Monet gloves

Pattern: Smaragdi Mittens, by Liisa Lallukka. Free. [Ravelry link.]

Yarn: The main color is Frog Tree light fingerling alpaca in light blue, from The Yarn Tree, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Left over from my sister’s helmet hat, I had 1.2 skeins left over. It takes about .2 skeins for each mitt, so even if you had half a skein, you would probably be okay. I think at the time I bought it, it sold for $6. It now seems to sell for $6.80.

The contrast yarns are all leftovers, from bottom up. I’m not going to link, but if you want to see the original projects, just type the name of the project into search. I’m lazy, deal.

Greenish (cuff and 1st row) – Sundara FSM, from Honeymoon Shawl
Greenish/blue (2nd row) – Koigu, from Berkeley socks
Blueish-pink (3rd and 4th rows) – Traveling Rhinos, from Swirl socks
Burgundy (5th row) – Fleece Artist, from Burgundy Shawl
Hot pink (6th row) – Bonkers Handmade Originals, from Flamingo socks
Orange/green/blue (7th row) – Happy Hands Yarns Toe Jamz, from Loud Monkey socks

Needles: Size 1 and what I thought were 2, but my needle gauge also says are 1s. So maybe 1 and 1.5 DPNs.

Monet gloves

The photos above show the mitts with the contrast side as the decorative motif and the one below show the side with the pale blue as the decorative motif, with the contrast colors showing as bands of color behind.

Monet gloves

Project begun/ended: October 16, 2010-November 28, 2010. Each mitt took a week to knit, but I procrastinated in between mitts and blocking and weaving in ends.

Notes and modifications: I knit fingerless mitts instead of mittens–I did a row of purl stitches, knit a hem (should have knit a few stitches less to reduce bunching when folding over), folded over, and tacked down. My gauge was fine for fingerless mitts, but too tight for mittens.

The main modification I did was to use up sock scraps for the contrast color to create an ombre effect. Also, I reversed the patterns on the front and back (the mirror images) on each mitten so that the patterns would match when I wear them.

Monet gloves

And for fair isle fans, the insides. Gorgeous, no? I recently saw a J.Crew sweater that had the fair isle inside as the outside. Looks woven and very modern. Especially love the thumbs.

Monet gloves

You can see how I had some puckering issues on the hem.

Posted in Finished Objects 2010, Mittens, Uncategorized at November 29th, 2010.

So I knit the first mitt in a week, but then I got delayed knitting squares for my log cabin blanket, working, and watching tv, etc. Oh, I decided to make it a mitt because my gauge was too tight and I remembered reading this Grumperina post about how mittens have to have positive ease.

Fingerless Mitt

One side.

Fingerless Mitt

And the other.  Isn’t Central Park in Fall gorgeous?

Fingerless Mitt

Starting the second mitt.

And here’s a random photo of a creepily decorated ghost cookie. I went over to my friend’s house to decorate cookies (she is a professional pastry chef, hence the high quality of the base cookies). The odd decoration is all mine.


Posted in cooking, Mittens, Uncategorized at November 4th, 2010.

So when I was in college, one of my friends would always make fun of me because when I was over at her apartment and I had to choose a mug, I always chose the Monet one. She was like “I knew you would choose that one!” I was like, whatever–have you seen the Monet umbrellas? Anyway, I think Monet is one of those things that kind of gets eye-rolled at because of all the tchotchkes that have the paintings imprinted on them (mousepads, anyone?), much like classical music pieces that are overplayed. But the thing is that sometimes cliches are famous because they’re good. I tried to make a case for Pachelbel’s “Canon” at my wedding with this argument, but Adam was like “No. Too many commercials.” (Ha! I had my own Pachelbel moment…the song we used had the same chords as Pachelbel’s “Cannon”! Plus, I got to do a nod to my Phil Spector fandom–we did “Be My Baby.” I know Phil Spector is crazy, but I fact-checked a whole story about Phil Spector once and I developed a whole new appreciation for the “Wall of Sound.” By the way, I discovered this enormous list of songs that use the “Be My Baby” drum beat. So if you wanted to do one of those Wheel of Fortune Before and Afters–you know “Baseball Bat Cave”–you could say that musically, Pachelbel begat Be My Baby, which begat this giant list of other songs, including my beloved Billy Joel’s “Say Goodbye to Hollywood.” Incidentally, one of the DJs we interviewed cited Billy Joel as his guilty pleasure and I started laughing–I was like, “Don’t apologize, I love Billy Joel!”)

Anyway, when we were on our honeymoon we went to see Monet’s water lillies at the Musee de la Orangerie and they were truly spectacular (they were actually at Gagosian in New York earlier this year, but we didn’t have a chance to visit). When you see them huge and up close, they are incredibly emotional and moving in a way that cannot be conveyed by the coffee cups and other tchotchkes.

Here’s a photo that Adam took on our honeymoon:

This is a long warm up to say that I think my new mittens seem kind of…dare I say Monet-esque? I know, every two-bit knitting designer describes their creation as inspired by Monet. And then you look at their project and you’re like, “whoa, that is the ugliest pastel bit of knitting vomit ever.” Well, I know, but there is a nice play of color on these mittens. (The front and the back are reverse fair isle of each other.)
Fingerless<br /> <a href=

Fingerless Mitt

Should I make them fingerless mitts as I first planned or mittens?

Posted in Mittens, Uncategorized at October 19th, 2010.

Here’s my bag of fingerling weight sock and shawl scraps, left over from my socks and shawls. It’s so inspiring! I thought to myself, if only I had some fingerling weight solid to do some fair isle in. Guess what? I looked in my Bin of Stash, and I have a whole ball, plus maybe 20% of another ball of light blue alpaca, left over from the hood hat I made my sister. I am chugging along on these really cool mittens–photos to come tomorrow of the work in progress.

Posted in Inspiration, Mittens, Uncategorized at October 17th, 2010.


I made these in 2008, but it took me a while to blog about them because I wanted to put a pattern together. They’re super-duper easy. I came up with them on CalTrain on the way back from Purlescence. You can follow the more traditional  instructions that are in the PDF (link at the bottom of this post) or just make up your own–knit a bit of ribbing in chunky yarn, throw together a cable (I just knit the easiest one I could think of), make a thumb gusset, picot edging off and ta-da! You’re done. These literally took me three days.

Oh, and they’re called MittSF because they were designed and knitted in San Francisco and also because it sounds like mitzvah, a charitable act, which it certainly would be if you made a pair for a friend.

Download the pattern here.

Also available on Ravelry here.

Posted in Mittens, Uncategorized at February 20th, 2009.

I was going to write up a free pattern for these mittens, but I have been busy with work and life, (and being obsessed with the election, like the rest of the country), so I’m just going to show them off. The cables are from The Harmony Guides: Cables and Arans, which Adam gave me for Christmas last year (along with the knit and purl volume of the guides). Let me say that I like this book and its clear photos, instructions, and charts. However, it is organized in an extremely illogical way. These two cables, WHICH ARE CLEARLY THE SAME CABLE, mirrored, are separated by a number of pages. I’m not sure whether the editor of the book decided to trick the reader by not grouping together related cables (and techniques) so that the reader would think they were getting more for their money than they really were, or he/she/they had some sort of life/work melt down, and just decided to throw all the pages together haphazardly, and be like, eff-it, here you go. So, though I like the book, I am warning you that it could be improved, organization-wise.

Pattern: My own. I’m calling them Waffle House Mittens, because the cables look like half a waffle. And I like Waffle House, though sadly, I do not live in the South, and thus, never get to go there. Why New York City does not have a cheap grits-to-go place is a tragedy I cannot understand.

Yarn: Less than 1 skein of Cascade 220 Heathers, color: 9452/summer sky. $7.25 from Purl. This is a common yarn, so you can probably get it cheaper somewhere else, I just happen to like Purl.

Needles: Size 3, Susan Bates. I knit super loose though, so the gauge on these is 21 stitches=4″ in stockinette.

Project started/ended: October 18 to 26. This was a quick project, it took me three days to knit each mitten.

Modifications: Well, this was my own pattern, so I don’t really think they were “modifications,” per se, but on the first mitten, my thumb gore came out weird because I increased every other round, which made my thumb look like it had a goiter. Also, the cuff was a little loose. I fixed this on the second mitten, by, respectively, increasing every third round, and knitting less stitches on the cuff, and then increasing before starting the hand, but then I decreased the top a little too pointy, even though I took notes on the first to try to make it the same. If you can knit a basic mitten, all you have to do is stick in the cables (on pages 100 and 104 of the new version of the Harmony Guides: Cables and Aran), but remember that if you’re knitting in the round, you’ll have to adapt the pattern a bit. (On even rounds, read the instructions from right to left, reversing knits with purls, and purls with knits, and crossing the cables in the front, instead of the back.)

Photo shoot notes: These photos were taken at Old Stone House, Brooklyn, which is a recreated version of a Dutch stone house located on the site of a Revolutionary War battle. Once, revolutionaries roamed Park Slope. Now, just yuppies.

Posted in Finished Objects 2008, Mittens, Uncategorized at November 2nd, 2008.

I read the news today, oh boy. RIP David Foster Wallace. My friend Kim introduced me to him in college and she was one of the first to email with the news yesterday. Infinite Jest was an amazing experience–one of the few books I read as an adult that I really loved. I went to a signing a few years ago, and I asked him what happened to the grandmother at the end of The Broom of the System (the mysteries of IJ were too great to tackle at a reading), and he asked what I thought. I was all, “Um, she was in the basement of the building,” and he was like, “Sure!” At that point I slunk away, because I was too embarassed, and he called out, “No, why do you think that?”

On a different note, what is happening with Wall Street? Yikes. I went to college here in the city, so I’ve always had friends on Wall Street (and I even interviewed with Merrill Lynch years ago, right after graduation). The crisis doesn’t feel distant for me. Sometimes I get the feeling that people think of New York as this far-off place, filled with so-called hoodlums and elites, people who aren’t, to use an awful phrase, “like us.” Well, this is us. Hoodlums and elites both, I guess.

Anyway, onto the knitting, which is a bit like fiddling while Rome burns, but this is a knitting blog, after all.
Hot Pink Mittens

Pattern: Aran Island Mittens, by Marcia Lewandowski, from Folk Mittens

Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino, about 1/2 ball. I think this was $7/ball.

Needles: size 3 DPNs, Susan Bates

Project started/ended: A long time ago? Maybe March or April of 2007, finished September 14, 2008.

Hot Pink Mittens

Notes and Modifications: I developed serious Second Mitten Syndrome with this project. First of all, the gauge with worsted-weight wool is totally impossible, so I chopped off the side cables from the front. (I also eliminated the cuff cables because I thought they were ugly.) Secondly, I couldn’t figure out how to make the thumb, so I made an afterthought thumb, but that ended up pulling the palm’s patterning askew. So I was all “ugh” about making the second mitten. But last week I buckled down and made the second one–in just one week! They’re my first real cabling project and first closed-top mittens, so I think they could use some improvement, but at least I finished them, phew.

Hot Pink Mittens

And on a final David Foster Wallace note, it’s worth getting a copy of his essay about John McCain running against George W. Bush in 2000–it’s a great read, and very apt for this year’s presidential season. *

* Though worth noting that DFW acknowledged that the 2008 McCain is not the same as the 2000 McCain.

Posted in Finished Objects 2008, Mittens, Uncategorized at September 15th, 2008.

Asian flower power

1. Front of the HPM 2. Trekking sock at the movies 3. Triad Election 4. Back of the HPM

Hot Pink Mitten is adapted from Folk Mittens. Yarn is Patons wool. More info to come when HPM is actually finished.

The Flower: This was the weekend for cherry blossom extravaganzas everywhere. My neighborhood actually boasts many cherry trees, and so the Hot Pink Mitten was able to visit local cherry blossoms (in pink and white), without hiking out to Brooklyn’s sakura madness. I have gone to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden cherry tree festivities* in past years, though, and it is pretty fun.

The Power: Meanwhile, the traveling sock went to watch the Hong Kong gangster movies Triad and Triad Election, at Film Forum.**

I’ve tried knitting while watching movies, but it’s generally too dark, and I tend to drop stitches. Also, Film Forum is one of those movie theaters filled with intense movie-goers–Steven Spielberg once sat a few rows behind me–who I think might kill me if I dared to knit during the movie. I knit a little while I was waiting, though, since Film Forum’s cinemaniac population requires an early arrival time in order to guarantee a decent seat.

* Yarn-related links: Cherry blossom yarn and a Hanami shawl pattern (the latter via Mason-Dixon knitting).

** Here’s a list of Hong Kong yarn stores in English, in case watching movies about the dark and seedy underworld inspires you to buy yarn in HK.

Little Purl of the Orient is an HK-based blogger who gives a glimpse of Hong Kong in between her knitting. She’s mainly about the knitting, but it’s neat to see a little bit of the city in some of her posts.

Posted in Mittens, travelingproject, Uncategorized at April 29th, 2007.

F.O.: Fingerless Gloves

Yarn: sportweight Blue Sky alpaca in Toasted Almond and Licorice, 1 skein each. Total cost (before tax) $20

Needles: No. 6 Clover bamboo circular (these are knit flat and then sewn up)

Pattern: My own.

The color and pattern were inspired by’s scarf. After I started them (waaay back in Oct/Nov or so), I noticed Knitlit Kate made these opera gloves, which are also very similar. Knitlit Kate was smarter because she made them in self-striping sock yarn.

I am glad I knit them flat because (a) it was easier to deal with than DPNs and (b) the beginning and end of each row has two garter stitches which made a pretty garter stitch channel along the side of each one.

This yarn is amazingly lovely. It feels like butter (buttah!) when it is knit up. I think I might be sensitive to alpaca though, so I find it slightly itchy. Which is crazy, because it is so so so soft. Lickety Knit wrote a funny post about how she knit this luscious alpaca scarf that made her itch. Damn you alpaca, with your bait and switch properties.

F.O.: Fingerless Gloves

Here they are in action today. They’re a little big, but warm.

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Gloves, Mittens, Uncategorized at March 17th, 2007.