One of the best parts about putting together our Kith & Kin Collection of mitten patterns was getting to work with knit designers from all over the world.
First up for our series of blog interviews is Josie Mercier from Belleville, Ontario here in Canada. Josie designed the wonderfully addictive Frost and Twilight Mitts for our collection.
Was there a specific inspiration for your mitten design?
Definitely the stitch pattern. I knit up a swatch of the slip-stitch pattern used in the Frost and Twilight Mitts and once I felt how thick and squooshy the fabric was, I wanted to use it in a pair of mittens.
I knit my favourite pair of mittens early in my knitting career, so while they’re not technically perfect, they’re fantastic to wear. I recycled a chunky Lambswool sweater, then knit and felted a pair of mitts. Then, I recycled an angora blend sweater in an unfortunate shade of green and used that yarn to knit a liner for the felted mitts. The finished product is so warm and windproof that I don’t even mind the bits of angora fluff that keep getting caught in my wedding ring!
Which type of needles do you usually use to knit mittens: double-pointed needles, two-circulars, magic loop…?
Double-pointed. I have a favourite pair of metal double points that are just the right length for mittens and are nice and smooth.
What is the fall and winter weather like where you live? How many months of the year do you wear mittens or gloves?
I’m in Southern Ontario, so the winters aren’t bad, by Canadian standards. It still hits -25C for a while every winter, though. My hands get cold easily, so I start wearing mitts to drive when it’s less than 10C or so in the morning, so I end up wearing mitts from October to April, easily.
Do you do any other fibre-related crafts besides knitting? Crochet, spinning, weaving, sewing, quilting...
I crochet toys for my kids from time-to-time, and I can sew pajama pants, but I’m primarily a knitter.
Where can we see more of your design work?
Thank you Josie!
Summer is a time when I gravitate towards certain types of projects: lace (not too hot and bulky), socks (small and portable), shawls (don’t have to worry about fit), and crochet (fast).
Hitting three out of four of my vacation-project favourites, this seems like the perfect time of year to review one of Interweave’s latest compilation books: Classic Crochet Shawls. This book includes 20 shawl patterns from the Interweave archives, so some may look familiar as they’ve all been previously published in either books or magazines.
Russian grafting is a method of joining live knitting stitches and is used as an alternative to Kitchener stitch in our Argyle Christmas Stocking pattern. It is a good choice here because the stripes on the toe would not align exactly if you grafted using Kitchener stitch, so the decorative Russian grafting is used instead.
This particular method of Russian grafting uses a crochet hook to join the stitches. Use a crochet hook that is the same size or slightly smaller than your knitting needles. Russian grafting can also be used to join two separate pieces of knitting.