Fair Isle Mittens

It's only recently that I became good at knitting. I taught myself how to knit when I was a teenager, but I didn't enjoy it much. Last year, I decided to attempt knitting in the round so I could make mittens because my mother wanted me to make some for her. I didn't think I could do it because I'd tried knitting in the round and couldn't handle multiple needles. I tried it again a few months ago and surprisingly everything just fell into place. Pictured below are my first mittens, which I made using a YouTube tutorial:

Suddenly I was able to knit in the round using four double pointed needles! I used a 70% wool blend yarn for this first project. They're pretty nice for my first mittens, but I don't like the decrease style at the top, and the thumbs don't have gussets. I made a second attempt, these fair isle mittens (pictured at top of post), as a Christmas present for my mother. I used 100% wool yarn this time. The pattern is from "Gloves and Mittens to Knit and Crochet for the Entire Family" (pictured below), a Bucilla Vol. 29, year 1953 publication which my grandmother gave to me. Here's a link which appears to be the same pattern: http://freevintageknitting.com/mittens/619-mittens-pattern.html.

The first mitten turned out too small, even though I had checked the gauge. I ended up using size US 7 needles. Furthermore, the pattern is intended to knit a flat piece using two needles and then sew up the side. However, I wanted to knit in the round. I discovered that since knitting in the round creates a spiral pattern of stitches, the motifs didn't line up right where the side seam was intended to be. So, I started over. I made a copy of the chart from the pattern:

I cut out one edge of the pattern and moved it up one cell's width so that the seamed edge lines up properly in circular knitting. Then I started over and made two new mittens. They turned out really nice! I'm very proud of my first fair isle knitting. They're thick and warm. We tested them while skiing in the Colorado Rockies. I had to trade with Mom at one point because my fingers were freezing, but once I put on these warm wool mittens, I was fine. I do have one complaint, nonetheless. The thumbs do not have a gusset, so the points where the thumbs join to the body of the mittens are not very flexible. They will probably tear because the joint can't take the stress of motion and gripping ski poles. That's okay, I learned a lot making this project, and I'll make many more!

Dedicated to Aunt P.K., who encouraged me as she watched me knit these mittens but who did not live to see them finished. Also dedicated to Grandma Georgia, who gave me the pattern and the knitting needles and who has always fostered my handcrafts.


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