Tag Archives: mittens

Special Mittens

Late last year I was asked to make a special pair of mittens.  A mom had just purchased a headband for her daughter who has cerebral palsy.  The young lady’s hands are clenched into fists due to the disease.  This makes the thumbs on mittens stick out oddly and makes gloves out of the question.  So we chatted for a short time and came up with a way to make mittens that would fit these special hands.

Once my old wash machine was installed just for the purpose of felting, I was ready to give our idea a try.

felting in action

Felting in action

Using my sock yarn of 95% alpaca / 5% nylon and following my usual mitten pattern, I knit an extra long cuff.  I skipped the shaping for a thumb, and knit fewer rows for the hand.  Overall, the length of the mitten is about the same as my regular mittens.  After sewing the seam, I gave the mittens a big swish in the wash machine to felt them slightly.  Once dry, they’ll be ready for delivery!

completed mittens

Mittens complete

The felting will make them warmer.  I think there is still enough of this winter left that these mittens will get plenty use.  I sure hope so.

I enjoyed the challenge of adapting a familiar pattern for a special purpose.




A few more orders complete

A while back I finished a hat with a deer hunting deadline.  Since then, I’ve been working on knocking out a few more orders.  This scarf is complete.

blue knit scarf

Extra wide and long

It is 6 1/4 inches wide and about 62 inches long.  Made from 100% alpaca sportweight yarn I dyed

2 pair of felted mittens

Felted mittens

These are for 2 different orders.  Also made from yarn I dyed, the purple pair have an extra 6 rows knit in the hand.  They are currently drying and will be ready for delivery or pick up soon. 

Tomorrow I will be at the St Michael / Albertville Women of Today Craft Show.  If you are out and about, stop by and get a head start on your shopping list!  Only 2 shows left after this one. 


The Packing Challenge

I’ve been staging things to go to Shepherd’s Harvest for the last couple weeks.  But yesterday, I had to get serious and try to fit it all into our car. 

tote bins


I have 5 tote bins – the clear one in front is just yarn! The others have hats, mittens, socks, shawls and lots of other alpaca goodies for sale. The box in back has my rugs and place mats/stadium seats.  



I have 7 fleeces and 2 bags of roving, a box of felting kits, and a small tote bin of wrist warmers.


Display racks

 I’m also bringing my garment rack and my yarn rack.  Fortunately, these come apart.  By last night, all this was stuffed into the car!  With the front passenger seat reserved for my suitcase, backpack, knitting project bag and one rack I forgot about yesterday. 

Thanks to Twisted Suri Alpaca Ranch for bringing the grid-wall and tables for both our booths! 

Baby news – nothing yet, but my husband could experience his first alpaca birth without me this weekend.

Hang no more

I know I left you hanging with the mitten situation.  To refresh your memory, I had finished dyeing with purple yarn.   I had yarn to make mittens in 6 colors. 

mittens in a circle

Before felting

Here they are!   Sixteen pair of mittens, knit and ready for the hot water treatment!

mittens in a circle

After felting

After being felted, they are all about one inch shorter, fuzzier and not quite as intense in color.  The color does fade a wee bit – after all it is super hot water and strong detergent (even a bit of dish soap!) – but mostly the texture of the knitting gets softened and somehow that makes the color more subtle.   I’m very happy to have these all done!  I hope they all find cold hands to keep warm by next winter! 


An end to dyeing

Mitten production continues.

orange mittens

Orange mittens

Two pair of orange mittens are knit.  The third ball of orange yarn is waiting to become a hunting hat. 

green yarn

Green yarn

The green yarn has been wound into balls to be knit soon.  The ball on the left was the end of the cone.  There should be a matching headband for that pair of mittens.

purple dye pot

Purple dye pot

And there is purple in the dye pot.  A big contrast here between the first skein in the last!  Should be a variety for the mittens.  This is my last batch of yarn to dye for mittens.  You won’t have to look at them until they are all felted.  Seaming is progressing slowly.

In felting news:

gray roving

Carded fiber

I’ve been felting almost daily on the soap for All Things Herbal.  They wanted some black felting, so as I transitioned from black back to white on my carder, I just let the colors mix.  I got this amazing batt of gray.  I’m inspired to card some white and black together and hand spin some yarn later.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done any spinning.  I think I’m feeling the pull of my wheel.

I also visited my space at Shepherd’s Choice


Yarn for sale

I added 15 skeins of my 100% alpaca yarn that I dyed myself.  There are a couple bulky skeins, but mostly sport weight.  If you get a chance, stop in and check out the Fiber Co-op in the Loft.  I’ll be adding more things in anticipation for the Shop Hop.  Yes, we are joining the Shop Hop fun.  Grab your friends and come visit us.

Dyeing o’ the green!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone. 


Yellow mittens

The balls of yellow yarn are now mittens.  In need of seams, but mittens none-the-less.

orange yarn

Balls of orange yarn

And a steaming pot of orange dye has become balls of orange yarn.  The ball on the far right will become a hat for a hunter I met at my last show.  The middle skein had a few knots, so it became multiple balls which will become a pair of mittens as will the ball on the left. 

green yarn

Drying green yarn

And in honor of Saint Patrick, here is my green yarn on the drying rack.  Soon to be 3 pair of green mittens.  This little production line is working pretty good, except that there is a bit of bottleneck at the point of sewing the seams.  This crazy beautiful weather has me spending time outside doing ‘spring things’.  No complaints. 

Rollin’ along

Remember those 3 red balls of yarn?



Now, 3 pair of red mittens.  Still need sewing, but progress was made.  And that yellow dye bath?

balls of yarn

Yellow yarn

It is in the queue to be knit into mittens.  Orange is in the dye pot now!

felted soap

Felted Soap

This is my second batch of felted soap.   Two more felting sessions and the lavender scented soap will be done.

Peach scarf

Scarf for charity

This is my latest scarf made with acrylic yarn.  I’m really loving this pattern.  I didn’t steam it and the edges lay really flat.

close up of scarf

Scarf pattern

And the stitch pattern is pretty, too.  The reverse side is almost a mirror image.  Very nice together.  Tomorrow, I’m going to try this pattern 3 wide to see how it works for a wrap.  The scarf is a little over 6 inches wide.  Will 18 inches be wide enough for a wrap?  First acrylic, then if all goes well, I’ll have an alpaca wrap pretty soon! 

Must be the spring-like weather!  It is scaring me into super speed mode as I feel like festivals and markets are just around the corner.   Oh Yikes!  Seven weeks until Shepherd’s Harvest


And now, we return to your regularily scheduled program

The taxes are finished and I can get back to what I love!

balls of red yarn

Ready for knitting

 These balls of yarn are destined to be really big mittens, then they will go on a felting trip with the blue mittens.

yarn in yellow dye

Mittens, step 1

 Yellow was the next color in line!  Into the mitten production pipeline. 

I have a plan of carding some fiber too, so I can start on the soap felting tomorrow.  Not sure I’ll get it all done, but I’m a roll today!  Even the missing hour and the dreary weather haven’t slowed me down too much. I put a few more events up on the website.  Check them out and mark your calendar.

Mitten Production Plan

I’ve finished a couple alpaca scarves and want you to see them.

red scarf

Skinny Red


 This is 100% alpaca yarn, that I dyed into this variegated red.   The pattern is rather like a basket weave and very textured.  The scarf is just under 4 inches wide and about 56 inches long.  Nice and skinny to wear in some of those cute knots

orange scarf

Muted orange

 This is 100% alpaca yarn that dyed into this pale variegated pink, yellow, orange combination.  The pattern is the common seed stitch which really mixed up the colors nicely.  Just over 4 inches wide and about 52 inches long.

I’ve been trying to ramp up my felted mitten production.  It seemed I never had enough variety of color last show season and was always trying to play catch-up.  My plan:  dye three skeins of one color each day,  the following day knit those three skeins into three pair of mittens, when the seams were finished on a couple colors they could be felted in the same batch. 

First up was blue, but I had a wee problem.

blue mittens

Ready to felt

 I have these two pair ready to felt, but my third skein was a little short.

blue headband

Blue headband

 So I made a blue headband.

blue scarf

Matching Scarf

 With the remaining yarn, I made a matching scarf.  It still needs to be steamed flat and finished a bit.  Now I think I have the skein weight figured out for mittens!  On to more dyeing.

red dye bath

Pot of red

 Yesterday was the day for red.  For a little variety, I put one skein in first, then half of the second skein and held it in the dye for a short time.  Then I plopped the other half of #2 in and added the third skein.  (It is REALLY difficult to take a photo of a steaming pot!) The skein on the left is darkest, the one on the right is lightest. 

red specks of dye

Dye flecks

One of my dyeing instructors calls red dye ‘Difficult Red’ and it is.  As you can almost see above, red dye doesn’t dissolve easily.  I don’t mind as I think the variety adds interest.  But after much cooking, this batch dyed pretty evenly.

yarn drying

On the drying rack

You can see the color variation in the skeins as they are drying.  So while I will have 3 red pairs of mittens, each will be a little different. 

Today was to be the day to dye yellow, but the dreaded taxes have reared their head.  I need to get all the data gathered for the meeting with the tax man!   And a reminder:  I will be at Spring Day this Saturday.  Stop by and do some shopping. 



Mittens are felted

Here is the play-by-play of my new mittens – with pictures.


Dyeing attempt #1 & #2

These are made from the first two attempts to mix brown dye.  They are also knit just a little bit smaller – two less stitches around and two less rows long.  You may also notice that the thumbs on the first pair are of a slightly different color.  I knit all my felted mittens with two strands of yarn.  I had enough matching yarn to finish one thumb.  So I used that yarn as one strand and the other strand is the third attempt at brown.  Looks pretty close, doesn’t it?


Pairs 3 & 4


The pair on the right is my third attempt to mix a brown dye.  Looks close to what I wanted.  The blue/purple is paired up with gray to make the pair on the left.


All in a row


Here they are.  The first 2 pair look a wee bit smaller.

mittens in pillow cases

Ready to be felted


Then the mittens go into pillow cases and into hot water in the wash machine for some agitation.  This is the nerve-wracking part for me.   I watch the clock, (it takes about 10 minutes), I look in the wash machine, I pace, I repeat….  I always worry I will get distracted by something and come to find toddler mittens!  But soon they look good, so I rinse them and proceed to use the water in the wash machine to do a load of laundry!  Then the mittens get a nice spin cycle to remove water and they get to dry. 


Four felted pairs


And they are done!  These are still a little wet in the picture, so the color may be a little lighter when completely dry.  They felted very close to the same size.  My customer who requested a brown/tan pair will get first choice and the others will go in the online shop.  Let me know if you are interested. They are super warm.