Chawton Mittens — Insider Tips

There is one potentially tricky section of the Chawton Mittens: the cameos. Traditional fair-isle patterns avoid long stretches of one colour, specifically because it’s hard to maintain tension when you have long floats of the unused colour strung along behind the work. (Also, those long strands are easily snagged on fingertips, rings, etc.) But with the Chawton Mittens, the cameos are the main design feature, and the whole definition of a silhouette is that it’s just an outline. I had to unvent a technique for dealing with the resulting long strands.

In my initial sample for the submission, I did the usual fair-isle trick of ‘locking in’ long floats by twisting them with the working yarn every few stitches. It was… not entirely satisfactory.

Chawton Mittens inspiration 2

Original submission

I was knitting with a thicker, rounder yarn than I used for the final version (but knit tightly, at the same gauge), and even so, you can see that the silhouette is all rumply and puckery, with little dark spots everywhere the floats were caught.  Catching the floats worked fine in the dark area around the silhouette — the dark colour doesn’t show the light colour nearly as much as the other way around — but clearly, I needed another strategy for the final pattern.

Here’s what I came up with:

While you’re knitting, leave long, loose floats behind the silhouette:

Chawton Mittens tips 1

loooong loooooose floats — mitten turned inside out for illustration purposes

When you’re done knitting, turn the mitten inside out, and thread a darning needle with a length of yarn.

Chawton Mittens tips 2

Weave the yarn in on the diagonal

Start weaving the yarn through the floats, back and forth on the diagonal. It doesn’t have to be precision work, but make sure you catch each float at least once every few passes.

Chawton Mittens tips 3

Make sure the work is looooooose

Every so often, tug the mitten back and forth in all directions to keep the woven strands loose. If your work is too tight, the silhouette will be all bubbly in the front.

Chawton Mittens tips 4

Weave along the other diagonal too

Do the same along the other diagonal, too. Again, make sure the work is loose! Weave in the ends by catching them in the woven section.

Chawton Mittens tips 5

The finished, blocked mitten, turned inside-out

And voilà! The final product isn’t quite reversible, but at least it’s tidy, and there’s nothing there to snag your fingertips on.


Filed under Design, Tutorials

6 responses to “Chawton Mittens — Insider Tips

  1. Genius! I reserved a copy of the magazine, well two, so the guild can have one. I’m getting really impatient since you keep posting pictures of how awesome these are. Not to mention all the other goodies that are going to be in there.

  2. YOU? You came up with the clawton mittens? I feel like I am meeting a celebrity. The mittens are by far the most beautiful thing in that magazine. I am just having a problem with scale. I don’t own a size 0 needle, but it seems absolutely necessary for this pattern. I knitted gauge with a size 2 but it was twice as large.

    Anyway, congrats on your publication!

    • Annie Bee

      Aww, thank you so very much! I’m blushing like crazy.

      I do knit fairly tightly when I knit on DPNs, so yes, you may need to go down a needle size or two. I hope this is just a good excuse to buy some new tools, and not a major inconvenience for you. 🙂