Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Nontraditional Meida’s Mittens

I’m still working through my leftover wool sock yarn, knitting winter accessories that I’ll give as gifts this holiday season. This time, I decided to knit a pair of mittens.

To be honest, I really wanted to knit a pair of gloves. I’ve only ever knit one pair and would like to try my hand at it again — pun intended, ha! — but giving gloves as a gift can be a challenge because they’re fitted and hand sizes can vary widely. Guessing on the size for a pair of mittens is about as far as I want to go.

A Pair of Meida's Mittens Knit with Nontraditional Colors

The pattern I chose is Meida’s Mittens from the book “Folk Knitting in Estonia” by Nancy Bush. I based the size on my own hands.

While the book shows some lovely examples of brightly colored mittens, the yarn colors I chose are not traditional. Typically, the colored motifs are created by knitting two or more high-contrast solid or semisolid colors of yarn into detailed stranded colorwork patterns. I changed things up by using solid and semisolid colors alongside variegated and self-striping yarns with fluctuating levels of contrast, as follows:
  • Dream in Color Smooshy in the green colorway Happy Forest
  • Shibui Knits Sock in the pink colorway 1765
  • Cascade Yarns® Cascade 220® Fingering in 7827 Goldenrod
  • Cascade Yarns Heritage in 5618 White, dyed with Strawberry and Orange Kool-Aid
  • Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet in #4 Red
  • Plymouth Yarn Dancing Toes in the undid colorway 99, which I dyed with Kool-Aid in a self-striping pattern of seven colors/flavors

A Pair of Meida's Mittens Knit with Nontraditional Colors Viewed from the Cuff to the Tip

The pattern knit up smoothly and quickly. The stranded colorwork is all at the cuff, leaving most of the mitten as straight stockinette stitch.

I learned that the height difference of my fingers forms a sharper angle than the pattern decreases at the tip of the mittens, which meant I had to rip back and reknit a couple of times to get the size just right. Instead of beginning my decreases at the tip of my pinky, I needed to hold off on decreasing until I had knit a little past that point. This wasn’t strictly necessary since the yet-to-be-determined recipient could have an entirely different hand shape, but knowing the mittens fit at least one person well makes me feel better about them.

The Cuffs of a Pair of Meida's Mittens Knit with Bright Nontraditional Colors

The way the colors came together in the cuff reminds me of a spring garden in full bloom, and I can’t imagine a more cheerful reminder that warmer days are coming. I like how the colorwork motifs aren’t fully visible at first glance, but become apparent upon further inspection — just as a path in a garden might be hidden from the sight of a casual passerby but known to a frequent visitor.

I used up the self-striping Dancing Toes yarn in the stockinette portion of the mittens, but didn’t make much of a dent in the other fingering weight yarns. That leaves me with options for a coordinating piece of some sort. Let the planning begin again!

How do you feel about making traditional patterns in nontraditional colors?


  1. Your mittens are beautiful! Lovely finish.

  2. Your mittens are beautiful! I love how well the colours work together. I'm all about using nontraditional colours to make traditional projects my own.

  3. They are gorgeous!! Thus far, the furthest I've gone is knitting (fingerless) mitts.

    1. Thank you! You're probably 75% to mittens with fingerless mitts, if you ever want to keep going. Although, with touchscreen mobile devices, fingerless mitts are probably more practical these days!


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