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EZ’s Mitts

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I'm a huge yellow fan, especially in the context of cold, wet and gray days. I'd take a yellow umbrella over anything. Walking along under your own personal yellow sky while the rest of the world melts into non-color is a beautiful feeling.

So when this "Saffron" skein of Andy's Merino from Farmhouse Yarns screamed out to me, "Winter blues, be gone!", I could hardly ignore its pleas. Andy's Merino is one of my favorite, favorite yarns at Purl. It is very soft and light, but, more importantly, it just reeks of creative energy and originality. Carol, the engine behind Farmhouse Yarns, pours so much love and abandon into the dying process of her yarns that you can't help but be infected by the passion.

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What to make with this jewel? For inspiration, I turned to my one of my old standbys, The Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann. This modest little book really packs a wallop. Along with wonderfully funny thoughts and stories, each month of the year includes brilliant patterns and ideas. From big elaborate Aran sweaters to little delicate lace ornaments, Zimmermann covers the whole knitting gamut in one short year.

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The pattern for these mittens is tucked into May's chapter, "Mittens for Next Winter".
Elizabeth Zimmermann makes her mittens in the spring because it's her theory that, "It is better not to make mittens in a hurry." She thinks that when mittens are made out of necessity terrible shortcuts are taken, resulting in exposed wrists and crammed thumbs. Alas! here I am at the beginning of March squeezing in one more pair of mittens, hoping to extract a little joy out of this last month of winter!

Making the Mittens

I used a set of 5 double pointed needles, US size 8 for a nice snug fabric that wards off chilly breezes. The mittens are shaped by a two sets of decreases and two sets of increases every other row, creating mitered corners on the palm, the back of the hand and up the sides, as well as a charming wave at the cuff. To shape the top, you just stop making the increases and continue with the decreases, easy!   

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I took Elizabeth Zimmermann's recommendation to knit the whole mitten without accommodating the thumb, waiting until the end to cut the yarn at the thumb joint, pick up the stitches and knit away. For those who are (understandably!) loathe to cut into their finished knitting, she also suggests the "Thumb-Trick", ie knitting the base of the thumb with scrap yarn. But I liked the idea of trying on the mitten and being able to place my thumb exactly where I wanted it, so I went with the cut method (eek!).

Snip, snip...

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Unravel...

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Pick up...

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Phew! Not so bad, and right where I want it!

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After knitting the thumb (and a whole other mitten, of course), I blocked them. Just in time for this chilly, March day!

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37 Responses to EZ’s Mitts


  1. melissa says:

    this is my new favorite book! i am so inspired by her relaxed, fun attitude towards knitting…i think i’ve knitted so much more since reading her stories. and thank YOU for showing the brave "snip"….i’m so afraid of that, but your photos gave me confidence…i think i just might brave it out…but it just might have to wait until may ;)

  2. laurie says:

    we’ve been making these mitts at my local shop too!!!! using Malabrigo, Peace Fleece, and some different handpainted yarns.
    also adding a icord wristband.
    they are a great weekend project!
    (and we are going with the scrape yarn thumbs! not as brave as you yet.)
    love yours in yellow…thinking daffodils!!

  3. Pam says:

    Gorgeous mittens, but how scary it must have been to cut into them!

  4. yvette says:

    gorgeous!!!

  5. Emily says:

    I bought my copy of EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac at Purl last year! What a great pair of yellow mitts y’all made.

  6. Elena says:

    Beautiful! I know I will make these one day, just haven gotten started with the whole mitten knitting thing. Only acecssories I’ve been knitting so far is hats, scerfs and shawls.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    What did you do with the itty bitty ends after cutting the yarn for the thumb?

    I think that’s why I’ve not knit these yet.

  8. Wendy says:

    These are absolutely lovely!
    Suddenly I’m feeling the need for a new pair of mittens :D

  9. regina says:

    Absolutely adorable! And you’re right: that sunshiney yellow is the perfect antidote to the grim weather.

  10. Edith says:

    Yellow is probably my least favorite color but those mittens are just gorgeous and very sunny! You just can’t help but smile looking at them.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Wow – thanks for the great pictures and the actual footage of the cutting. It’s always so painful to watch… but you somehow made it look easy. I’ll have to pull out my EZ book and take a look at this pattern. Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Annabelle says:

    I love all things "seasonally appropriate" (although I am looking ahead to spring!), so I need to pick up the Almanac. Lovely project, wonderful saffron yarn!

  13. anne says:

    that’s so scary! i don’t think i could do the cutting-in thing. but, your mittens are beautiful.

  14. bernie says:

    That’s awesome. Thanks for the pics of the cutting process b/c I don’t think I could have visualized it. I love the color too.

  15. erin says:

    gorgeous!

  16. Paige says:

    They’re beautiful! So inspiring.

  17. beth says:

    Love them!

  18. missyjoon says:

    So inspired, I started them last night! Could you tell me how long yours are, and how wide?

  19. Carrie says:

    Hi Purl Bee!
    I have been browsing your wonderful blog and online store for quite sometimes now. I went to the local fabric store recently and was disappointing in their selection and being a new homeowner with little money I don’t want to buy just ANY fabric. I have been saving my pennies until the day I put in a huge order from your website. You website, Disdressed and Burdastyle are my daily inspiration. I’m working on my own blog, not nearly as talented as you all are. I just thought I would let you know what a wonderful job you do, and I need a new seam ripper and I adore the one for sale at purlsoho, aren’t I silly, but a seam ripper is an important tool! Thanks for all the hard work you put into your website and this blog!

  20. Elaine Matsushita says:

    love the blog. we’ve sparked a lively conversation with knitters/readers of the chicagotribune with this pattern: a magical string bag (pattern by reader eliizabeth chlipala). check out the pattern at: chicagotribune.com/stringbag. and our forum at: chicagotribune.com/homeforum.

  21. marit says:

    They are great! I’ve made them too, but in a boring tweedcolour…and with the thumbtrick. Then I made a pair for a little friend- and they work great as childrens mittens too!

  22. Vicki says:

    Serendipity. I just cast on for the first of these mitts. They are beautiful, especially in that sunny yellow. My next pair will be knit with the Farmhouse Merino. But how much is required?

  23. Purl says:

    Hi Vicki,

    You only need 1 skein – yippee! Have fun knitting them!

    Whitney

  24. Purl Bee says:

    Hi Missyjune,

    My mittens are 11 inches long and about 8 inches around. It would be very easy to cast on a few more or less, just make sure that it’s a number divisible by 4.

    Thanks!
    Whitney

  25. Lynda says:

    I can’t wait to cast on for these!! I am so inspired by your beautiful mittens and can’t wait to try the yarn you used. How would I adapt for a child’s size mitten???? It looks like 48 stitches for adult?

  26. K8theGr8 says:

    you are the best in so many ways, and your little squash mittens ain’t too shabby either. I now wear the granny chic hat with a new-found pride. out with the new and in with the old! K
    ps: lovethepatternHansi

  27. Rachel says:

    Those mittens make me happy on the inside. They also make me want to knit a pair of my own RIGHT NOW! :-)

  28. bluebee says:

    hooray for yelllow! lovely mitts!

  29. Hannahbelle says:

    I’m going to be knitting these within days – I bought some Andy’s Farmhouse Merino to make a hat and will probably buy some more to get matching mittens! This pattern is lovely…

  30. Chilloften says:

    Adorable. I am terrified of EZ’s patterns but I love reading her books. I am still wanting a pair of those mittens and now I hope I jump in and get to them.

  31. Teri says:

    So so pretty! Thank you for another beautiful and inspiring project. I would never have thought of yellow for mittens, but you are so right about the happy feeling – I can just imagine it! Putting Farmhouse Merino on the to-buy list. We love you Purlsoho!!

  32. evangeline says:

    I just don’t seem to get it! After unraveling 15 stitches, is it necessary to pick up any on the side? Wouldn’t here be 2 gapping holes if you don’t? /= Great choice of yarn!

  33. Natalia says:

    These are adorable! And I absolutely love yellow

  34. Allison says:

    The pattern for these mittens has kept me occupied for the past few days, and I was just wondering: which knit increase did you use? I thought I saw k1f&b on here, but now can't seem to find it. I'm looking for an increase that doesn't leave a gap, and was wondering which one you'd used.

  35. Kim says:

    Thank you for posting this tale of your mitten with pictures. I am just about to finish my second EZ Mitered Mitten, and was starting to get cold feet about cutting into my knitting. Your pictures make it look doable!!

    Those yellow mittens are beautiful.

  36. irina says:

    I love this idea and this pattern!!!
    http://www.queliodehilo.wordpress.com

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