I’ve been busy! The Madrona Retreat is the best kind of busy for knitters: all that learning, connecting, experimenting, making… maybe a little drinking later in the evening… It’s enough stimulation to tide a girl over for quite some time! This year was different for me. My Madrona mate of nearly a decade had her hands full managing the first inaugural Brooklyn Tweed booth in the marketplace, so I stayed on my own in an Airbnb room rather than at the hotel. I signed up for just one class (Amy Herzog’s Advanced Sweater Modifications; can’t tell you how excited I am to draft my own set-in sleeves!) to keep my experience more mellow, and that left me with buckets of free time. Luckily, there are always friends to meet at Madrona. Kathy was down for Thursday night and Friday—I can’t believe it was only last year at Madrona that we met for the first time. I chatted with llama farmers and sheep keepers and dyers and spinners and (obviously) knitters, many of whom attend this event year after year. It’s the first time Abundant Earth Fiber Mill has had a booth, though, and I’d cooked up something special for the occasion.
Lydia spun a light fingering-weight yarn from the natural colors of Shetland fleece grown on three local farms. It’s a worsted three-ply and very strong despite its dainty appearance. That yarn said MITTS to me, so I made a pattern and Lydia made adorable wee kits. I used part of a Scandinavian pine bough motif, which you’ll often see radiating out from a large floral center to fill the corners in Selbu mitten designs, and paired it with some wild waves from Shetland. Behold the Winter Isle mitts:
Martha was a sport and modeled them so you can see how they look on human hands. The pattern goes all the way around, which means there’s no designated right and left mitt, although the charts are mirrored. You can see that the length is a little longer than many fingerless mitts; I like enough coverage that I can curl my fingers down inside if I’m out for a walk, so that’s how I design ’em. They’ve got a thumb gusset for mobility and comfort (the only way I roll) and a cuff in half-twisted rib. The corrugated rib at the finger edge uses both contrast colors, and the detail of the two-color bind-off never ceases to charm me.
Want a pair of your own? The kits were a one-time special for the Madrona market (unless Lydia decides to make more), but you can substitute any fingering-weight wool and grab the pattern from my Ravelry store (link in the sidebar). You’ll need 110 yards of the main color and just a few yards of each of the contrasts. I hope you like them! I may have to make another pair to keep for myself now, because I’m hearing that winter isn’t done with the PNW quite yet. Snow again this week? Truly? Okay!