My lovely Mum recently retired from work and, being a fellow knitter, the only way to commemorate the occasion was with something pretty and woolly. I spent a lot of time sifting through patterns on Ravelry to find something that would be both lovely and practical and as my Mum is likely to be spending a lot of time outside, both supporting our local cricket team and knitting, I thought some fingerless mitts would be perfect. (Seriously, I’ve been to that ground, the wind comes fresh off the polar express!) I’d happened across the Catching Butterflies mitts by the ever awesome Tiny Owl Knits before and as my Mum loves butterflies I decided this was the pattern! I ordered some King Cole Baby Comfort for the body of the mitts, some Drops Cotton Viscose for the butterflies and some brand new shiny Knit Pro Zing 3.25mm DPNs to knit on. I ordered all my supplies from Wool Warehouse and once again they delivered at lightning speed!
I was surprised to find that my new DPNs match my cable needle, which I got free from a magazine (I think it was Simply Knitting) yonks ago!
I immediately made a change to the mitts from the pattern, which calls for smaller needles for the rib, whereas I used the same size throughout. This was for two reasons, firstly because some of the comments on Ravelry said that the fit was a little tight and secondly because I was using a 100% synthetic yarn, which doesn’t tend to stretch as much as natural fibres. I had a suspicion that my Mum might want to keep her knitting fingers, so I decided better too loose than too tight! As it turned out, the modification fits well and I used the long tail cast on and this super stretchy cast-off from Slip Slip Knit to make sure that there would be enough stretch.
Other than a few mistakes along the way, the knit went well for the body and the only other alteration I made was to make the rib just a bit longer at the mitt cuff and thumb, mainly to encourage the mitts to stay put during use. When I first pulled on the mitts they felt a little snug, but acrylic yarn tends to bag a little over time, so I worriedly philosophized that that this should help them withstand the test of the ages. As it turns out, my hands must have been swollen that day because when I tried them on again the fit was perfect! Fortunately, when my Mum tried them on, the fit was fine so I needn’t have worried 🙂
Then came the time to start catching butterflies, which are made separately. I was freaking out about these, because it had come right down to the wire and I had one afternoon to get them knitted and attached. The yarn I used is wildly different to the yarn called for in the pattern and I was concerned that they just wouldn’t come out right. So, I grabbed my tiny needles, put some fortifying Kerrang! through my speakers and cast on – fortunately, after some resistance from the yarn (it’s quite loosely plied – not a good combination with tiny needles) I managed to finish the first butterfly… and it looked fine!
I heaved a long sigh of relief and knitted the other three butterflies before sewing them on with the smallest stitches I could. I don’t think that they look as good as the originals (which was a no-go as the yarn has a large halo which makes my Mum itch) but they are passable and mostly the right shape. My biggest disappointment was actually that the contrast between the two yarns wasn’t as striking as I’d hoped when I was looking at them on the online store. Still, this is my fault not the pattern’s!
Overall, then, the Catching Butterflies mitts were a success. Everything worked out in the end, I got it all done on time and my Mum was happy with the result, which is the main thing. This is a pay for pattern available from Ravelry and was well laid out and easy to follow, so if you like the way mine turned out (and there are some much better examples than these!) then it’s worth a look.
If I were to make these again, I think I would use a natural fibre that could withstand a little blocking as I seem to have slightly larger arms than the pattern is written for. If I was making a pair for myself (which I almost certainly will at some point) I would also use a yarn for the butterflies closer to that called for, as I think it looks better than my version. Either way though, the recipient was happy so I think we can call this a win!
You can find my Ravelry project for the Catching Butterflies mitts here.
Thanks for reading!