Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kyla Fingerless Mittens

Art intersects function. These fun and artistic fingerless mittens are designed by the very talented Monika of Smoking Hot Needles. And it's a free pattern. How amazing is that!


This is a cool post for me because I'm talking about two things that I love. First I love how generous and amazing the knit blog community is. It never ceases to amaze me how knitters so freely give their advice and share their patterns. For me, it wasn't so much that I learned how to knit from reading the knit blogs but rather that I learned what could be knit, other than a frumpy old sweater and scarf. The knitting blogs were my gateway into a world filled with gossamer shawls, handpainted yarns, brightly colored socks, and fingerless mittens. After seeing the many beautiful things being knit in blogland I never thought about my own knitting the same way again. Speaking of which, you will certainly never find a finer example of all that is good about knit blogs than Monika's blog Smoking Hot Needles.

Topanga, California

I'm going to talk a little about Topanga, California which is my home and where I love to be. Often I talk about other places and simply forget to talk about Topanga. These pictures of me wearing my Kyla Mittens are taken in our garden which is styled after a botanical garden or, if you prefer, a yard with a few hardy plants that don't require much water or care. The little community of Topanga is actually a 15 minutes drive down the mountain from where we live. Technically, as the crow flies, we are in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu and are surrounded by native California Chaporral.

You can see the Pacific Palisades behind me and if it wasn't such a foggy day you would also see the city of Los Angeles beyond that. At night the city lights are dazzling.

I'm standing amidst a particularly hardy and well adapted plant, which is the New Zealand Tea Tree shrub. Both the pink and red sprays of flowers next to me are this type of plant. Given that California is facing a water shortage I highly recommend them to anyone looking to conserve water and yet still have colorful flowering plants around their home.

I wish I could also tell you what the white flowers is that I'm holding, but I don't know. If anyone knows, I would love to hear from you!

One thing that I love about Topanga is the quiet life we live. Except for those occasional coyote kills which are far from quiet, and the less said of that, the better. When people know where we live I'm often asked isn't it inconvenient? or What do you do if you run out of milk? The answers are yes and I don't. This is my home and I wouldn't trade living here for anything.

We start each morning with a short jog and that's lovely because it's peaceful in the mornings and I enjoy listening to the birds chirping happily around us. It's particularly nice in the Springtime because the mountain is covered with wildflowers and seeing all the pretty flowers somehow makes the jog feel less arduous.

Kyla Fingerless Mittens ~ Pattern Notes

But I digress and you want me to talk about the Kyla Fingerless Mittens! This is a great knit for the Spring because it uses a finer gauge yarn (sock weight) and that makes for a light and feminine accessory. I particularly like the wrist design because it creates a strong grip and these mittens will not easily stretch out or lose their shape.

I also learned a lot from this pattern. It is the first pattern written so that I understood how to add a motif of my own choosing. Monika has knit these mittens both with a heart and a cable motif and for mine I used a diamond shape motif created with bobbles (my bobbles are inside out but that's neither here nor there and I love them anyway, wonky though they are). It's so simple. All you have to do is decide what motif you want and then divide the total number of stitches for the top half of the mitten and then locate the center stitch so you can center the design. For example I knit these mittens on 48 stitches. That means the top half of the mitten has 24 stitches and the center stitch is the 12th stitch. To center a motif you simply have to center the design with the middle stitch placed on the 12th stitch. It's all clear as mud now, I'm sure. You can thank me later.

Knitting Tip #4 ~ Will you Have Enough Yarn?

With this pattern I also learned how to figure out if I would have enough yarn to finish my project, which is an issue that arises whenever you are knitting from a single skein of yarn. Since it can be disconcerting wondering whether you will have enough yarn to complete your project (particularly with socks that are a lot more time consuming) I highly recommend doing this. The simple solution is to pull out a food scale and weigh your yarn. If you know how much yarn your 1st mitten (or sock) used you will then know how much yarn it will take to make the second one. After I finished my first Kyla Mitten I weighed it and found that it used 20 grams of yarn. Since my skein of yarn had a total of 50 grams I knew then (hoped like the dickens) that I had plenty of yarn left to knit my second mitten. Despite my skepticism, this actually works perfectly. Both my mittens weigh exactly 20 grams and I have 10 grams of yarn left (20 x 2 =40 +10=50 grams = 1 skein koigu).

Particulars: Free Pattern: Kyla Fingerless Mittens (download pattern link) (ravelry pattern link); 1 skein Koigu Yarns merino wool handpainted sock yarn; US 2 Double Pointed Needles. More detailed pattern notes/modifications are on Mr Puffy's Ravelry notebook Page . The Dagoba Lavendar Blueberry Chocolate bar is nice but not essential to knitting this pattern.

Enjoy the Spring everyone! And try matching your chocolates to your knitting, just because it's fun!

28 comments:

Monika said...

What a beautiful post! Thank you! I love your Kyla mittens, and the motiv you did instead of the cable. I love the color too, and especially the pictures. Thanks for telling me about your beautiful little red flowers! It's really lovely were you live. It would be way too warm for me though. :o)

t does wool said...

such detail and thought here...lovely mitts...and I must try that scale...great idea,Claudia!
and your surroundings,your home are magnificent...I do not know the white flower,but I mat search a little :)!

t does wool said...

may...not mat :)...typo!

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Blogs definitely opened up my eyes in a big way as to the possibilities of knitting!

I love your mitts. I have a bunch of stash that has been set aside for knits and hats to make this summer and those are now in the queue.

sue said...

Gorgeous mittens, beautiful color and motif. I loved seeing your surrounds where you live. California must be like Australia at the moment with not much water around, and perhaps the link is bushfires too as I know you had some last year didnt you. The flowers look beautiful, so bright and pretty.

tiennie said...

Those are very pretty mittens! Topango looks very pretty too!

raining sheep said...

I love the fingerless gloves....actually I could use a pair of those around here - still! Though spring is in the air, it is still cold and today on my run it was definitely chilly. I love where you live. California seems like a golden land to me with infinitely warmer weather than here. I have only been in San Fran and L.A. and only on business. I would like to go to California one day and just enjoy - maybe go to Sonoma or Napa Valley.

Sarah Craig said...
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sweetp said...

Lovely mitts in such a pretty colour. Very nice to learn more about where you live xx

Silvia said...

Beautiful mitts, and a beautiful place!

Tracy said...

Those fingerless mitts are gorgeous---love that juicy mottled grape color yarn! That pattern looks great fun. I always enjoy hearing how knitters like a pattern, or what they do a little different, etc. And I'm sure the choc-blueberry treat helped with the knitting enormously. Choc. and blueberry...mmm...Your garden is lovely. I love the tangled, wildflower-meadow-look. And Topanga sounds an ideal place to dwell, to live, to be... Not sure about the flower you have there. It almost has a iris look to it...hhhmmm...let us know if you find out! Delightful post, Claudia. Happy weekend to you, Steve and Mr. Puffy! :o)((HUGS))

Channon said...

I hope I don't forget to say all I want to about your post, but first, I must comment upon the new banner - LOVE that shot of Mr. Puffy and the footprints in the sand. Lovely.

So are the mitts. I'm very eager to see the pattern, because I've never been comfortable inserting my own motif/changing a texture.

I always enjoy hearing about/seeing your home. It's a rather unknown part of the country for me, and it's lovely!

Hilary said...

Oooh, I LOVE your new mitts! The cuff is so cool with those bobbles at the very bottom. I also love how you've matched your chocolate to your knitting. :) Excellent.

Bridget said...

The fingerless mitts are so pretty, and the color of the yarn is perfect, especially given the rest of your post.

Topanga sounds lovely, and I love the picture of you with the wildflowers.

Have a great weekend!

dipladyknits said...

Love the mitts! I think I'll go shopping for some wonderful chocolate to inspire my next knitting project! lol

the Casbah Kitten said...

Wonderful mittens! I've always wanted some like that....hmmmmmm. But right now I've FINALLY gotten a summer sweater started (crochet) and it's so much fun. I can hardly wait to finish it!

Windyridge said...

Sounds like a lovely place with a far better climate than here!

Hapi said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

File said...
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Keyword said...
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Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...
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knittingdragonflies said...

Your posts are like a visit with you. I like the fingerless mittens, especially the color. Good tip on the scale, I have some handspun I'm looking to knit up and have no clue how much it is.
I always feel like I want to move west after I read your posts.
Vicki

Alison Boon said...

I love the colour you've chosen to use,ultra feminine.

Renee said...

What a gorgeous place you live in! We're seeing a few hints of spring and the early blooming flowers are just making an appearance.

Your fingerless mittens are wonderful. I love the colour and espcially the cuff. Great idea with the scale, see -- it's not just for baking! :) I'd love to try these mitts, will have to see what yarn I have stashed would suit. Great post!!

subliminalrabbit said...

oh, what beautiful photos! thanks for stopping by my blog - so that i could find yours sooner rather than later!

Marie said...

The description of your home sounds lovely. It's far enough away to be a mini oasis and yet close enough to the city life.

Of course you would have a plant in your garden with the word 'tea' in it; it's only fitting!

Firefly Nights said...

While I always enjoy your knitting content I actually enjoy learning more about your life on the opposite coast just as much. This was a very nice article.

And shame on you for giving out a secret. I thought you were just plain born knowing how to knit in lovely yarns that transformed themselves into beautiful garments as soon as they touched your fingers. But, I do agree there are many things that we can learn from our blogging friends and some of your tutorials are as helpful to your readers as some of the other blogs have been to you.

ALPJewellery said...

Absolutely love these knitting patterns but Box won't let me download them. :(

Incidentally, your blog is a great discovery!