Mittens, yarn and over-enthusiasm

With that over, I have to say, I am head over heels for these mittens. The pattern is <a href=”http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dappled-mitts”>Dappled Mitts</a> by Shirley MacDonald, who is just about my favourite crochet glove designer. That may sound niche, but I’ve made these, the Celtic Mittens and Fidra mitts (which were my previous favourites), each one of which has been awesome. I’ve got the Pumpkin Mitts pattern to try as well, and Harlequin looks like just the job to finish up some ends-of-balls in my leftovers tin. Suffice it to say, I think she’s an awesome designer.

My first pair of Dappled Mitts were made in my pre-Christmas Crochet fest, and were for my father in law.

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I used up some yarn left over from my mother’s cardigan, and while the slip stitching was hard to get the hang of at first, once I got to the thumb, I was already enjoying the effect. Once I’d made the thumb, I was sold.

Yes, I know it’s strange to <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BBiL3DwNC7a/?taken-by=jadesfire2808″>post a video of your thumb on Instagram</a> (as I did in a fit of wild enthusiasm), but I can’t explain to you just how happy the construction made me. I’m very much a structure person when it comes to crochet. While I’m sucked in by colours and yarns, the thing that really makes my brain spark is a clever construction or a stitch pattern that surprises me. I’ve talked before about being made happy by the elegance of crochet pattern writing, and there’s something of this here. It’s the cleverness of it that delights me, because it makes me feel clever when I make it. And who doesn’t like to feel clever?

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For my second pair, I took a deep breath and wound up my precious skein of Fyberspates Vivacious. I’ve worked with this yarn a few times now, and I absolutely love it. The variegations are beautiful, and it’s got a real spring to it. It’s just a joy to work with, but as I’m still on my strict yarn diet, I knew I had to find a really good project for it – I didn’t want to waste it when I won’t be able to buy more for ages.

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Suffice it to say that Vivacious is a perfect match for slip stitch crochet. If you’ve never done any, I recommend giving it a go, although maybe on something simpler than these mitts unless you’re a confident crocheter. You really do need to mark the stitches at the ends of rows, as they tend to twist and disappear otherwise, and gauge is crucial. I also found that the hook I used made a difference. Trying out Addi’s new Comfort hooks (a bit of a misnomer for me, but that’s another review), I found it really hard going and with my grip, I got hand-strain pretty quickly. So it was back to my trusty Etimos, with their more-but-not-too pointy tips. It made life so much easier and I rocketed through most of one glove in half a day.

But the real high point with these mittens was definitely the thumb. Both times, making it felt like magic. The construction of the mitts works with the yarn, as the small slip stitches let each colour change go on for longer than it would in regular crochet, and it has enough definition to show off the ‘lace’ panels.

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In case you couldn’t tell, I can’t recommend this pattern and this yarn highly enough. If you’re looking for something to stretch you a little without being too challenging (I had the main pattern memorised by the start of the second one), then this is perfect.

I got my copy of the pattern in Inside Crochet 48 (December 2013). It’s not available individually at the moment, but as the issue also contains the fabulous Patricia Shawl (my version here), the Ripples Shawl which is next in my queue and some fab jumpers, I think it might be worth the investment. I’m a ‘tear up the magazine and only keep what I might make’ person, and I’ve kept seven from my copy!

And if you do give it a go, let me know what you think!

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