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Sewing up your colourwork mittens

You have all your three mitten bits made, and it’s time to sew them all together.

Here’s how I did it:

First Things First

Weave in your ends and block your pieces.
Tunisian Crochet fabric has a tendency to curl, you may have noticed.
Tunisian Knit stitch is renowned for this feature. And as we’re working a pretty dense fabric for our mittens, that curl can be quite enthusiastic.

So blocking before you sew will ensure your panels behave (and look) far better.

All blocked and ready to rock!

With Wrong Sides facing in on Panels 1 & 2, seam up thumb side of wrist from Row 1 – Row 24 with Main Colour

Starting at the cuff, use a top / whip stitch to seam up edge of cuff.
Stop sewing when you complete the horizontal stripes.
I like to add a few extra stitches to the last stripe to reinforce the edge.
First seam complete. Gorgeous!

Adding The Thumb

Then, with wrong sides still facing in, align marked st on thumb with top of wrist seam.
Seam side of thumb with left Panel for 15 (17/19) sts.

Fold thumb in half lengthways and seam up edges to tip of thumb.

Use a whip / Top stitch for a flat thumb seam
weave a strand of yarn in and out around tip of thumb
pull firmly to close hole

Finishing Up

Beginning at top of wrist seam again, seam other side of thumb with other Panel for 15 (17/19) sts.

Begin sewing where indicated above.
continue seaming around edge of glove, and down other side of cuff.

Weave all your ends in, and you’re done!

One of the beautiful things about this method of construction is that it is infinitely adaptable.

If you find your hand fits better in a Large glove, but you thumb finds a Large thumb too roomy, you can down size to suit you. Similarly, if your thumb is larger than the mitten size that fits, you can shift that around too.

There is no need to rip back all your work to the base of the thumb and re-do it all. You just need to whip yourself up a new thumb and lash that on in.

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A reverse TSS2tog for a neater mitten

Tunisian Crochet has a symmetry problem, insofar as it has none.

You may have noticed that each row’s stitches are drawn from the last row’s stitches by pulling them out of the fabric on the side of your dominant hand. This barely matters when we’re working a large piece, or when a slight shift to the right or left can’t be noticed, but for colourwork, especially colourwork that contains decreases, it becomes pretty clear pretty fast.

My mitten designs include TSS2tog decreases towards the finger tips that help reduce the number of stitches, drawing the mitten tip to a pretty point. But, as they are colourwork mittens, the decreases pose a problem;
while the decrease on the right of my fabric (my dominant side) looks lovely and neat, the one on the left gets all bitty and jagged.


Compare the photos below to see what I mean:

The pink line on the left is made with regular TSS2tog sts and is jagged and broken as a result
The pink line on the left is made with a reversed TSS2tog and is neat and solid as a result

What we’re going to do in this tutorial is work the first TSS2tog as normal. No point in fiddling with perfection, right?

Then we’re going to use a blunt-ended darning needle (a bodkin) to simulate a TSS2tog in the opposite direction.
Hold on to your hats, people. Things are about to get weird!

The First TSS2tog

Firstly, we’re going to work 1 TKS in yellow which is our Main Colour (MC), and then the first TSS2tog on the row in pink, our Contrast Colour (CC).

Make 1 TKS with Main Colour (MC)
Push hook TSS-wise through the next 2 sts, then YO with CC
Draw CC through both sts.
(1 TSS2tog made)

After that, we’re going to work TKS sts across to within 3 sts of the end.
Don’t forget to catch your floats!

Reverse TSS2tog

Here’s where our trusty bodkin comes into play.

Draw both strands to the front of the hook
Thread CC onto a bodkin
sew bodkin through next two sts in same direction as hook is pointing
Pull CC through fabric.
Remove bodkin.
Return both strands to back of fabric
Place CC loop on hook.
Tighten CC loop.
Work final MC TKS st and draw up a final loop in chain

Work return pass as normal.

After a few rows of this malarkey, you’ll see the effect of your reverse TSS2tog stitches.
So smooth!

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Make your Ogham Mitten UNIQUE!

Ogham (either pronounced OW-am or OG-am, depending on who you ask), is a native Irish writing system that is all of 2,000 years old.

It’s impossible now at such a remove to know exactly what it was most used for, but many of our surviving examples are carved into standing stones. A large number of those stones mark ancient boundaries between kingdoms, so the thought is that they were basically signs used to lay claim to certain tracts of land in the really early Medieval / Pre-Christian period in Ireland.

Ogham is a script made entirely of lines cut across a central spine, and is similar in many ways to Nordic Runes.

The Ogham script featured on my pattern sample is my name!
A O I B H E is spelt out from cuff to finger tip, but I’m happy to say YOU get to choose what you’d like to put on your gloves to make them personal to you. Below, you will find a full alphabet (in Ogham order, rather than Aplbhabetical) and in the pattern you’ll find a blank chart so you can make your mittens absolutely unique.

All I ask is that you spell your words from bottom to top, like the ancient Irish did. 😉

Getting Charting

On your mitten you have a maximum of 37 lines.
As some letters use up more space than others, I have added a line count to the side of each letter’s chart, so you can plot accordingly.

Some letters you may expect to see don’t exist in Ogham.
Y, for instance, and V – but those can be represented well with close alternatives. In those cases, I have labelled the alphabet above with both variations, so you can make the best guess.

All you have to do now is decide with you wanna write, then print out the blank chart in your pattern, and add your letters in pencil.

Got a long name, or lots to say?

Luckily, Ogham can be used both letter-for-letter, or phonetically.
So, a name like Jennifer can be condensed down to “Gnfr”, and still be totally Ogham-legit.

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Duplicate Stitch / Swiss Darning

So, there you are, humming along, row after glorious row of Tunisian Crochet colourwork tumbling off your hook, and you pause for a moment to admire your progress.
And that’s when you notice it.

“Oh god. I have a stitch out of place”.

Worse still, it didn’t just happen. It was the result of a momentary lapse in concentration two days ago! ack!

And you’re left with an unenviable question; “Do I frog, or do I live with it?”
Neither option is very satisfying is it?

But luckily, my Mam taught me a third option when I was barely old enough to hold a pair of knitting needles. She called it “Swiss Darning”, which I think sounds elegant and fancy. I’ve heard it more commonly called “Duplicate stitch” these days, which has the virtue of being clear and descriptive.
Whatever you chose to call it, trust me, you’ll be singing its praises.

Here’s how it works:

Examine your fabric and identify the problem
There should be white horizontal stitches to the left, and the white lines to the right should be one stitch shorter.

Thread a blunt needle (a bodkin) with a strand of the yarn you’re using.
Pro Tip: If you can’t find a blunt needle, use a regular sharp darning needle and sew backwards with it. Be careful not to jab yourself, though!

In this case, I’m using Drops Flora in Denim Blue.

Getting Started

Secure your yarn at the back of your work. This will save you from accidentally sewing through your tail and making a mess of the wrong side of your fabric.

Bring bodkin to front of work at base of the stitch you wish to hide. Pull yarn through to front.
Push bodkin under next stitch up. Make sure bodkin passes cleanly thorugh BOTH strands of the stitch.
Draw yarn through stitch. Half of the white stitch is now hidden.
Clever, huh?
Push bodkin back though the base of the white stitch.
Pull yarn to back of work. Hey presto!

I repeated the process on the next two horizontal lines above, and then I got to fixing the missing white stitches on the left side of the work, too.

Bring bodkin to front of work at base of the stitch you wish to hide. Pull yarn through to front.
Push bodkin under next stitch up. Make sure bodkin passes cleanly thorugh BOTH strands of the stitch.
Draw yarn through stitch. Half of the blue stitch is now hidden.
Push bodkin back though the base of the blue stitch.
Pull yarn to back of work. And we have a white stitch where once there was a blue one!

Far better than all that frogging and cursing, am I right?

Oh, hey! And, this also works for knitting, too.
In fact, it was originally developed to add small colourowork detail to stocking stitch knitted fabric… so if you’re a knitter with basic skills, you’ve now learnt a fantastic way of sprucing up your knit stitches too!

Ogham is on sale right now.