Introducing the Fond mittens!

Fond mittens from the Something to Knit Together Winter Edition, designed by Natalie Warner and published by Arnall-Culliford Knitwear
Overhead shot of the Fond mittens. Image credit: A.G. Collymore

It’s pattern release day for the Something to Knit Together: Winter Edition, and the second item in the collection is the Fond mittens!  They are super snuggly, available in four sizes, fun to knit up, and can be finished in perfect time for mid-winter.

Fond mittens, the second pattern release in the Something to Knit Together Winter Edition, designed by Natalie Warner and published by Arnall-Culliford Knitwear
Jen cheerfully modelling the Fond mittens. Image credit: Jesse Wild

Now that there are two designs visible, you’ll see the textural connection between the Assembly scarf and Fond mittens.  The pattern repeat has exactly the same base, but by tweaking slightly what was the stocking stitch panel in the Assembly scarf there’s more opportunity to play with texture and create a fabric that looks and behaves differently.  There’s definitely a sense of these designs being siblings: united by inspiration, but individual in their own right.  Nothing too matchy-matchy!

The cable twists are exactly the same as on the Assembly scarf (see photo below), so there’s relatively little adjustment between projects. This leaves your mind free to concentrate on other things – and if you’re a relatively new knitter, you’ll appreciate having enough headspace to focus on new techniques like increasing for the thumb gore. One of my favourite design details on these mittens – if I do say so myself – is the way that the side cable splits and brackets the thumb gore increases, and then reunites and continues the rest of the way up the hand to the top.

The large cable trim makes a reappearance, but this time you’ll be picking up stitches along one edge so that you can knit in a different direction to create the main body of the mittens.  This gives you elasticity exactly where you need it: a beautifully snug cuff that keeps draughtiness away.  Thereafter the pattern transitions from a full rib to a broken rib as you work up the rest of the thumb and hand shaping, and the garter stitch stays constant throughout (but do look at the hacks below).  So if you enjoyed the abundance of plain knit rows and the rhythm of the Assembly scarf, there’s yet more of that to come with the Fond mittens!

Assembly scarf, designed by Natalie Warner and published by Arnall-Culliford Knitwear. Part of the Something to Knit Together Winter Edition, 2020
Close-up of the Assembly scarf. Image credit: Jesse Wild
Fond mittens, designed by Natalie Warner and published by Arnall-Culliford Knitwear. Part of the Something to Knit Together Winter Edition, 2020
Jen peeping playfully from behind the Fond mittens! Image credit: Jesse Wild

As you might expect, I have a few hacks for these mittens.  There were originally five, but Jen has contributed a bonus one – thank you Jen! 🙂

  • Create mitts by omitting the top shaping chart and casting off knitwise on the wrong side of the final row of the hand chart.  You can also stop the thumb short; try the mitt(en)s on as you go to find the right spot for your thumb joint, and then cast off knitwise on the wrong side.
  • Change back to smaller needles around the fingers for a closer fit.  This tip is from Jen, and especially valuable if you’d prefer to knit mitts instead of mittens.  The extra suppression makes up for the warmth lost by having an open top.
  • Continue in full rib throughout instead of switching to broken rib after completing the cuff.  Doing this would give you a fabric with more depth and elasticity than the broken rib.  This comes at the expense of plain knit rows, but you’d more than make up for it in snuggle factor.
Sunlight setting off the texture of the Fond mittens as they rest on a wooden table.  Designed by Natalie Warner and published by Arnall-Culliford Knitwear, 2020
Sunlight setting off the texture of the Fond mittens. Image credit: D. Collymore @fleurinfocus
  • Use a contrast colour for the cable trim.  When joining in the main colour for the hand, do so when you cast off the final stitch of the trim so that the remaining loop on your needle BEFORE you pick up any stitches for the cuff is in the main colour.  That way you’ll have a lovely neat join and the entire pick-up row will be in uniform colour.
  • Switch the direction of the cables.  There are a few options, but one unique to the mittens is to have the cables on the left-hand mitten twisting left, leaving those on the right-hand mitten to twist right as instructed.  Then each hand would be perfectly mirrored!
  • Finally, more adventurous knitters can play with pattern placement.  There is a lot you can do, so here are a couple of ideas to start you off.  Instead of having alternate textures throughout the body of the mittens, you could stick to the first chart throughout so that the garter stitch remains on the back of your hands and the rib remains on the front, across your palms.  Another idea is to alternate textures halfway up, i.e. after the thumb shaping is complete.  When looking at the back of your hand, this would take the garter block up to your knuckles, with the rib continuing all the way up to your fingertips.
Fond mittens modelled and photographed by Natalie in situ.  Here you can see the reversible texture of the mittens and the potential for mixing things up to suit you.  And - look at the thumb gore!
Fond mittens modelled and photographed by Natalie in situ. Here you can see the reversible texture of the mittens and the potential for mixing things up to suit you. And – look at the thumb gore!

The pattern for the Fond mittens is available in the A-C Knitwear webshop as part of the Something to Knit Together: Winter Edition and is the second release of five items in the collection.  As well as buying the ebook, you can also pick up yarn kits in an array of beautiful colours (please note that some colour options have already sold out, and as I write, some others are low stock), and your options are:

The Everything Kit to knit all the items in the collection – one garment, three accessories;

The Accessories Kit to knit all the accessories in the collection – the Assembly scarf, Fond mittens, and another still-to-be-announced;

The Taster Kit to knit the smaller accessories in the collection – the Fond mittens and one of the remaining mystery patterns.

As you might expect if you’ve already bought the ebook, the pattern instructions are in charted and written form, so you can use whichever mode suits you best.  If increasing stitches and picking up stitches are new skills, never fear – Jen and Jim have created yet more helpful tutorials for you.  There are photo tutorials in the pattern, and video tutorials can be viewed on their website or YouTube channel.  And don’t forget the Knitalong Hub!  We had a lovely virtual meeting last week, with more to come.  If you’ve bought the ebook, details of the next e-meeting will arrive soon.

Fond mittens from the Something to Knit Together Winter Edition, designed by Natalie Warner and published by Arnall-Culliford Knitwear
Image credit: A.G. Collymore

Lastly, a big thank you to everyone who’s purchased the collection and yarn kits thus far – it has been a real pleasure to see all the different colours and interpretations, not to mention hear and read such positive feedback. I’m already looking ahead to the next pattern release on 6th January, so look out for a Twelfth Night gift in the New Year. Until then, enjoy knitting the Fond mittens and wrap up warm! ❤

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