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Location: Amsterdam, New York, United States

Friday, October 28, 2005

Easy Mitten Pattern and Yarn Sources and Books

If you are inspired to start knitting some mittens for charity (and I hope you are with the cold weather ahead of us!), here is my favorite site for free patterns:


In the section for Winter Items there is this easy mitten pattern, just right for beginners.


Use wool or part wool yarn if you have it as it is much warmer for the person who wears the mittens. But use whatever you have to begin with--cold hands are no fun for those out in the winter weather and in need. The knit stitch has an insulating factor due to the way it is formed.

To learn how to do an afterthought thumb, which lets you knit round and round and then do the thumb on dpns last, you can go here:

At www.woolworks.org
Catherine Wingate talks about how to do an afterthought heel:

"To make this heel, knit to where the heel will begin, knit X amount of stitches (X being the number of intended heel stitches) on waste yarn, put those X stitches back on the left needle, and reknit them with the sock yarn. After completing the sock, take out the waste yarn and put the resulting loops on facing needles (one needle will have one more loop than the other!) and "make a heel." Generally the heel is similar to a toe and, in many socks, the heel and toe are shaped identically, both being shaped by double-decreasing. "

For the afterthought thumb, you only need to do this for 7 sts. then knit round and round until until it is time to make the mitten top. Then you will take out the waste yarn and knit the thumb on dpns. It goes very quickly!

The pattern that I personally use is Elizabeth Zimmermann's 36 Stitch Mittens in Knitting Without Tears. This was one of my first knitting books and one that I still refer to today.


My favorite place to buy inexpensive yarn is:


For about $30 you can buy enough yarn to keep you busy for a very long time! No affiliation with them--just a place I have found to be dependable and affordable. The yarn does not not have wrappers on the skeins and is Red Heart or Caron or something like that. They choose the colors. Nice colors and easy to work with. Because they are mill ends, there is an occasional knot in the skein, but at that price, I just cut it out and carry on.

Of course, whenever I get into a thrift store, I check out their bins. I have found some nice wool yarns in places like that and tuck it away for winter knitting.

In the summer, check the garage sales.

If you belong to a FreeCycle group in your area, post and ask if anyone has yarn they could donate to you for making charity items. People sometimes have bags of yarn languishing in closets or garages that they are happy to give to you. A woman just gave me 12 skeins of yarn she no longer wanted. Lots of hats and scarves and mittens!


Knitting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti. If you can only afford one book right now, this is probably a good choice , especially for beginners. All the info that a beginner or intermediate knitter needs in one place. Casting on, increasing, decreasing, tips. Very well written and easy to follow. Has projects to do which teach you the basics. I especially like the black and white line drawings and illustrations as they are clear and simple and do the job well.

Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann. One of the best bargains in knitting books you can buy. Good reference book with lots of patterns. Add this book as soon as you can and you will be happily knitting for years!

The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns Ann Budd. Basic designs in a wide variety of sizes. Mittens, sweaters, hats, socks. Lets you knit for family and friends and community with easy size variations.

Knitter's Handbook by Montse Stanley. Put out by Reader's Digest, I chose this one for clarity. I couldn't afford the big Vogue book (still can't), but have been very happy with this book as a basic reference. When you begin knitting, you do need some reference books to help you. Check your library to see which ones YOU prefer. Then save your money till you can get the one you like. It will save you hours of grief and anguish at 2 AM when you run into a problem and you can't call a friend!

I think I got most of these books at Amazon.com--my favorite place to indulge my knitting obsession and books at the same time! Wish I had stock in the company! Sometimes it is WAY too convenient to shop there! But I am sure these books are available in a variety of other places as well, so look locally, too. Local yarn shops often carry good selection of basic books.

Happy knitting and keep those needles busy!


Blogger Sheila said...

Started reading your blogs when searching for mitten patterns.
Came across your attempt at a top-down sweater. Have you read "Knitting from the Top" by Barbara Walker?
You are a very interesting lady. You inspired me to donate some clothing articles to the Rez.
Have a healthy New Year.
Sheila skitbax@juno.com

Thursday, December 27, 2007  

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