I live in north central Wisconsin and winters here are C O L D. We’re talking crazy subzero temps for days on end sprinkled into temps that rarely spike above freezing. We start to cool off in October or November and things kind of bottom out in December through mid-February and then slowly start to warm up into Spring. If you want to spend any time outside for these 6 months, you become an outerwear connoisseur. And that, my friend is what I am. I’m not complaining, to be sure. It definitely jives with my love of spinning and knitting wool!
Over the last few years, I’ve made Tanis Lavallee’s (Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts for those who weren’t aware) Snowfling Mitts twice. They are stranded mitts that include a lining and they are WARM. I can’t attest to what they’d be like in the far polar reaches, but where I live they are perfect. I have some nice leather and shearling mittens that are super warm, but I actually prefer my wool because it breaths better so my hands don’t overheat like they can in the leather mittens.
I decided a few weeks back to make another pair. Toward the end of last year I picked up a couple of the Tanis Fiber Arts Mitten Kits to make another pair for both myself and my daughter. The TFA yarns are dreamy to work with and I really love how well they wear. In addition to the kits, I picked up a skein of Fig & Sand in Purewash DK — I knew I wanted these to be the outer colors. When I couldn’t decide about a lining that would go well, I emailed Tanis and asked for some help. As always, she was very gracious and shared a few options she thought would work well. I picked Seabreeze from her list and added a skein of Purple Label Cashmere sock for the lining because — yeah — cashmere lining is the best.
After our very cold cabin week, I cast-on for this custom color pair.
I do make two modifications to this pattern and both have to do with the lining. The first is that when I go to make the picot edge, I pick up my stitches and tack the cast-on row down to make the picot edge at the same time. I’m positive it doesn’t look quite as nice as if I would stitch the edge down and then pick up those stitches, but it saves a boatload of time for me, so it’s a trade-off I will happily make.
I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% sure if there’s a “right” way to knit the linings. I tend to knit them inside out — you know, the way you shouldn’t knit your socks, until I get close to the final decreases…
I don’t like knitting around the outer part of the mitt and this works fine, so I go with it. The other modification I make is that I use a kitchener stitch to finish the top of the lining. Personally, I just like how the finish feels better.
The stranded outer looked pretty rough before I blocked them and I was a little worried I’d choked on my stitches a bit too much, but after a nice soak with wool wash and a glug of vinegar to be sure no colors got any funny ideas about bleeding… I am pleased to say they are…
I adore the subtle variations in the Fig (the purple color). I think it gives a wonderful depth and motion to the snowflakes.
The chevron cuff … I always love that, too.
But perhaps my favorite detail is…
The little snowflake on the thumbs.
The palm side is not as flashy, but it has a wonderful rhythm that rounds out the mittens so nicely.
And let’s not forget…
That pop of color!
All in all, another raving success! These mittens just never disappoint!
The question now remains — do I use the kits I bought as I’d intended… for Ricochet Mitts? Or do I just knit two more pairs of Snowflings?! Decisions, decisions!