Archive for February 2010

My apologies if I’ve misled anyone in the last post – it turns out that french canadians don’t know their birds. What we quebecois call an “outarde” is actually a “Bernache du Canada”.

Anyhow… I’m actually blogging today because Alison called on Friday to ask if I had forgotten something. I did – I meant to tell you that information on thumbs would be forthcoming and plum forgot. I’m only going to tell you where to place the thumb openings today – the actual thumbs will follow very, very soon.

The thumbs for these mittens could be worked as after-thought additions, but using waste yarn means that there will be fewer ends to weave in, so let’s go that route. While the charts uploaded the other day indicate thumb placements, these are merely suggestions – you can place these wherever you please.

To demonstrate, I’ve drawn the silhouette of my future mitten. If your gauge is different from mine, measure it at this point in order to determine how big your mitten will be once it’s completed given the number of rows in the pattern. Once done, place your hand on top of the paper pattern ¬†about 1/2″ from the top in order to establish where the thumb opening should be.

Voil√† – you can now measure the distance between the base of the mitten and the base of the thumb. Multiply this measurement with your row tension to the inch and round out to the nearest row number. Once you reach that row, work to the thumb placement as usual then drop your yarn – add some waste yarn and knit the correct number of stitches in waste yarn. Slip those stitches back to the left hand needle, knit over them once more and you’re done. Later, we’ll remove the waste yarn in order to knit the thumb but that will follow in another post. And I promise to fix the charts, too!


Brainstorming for this pair of mittens was fun – I entertained loonies (thanks, Ben), beavers, inukshuks, and maple leaves before finally settling on something a little more abstract. Finally, Canada geese won the day. When I was little, I spent a few years in an arctic village in the north of Quebec called Povungnituk where I recall seeing outardes** tracks in the snow. Thinking back on those days, I ended up with geese tracks on the palms and a sprinkling of snowflakes on the front of each mitten.
I also changed the blank charts slightly and added 2 stitches to each size, so as to better accommodate the odd number of stitches on each palm – 64 (68, 72) sts should now be cast on. That should be fine, since I’ll be lining them and it’s preferable to have a little more leeway. I’m also planning on adding braids before and after the checkerboard cuff – either Folk Knitting in Estonia or Latvian Mittens will serve as a reference.
Please note that there are two charts for each size – left and right. Just one of the little luxuries of publishing online…
Small Medium Large
*From “The Sweater”, but amended for gender: if you aren’t familiar with the story and short film, grab your knitting and watch the latter on the National Film Board of Canada’s website here. While there, check out “The Cat Came Back”, “The Big Snit” and “The Log Driver’s Waltz”, amongst others.

** French for ‘Canada Geese’.

No, I haven’t forgotten my Team Montreal pledge… but between the pattern writing and the emails, I’m behind again (yes, Mars: this is another post about how busy I am). They’ll be ready soon, I promise!