Long-time readers of this blog will remember my Chawton Mittens, which were originally published in the inaugural issue of the Jane Austen Knits magazine all the way back in 2011. Well, the rights reverted back to me after a year, and re-releasing that beloved pattern has been on my to-do list since then. Today, my friends, I’ve finally done it!
Tag Archives: mittens
Here is my contribution to Day Four of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, organized by the adorable Eskimimi. Today’s theme is A Knitter or Crocheter for All Seasons…
The funny thing about today’s theme for #3kcbw is that I’ve had a half-composed blog week about winter knitting in my head for months. I seem to do that a lot — get an idea for a blog post, and even think up what photos and phrases might belong in it, but then get distracted, or lazy, or otherwise occupied, until the post is no longer relevant.
I was going to post about how I was working on these lovely Norwegian mittens in Classic Elite Fresco, a super-soft angora-alpaca-wool blend.
I was going to talk about being curled up on the couch, a handknit shawl around my shoulders and a blanket over my lap, with a big steaming cup of milky tea.
I was going to talk about my favourite winter-afternoon watching: Victorian Farm and the other brilliant series in this family of shows. A team of English social historians and archaeologists spend a year on a period farm, using appropriate technologies to better understand life in the Victorian era — or the 17th century, or the Edwardian era, depending on the series. It’s a perfect combination of nerdiness and utter beauty, with a healthy dose of fibre lore thrown in.
I was going to talk about the quiet that muffles the city when there’s a thick layer of snow.
I was going to talk about warm, folky music that sustains me through the winter, like this Queen (!!) cover by my favourite band, The Once:
But you know what? Now it’s spring (even if it did snow the day before yesterday). We’ve had the barbecue out; I’ve shaved my legs and worn skirts and sandals. I still love The Once, but we’re on to watching the Edwardian Farm team in the summer months, picking cherries and frolicking in bathing costumes at the seaside. And as for the mittens, well, I haven’t knit a stitch on them for at least a couple of months.
Now, I’m much more interested in dreaming up frothy, lacy things to knit for a friend’s wedding this summer:
I literally just did a dance in my chair — at the office, no less — on seeing Maria’s finished pair of Chawton Mittens in her blog post. These are the first completed Chawtons I’ve seen (aside from the original sample pair). She had a few technical difficulties, but the results are still outstanding. Way to go, Maria!
Interweave has now made the patterns from the (dare I say it) outstanding special issue, Jane Austen Knits, available for individual download.
That means that my Chawton Mittens pattern can now be yours for $5.50 US as a standalone pattern. You can still buy the entire magazine, either as a PDF download, a Zinio subscription, or a printed copy, of course!
(Can I just say how surreal it is, STILL, to see my name on the Interweave website?)
The Chawton Mittens are, I hope, utterly Austen. But they really don’t have to be. Cameos are really trendy these days, whether they feature classic Grecian goddesses or something a little more quirky. There is absolutely nothing saying that you have to knit the Chawton Mittens as designed; you could easily use them as a framework to show off your own allegiances.
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.