Fulfillment: Fingerless Mitts for Knit Picks

After submission and acceptance comes contract fulfillment. Well, actually, free yarn comes after that, and then fulfillment.

I signed and returned the contract for the fingerless mitts, and a week or so later, Knit Picks sent me the Galileo yarn I proposed. The yarn is a 50/50 blend of merino wool and bamboo, but I had never worked with it before, so I wasn’t sure how it would behave with my pattern. (Always a concern.)

I’m happy to say that all such thoughts drifted away as soon as I started working with it.  It’s got a nice hand and a lovely sheen that does a lot of work. I imagine, however, that you would have to be careful with it in certain designs, lest it steal the show (like Troy Garity did in the stylish movie Bandits).

The son of Jane Fonda.

I had proposed the mitts in Abalone, a bright pink color,

Not mother-of-pearl.

but one of the Knit Picks test knitters is going to knit the sample that will appear in the pattern book, so I can work out pattern details in any color I want.

Were this a project where exact fit was critical, I would have requested Abalone because different colors of the same yarn can behave differently (i.e., affect gauge) depending on the dye. Really. Navy blues and blacks are heavier than yellows and pinks, and tweeds are much thinner than their solid-colored brethren.

But exact fit wasn’t an issue, so I chose Gem. It looks teal on screen, but is rather green in the hand.

What I wanted (left) vs what I got.

Not a big deal for this purpose, but it would have been were I designing something that relied on the blue of teal.

Knitting a prototype and writing a pattern, even for something as simple as fingerless mitts with no thumb gusset, takes a lot longer than you think it’s going to, so I got started on it right away. (And by right away, I mean a couple of weeks later—but to a skilled procrastinator, that is right away.)

As I was knitting the first mitt, I kept thinking that it didn’t look right, too open and sloppy, and maybe I needed to go down a needle size. I thought this even though I had already experimented with needle sizes when I swatched multiple times for the submission. But I hadn’t swatched with this particular yarn, so I assumed that was the glitch.

When I finished the mitt, I compared it to my original swatch and realized I hadn’t twisted the stinkin’ knit stitches.

Let’s think about this for a moment.

This is a pattern I designed. I spent 11 hours swatching, after which I finally hit upon the twisted stitch as the one element that nailed the design. (Designers feel like bacon in a moment like that.) I was elated and proud, and considered patting myself on the back with the purchase of a squash blossom necklace. And I even blogged about my accomplishment—on my own blog. It was such an obvious and hard-earned design element that I didn’t have to write it down in my design notes.

And still.

After that smack down, I knit one mitt as intended, taking more notes as I went along (including “knit for Pete’s sake TBL”). I then wrote up the pattern and knit the matching mitt from that, finetuning things here and there.

After I formatted the pattern instructions according to the Knit Picks template, I turned it in—two weeks early—and removed the squash blossom necklace from my shopping cart.

To Ponder: A man ought warily to begin charges which once begun will continue; but in matters that return not, he may be more magnificent. |Francis Bacon|



  1. I was listening to a story on NPR the other day regarding knitting in the Shetland Islands. Fascinating. Also, the woman being interviewed discussed frogging. I’m thinking that if I attempted anything other than knit and purl, I’d be frogging a whole lot.

    1. I’ve done (and still do) my share of frogging. But just like deleting paragraphs and pages is part of getting good at writing, so frogging is part of getting good at knitting.

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