Wool Week 2014 – Marie Wallin Knitting Workshops

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It’s Monday, and the Wool Week Blues has properly set in. After a week spent knitting and learning and looking at pretty things and meeting interesting people, being back to my desk and laptop is all a bit dull. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little blog, but I’ve had such an amazing time last week that I just wish it wasn’t over yet.
Wool Week kicked off on Sunday with the Wool Ride, organised by the Campaign for Wool. I had tickets, but sadly couldn’t make it due to being away for work. There are lots of cool pictures on the CFW Facebook page though, go have a look!
My personal Wool Week started on Tuesday, with a visit to the Wool Interiors exhibition at Southwark Cathedral, followed by a Fairisle knitting workshop with Marie Wallin. I’ve never been very good at stranded colourwork, but I have to say, this workshop helped me a LOT. I’m normally a continental knitter, and for the past years I’ve been struggling along trying to hold one colour of yarn in each hand, which usually results in a puckered, untidy mess. But boy, what a revelation.. changing to English style stranded knitting seems to be doing it for me. I managed to produce a neat little swatch of the project of the day, Marie’s Christmas Mittens made with Rowan Yarns Felted Tweed, and am determined to actually make these pretties before the winter is over – and I’m not even scared of messing up anymore. Yay! 

Wednesday kicked off with another workshop with Marie Wallin – 3D knitting. I had no real imagination of what exactly 3D knitting meant – a quick search on Google led to 3D printer produced knitwear (yes, that’s a thing apparently), but that probably wasn’t what this was all about. 
We were given a ball of Rowan Yarns Cocoon which is one of my favourites as it is super soft and fluffy, and instructions for 2 different stitching techniques. The first is a folded fabric, the second one literally has knots in it. I really enjoyed making both of these – Not sure I would actually use them in a garment, but they were super fun to knit.

After the workshop I paid a visit to John Lewis Oxford Street to check out the Woolly Window and their workshop space. Rowan Yarns were teaching cowls and capelets in Rowan Big Wool, the free patterns can be downloaded via the Rowan website.

That’s it for now! Read all about how I lost my heart to a ball of fluff at the Knitting and Stitching Show in my next post. See you then!

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Manly Honeycomb Mittens Knitting Pattern

Manly Honeycomb Mittens Pattern

Mr Fox has been complaining about cold hands all winter last year, and who am I to not take mercy? I thought long and hard about what kind of mittens to make for him, since he tends to be rather picky and doesn’t necessarily go for colour combinations I would choose. I toyed with the idea of making just plain old solid-coloured mittens, as they tend to be quick and easy, and wouldn’t make me grumble if he lost them, but then my knitting pride took over and I wanted them to be at least a little bit fancy. The instructions will make a pair of adult men’s size mittens. I will include alterations for a women’s sized pair at the end of the pattern as well. Check out my Ravelry project page!

I settled on a knitted honeycomb mitten pattern and Rowan Yarns Creative Focus Worsted, a mix of 75% Wool and 25% Alpaca in shades Natural and New Fern. I already had single balls of each colour in my stash and thought they looked rather nice together. The mittens are lovely and soft, and the pattern makes them wonderfully thick and squishy. Wearing these, Mr Fox’s paws will be toasty all winter! And after knitting a pair I had enough yarn left over to make another pair for myself.

Pattern:Manly Honeycomb Mitts inside

You will need:
1 skein of worsted weight colour A (Main colour)
1 skein of worsted weight colour B (Contrasting colour)
1 set of 3,5mm dpns (I use sets of 5)
1 set of 4mm dpns (I use sets of 5)
Safety pin or stitch holder
Tapestry needle to weave in ends
Stitch Marker (optional)

Cast on 40 sts with colour A on 3,5mm needles, distribute evenly across needles and join. Place stitch marker (optional).

Cuff:
*K2, P2, rep from * until end. Repeat this row 24 more times for a total of 25 rows (or adjust to whichever length you prefer).
Change to 4mm needles.*Inc, P4, rep from * until end (48sts).
Purl one row.

Honeycomb Pattern:
Part 1:
Row 1: *K4 with colour B, Sl 2 purlwise of colour A, rep from * to end of row.
Repeat this row 4 more times for a total of 5 rows.
Tip: Make sure colour A is at the back when starting each row. For neat colour changes, carry up colour A in the back (Great tutorial here).
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: Purl
Now alternate pattern as follows:
Part 2:
Row 8: *K1 with colour B, Sl 2 purlwise of colour A, K3 with colour B. Rep from * to end of row.
Repeat this row 4 more times for a  total of 5 rows.
Row 13: Purl
Row 14: Purl

Thumb*:
For a man’s pair of mittens, repeat pattern 2,5 times (5 rows of honeycombs, or 3 reps of Part 1, only 2 reps of Part 2).
When you are about to purl the last two rows, insert thumb as follows: P2, put 7 sts on stitch holder. Cast on 7 stitches, purl to end of row. Purl one row.
*When you have finished your mitten, knit thumb with colour A by picking up the 7 stitches from holder plus additional stitches for a total of 14 sts. Knit all rows until thumb is long enough. Finish by K2tog around.

Knit the pattern 6,5 times (13 rows of honeycombs, or 7 reps of Part 1, 6 reps of Part 2), or adjust until the mittens are long enough.

Finish the tip with Colour A:Manly Honeycomb Mittens Closeup

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: *K2tog, K4, rep from * to end of row (40sts)
Row 3-4: Knit
Row 5: *K2tog, K3, rep from * to end of row (32 sts)
Row 6-7: Knit
Row 8: *K2tog, K2, rep from * to end of row (24sts)
Row 9-10: Knit
Row 11: *K2tog, rep to end

Thread yarn through remaining stitches and pull tight, weave in ends. Tah dah!

For the Ladies:

How to adjust the size of the mittens:
If you’re knitting for an average woman’s sized hands, insert the thumb after 2 pattern repeats (4 rows of honeycombs), or after 1,5 pattern repeats (3 rows of honeycombs) for small hands. I find 48sts a good width for both men’s and women’s mittens, but you can adjust this if you’d like them wider or more snug. The pattern is worked over multiples of 6 sts, so simply add or deduct multiples of 6 sts from the total of stitches to make them wider or smaller. For my hands a total of 5,5 reps of the pattern is long enough (11 rows of honeycombs), simply adjust by adding more or less pattern repeats.