Leftovers Mittens – Part One

I have finished up all currently open large projects, and have several to start. Worse, I have several that are finished and written up in a raggedy way and need to be written up in a more coherent fashion. I struggle with this aspect of my knitting. I write up most of my patterns in a fairly traditional way, because that is what has been requested.

I do not knit from patterns like that, however. I use patterns, when I use them, in the same way I use a recipe. Hmmm, that looks like a good idea, what if I replaced the bacon with mushrooms and ham? What if I made something in that stitch pattern but in a smaller/larger gauge and used it for a hat/mittens/felted bag? You get the idea. This is, in fact, the way I learned to think about cooking. My mother always bought Family Circle and Woman’s Day when she went grocery shopping. Then, when there was a quiet minute, she’d sit at the formica table with a ‘cuppa joe’ and scan the recipes. “Listen to this one” she say, and read it to me, but as she read it, she’d replace ingredients based on frugality, (“You don’t need heavy cream, I could use evaporated milk.”) creativity, (“Maybe a little orange zest would be nice.”) or experience (“They’ll be soggy if you do it that way, but what if you….) My father would shake his head and ask her why she bothered reading the recipes, since she was just making up new ones anyway

To me, that was the beauty. What a gift to learn to think about cooking in that way. Discovering Elizabeth Zimmerman while I was rediscovering knitting in my early 20’s was like having my mother reading recipes to me. I even began a correspondence with EZ, but that is another story.

Sometime my mother’s culinary creativity came in the form of problem solving with leftovers. (Not that there were normally large amounts of leftovers in a family with seven children, all of whom were ‘good eaters’.) In that spirit, here’s my recipe for stash-buster mitts, using leftovers.

I started with my container of leftovers, a small bag of Noro Kureyon color #52 remnants.


I made a sweater using this color but decided I didn’t like the bright chartreuse (sorry Theresa) and every time I came across it, I broke it off and put it aside. I also chose to match sleeves and body, so there was a fair bit of breaking off of colors and winding the ball till I came to the color I needed. (Thank heavens for spit-splicing.) There was too much to throw away, but in a pile of tiny balls it was rather uninspiring, and has been sitting around for a while. I should have weighed this before starting, but didn’t. I think it was probably the equivalent of close to two balls.

I decided on mittens in part because this year I had few mittens to donate to the various mitten trees around town. It also seems that, in the way that interests in the world of knitting go, there is a currently a sort of mitten revival show happening. I thought I’d put together a stash-buster mitten tutorial in the hopes that those trying to reduce stash and those who want to knit mittens might make a pair or two for donation purposes.

I made a fraternal twins pair of two color mittens, one using the Kureyon as the contrast color, and one using it for the main color. The difference is subtle, but interesting. I think the mitten on the right looks more like fair isle colorwork, where the background and contrast colors shift. It also turned out to be a bit larger, because the Kureyon is slightly heavier than the Naturespun worsted that I used for the second color. Not enough to worry about, and certainly a ‘blocking will fix that’ problem.

I finished the two color mittens, and still had plenty of yarn left, so I made some mitered mittens (EZ Knitters Almanac) alternating the scooby doo green with the other colors in 3 round stripes.

Here’s what I have left. Still too much to toss?


Over the next week I plan to publish the rest of the details and prepare a chart and an Jack Webb Executive Summary for those whose eyes glaze over at too many words. Stay tuned and dig out those half balls of worsted or DK yarn.



6 responses to “Leftovers Mittens – Part One

  1. I’m with you on knitting ‘recipes’; I can’t remember the last time I knit a pattern exactly as written. (My husband’s like your mother with recipes, but I have to follow them, because when I change them, things go terribly wrong somehow.)
    Love all the fraternal and cousin mittens, and yes, there’s at least one more project there! Can’t waste it! Kid hat? You could line it if the Kureyon’s too itchy! Or there’s always cat toys, or a felted bowl.

  2. Those are adorable. And definitely one more project in there 🙂

  3. Nice that you were able to find something to do with leftovers. And two pairs of very nice somethings! 🙂 I always struggle with throwing out even a yard or two of yarn. Why is that?

  4. I love those mittens!

  5. Definitely too much to toss.
    Great project!
    Thanks for the impromptu playdate, Mamie Woo!

  6. willisweaver1

    Lovely mittens!


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