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knitting: projects that last - mittens and hats

There's only so much time for knitting and limited space for yarn stash.  Instead of buying so much yarn, I'd rather buy better yarn: yarn I love to work with and is long wearing.  Here are some pieces that I've knitted and loved and loved, even repaired to keep wearing!  In other words, pieces that were worth the time and money.  

All the patterns in this post are my own.  I will chalk it up to the fact that I have knitted sooo many hats and mittens, that I have honed my patterns to what I really like!  

I have several pairs of mittens and fingerless gloves that I've knitted over the years, some I have designed, some experiments.  The ones I use every time I go out, though, are these.  I love this yarn, and I love that they are light.  Since they are stranded they are a bit warmer than just one layer would be.  Originally knit in 2013, I have worn a hole in the left thumb where I slide it down my camera strap, so I repaired them earlier this year.   While I was at it, they got a soak and block, and a depilling.  Considering I wear them often, they don't pill much in my opinion, but they are very soft wool so some is to be expected.   

I like these mittens so much I'm designing another pair of stranded colorwork mittens with Windy Valley's merino!

I have about 15 knitted hats - lace, cables, plaid, intarsia, lots of hats!  The two that I wear most often are my Aisling (pronounced 'Ashleen') hat and my Three-Grain hat.  

Aisling hat pattern
Windy Valley Muskox, Luxury Blend (45 qiviut, 45 wool, 10 silk, light fingering weight) yarn in 2014 Pine Bough
(knit in late summer, 2016)
Unfortunately, I could not find any pictures of me wearing this other than on our tree hunt in 2017; a still life work-in-progress will have to do.  I have some of me wearing the original sample, which is a lighter green.  It's lightweight and lovely.  Time to soak and block it this seasons before we get some snow!  

Three-Grain hat 
Malabrigo, Rios yarn (SW wool, worsted weight) in red
(knit in fall, 2015)
I wrote this pattern to teach cables when I worked at my local yarn shop.  Hats are my go-to project for techniques, gifts and yarn because they don't take much time or yardage.  It's a great way to figure out if a student, or I, will enjoy it before committing to a larger project that may otherwise end up sitting unfinished.  I knit a shop sample in some light brown, but then knitted one for myself in red, of course!  The brown one has a long-tail cast-on, the red has a tubular cast-on.  You can find both COs in this book Cast On, Bind Off, which I always recommended to my classes.  
This hat is heavier than the Aisling and goes with my coat, so gets more wear when the weather gets cold!  

As for knitting projects that last, I wrote about one of my favorite sweaters earlier this year.  That sweater has just gotten a bath so that I can layer it on... whenever we get to the cool part of the year! 

What is your favorite project(s) that you've made and used often?  What are your favorite gifts to make and give? 


  1. Oh, such beautiful knits! I especially love those darling little mittens. I need to learn how to wear mittens -- I always want my fingers to be available, so it's hard for me to wear them. Probably my favorite knits have been my icelandic sweaters -- they are SO warm and cosy. They're not fashionable though and when we go somewhere that I need something nicer to wear, I always find myself wishing I'd made a prettier sweater.

    As for gifts, every Christmas I see inspiration such as this post and I say "next year I'm going to plan ahead and have hats and mitts for everyone" and then, here we are -- empty handed LOL.

    Merry Christmas Sweet Karen!


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