Free Pattern :: Charlevoix Mitts

I don’t know how it is where you are, but where I am, it is very cold and there is more than a foot of fresh snow on the ground and I am NOT COMPLAINING. Because I am a knitter. Which means I am happy for any excuse to: a) sit inside and knit, and b) haul out all my woolens and wear them all at once. I’ve been told that the reason I think a cold, snowy winter is so lovely is because I’m not the one that digs our cars out of the snow after it’s all over. And this is true. Because not only am I a knitter, but apparently I am also a princess. A princess who is happy to sit inside in her handknit socks with a cup of hot tea by her side and needles in her hands.

Sometimes those hands need warming up, even when I stay inside. Some people find fingerless mitts to be utterly useless; I find them to be indispensable. Especially if they are the kind that I can also pull up over my fingers while I read. Because wearing mittens inside while reading is ridiculous, but wearing fingerless mitts pulled up over your fists is not ridiculous, it is brilliant.

For Christmas, I wanted to make a special pair of fingerless mitts for my stepson’s girlfriend. She’s a massage therapist with a magical touch (she is SO GOOD, y’all), and her hands deserved something extra-special. So I spun up some prized fiber – a gorgeous silky cashmerino from FLUFF, an amazing but not currently in-business independent dyer. The fiber started like this:

FLUFF Silky Cashmerino in "Artifact"

And then I spun it into this:

light worsted 2-ply

The blues evoked for me the gorgeous Great Lakes, and the silvery browns called to mind the Petoskey stones (fossilized coral from more than 350 million years ago – and our state rock!) that can be found along the lakeshore. Lindsay is a true Michigan girl who loves the lakes and their landscape. I’m calling this simple design “Charlevoix,” after the town where she has spent a lot of happy time beach-going and rock-hunting.

Charlevoix Mitts

I never got a single picture that truly captured the yummy colors and texture of this yarn or these mitts. But as you can probably imagine, the silky cashmerino has a delicious look and feel to it. The mitts are smooth, lightweight, and slightly nubbly.

They are also the most basic possible knit – you just make a tube, as long or as short as you wish – and embellish it with a baby cable as you go.

A baby cable is the simplest cable in the world to make, and you certainly don’t need a cable needle to do it. It’s made over two stitches – every third round, you knit the two stitches together but leave them on the lefthand needle, then knit into the first stitch on the lefthand needle, then slip both stitches off. Offset by a purl stitch on either side, it’s just a sweet, simple little detail. I love baby cables!

These took about half the yarn I spun – so roughly 150 yards of light worsted – which means I have enough yarn leftover for another pair (or a matching accessory). They were extremely fast to make, too, making them perfect gift-knitting (or perfect in-between-big-project-knitting).

I’m sure you could figure out how to make these just from the pictures and my description – knit a tube, make a baby cable along one edge of it – but in case not, I’ve put together a one-page pdf explanation, which includes three sizes. You can find it for free in my Ravelry store: download now

designed :: Mackinac Mitts

bluemitts

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.
pinkcider
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:
pinkback

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.

designed :: Corktown Slouch

Earlier this year, one of my most-loved handspun hats met with a sad demise. So when Sweet Sheep sent me some of her gorgeous handspun as part of a 13 in 2013 Tour de Fleece giveaway, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it.

boom, a hat

boom, a hat

Inspired by the hat I was replacing (Felicity), I wanted to create a simple slouch with bulky yarn and an intentionally-loose fit, even at the brim, in order to accommodate maximum hair volume and corkscrew curls. This hat stays on your without squashing down your mane. (If you prefer a tighter fit, go down two needle sizes for the first two inches of the hat.)

a hat for big-haired people

a hat for big-haired people

I made this hat right after returning home from a week spent doing volunteer work in the neighborhoods of Detroit. I’ve lived 45 minutes from the D for more than a decade, but I’ve never spent much time there. The week I spent there this summer introduced me to the city in a new way, and I totally fell in love with it.

Detroit Hustles Harder

Detroit Hustles Harder

I named this design for the oldest neighborhood in Detroit – Corktown, home to Slow’s Bar B Q, urban farms, the historic (and abandoned) Michigan Central Station, and, formerly, Tiger Stadium. Founded by Irish immigrants after the potato famine, Corktown is considered by many to be one of the most up-and-coming neighborhoods in the country, a charming community with a vibrant scene for food, culture, and entertainment.
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The Corktown Slouch is a simple design with a laid-back feel; it would be equally at home in the barbecue kitchen, on the urban farm, or out on the streets of Motor City.
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Though I first designed the hat with handspun, I also whipped up one in some Plucky Knitter Plucky Rustic in a particularly luscious fall gold. It took less than a skein (roughly 125 yards).

in Plucky Rustic, "Princess Phone"

in Plucky Rustic, “Princess Phone”

Though this one is made at the same bulky gauge (3.5sts/inch), it has a looser feel overall (the yarn is aran weight, whereas the handspun I used was a true bulky). I like both fits.

perfect amount of slouch

perfect amount of slouch

I’m keeping the purple one for myself (are you surprised? I mean, it’s purple), but I have other plans for the gold (more on that in another post).

front view

front view

Now that the days have turned cool, I’ve been getting lots of wear out of my new favorite hat. I seriously love how the handspun (made from Funky Carolina BFL in “LaStrange”) striped out.

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(nothing beats a handspun hat, am I right?)

This is such a fast and easy knit, perfect to kickstart your holiday gift-knitting. It truly could not be simpler to knit. There’s almost nothing to it (except for a little shaping) which is why I’m offering it for free.

fall is for handknits

fall is for handknits

Download the pattern on Ravelry, and don’t hesitate to contact me with questions.