releasing even a relatively simple pattern, and it also always feels a bit vulnerable to actually put it out there – what if people hate this thing? So, thank you so much for your nice words and your support!

I was so grateful to Jessie and Eunice for test knitting this pattern for me, (and they were both super-fast!) and I wanted you to see their gorgeous mitts, too. Jessie made hers out of Cascade 220:
Mackinac Mitts
Aren’t they lovely? I adore how those butterflies pop. She stopped after 2 1/2 repeats of the butterfly pattern, for a shorter fit on smaller hands.

Eunice shows us how the ribbed option looks (for the top of the hand and thumb):
Hers are made in Malabrigo Worsted (Malabrigo Mackinac Mitts, now that is a mouthful!). They look so cozy!

I loved making mine out of Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd Worsted, but as you can see, any worsted or light worsted yarn will work. You probably have just the right yarn in your stash, begging to be made into butterflies and given as a holiday gift.

Remember that blog readers receive a 20% discount on this pattern through this Friday, by using the code MACKMITTS.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. – Tagore

designed :: Mackinac Mitts


Just in time for holiday gift-making, a pair of fast, fun, and cozy fingerless mitts, decorated with a tiny butterfly motif.

Mackinac Mitts

Mackinac Mitts

These mitts are named for Mackinac (pronounced “Mackinaw”) Island, one of the many treasures of Michigan; Mackinac Island is a National Historic Landmark and a beautiful and popular destination for summer travel. This pattern was inspired by my trip there this summer, and specifically my visit to the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House. I’ve always loved butterflies and butterfly houses, and my time at the Mackinac Island Butterfly House with my family felt magical. Butterflies there will come and land on your hand; with these mitts you can replicate the experience! Well, not really. But isn’t it fun to wear butterflies? Yes, yes it is.

The pattern knits up quickly in just half a skein of Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd’s Wool Worsted (a Michigan yarn!). A skein of Shepherd’s Wool comes in a generous 250 yards – plenty for a pair of mitts and a hat.

I made a pair in pink to go with the pink Butterfly Hat I knit for my niece.
The motif on the mitts is tinier and subtler than the one on the hat, but it makes a great little set.

The mitts are designed with a rolled edge, which is one of my favorite finishes for mitts:

I just love how a rolled edge, well, rolls:

rolled edge

rolled edge

little butterflies in my hand

little butterflies in my hand

The rolled edge is more obvious in the blue mitts because I didn’t block them before photographing (sometimes I walk on the wild side that way). But the pattern also includes directions for finishing with a ribbed edge, if you prefer.

These mitts knit up unbelievably quickly and will make a great last-minute gift for a teacher, a friend, a niece – or yourself! The pattern comes in three sizes and is available for immediate download at my shop on Ravelry. For blog readers, I’m offering a special discount code through Friday, November 22. Type in MACKMITTS when you check out, and you will receive 20% off the cost of the pattern.

A huge thank you to Jessie and Eunice for test knitting, and to Sashka for tech editing.
Look! Here are the mitts with a variety of the standard props.

mug! leaf! book!

mug! leaf! book!

I hope you like the mitts. They were very fun to make, and even more fun to wear.