My current work in progress:

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


Mitten Accompli

I finished the facing on the first mitten on the morning commute. Here it is, pre-sewing.


And all done!


I’ve made a good start on the second mitten but, doh! Forgot to photograph it. No biggie — it does look like the first one . . .

Christina asked:
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.

My mitten will not have a lining — just a facing for the cuff.

I would line mittens for warmth, if I were gonna line them. Erika made a very timely comment:
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.

Now I’m imagining mittens lined with qiviut . . .

But back to these mittens. Christina mentioned stranding.

I am stranding these mittens, rather than doing floats. Long-time readers of WendyKnits who have a good memory for useless trivia know that I rarely strand my colorwork. I almost always float.

This is one of the situations where I strand. I don’t want fingers to get caught in floats on the inside of a mitten, so stranding is very much a good thing here.

I steam blocked the finished mitten, by the way, and the yarn bloomed and softened beautifully.

Lucy Sez


“Yes, this mitten is acceptable.”


  1. mittens are gorgeous (as usual) Do you think you can share a photo of it, inside out? I would love to see how neat and tidy those strandings look.

    P.S. Tell Lucy that she can block my mittens anytime!

  2. Kate/Massachusetts says:

    Duh question, Wendy, but what do you mean by “stranding” as opposed to “floats”? I haven’t seen that term before. Your mittens a gorgeous and your cat is such a hoot! ๐Ÿ™‚ Kate

  3. Lucy is correct – they look more than acceptable to me! Why do you use floats rather than stranding? Just curious before I embark on my Butterfly (and mittens of course)

  4. Lucy knows a good thing when she see it;-)
    I’m ready for mittens here, too but I’ll stick with something less challenging. You do beautiful work!

  5. Funny how our animals always want to sit on our ‘work.’ Luna curls up on my right side and lays her head over my lap while we sit, watch TV and knit. If I leave out some knitting, her head will be resting on it. I can see it is the same for beautiful Lucy. Must be how it smells after being worked in our hands. Fab mits BTW.

  6. Lucy is in pussybuss heaven. The look on her face is priceless! (pussybuss — the name my Swedish grandmother called kitties.)

  7. My curiosity’s got the best of me…

    For the facing on the cuff, is there a reason that you do a provisional caston and then go back and knit down, as opposed to just starting with the final end to the facing?

  8. Ah, but Lucy wants a cat napping pad sized object in the same pattern, with the angora backing for reversible bliss….

    The mittens are wonderful. Great job!

  9. You and your yarn torture. I can resist mittens. I can! Well, at least until I get paid on Monday…

  10. Great mitten, Wendy! I like them a lot, but they’re a little pointy for me. (Norse socks, too. I just don’t go for that pointy look. Oh well.) But I really like the picot edge of it. Have a nice weekend!

  11. The mitten looks beautiful! Must be the Wendy-hands. ๐Ÿ™‚
    It’s hard for me to resist geometric colourwork, especially one so neat and symmetrical.

  12. Lucy is fantasizing that the mitten will be stuffed full of catnip, sewn up, and given to her as a new toy!

  13. Exquisite mittens!!

  14. Wanna see where your mittens were born… or at least the yarn?
    Can you see some flat buildings in front of the boat, right side of photo? That’s it!
    A bit dificult to spot the Rauma factory on this pic, but it’s on the little, pointy piece of land on the left of the photo, where the river Rauma meets the fjord. If you drive out of the left side of the picture and go on for about an hour you get to my house, come for tea some day ๐Ÿ™‚ By the way, my craft group is hosting a S’nB with the Rauma people on monday… if you start now may be you’ll get here in time ๐Ÿ™‚

    More about Rauma here:
    and some old pics of the factory:

  15. Lucy, as always, is quite right!

  16. I have to dig out my Norwegian mitten kit now. Yours are beautiful!

  17. Susan Maurer says:

    I know what you mean by floats, I think – as in carrying one yarn behind the other every few stitches and ‘catching’ it with the yarn in progress so it doesn’t leave too long a ‘float,’ but I too am confused as to what stranding is. Can you help us poor stranded uninitiated souls understand stranding? Guess it’s cold enough where you are to wear those mittens now!

  18. It’s beautiful. I didn’t think much of this pattern when I saw it as a black-and-white drawing on the NFA website, but “in the wool” it’s a very different story! I may need a pair of my own. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love the idea of an angora lining, but how do you ensure that the “second” mitten fits neatly inside the first? Isn’t that terribly fiddly?

  19. Wendy you amaze me how fast you knit and sew!! I wish I could be half as fast as you, I get into “knitting slumps” where I am not happy with the yarn I am knitting with, OR I don’t understand the pattern and have no one to help me…

    I’m still trying to get better tho!

  20. Let me add the voice to the hoardes who want to see the mitten inside out… unless it is hard on the mitten whose needs must absolutely come first. (I was once told at a high falutin’ yarn store that turning socks inside out too often was bad for them, though why they did not explain.)

  21. Beautiful mittens.

  22. What happened to your sidebar? I am starting Kinsale (better late than never) and I wanted to look at your pictures. I love to look at your finished album. How can I find it?

  23. Lucy is one smart kitty. But now your post led me to an actual question, what is the difference between stranding and floating, I always thought they were the same.

  24. Just beautiful – as always. I ordered a kit earlier this week when you posted the link – just couldn’t help it. They are bound to be someone’s Christmas gift.

    When I spoke with the woman who runs the shop, she asked me was there something going on – she’d had such a number of orders this week! lol… I told her it had to be from you, so I think she plans to get in touch to thank you.

  25. How often to you catch the yarn not in use when you are stranding? Every other stitch a la Philosopher’s Wool? Every three or four stitches?

    I’m really curious.

  26. After 6 years of knitting, and pointedly avoiding all colorwork, I’ve been thinking lately about how to jump into stuff like that. Thanks for pointing me to the Bea Ellis hat kits! I was resisting, until I saw a hat named Kristen, which is MY name, and so I figured it must be fate.

    Lucy is really good at what she does. My knitting supervisor, Mister, is more of a hands-on boss. If I don’t incorporate his suggestions into my work (“The ball of yarn would work better if you let me carry it down the hall,” for example), he’ll jump in my lap and sit on my project, stretch his neck out, and make a kissy-face (whiskers forward) until I put everything down and pet him to sleep.

  27. Very nice mittens, pleasing design.
    I’m doing red and white mittens right now, and I’m lining them, for warmth. I’m using sock yarn, and although I like it because it’s nice and thin, and thus gives me lots of stitches to put the motifs on, they’re not very warm. I hope the lining will solve this.
    Pictures on my blog, if anyone wants to see the lining being knit.

  28. Those are absolutely stunning. Mind-blowing, actually. When I grow up, maybe I’ll knit something half as nice….

  29. The mittens are beautiful!!! I may just get inspired to try a pair, too.

  30. Beautiful mittens! Great Job! Lucy ‘seal of approval’ – too cute!!

  31. Those mittens are gorgeous!! I just love them! What else can I say. Gorgeous!

  32. Helloooooo from Northern Ireland

    gorge mittens…….I saw loads like them when I was in Norway over the summer.

    I’m tempted to buy a kit now ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Mittens lined with pure qiviut might be *too* warm! What I found worked best (in coooold NW Montana) was to ply a fine strand of qiviut with two strands of Rambouillet and use that for the lining. R is very compatible with Q and even comes in the same natural shade of mushroom brown.

    Angora linings can felt and shrink a bit much, so again I temper it, though this time in a blend of 40% angora/60% fine Corriedale.

    A really lovely combination is to knit the shell with 2 plies of Corrie/1 ply bombyx and the lining with the Rambouillet/Q 3-ply, self-quilting the layers as double-knitting to make a complex color pattern. Stranding and floats aren’t an issue since the yarns are carried inside the sandwich. The slight halo of the R/Q is a nice contrast to the soft sheen of the C/B.

  34. Hi Wendy, those suede booties you made some time ago are really cute. I just came upon the pattern of a baby hat that matches these booties, do you think you would be interested in making one? Here is the link:,2025,DIY_14141_3148151,00.html