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Here Come the Poetry Mittens!

Jan 14, 2009

Such a treat I have for you today... are you ready?

Last fall, we had a knitting poetry contest. It wasn't your average poetry contest, mind you, because where would the fun in average be? It was a poetry magnet contest, where we challenged you marvelously clever folks to take the words on the Interweave Press Magnetized Poetry Panel (we're sadly out of stock now, sorry!) and make some pretty poetry with them.

We announced the winner--Angela Lane of Vidalia, Georgia--and showed off her winning entry, which appears in the photo above.

There were second, third, and fourth place winning poems as well. See them here.

The prize? The prize was to have Angela's poem knitted into a poetry mitten. She gets the mittens (they're in the mail, Angela!) and the pattern would go into the Knitting Daily pattern store with nifty photos of her mittens and a full-color chart so you can make your very own versions of these cheerful knitting mittens.

Today, after weeks of getting the mittens ready, and getting the chart ready, the pattern is finally ready for you to purchase from our store: Angela's Poetry Mittens.



What's a poetry mitten?

In the January/February 2008 issue of PieceWork magazine, Veronica Patterson told us about a fascinating knitting tradition in early America: Women would choose a favorite poem, and knit the text into their mittens. There are several examples of these charming mittens in the Smithsonian, and so Veronica and Jane Fournier decided to knit up a modern version for the PieceWork audience. That mitten pattern made that issue one of our most popular back-issues ever.

That's when we decided to have the poetry contest, so we could have a pattern inspired by YOU.

Our newly updated pattern PDF contains the full instructions and charts for the 2008 PieceWork mittens, as well as an all-new chart for Anglea's winning poem-knit-into-mittens. We've also included Veronica's article on the history (and the mystery!) of poetry mittens, plus photos of everything because photos are the best part!


From Sandi's Bookshelf:
The Knitting Treasures in PieceWork magazine

See that? That's a photo of my actual bookshelf in my actual office. (I may have tidied it up a bit, removed the dirty coffee cups and peeled the kitten off the yarn ball, but that's all.) On the left is my collection of Interweave Knits magazines, and on the right, a thirteen-year set of my beloved PieceWork magazines.

And the more I wander through those lovely pages, the more knitting goodies I discover! Just to prove the point, I grabbed a random handful of issues and here's a few of the knitting patterns I found there: a lace sampler, a knitted Father Christmas doll (free pattern!), miniature stockings, vintage-inspired booties, Nordic flower sachets, and more--many of them inspired by historical or vintage patterns. The stories behind the patterns are there, too; illustrated with photos from museums all over the world.

As knitters, we are deeply connected not only to each other, but to those who have knitted in years gone by, often out of necessity, or to feed their families. Their stories are our stories; and now their knitting is our knitting too, in the pages of PieceWork magazine.

I know money is tight these days. But if you are considering treating yourself or someone you love with a magazine subscription, and you want something special, try PieceWork magazine. It's unlike any other magazine out there, and I think it's well worth every penny.

Click here to subscribe to PieceWork.


Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? I've been finishing up things this week--seaming sweaters that had long languished in my knitting closet, for one thing--and now I have to decide: do I start the Central Park Hoodie my sister asked for, work on baby gifts for all the new members of my family, or start another lace shawl that is a gift for (shhh) someone else? Choices, choices. 



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StacyL wrote
on Jan 16, 2009 12:00 PM
I never would have thought to get an issue of PieceWork until I saw the absolutely adorable baby cap! I ordered the issue on line, can't wait to get my hands on it, and can't wait to get my fingers going on knitting the cap! THANKS!
JoanR wrote
on Jan 15, 2009 6:47 PM
Will you be getting more of the magnetic poetry sets? I really wanted a set but couldn't afford it at the time. Thanks for letting me know Joan Rockwell Carlton, OR
Deanna wrote
on Jan 15, 2009 1:06 PM
I can't seem to get answers to this question so am hoping someone writing on this blog will see this and help. We are trying to purchase Knitted Lace of Estonia from but are being told it is not available and is out of stock. Has anyone else run into this problem. We've had it on order since November. thanks. Deanna
LindaG@7 wrote
on Jan 15, 2009 12:08 PM
I was so disappoint to find that Interweave Knits will not be making available the magazine past year issues on CD as was advertised in the Winter 2008 issue. For those of us with limited storage space, having the issues from 2006 and 2007 on CD would have been great. Please reconsider this decision. Perhaps if we all requested it?
Miryom wrote
on Jan 15, 2009 11:13 AM
Sandi, you DO look fabulous Thanx to all the hints and suggestions. As I'm a beginner I sincerely appreciate any help. McCall's Needlework and Crafts magazines from 60-71. Anybody wants to sell me theirs I'd be ecstatic. Lost all mine, even the real oldies. Nice to be able to have a voice with other knitters. Sent socks at Xmas to my grandson in Winnipeg to wear under his boots. Very happy fella. All your encouragement did help. I thank you all. Cookie.
JeanK wrote
on Jan 15, 2009 9:15 AM
Sandi, you talked about what project you will be working on next; maybe I missed it but did you finish the "camisa" sweater
Ginny wrote
on Jan 15, 2009 9:13 AM
Sandi, I haven't seen photos of your Mom's lace shawl. Have I missed them? Isn't lace knitting addicting? I just love the challange and the end result - a lovely lace garmet to wear or gift. So, share with us - please. . . Ginny
Csmithers wrote
on Jan 15, 2009 8:40 AM
Last Christmas I made the Father Christmas doll and it was the best cure for my usual holiday bah humbug-iness. It is one of my favorite holiday decorations and I'm very proud of it! It was a great take-along project! Happy New Year, Knitting Daily! (Sandi, love the hair! It's so becoming on you!)
ZassZ wrote
on Jan 14, 2009 8:39 PM
CaroleW & greatharry, I happened to see Southwest Trading Company Bamboo at's Knitting Blog. It is 100% bamboo, lightweight, 270 yards per 100 gram skein. She comments her intended use is for a summery sweater. I envisioned cool, summery "socks" at first sight. Well if you use it, let us know how it did!
GailD wrote
on Jan 14, 2009 7:24 PM
Would that my magazine shelf took so little space! No, it's several shelves tall and pretty wide, too. Handwoven since the first issue. Interweave Knits since the first issue. Many years worth of SpinOff. I've never dared order Piecework! Thanks to Interweave Press for many years of pleasure. I should quit all the subscriptions and just go back to the beginning!
greatharry wrote
on Jan 14, 2009 7:01 PM
Like PattiW, I would love to have suggestions for a yarn other than wool for knitting these glorious mittens. JanP
CaroleW wrote
on Jan 14, 2009 5:30 PM
A friend introduced me to Piecework early last year. As a history buff and needlework enthusiast, I'm thrilled to discover this treasure!
PattiW wrote
on Jan 14, 2009 4:50 PM
Wasn't sure where else I could ask this. I love to knit socks, but am allergic to wool, cashmere, alpaca, silk, you get the idea. Is there a fine yarn out there in maybe bamboo/cotton or something that would be good? I used baby yarn (acrylic) for the boot lace knee socks in the interweave knits magazine, but would love to find something else.....Maybe it could be addressed in the knitting daily letter I get??? TIA
CherylB wrote
on Jan 14, 2009 4:39 PM
I have loved all the free patterns lately, but in the past month none of the pdf's will open. Has anyone else had this problem and if so, who would I contact. We've had our computer looked at and everything appears to be fine. Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated. Cheryl B.
MilenaL wrote
on Jan 14, 2009 3:35 PM
Sandi! You look fabulous!! I love this picture of you!! Whatever you did...keep doing it!! Milena Lopez
DianeW wrote
on Jan 14, 2009 3:35 PM
I have been a longtime subscriber of Piecework for many years thanks to a wonderful MIL who gifts it to me each year for Christmas. The poetry mittens intrigued me immediately when I received the magazine and I have decided that to be a Fearless Knitter I need to make these mittens this year! I especially love the historical connection and documentation because I occasionally volunteer at an historic site or with a reenactment. Thanks for everything you guys do at Knitting Daily; it has stretched my horizons in knitting.