Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fiddlehead Mittens

Yesterday I put the finishing touches on my first pair of Fiddlehead mittens, a pattern by Adrian Bizilia. This pattern has been around for ages (since 2008, to be exact) and I've been admiring it since it was released. Just one problem: I couldn't do color work.

Unblocked mitt
I've tried several times over the years to do color work. Intarsia was do-able, but finicky. Stranded work was nigh impossible for me. My floats were too tight, giving me fabric that bunched up and rippled. I couldn't figure out how to hold the yarn comfortably. It was a slow slog to make any progress on a project. Plus, frankly, I do not have an eye for matching colors. (Ask me how many times we repainted our old kitchen cabinets before giving in and buying new ones! 4 coats of paint in different color combos before accepting we couldn't pick colors that went together.)

But over the past 4-6 months, I've been practicing more with color work and getting more comfortable with it. So when I saw the Fiddlehead mitten kit at Needles in the Hay in Peterborough, I took the plunge.

I'm rather proud of the results (even though this is a dodgy cell phone picture).

Pattern: Fiddlehead mittens by Adrian Bizilia.
My project page: here (with actual yardage used)
Needles: 3.5mm (size 5US)
Size made: Medium
Yarn: From the kit: Berrocco Ulta Alpaca Light and Ultra Alpaca Fine (for the lining)

Tip that made all the difference:
A while back I found an article that described a simple way for weaving in ends as you knit. I can't find the original source at the moment, but it has made color work so much easier - less ends to weave in at the end! Wait - I just Googled and it might be from this website. Lots of pictures and explanation there.

What you do when joining a new yarn is knit 1 stitch as normal. Put your needle through the next stitch as if to knit. Then take the tail end that needs to be woven in, lay it over the needle from right to left. Take your working yarn and loop it around the needle as normal, catching the tail yarn. You only knit the working yarn, but the tail yarn is twisted around the working yarn. See the link about for photos and detailed explanation. You alternate the knit stitch and "looped" stitch for however long you think necessary. I usually do 12 stitches (6 pairs of knit/loop).  That's it. The yarn is woven in. You can snip the remaining tail off, although I usually leave .5" and check it out again after blocking.


  1. One thing I do when doing colourwork in the round is knit the item inside out, knitting on the far side. That way the floats are at their widest, especially going from needle to needle.