A tale of three mittens

Isokon mitts

Gifting a pair of fingerless mittens has to be something that most new knitters do, especially at Christmas time. After making my first pair of Virva fingerless mitts, requests came in thick and fast from the rest of the family. To be fair, I can see why, as they are useful in the winter. For me, it was a good opportunity to test out some different techniques and skills too. I chose three patterns, all in different weights of yarn, to see what works well for me as a maker, as well as a gift.

Isokon mitts

My favourite

Yarn: The Fibre Co. Road to China Light from Love Crafts, £16.80

This yarn feels amazing! It's a blend of 65% Baby Alpaca, 15% silk, 10% Camel and 10% Cashmere. It comes in 50g skeins and I used the entire skein, with about 30cm left over at the end. This yarn was gifted to me by Love Crafts to try out and I have to say I was surprised at how soft it felt. These mitts are lovely to snuggle up in and will definitely keep hands warm. These are made up in the Moonstone colourway, which is a warm neutral brown. I would also like to try out some other accessories in this yarn. Being a sport weight, it also knits up slightly faster than fingering/4 ply, which means that you can knit up a gift project in a relatively short space of time - these took about 10 days.

Isokon mitts

Pattern: Isokon Mitts by Ysolda Teague, £4.50

I bought this pattern during Ysolda's half price sale. I was looking for a pattern that was designed for sport weight but also had ribbing to cover the wrists (as requested by the recipient). These are quite long and I like that the thumb and palm have a different construction to that which I have found more often in mitts. The size that these knit up in will fit larger hands than mine comfortably...if they were for me they might be too large. The pattern itself was simple enough to follow, with a separate chart for each side. In terms of techniques required, it's mainly yarn overs and decreases to create the lace pattern, with a very minimal amount of cabling. I didn't do the tubular cast on that's suggested, but did do the sewn tubular bind off.

Isokon mitts

Overall, these are my favourite out of the three pairs made because they were fairly fast, were interesting to make and I adore this yarn. I prefer wearing these the most (from what I've tried on before wrapping up!) and think that both the yarn and the pattern would be something I would use again.

Pretty in pink

Yarn: Norah George MCN in Blush (100g), £16.95

I had 43g of this yarn remaining after knitting my Find Your Fade shawl. From what I could see on Ravelry in completed projects, I thought it might just be enough for the mittens I wanted to make - it was...just. It's a fingering weight/4ply yarn in a Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend and took about two weeks to knit up both. This MCN is another squishy soft yarn that feels lovely against the skin. I think these may hold up better than the Road to China Light yarn 

Cloudburst mittsPattern: Cloudburst by Arienne Grey, free on Ravelry

This is free to download on Ravelry and comes with charts for the lace pattern and thumb gusset. I found that the pattern was easy to manage and memorise, apart from a small error that I made with the thumb gusset. I missed out 2 rounds of increases which means that one mitt fits differently to the other. This has annoyed me slightly but I couldn't figure out any way of fixing the error which I only realised when I came to pick up the thumb stitches. I managed to make some adjustments so that it fits, but it is different to the other one which I hope isn't too noticeable. These mitts obviously are shorter than the first pair I made, and with the lace work on the front, do not lend themselves as much to the coldest of days but are still warming. They fit my hands pretty well - I wouldn't think they will be as useful for someone with larger hands.

I think these would be best suited out of all three for a beginner level knitter as the pattern requires only a few techniques.

Ionic fingerless mitts

Lost yarn chicken

Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Cashmere Merino, DK 50g, £4.99 (approx)

For my third pair of mitts, it was starting to get close to Christmas so I decided to try a thicker yarn, on the premise that this would be quicker to knit with! This yarn is a blend of 57% wool, 33% acrylic, 10% cashmere and I used the colourway Slate (469). It comes in 50g balls and I was concerned that this might not be enough, seeing as my Isokon mitts had only just had leftovers, but the pattern that I was using did say 50g, as did other similar projects so I went for it. There is certainly a difference with this thicker yarn when comparing the fabric on the palms to those on the Cloudbursts, and it isn't as soft as the other two either. That said, it does feel snuggly, especially in the ribbing. I know these mitts will really keep hands warm.
Unfortunately I was one row from the end of the second mitt (not counting thumbs) when my yarn ran out. This wasn't the best outcome and I then had to make that decision as to whether to buy a new skein or whether to find an alternative. At this point I just asked the recipient what they'd prefer (taking away the element of surprise, but there you go). He was happy with my alternative...holding fingering yarn from my stash double for the remaining 2g worth of knitting (yes I did weigh the mitts afterwards). Luckily the Cosmic Strings Slate sock yarn that I had left over from my Zweig sweater was a close (not exact) match. 

Ionic fingerless mitts

Pattern: Ionic Fingerless Mitts by Carlie Perrins, free on Ravelry

I picked this pattern because I thought that the cable pattern looked fairly simple (and therefore quick to knit), yet added enough detail to make them interesting. The pattern includes a chart and it did turn out to be a quick one, only taking a couple of days to knit up. These aren't the most glamorous of the three, but their new owner is less concerned with looks than performance! There is plenty of stretch in these mitts so I think they will work just fine for larger hands as well.

Leave a comment with your favourite fingerless mitten pattern...I'd love to try others!


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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