Introducing the "Just Plain Mittens" Pattern!

Introducing the "Just Plain Mittens" Pattern!

At last, this pattern is finally ready! When you see all that it has to offer, you'll know why it took nine months to make! (Okay, so I didn't knit a lot during the summer... but this pattern did get super-tested!)

7 Moments to Remember

7 Moments to Remember

A collection of my favourite daily moments in the last 1-2 weeks.

7 Awesome Things

7 Awesome Things

7 awesome, geeky, eye-candy-ish things to enjoy. Happy Saturday!

Yarn Everywhere!

There is probably some irony in the fact that I spent nearly two weeks around the greater Seattle area, and the only time I actually entered the city proper was on our way home from Vancouver Island, when our GPS stopped working and we ended up taking the freeway right by downtown before we figured out what was happening. It was a really pretty view at night--so glad we drove by that way. :-)

However, we did get to visit a fair number of communities around Seattle, not least of which being Redmond, where the Microsoft campus is--of course Logan took us there! We even got to eat lunch at a couple of their on-campus ethnic cafeterias. I opted for Indian food, and was pretty sad that my cold prevented me from fully enjoying the flavours I knew were present. (Side note: I gained respect for Microsoft as a company when we went to throw out our plates and found that nearly everything on my tray was compostable plastic or paper, and MS has two bins for compost and only one for the landfill. Honestly, I don't know what ever gets put in the latter. Maybe if someone brought their own plastic cutlery, just to be a jerk?)

My mother and I both being knitters, we also wanted to visit a couple of Local Yarn Stores (LYS) to bask in glorious yarny options. Living in the North, most of our yarn shopping is done online, so we often take it on faith, or just take the risk, that the yarn we are ordering will be the softness, colour, or look that we want when we buy it. To actually touch the yarns and see all the options available before buying them was a huge treat, especially as many of these stores carry yarns that are quite specialized and luxurious. When a quick internet search turned up scads of yarn stores in the area, the idea of visiting a yarn store or two morphed into doing a "yarn store crawl."

My social media usage was seriously curtailed during my trip, but I did manage to post about the stores we visited on my My Secret Wish by Talena Facebook page as we went, so I am simply going to repost those posts here for posterity. (Posty posted posting... :-D)

February 13:

I have been doing a yarn store crawl in the Seattle area while visiting my brother here, although it has been hampered by all four of us (my mom, brother, 2-year-old son, and I) having one of the top 3 Worst Colds Ever.

We started at Serial Knitters in Kirkland, which was a lovely store with friendly service. The ladies knitting together in the back looked like they held that position often, and the customer I mistakenly took for staff laughingly explained she only lived there, not worked there.

Great place. Check it out next time you are in this neck of the woods.

Project-in-progress: Revolution Mitten for Levi, first of the pair.

The next store we went hunting for was no longer in business--that's what we get for trusting a GPS that hadn't been updated in 5 years! It was a combination tea/yarn store, but we weren't out of luck yet--there was another one of these awesome combination stores in Ballard, and we headed straight over there instead (after calling to make sure they still WERE in business!) Jean and Patricia at The Tea Cozy were wonderful to deal with, and we got some luscious yarny treats from here.

I picked up my first ever skeins of Madelinetosh yarn, something long-coveted on my wish list.

Project-in-progress: my mom's first cable project. (Oh, yes, she did choose a travelling cable stole.)

February 15:

Yesterday, we were feeling a little healthier, so we headed out and about again. We had three yarn stores south of here on the roster. As it turns out, Tolt Yarn and Wool was the only one of the three still in business--but it made the whole trip worthwhile on its own.

Found in the little town of Carnation, Washington, it is bursting with charm, character, and comfort. The spacious interior is reminiscent of an old-fashioned hardware store, with yarn tucked into wooden crates and boxes and acid-etched cement floors. The selection was stunning and a feast for the eyes. In the back, the Saturday knitting crowd happily shared their projects-in-progress with us as they clicked away by a roaring fire in the wood stove.

As I checked out with my Donegal Tweed yarn in a yummy shade of Kelly green (really from Donegal, Ireland!), one of the two ladies on staff that day gave me an amazing tip about how the yarn washes from her own personal experience with it... and lovingly wrapped my skeins in tissue and sealed the package with a sticker before popping it into a lovely paper shopping bag. (I'm a sucker for great presentation.)

If I ever open a yarn store, this is going to be high on the list of stores I try to emulate. Another store I highly recommend!

Yes, this is a gauge swatch. Eep--I was between mittens, and tradition dictates that a project-in-progress photo needs to be something ON THE NEEDLES. Mom was swatching to start the new Snow for Lorelai Boot Cuffs. :-)

February 17:

One of the knitters we met at Tolt Yarn and Wool recommended that we stop at Mount Vernon's WildFibers on our way home the next day, so we did. And we are SOOO glad. What a lovely little shop! The yarn selection is stunning, and arranged around the walls by weight, so it is easy to find what you are looking for. The samples on display around the shop were beautiful, and the lady working that day said they were mostly knit by the owner and her mother. With yarns from Rowan, Madelinetosh, and more, this is one yarn store you won't want to miss.

...Not to mention the rest of the town, which was oozing with vintage charm. We have now put Mount Vernon on our "places to come and explore" list for our next visit to Washington.

Project-in-Progress: Pink Hawaii socks--a pattern I will likely make available when I finally finish the pair!

And so ended our yarny adventures. I had planned to do much more knitting on the trip than I did, but The Cold sapped all my energy, including my will to knit (!). However, I did finally finish the mittens I started for Levi on the way down the day after we got home:

3-Colour  Revolution Mittens ! Fun project for my little man!

3-Colour Revolution Mittens! Fun project for my little man!

Logan was a really great sport about chauffeuring us around to the various stores, and also helped with entertaining the whiny, sick toddler so we could actually look. What a great brother/uncle! Thanks, Logan! This was definitely a fun part of our trip!

Indecision Strikes

I haven't often had trouble deciding on the name for one of my patterns. It happened once before, and I ran a naming contest that resulted in the Killick Cap getting its moniker--something way cooler than I would have thought of myself.

I know I told you guys (in my newsletter last week) that I would have a new Boot Cuff and Mitten pattern in the store this week. Well... I'm really, really close. I finally got the photos taken on Friday, which was a major hold-up in the process.

All along in the design process, I have been calling this the "Gilmore Girls" set, as this show has figured heavily into the knitting time on these babies, and it seemed appropriate for the pattern. I named the lighter-weight version "Rory" and the heavier-weight one "Lorelai", after Rory's vivacious mother .

And I even found the perfect Lorelai Gilmore quote to open the description:

Everything’s magical when it snows, everything looks pretty. The clothes are great. Coats, scarves, gloves, hats.
— Lorelai Gilmore ("Gilmore Girls")

Indecision has featured heavily in the design process, which has meant more options included in the pattern. Yay! Can't decide which way I like the cables? Knit ALL the ways! Can't decide if I like it better with one strand of yarn or two? Knit ALL the ways! Can't decide just how long I want those fingerless mittens to be? Knit ALL the w... well, you get it.

And then, just last week as I was taking the promo photos, I got the REAL name of the pattern. The perfect name.

It is surprising how warm these boot cuffs are--I am practically living in them in my office (now that I am finally allowed to wear them without fear of messing them up!)

Just a few more days of work on the Winters Distributing store, and then I can finish revising this pattern and it will be done! Whoo-eee!!!

Stay warm, friends!

New Pattern Coming Soon

I have been working on this idea for almost a year, now: mix-n-match mittens, gloves, glittens, and fingerless gloves/mittens, all in one booklet. My original idea was to offer 4-6 different cuff and hand back options which could be used interchangeably with each other, in two weights of yarn and in all the above-mentioned styles.

Turns out, that is a LOT of work. Lots of samples to knit. LOTS of knitting. Wow.

I have not given up on the idea--I am quite enjoying the challenge. But I have decided to release the patterns in smaller chunks. Once I have several patterns completed and tested, I will release a collection.

The first pattern I will be releasing is the "Mermaid Tails and Dragon Scales" design combo. There will still be mittens, gloves, glittens, and fingerless mittens and gloves in the pattern, designed for aran-weight yarn. I will include a fingering-weight plain liner pattern. And here is what the gloves look like:

Are you excited? I am. The pattern is coming soon! :-)

Lined Seamless Mittens (Knitting Pattern)

PLEASE NOTE: This was one of my very first designs, which I have been offering for free since I created it in 2010. I have recently designed a much better-fitting pattern called Just Plain Mittens. The new design comes in 5 sizes which can all be made in 3 weights of yarn. It includes patterns for sewn fleece liners for each size as well as knit fingering-weight liners.

For now, I will leave the pattern for Lined Seamless Mittens up on the Internet. However, I would strongly suggest you consider getting the Just Plain Mittens pattern for a much better knitting experience.

'Tis the season for creating things that keep heat in and cold out. Fires, blankets, conversation, tea, and... mittens!

I have been learning the art of making mittens for the last several years--kids go through an awful lot of them, either because they lose them or wear them out. Therefore, with three boys, I've had the opportunity for a lot of practice! ;-) Thankfully, mittens are something that are fairly fast to make.

This year, I decided to make the project even faster and warmer by using chunky yarn knit densely together. I then painstakingly worked out a design for a fleece liner with set-in thumbs... 'cause in Canada, a thin--or even a thick--layer of knitted yarn just ain't gonna cut it!

(I love that my spell-checker will not put a red flag on "ain't" and "gonna", but "snuck" will do it every time. What is wrong with the dictionary, people?!!)

So, back to the knitting... Another free pattern for you, internets. If you make it and like it, please let me know. If you make it and have problems with it... also, please let me know, so I can correct the pattern.

These mittens were made for child size medium. They work well on my boys' hands that are aged 5-6.

As noted above, I made these hand-specific, but frankly, they are more likely to end up on the wrong hand than the right one. To make them "uni-handed", just change the shell pattern so that the edge of the hand falls in the middle of the thumb increases, and make both the same. For the lining, you will likely need to draft your own pattern--lay the mitten on a piece of paper, outline in pencil, true lines, add 1/4" seam allowance all around, and stitch on stitching lines. Complete as described below.

P.S. I would love it if my kids would decide that wool does NOT drive them crazy, since acrylic drives ME crazy. But, that's just the way it is. So, these are made up in affordable Bernat Chunky.

Download Knitting Pattern

Download Lining Pattern

Lined Seamless Mittens

Difficulty: EASY


One skein Bernat Chunky. (I took this from a 1-lb. ball, but used approximately 45 g. of yarn.)

Set of 4 dpns--5.0 mm

Small stitch holder

Yarn needle

Scraps of yarn made into loops for stitch markers

Polar fleece, scrap (or at least 10" long strip)

Needle and thread.


27 rows and 17 sts = 4" in stockinette stitch (Quite a tight gauge--make sure to keep your tension tight, or go down a needle size!) CHECK YOUR GAUGE!

Knit Shells:

Left Hand:

Cast on 30 sts. Distribute on 3 dpns. Place marker at beginning of round.


K1, P1 rib around until desired length of cuff is reached--I went for 3 inches, as this allows for mittens to reach far enough up the arm to not let snow in the sleeve.


Rows 1-6:



Row 7:

K15. Place marker. K10. Place marker. Increase by knitting into back loop, then front loop. K2. Increase by knitting into front loop, then back loop. K1.

Row 8:


Row 9:

K25. Slip marker. Increase by knitting into back loop, then front loop. K4. Increase by knitting into front loop, then back loop. Slip marker. K1.

Row 10:


Row 11:

K25. Slip marker. Increase by knitting into back loop, then front loop. K6. Increase by knitting into front loop, then back loop. Slip marker. K1. (36 sts).

Rows 12-14:


Row 15:

K25. Place next 10 stitches on stitch holder. Cast on 4 stitches. K1. (30 sts.) You should now only have two markers--one on each edge of the hand, 15 sts apart.

Knit until hand section measures 5 inches (from where you switched away from rib pattern.)


Row 1:

*K1, ssk, k across to 3 sts. before marker, k2tog, k1, slip marker.* Repeat between * *s for other side.

Row 2:


Repeat decrease rows 1 and 2 four more times, until only 10 sts remain--five on front, five on back. Use Kitchener Stitch to graft together. Weave in tail.


Place 10 stitches from holder onto 2 dpns. Join yarn at right side and knit across, then pick up 4 sts across top of thumb hole. I usually pick them up about two "bars" up for strength. There may be little holes at the two sides--it's okay. Just use a yarn tail or scrap to pull these closed when weaving in ends after. This also helps give extra strength to this area.

Knit around thumb (14sts) until thumb measures 2 inches from "crook" (top of where thumb joins hand). K2tog 7 times (7 sts), then 3 more times, K1 (4 sts). Cut yarn, leaving an 8-12" tail, weave in ends. Make sure to close up any gaps, as I mentioned!

Right Hand:

Work as for Left Hand, until you get to the Thumb Increases.


Row 7:

K1. Place marker. Increase by knitting into back loop, then front loop. K2. Increase by knitting into front loop, then back loop. Place marker. K10. Place marker. K15.

Row 8:


Row 9:

K1. Slip marker. Increase by knitting into back loop, then front loop. K4. Increase by knitting into front loop, then back loop. Slip marker. K25.

Row 10:


Row 11:

K1. Slip marker. Increase by knitting into back loop, then front loop. K6. Increase by knitting into front loop, then back loop. Slip marker. K25. (36 sts).

Rows 12-14:


Row 15:

K1. Place next 10 stitches on stitch holder. Cast on 4 stitches. K25. (30 sts.) You should now only have two markers--one on each edge of the hand, 15 sts apart.

Complete as for Left Hand.

Fleece Linings:

I used polar fleece--it is nice and warm, and dries quickly, just like the acrylic. Also, I hand-stitched these, partly because I didn't feel like digging out the sewing machine, but mostly because you have much better control with hand-stitching. You may want to reinforce your stitches with machine stitching where indicated, but I didn't bother.

This pattern is for set-in thumbs, and is hand-specific. Make sure you stitch it up the right way for the hand you are making! Remember, the seam allowances stay on the outside of the lining, as they will be sandwiched between the lining and the shell, so just make it up to look like the hand you want it to go on.

Download lining pattern.

Cut two of each piece on the fold. ONLY CUT THUMB GAP OUT OF ONE SIDE OF EACH HAND PIECE!! The other side should be straight.

Make sure you have the stretch of the fabric across the width of the hand and the thumb, or your mitten will be too tight

Fold thumb along fold line. Stitch, starting at bottom of thumb using running stitch, until you get around the top of the thumb. You may want to backstitch the top of the thumb, or do as I did, which was do running stitch back along the top, stitching in the gap from the first time--this is for added strength.

Fold the hand piece along fold line. Do a running stitch around raw edges, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. When you get to the thumb gap, stitch around the gap through one layer only for added strength there, then keep going along edge through both layers.


This is where it gets a little tricky. Open out your thumb so that the bottom of the thumb seam is half-way along the bottom of the thumb gap, right sides together. Pin. Do the same for the top. Don't stress if this isn't exact--fleece is forgiving, and you can ease as you go. Use back-stitch, and start at bottom thumb seam and go around, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Finish by tacking in place several times and knot off.

To insert linings into shells, it is easiest to have a model with the appropriate-sized hand put on the lining, then the mitten over top. Fold back the cuff so you can work on the edge of the lining, which will attach to where the cuff meets the hand. Fold under 1/2" seam allowance of lining. Whip-stitch lining to shell.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on this pattern, please feel free to e-mail me at talena[at]wintersdayin[dot]ca.

Here's the same pattern, but with some colour work on it, just for fun!