Fletcher Mittens: Pattern Now Available!
Late last fall, I decided to design – and knit – mittens for each of my lovely co-workers. I don’t generally do the whole holiday gift-knitting thing, so this was a bit out of character. These, knit for Moira, were the first that I designed.
She likes colors. A lot of colors. And cartoons. And quilts. And so I knew that Noro was the perfect choice for a Moira-suitable design. Not content with just letting the stripes do their thing, I needed to come up with a way to further blend the colors. After a bit of swatching, I settled on this 4 row stripe pattern, done in a plush garter stitch.
I started these mittens on the plane on the way to see my Dad after he was moved into the nursing home when he was so sick. When I think about knitting them, I remember sitting with him and my mom in the dining room, knitting while the residents ate (or didn’t eat) lunch and dinner. I remember knitting one mitten, then the next; bright colors that the other residents (particularly the women) were fascinated by.
You might remember that I wasn’t doing well last winter when Dad was so sick. I was stressed, and worried, and suddenly so aware that life can have a ‘best-before date’. Suddenly facing the questions of ‘what next?’ and ‘is this the kind of life I want for him?’ and ‘is he going to be Dad again?’ were a huge wake-up call for me. I’d lived my growing-up life knowing that he was older. But to suddenly see him as not older, but… well… elderly… frail… sick… struggling…. well, you know.
So knitting these mittens. And the others. And designing them for people who had come to mean a lot to my daily life. Well, it was cathartic.
I’ve held onto this pattern for almost a year for a few reasons. For one, the memory of designing them was a bit too intense. For another, the yarn I’d chosen to use – Cashmere Island by Noro – had been discontinued shortly before I cast on. I don’t generally like releasing patterns using discontinued yarn. It’s frustrating for everyone, including the designer, to need to always find substitutions.
But in this case, I changed my mind.
I will knit another pair using Kureyon when my design schedule frees up a little. And Kureyon, although at a slightly thicker ballband gauge than the Cashmere Island, will actually make sturdier mittens with the same look as the originals. It’s a case where the substitute will likely improve the design.
So, this precious pattern is out of my hands and into the wild today. If you have only made ‘standard’ mitts before, you may want to give it a try. It’s got some wacky features, including a diagonally-knit garter stitch afterthought thumb that was a real puzzle to design.
And don’t limit yourself to self-striping yarns… Fletchers would be fabulous in two contrasting solids.
Anyway, I’ve released the pattern. And although I loved the design project of 6 pairs of mittens in about a month, I’m not committing to the same insanity this holiday season. (Sorry guys! I love ya, but will have to think of something new this year!) I am still working ahead on the Mitten book project, though. Stay tuned!