Worth the wait

Pattern: a combination of Lillyfield and Anemoi mitten patterns. The shape and structure, including the cuffs, gusset thumbs, and “frame,” are taken from Anemoi, but the inside motif is from Lillyfield.

The long, snug cuffs, by the way, are brilliant. They effortlessly slip under the sleeves of my jacket, and won’t let a draft in, even if I’m bending my elbows. I hiked up my sleeves so you can have a look:

Yarn: SandnesGarn Lanett, 100% superwash wool, red (4128) and off-white (1012). I used less than 1 skein (!) of each.

The yarn is fantastic – very soft and not at all itchy. The strands grab one another despite being superwash, and the yarn has a very nice halo. This is great for Fair Isle knitting because all the little spaces between the stitches close up, any wonkiness is concealed, and the fabric looks wonderfully even.

Needles: I knit these using the 2-circ method, with US 1 Susan Bates circular needles. The tip of the mitten and thumb were knit with Susan Bates dpns. My gauge, in pattern, was about 10 spi and 10 rpi.

Do you know what’s mind-boggling? Just ridiculously mind-boggling? Taking three years to finish a pair of mittens. Three years!!! Let’s take a trip down memory lane:

  • I bought the yarn for the mittens on December 8th, 2006.

  • The matching hat was finished on January 1st, 2007. The hat and mitten combo seemed to be on the fast track to finish-dom!
  • The whole mitten idea went dormant for two years! We next heard about it on December 14th, 2008, when I documented all my so-called “Dangerous” projects.
  • The bulk of mitten knitting took place in January and February of 2009. I had to do a lot of finagling of the two patterns: recharting and swatching, and worrying about mitten fit. Mitten fit, people!!! Did you think you’d ever hear anyone say that, let alone write a whole post about it?!?
  • And just as I was nearing completion, some pesky little detail forced me to frog about 2″, and try again.

So re-knit I did, and during the rest of February, off-blog, I knit the matching left mitten. The only thing remaining was knitting the two thumbs, weaving in the ends, and putting the mittens in my coat pockets. Maybe a few hours’ worth of work, at most? I was basically done.

But other projects took center stage. My spring was filled with frantic lace knitting, including that huge Crown Prince Square Shawl for my grandma’s 80th birthday. And instead of quickly finishing up the mittens in time to wear them during the chilly spring, and then moving on to the lace projects, I let them ferment in my knitting basket, thumb-less, for almost 9 months.

D’oh! Palm to forehead here because not only did I not get to wear them in the spring, I also completely forgot all the details of the project. When I picked up the mittens again a few days ago, I was totally clueless. Which needles was I using? There were several different sizes in the bag… Did I plan to modify the Lillyfield instructions for the thumbs in some way? Good thing only the thumbs remained – they were pretty easy to improvise.

On the plus side, the mittens are finished in time for this winter, and they are fabulous. They feel a little bit loose on my hands, but I think that’s the intent. I don’t typically wear mittens, so I’m not the best judge of fit. I can tell you that there’s definitely no “finger claustrophobia,” and I can wiggle and bend my fingers without a problem.

I think I’ll really enjoy wearing these! I dare say, these were worth the wait!

57 thoughts on “Worth the wait

  1. Bertha

    I can’t believe it’s been 3 years! I remember the first blog post about these mittens, I just assumed they’d been done for ages! Worth the wait is right, they’re beautiful!

  2. kimberly

    Lovely! So glad you posted the finished product. Gives me hope that I may, just might, finish a few of my unfinished items (er, not that I have many)

  3. Allison

    Oh, they are SO beautiful! Someday I’ll get around to knitting my OWN perfect mittens, with your inspiration!

  4. Kathleen

    So pretty! I’m working on a Selbuvotter Frankenmitten and am swatching the whole thing – looks like I’m going to frog back to the beginning. Glad to know I’m not the only one who takes so long to make mittens. Congratulations on the FO.

  5. kate

    They’re lovely! And yum, if they’re made out of Lanett, they’re excellently soft. Lanett is one of my favorite yarns ever.

  6. Angie

    The root of your improvisation is improve. I love using Lanett. I made a red pi shawl for a baby boy blanket years ago. Thanks for the re-styling encouragement.

  7. Gillian

    I love the sharpness of the colours and design, the way all the details stand out. They are top notch!

  8. Jenny

    Absolutely love the pattern, and the red and white is perfect! I have a pair of Selbuvotter mittens that I started last year but didn’t get finished, and I was inspired to pull them out last night after reading your post.

  9. Seanna Lea

    These are gorgeous. I have at least one pair of socks that are in a similar state, waiting for the Kitchener-ing of the toes. It’s silly, but I’ve finished so many other projects in that time!

  10. margieinmaryland

    Just beautiful – I had been following the sage and admiring your “intrepitude” last winter.

  11. Lara

    Lovely! And I think it was EZ who said “nothing is horrider than a too-tight mitten” or something similar. I’m sure you’ll find the sizing is perfect. :)

  12. lauren

    Wow has it really been 3 years? I remember when you started these because I’ve been thinking about both of those patterns for a looong time. These look like they were well worth the wait!

  13. janna

    They’re beautiful! I love both the patterns (they’re in my queue) and the combination is lovely. I will say that I KNOW if any sort of colorwork marinated that long for me, my gauge would change over time!

  14. Hannah

    These are just lovely. Thank you SO much for sharing all the details of the journey with us. I for one thoroughly enjoy every detail you share :).

  15. Mimi

    What gorgeous mittens. I am a BIG fan of red and yours are too beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  16. Stephanie

    Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, so I’m not commenting on how long the project took. Maybe they weren’t ready to be done until now… They are lovely and make me want to knit a new pair of mittens, although I’m not sure I want to wait 3 years for them. =)

  17. sue

    They are beautiful mittens.

    I have had trouble pairing red and white — after a cold water soak I’ve ended up with pink and white.

    Hopefully your red is absolutely colorfast.

    If you are worried that it isn’t you can explore some products like Retayne and/or Shout Colorcatcher sheets.

  18. Amy

    Absolutely gorgeous.

    I, too, will be adjusting my Lilyfield mittens – turned out to be way too long for my hands. I hope mine turn out as well as yours did!

  19. heterotopia

    What a blessing it must be to not own a white cat.

    Lovely gloves, but the stark black coat (sans cat white cat hair) is so distracting.

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