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Free Pattern: Motley Mitts

Aug 8, 2008

Motley Mitts
by Lisa Shroyer

I try to avoid variegated yarns that stripe or pool, so when we were assigned this staff project, I looked carefully at yarns before choosing. Sheep Shop's Sheep Two is a great chunky, plied wool that is dyed in very short color runs, creating a mottled effect when knitted in stockinette. I think the best way to show off unique yarns like this is to keep it simple. So, I worked up these mitts in plain stockinette with garter stitch cuffs. However, the mitts are not just tubes—they're worked from side to side as flat pieces that are seamed up the inside of the wrist. To create a tailored fit, short-rows are worked to shape the pieces into hourglasses—the narrowest part for the wrist, the wider ends for the width of the hand and forearm.

If you're new to short-rows, this is a great project to practice and understand the technique. In chunky yarn on size 10s, the mitts work up quickly. I thought the mitts needed a bit of contrast, so I added the darker trim at the fingers and thumbhole. You could easily work this trim in the same color as the mitts, and then would only need 1 skein of the yarn total.

I love the way the mitts turned out, and even though I am very conservative when it comes to color in my own wardrobe, I will definitely wear these come fall. They have just the right amount of color, and in a small accessory, I think the flashiness of a variegated yarn is charming, not overwhelming. This coming from someone who primarily knits sweaters in brown yarn…baby steps, you know.

Lisa Shroyer is project editor of Interweave Knits magazine, and editor of Knitscene magazine.

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Download the free pattern for the Motley Mitts!

Editor's Picks

Color Style, by Pam Allen and Ann Budd, is coming out in October--but you can pre-order it now! I haven't seen the book yet, but I have every other book in the Style series and love every one of them--so I'm looking forward to this one very much. The Designer Notebook at the back, with its promised tips and tricks for colorwork, is going to be worth its weight in gold, methinks. And then there's the amazing Peace and Love Gloves by Veronik Check out the preview and pre-order online.

Of course you can buy our books online, but don't forget to give your local yarn shop some love--and your business!

Want a little more color into your knitting right now? Check out these patterns in our pattern store that use various colorwork techniques:

Slip-stitch: Tartan Jacket, Bonbon Pullover

Intarsia: Dogwood Donna, Flower Shower Duo,

Fair Isle/Stranded knitting: Composed Mitts, Enid Cardigan, Equinox Yoke Pullover, Ivy League Vest, Little Gems Mitts, Snowflake Socks, Northern Lights Jacket, Road to Golden (shown at right)

Multicolored yarns: Impressionist Cardigan, Waterlily Top, Streakers Shrug

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Bamboo! wrote
on Sep 13, 2008 7:42 AM

i am going to make your Motley Mitts. they are adorable!

Rachel@3 wrote
on Sep 11, 2008 3:03 AM

I think this pattern has an error. It states to knit rows 1-14, then knit rows 1 - 14 two more times, then knit rows 1 -11 once more, BO. This makes gloves for a giants hands. To get the correct size of 7.5 inches across the hand, rows 1-14 need only be knitted twice, not three times!

Is it me? Or is it the pattern? Was making these for a friends as a farewell gift. Now I have to unravel!

JanieS wrote
on Aug 20, 2008 1:59 PM

I haven't recieved an  E-mail from Knitting Daily since Aug. 8th.  Is there a problem?                  Margaret

AmyS@5 wrote
on Aug 9, 2008 12:37 PM

I live in southern California and Iove my fingerless mittens (they go from the wrist to about to the base of the fingers and have a thumb--knit them myself in the round with variegated yarn).  They are great because my hands get cold in the evenings (we try to keep our heat down in the winter to save $$), so I can still knit or sew with these on (or type or play piano, whatever).

CheryeE wrote
on Aug 8, 2008 7:01 PM

The fingerless mitts would be really great for winter activities done indoors (where there is no wind!) like curling or skating.  I can't wait to try these and I will let everyone know how they work for curling. I have a really hard time getting right when I wear full mitts.  This way I can wear another thin mitt on top when I'm sweeping; I also suffer from Renaud's Syndrome so I am really hoping these will help.  Even in the summer my hands lose circulation during any activity when the temperatures cool off.  

I agree with Louise A on the usefulness or lack thereof.  I live near Ottawa, so these would be pointless outside in the winter by themselves!  Maybe while driving your vehicle?  

LouiseA wrote
on Aug 8, 2008 5:56 PM

These ARE pretty, but it would be so much easier just to knit them in the round- wonder how the yarn would look knitted in the round? Do the colors pool at all?

Also, I live in central Alberta, where it gets very, very cold and fingerless mitts are amazingly useless for most of the year- I think I'd make them full mittens. I'd love to know how useful those fingerless mitts are in warmer climates. Does any one actually wear them? Are they handy on rainy Seattle afternoons? or do people just make them because they are easy?

JanL wrote
on Aug 8, 2008 4:27 PM

Those are pretty, but couldn't you graft the edges together somehow? Hmm...