Put up your dukes for nice, warm mitts

Posted Oct. 06, 2008, at 6:45 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 5:57 a.m.

The fact is, most of us need to work. No matter where we work, thermostats are likely to be turned down this winter to keep fuel budgets in check. No doubt we’ll experience cold hands. Time to plan ahead and think about wearing mitts, at work and at home.

If you knit, making your own mitts is a cinch and here, once again, is a quick and easy pattern. Using it, you can produce a pair of mitts in an evening and wear them to work the next day.

The mitts I make for friends and family are usually whimsical in nature, done in bright colors with a bit of metallic sparkle and trimmed with eyelash or ribbon yarns — silly, but fun. But a sober mood is fine, too, and color choices could run to the natural shades of brown, black and gray to evoke a Dickensian mood.

Choose wool, alpaca or silk yarns, or blends of these fibers.

The following pattern is based on one dreamed up by Phyllis Rodgers of Hingham, Mass. She, in turn, based the pattern on a pattern she found in a 1915 Bear Brand yarn booklet.

This pattern is easy enough for the beginning knitter.

Size: One size fits almost everyone.

Yarn: 2 ounces knitting worsted-weight wool or cotton. Small amounts of novelty yarn or mohair for trim at wrist and finger opening.

Gauge: Over garter stitch, 5 stitches = 1 inch; 10 rows = 1 inch.

Needles: One pair size 6, or size needed to knit the gauge.

Instructions: With novelty yarn or mohair, cast on 36 stitches. Knit 8 rows. Tie in knitting worsted yarn and knit 24 rows for a total of 32 rows.

Row 33: Thumb opening: Knit 9 stitches, bind off 6 stitches for thumb opening, knit to end of row.

Row 34: Knit 21, cast on 6 stitches, knit to the end of the row.

Knit another 16 rows or until mitt is of desired length. Tie in novelty yarn or mohair and knit 4 more rows. Bind off.

Sew sides of mitt together.

The mitts also can be knit on double-point needles, which will eliminate a side seam.

Don’t knit? Well, you could crochet mitts. Using a size G hook, make a chain long enough to fit easily around the widest part of your hand, join to form a circle and work single crochet or double crochet stitches — you choose — in rounds for 4 inches. On the next round, work 9 stitches, chain 6, skip 6 stitches and continue working the rounds until the piece measures around 6 inches or desired length.

Don’t crochet, either? Then go to your favorite store, buy inexpensive knit gloves and snip off the fingers and thumbs enough to allow your fingers to move freely. Roll the edges back and hand-stitch them in place to prevent raveling. If you have gloves from last year, already worn and broken in, those will do just as well. An old or new pair of mittens also can be cut down to make mitts.

Mitts make a good accessory for those who work outdoors and perform fine motor motions — such as clicking a camera shutter, hammering nails or tinkering on a vehicle. You will want to make certain these mitts are made of easily washable materials.

Directions for mitts in gorgeous colors, lacy patterns and yummy yarns can be found in knitting books available at bookstores and local libraries, and on the Internet. Visit www.interweave.com, www.lionbrand.com, www.berroco.com and www.knitty.com, or Google the subject, and see what turns up.

So there you have it — get your mitts up and keep your hands warm this winter.

Snippets

    Kathy Goldner will be the guest speaker at noon Friday, Oct. 10, at the Page Farm and Home Museum, University of Maine. Her topic will be “Stories of Knitting.” The event is free and open to the public. Her presentation is one in a series of free Brown Bag Lunch lectures offered by the museum. Beverage and a light dessert will be provided.

      Halcyon Yarns in Bath will hold an open house 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11. Feature of the day will be demonstrations of spinning, crockpot dyeing, Japanese braid making, needle felting, wet felting, tapestry weaving and crocheting. Visit www.halcyonyarn.com for more information.

        The Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport will hold its Work of the Hand craft show and sale Oct. 10-19 at the center. To learn more about the event, visit www.cmcanow.org.

          Art quilter Elizabeth Busch of Glenburn has work included in the new book “Contemporary Quilt Art,” by Kate Lenkowsky. Busch has won awards from Quilt National, Quilt Visions and Quilt Japan. Visit www.quiltvisions.org for more information.

            Get a head start on the Christmas season with “Christmas Stockings: 7 Classic Holiday Treasures to Knit,” an e-book. Visit www.knittingdaily.com for more information.

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