Design Notebook: Leaf Collector's Mitts

I'm pleased to announce that the pattern for Leaf Collector's Mitts is now available to download from Ravelry. I've already posted about the project a few times, so I won't repeat how the design came about, but (based on the types of questions I usually get) I've put together a few notes for anyone who might be unsure whether the pattern is suitable for them.

Design Notebook: Leaf Collector's Mitts

I must start by saying that it is intended to be accessible to beginner or intermediate knitters, so I've tried to pre-empt any questions while writing the pattern, but the following may be useful in deciding whether to make a purchase. If there are any frequently asked questions which are not covered here, I'll come back to edit this post. 
Photos updated in October 2016, with year old mitts - this is how they look after wearing and washing!
What skills will I need? 
  • It's mostly knit and purl stitches with a few increases and decreases on alternate rows. You'll need to be able to work a 'yarn over', a 'k3tog' (knit 3 together) and to follow instructions/photos for a simple decrease I've called "s3yp3" - you probably won't recognise the name, but you can see it here and it's detailed in the pattern.  
  • The pattern includes both written instructions and a chart, so you can follow either. If you haven't used a chart before, you might like to give it a try because it's a good one to start with - the number of stitches remains the same, it's easy to spot any mistakes as you go along as the chart looks like the piece you're knitting. In fact, it's such a clear chart to follow, you may find you like it more than reading the written instructions.
  • It's knit flat (so you don't have to worry about using DPNs or circular needles) and joined using 'mattress stitch' - see below.

It's knit flat? Can I knit it in the round? 
Of course! I prefer to knit in the round but this pattern is designed to be knit flat in response to the overwhelming number of requests I've had for a 'flat' version of my other patterns. Leaf Collector's Mitts is very easy to adapt as there is a selvedge stitch at the beginning and end of each row (this makes for a perfect mattress stitch join). If you want to knit in the round, simply omit the selvedge stitches on each row - the pattern will work seamlessly for you. Just work flat where you'd like the thumb hole to be.

I've never used mattress stitch before!
Don't worry, it's really easy. There are lots of tutorials online already, I especially like this one from Knitty.com as it has clear pictures. For this pattern, you can pull the first and second stitch apart a little at each side to see the 'bar' you'll sew up. Your join will be almost invisible, inside and out (see photo above).

I have loads of yarn already and want to use something from my stash, what should I look for?
I used Scheepjes Stone Washed which is a very soft washable sport weight/ 5 ply. Here in the UK, sport weight isn't that common, and if you're substituting yarn from your stash you could use a light DK and that will work just fine. If in doubt, knit a swatch and check you like the fabric and that the gauge will work for you (see the next point).

I have tiny/enormous hands, I'm worried they won't fit me as there's only one size. 
As both the ribbing and leaf pattern are stretchy, I'd be very surprised if they were too small, but if you have tiny hands, or want to knit the mitts for a child, there are a couple of options. You could either use 4ply yarn and smaller needles, or omit one of the leaf pattern repeats - either way I'd highly recommend you make a swatch (yes, really!) to work out how many cms you get for each repeat of the pattern (I get 6.5 cms per repeat at the gauge stated in the pattern) and then work out the best option for you. 

I'd like them to be longer. How easy is it to do this? 
Really easy. Repeat the leaf pattern, before moving onto the ribbing - five repeats would make a nice long armwarmer, I'm planning that length next.


Is there a version with a thumb? 
No. I prefer mitts without thumbs as this makes them much more versatile. Once you have thumbs, they have to be worn as gloves, but without a thumb, you can push them up and wear them as cuffs or armwarmers (pictured). This is especially useful when you have 3/4 length sleeves (like most of my wardrobe) or if you need to wash your hands or do something messy - just push them up and you stay toasty but have your hands completely free. (If you want to add your own thumb, you can add it wherever you like, depending on how long you want your mitts to be.)

I hope that has everything covered and that you enjoy making your Mitts as much as I did. 

2 comments

  1. I love those! They'd be fabulous in a fun, autumnal color. I might have to get started (as if I need another WIP). :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Luckily they are such a quick knit you can squeeze a pair in during a single day or a couple of evenings ;)

      Delete

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