I’m up at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, and already at the computer. The air conditioning is blasting, I’m still sweating nearly to death, and I’m thinking about MITTENS.
I had an idea last week about a small book I’d like to write. If you remember back to last winter, I took on the challenge of designing 6 mitten patterns for the amazing folks I work with. The process was fun, albeit last minute. But it reminded me how mittens are, in a way, the ideal canvas for a creative knitter.
- You need very little yarn. Most basic mitten patterns can be squeaked out in 100g of yarn or less. This makes them the ideal one-skein project.
- Fit is easy to customize. Nearly every pattern encourages you to “knit until your pinkie finger is just covered”… or they should, anyway. It’s a great way to avoid the too-long mitten syndrome!
- One good basic pattern can be turned into a masterpiece. Change the yarn. Add a stitch pattern or some colorwork. Unlike sweaters, that often require involved shaping, mittens are simple and straightforward; perfect for experimenting.
- They’re quick. Depending on the gauge of yarn and complexity of stitch pattern, of course, a single mitten can generally be knit over two or three evenings. Instant gratification! And great for gifts too!
In short, mittens rock.
So I’m thinking about this little book. I want it to be a comprehensive guide to mitten design and architecture. With lots of patterns and pattern pieces, and a whiz-bang perfect mitten recipe, similar to the Toe Up Sock Formula I developed for Knitty.
I’m working on the table of contents to see what it might end up like. Instead of keeping the content and the patterns separate, I think it makes sense to use patterns to punctuate the content. So, when I write about using cables in a mitten, I want to include a cabled-mitten pattern or two at that point in the book.
Here’s a preview of what I’ve got in mind:
Introduction: Why Mittens?
PART ONE: ALL ABOUT MITTENS
- Mitten Architecture: sizing and proportions, working a basic pattern from cuff up or top down
- Yarn for Mittens: thinking about gauge, texture, fiber content
- Creating texture: stitch patterns, cabling, thrums, linings
- Color: working with stripes, intarsia, and fair isle
- Variations: gloves and fingerless mitts
PART TWO: MITTEN INGREDIENTS
- Thumb variations
- Cuff variations
- Top shaping variations
PART THREE: THE ULTIMATE MITTEN RECIPE
The book, as I’m thinking of it, would have 10 or 11 patterns plus the mitten recipe and instructions for working the variations in Part Two, similar to a stitch guide.
What do you think? Is this something you’d like to see? Do you have mitten questions, or things you struggle with or would like to understand better?