My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Of Mittens and Mermaids

Didn’t quite finish the first mitten, nope. I spent a good chunk of my at-home knitting time last night doing something else. (Gasp!)

I’ve got it done apart from the facing. The back of the hand:


And the palm. complete with thumb:


Lauren asked:
What is the reason for the provisional CO as opposed to knitting a picot edging from the CO and then on up to the hands?

One could certainly knit it the way Lauren described.

The patterned part of the mitten is knitted using 3.5mm needles. The plain part (the picot edge and the facing) is knitted using 3.0mm needles. Perhaps the rationale for knitting the facing downward from a provisional cast-on is that the gauge will be slightly different. The directions say to knit the facing until in reaches the top of the cuff. This way you are sure to have a perfect fit of facing to cuff.

Leena pointed out something interesting:
I read about your mittens and the lining… I know some people around here knit mittens regularly with linings and do the lining with baby wool. So when the hands get sore and dry from the cold the baby wool feels nice next to your skin and you can use yarn that can take hard wear outside.

While these mittens have cuff facings knit from the same yarn, I could knit the facings from a different, very soft yarn — and I could knit an entire lining for the mitten if I so desired. I’ve seen patterns for mittens with a lining like this and always thought it was a great idea. Thanks for pointing it out, Leena!

A couple of commenters asked how easy the mittens are, and if they were a good first colorwork project.

I’d recommend them for an enthusiastic advanced beginner. But you know what else is a fabulous introduction to Norwegian colorwork? A Norgi hat.

Mittens are a bit more difficult because it’s harder to keep good tension on such a small project on dpns. But a hat . . . a hat you could knit on a small circular (until you get to the top shaping).

Bea Ellis has a number of kits for hats, which are all her original designs, available here. If you are intimidated by a hat, try knitting one of her fun headbands, shown on the same page.


A couple of answers about Mermaid.

The icord is the left front edge of the jacket. It’s knitted sideways. Isn’t that cool? Emma, my only concern about knitting this is indeed a concern about going mad from garter stitch. We’ll see! There’s a lot of color changes, short row shaping, and other hijinks involved in the knitting, so I’m thinking I’ll survive with what’s left of my sanity intact.

The wool in the Mermaid kit. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it’s jumperweight shetland, which I don’t find scratchy at all. I’m not extremely sensitive to scratchiness in wool, so your mileage may vary.




  1. kelly in new mexico says:

    Wendy they’re simply beautiful!!! I’ve been interested in mittens for a long while, so seeing how pretty yours came out I went to the web site you posted for them and promptly ordered a pair of my own?!?!
    I have a question that I’ve been wondering……
    I LOVE the yarn I get from knitpicks and was wondering why you don’t use it?
    Is there a reason, because I feel you to be an expert in the area of knitting, and if I should know then please tell me so I don’t waste time or money??!!!
    Also I’m soooo thrilled about your pending book and of course I’ve back ordered one too. Keep knitting and writing cuz chica you inspire!!!

  2. Interesting. They look great!

  3. Hi Wendy,

    I’ve been lurking around for a few months — I lurk every day in fact! A question about your book prompted me to post: Will the book be available in Canada? I took a look on, but I could not find it.

    Jennifer in Calgary

  4. “Something ELSE??” ~putting fingers in ears and humming loudly~
    That mitten is spectacular!

  5. After seeing your mitten, my husband did his best Kung-Fu master imitation, saying, “You must learn the way of Wendy, Glasshoppa.” He only knits if there’s machinery involved and we’re both impressed with how lovely your work is.

  6. Wendy- will these mittens have a lining? Why does a mitten need one- for warmth, or so your fingers don’t get caught in the stranding? I am quite curious. The only mittens I have knit have been a solid color. Oh, and I think it is infuriating that Hanne Falkenberg makes almost everything in garter stitch. Thanks!

  7. I love mittens, particularly patterned ones with soft linings. I line my mittens a la Anna Zilboorg…after the mitten is done, pick up stitches at the wrist and knit a second mitten in … angora … and tuck inside. They are warm, and blissful.

  8. Your mitten is awesome! I must learn to do that within the year…ok, maybe next year. I love it.

  9. Have any of you made gloves? I am knitting the Camilla Gloves from Simply Shetland 2 and both gloves are identical. I want to have a leftie and a rightie. Thanks for the “palm shot,” Wendy, it shows me how I can easily adjust my pattern!! This pattern is fun but challenging…

  10. So let me get this straight. You started this mitten on Monday and by Wednesday you were pretty much done with it? You amaze me (or maybe Lucy knits after all). It looks great and I can’t wait for my kit to arrive.

  11. What size needles are used on Mermaid? I’d love to make one, but I’m afraid of garter stitch fatigue on tiny needles.

  12. Still…resisting…mitten…urges…GAH!

  13. Oh my goodness, it’s Mitten Art! Beautiful! I am always amazed and awed at your knitting talent but it is your LIGHTNING FAST SPEED that makes me say, “Who was that masked knitter? She came, she knitted, she flashed right by!”

    (Sorry, too much coffee. But that is some good mitten’ knittin’ there!)

  14. You make everything look so “easy” Wendy.

    I’m still plugging away on my skull.


  15. hmmmm Maybe if i spent more time with seriously beautiful projects- like those mitts— I wouldn’t be stuck knitting “Mr Knit- Tato Head” though- He IS cute.. if I do say so myself! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Hey there,

    I’ve been lurking on your page every now and then for awhile now, and I just discovered that you’re knitting Mermaid. I just bought the kit for M#1, and I’m having a terrible time getting the right gauge. Instead of about 6st/12rows/inch on my size 2’s, I’m getting about 9/16/inch. Did you have any similar troubles?