a survey of fingerless mittens

Today I went through my Flickr photos and Ravelry projects to see just how many different styles of fingerless mittens I’ve made over the years. The two basic styles are those with thumb gussets and those without. I always get the question, “Which is warmer?” And on the surface the answer would be the one with the thumb since more of your fingers are covered. However, I use lots of different fibers and weights of yarn, so it isn’t always that simple. I knit both kinds because it makes things more interesting for me. That’s important too.

I started knitting fingerless mittens to sell in 2006. Honestly, I am not entirely sure how many pairs I have made since then, but it’s easily over 100. Initially I used handdyed commercial yarn, but eventually I transitioned into primarily handspun with a bit of recycled yarn here and there.


Recently I’ve begun to consider writing down some of the patterns I created during this endeavor. None of the mittens are a groundbreaking revision of the standard mitten. They are basically standard mittens with colorwork or an interesting stitch pattern. In fact, most of them have probably been done by someone else already, but since I don’t look at patterns much, I wouldn’t know.

It also occurred to me that I could use the same pattern multiple times. I have this habit of not wanting to repeat things. The same goes for recipes (which makes no sense). But if I used the same patterns with different yarns, oh! my life would be so much simpler. So, in order to practice pattern writing and preserve my remaining sanity, I’m going to try to document the patterns as I make them. We’ll see how that goes.

In my enthusiasm, I actually wrote down my latest pattern. It should be ready for public consumption in the next week. I just need to get some decent photos taken and add a few more details to the notes and it will be ready! Dying to see it, aren’t you?

squares reincarnated

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote up that desperate plea for test knitters? Well, the ship has sailed on that — the pattern has been rewritten. This morning I finally sat down and took another look at it, making a few adjustments of my own and incorporating the testers’ notes. I’m hoping that in the future I will be better equipped for this endeavor. But feel free to let me know if you find any mistakes.

Special thanks to April and Haizle who were so helpful!

squares cuff

Check out version 2 of the pattern:
Squares Sophisti-cuff

I am laughing to myself because now I am on Ravelry as a “designer” with one pattern. Woo! Link up, friends.

ready to go!

As you know, I’m very excited about going to the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival this weekend.  It’s been a few years since I attended, and even then I was just a shopper.  I’m guessing it’s going to be the busiest and most active show at which I’ve set up a booth.  My goal is to have a good time and share the fuzz!

At this show I’ll be introducing something completely new.  I finally wrote down a pattern for a style of fingerless mitts that I’ve been making.  It will be available for the first time anywhere at Pgh Knit & Crochet!  If you buy a skein of my worsted or DK weight yarn, you will get a copy of the pattern for free.  I knew at some point I’d have to start giving people an exact project for my single skeins and mitts are something I know about.

Tonight I’ve got to get all of my gear packed and in the car.  Tomorrow I’m heading to Pittsburgh!  See you there. 😀


I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very creative when it comes to writing my own patterns. For mittens, I don’t really need a pattern because I’ve made so many pairs that I have an idea of the stitches to cast on and when to increase, but they aren’t very interesting. They are just mittens. So I can’t claim with any amount of pride that “this is MY pattern”.  In fact, I don’t even know what to do to make them unique or special. Your hand goes in, there is a thumb hole, your fingers come out the top. I suppose using a stitch pattern of some sort would add a bit of intrigue, but the basic structure is the same. My brain just doesn’t think outside the box.

But another reason I have difficulty either claiming a pattern as “mine” or even attempting to write my own is because there are so many out there already.

  • How does one determine that a pattern has become theirs?
  • What if you start with a written pattern and make modifications?
  • At what point is it a new pattern?
  • What if two people simultaneously write patterns that are so close they are indistinguishable?
  • Or you start with something like Ann Budd’s basics book to get an idea of the number of stitches to cast on, but from there you just wander off?

These questions stress me out. Whenever I do knit something that doesn’t really follow a pattern, I neither write it down nor share it because it looks so basic and average that I figure someone else must have already written it. I bring this up because someone asked if the Green Circles hat that I made a few weeks ago was an Ann Budd pattern. Well, I cast-on her recommended stitches (actually for a cap, not a tam), but I didn’t follow anything else. In fact, the hat didn’t even turn out how I wanted it. So am I wrong for not saying it is HER pattern? None of her hats look like that – at least to me.

I’d appreciate any thoughtful comments on the subject.

Thank you.