Sunday, June 2, 2013

Warm fingers!

Brr it's getting parky down under. My poor hands, or puddies as MrC calls them, have been really feeling the cold. And so my mind has gone to class ideas for making warm mittens. Because that's how I think of things to make and teach!
I decided to go for a lined merino approach, and after faffing around thinking of complex ways to add the thumb in, I just decided to try it flat, like this:
Folded in half, this is the lining. I have big hands and wrists so these would probably swim on someone else! But, I am happy with the basic pattern, as it is easy to draft from the measurements of lower arm, wrist and palm.
I wanted to use the class as an intro to machine embellishment. So, I got stuck in doing a flower, because I love flowers.
These took forever!
A rather pretty but boring little flower. It took FOREVER. I did the outline with perle thread in the bobbin, sewing from the back, but the amount of work it took doesn't give a payoff at all. The in fill is rayon thread, which I like a lot more. I shall have to rethink this in terms of the techniques we will do as adjusting the bobbin tension every time we go from heavy to normal bobbin threads for a whole class of students makes me shudder.
I backed my fabric with a fab knit interfacing, but of course it was stretchy so in this case, not so fab. It worked out OK but not for beginners. I had the stitching area in a 5"/125mm embroidery hoop (working on the opposite side than with hand embroidery) to keep it taut, which helped, but would work much better with a more stable interfacing.
So, after all that, I nearly created mitten moebii trying to bag in the thumb end as well as the top and bottom, and in the end I only bagged in the top edge, zigzagged the thumb edges together, and added a band at the bottom. By now I realised these were not going to be my class sample so they only had to suit me.
And here they are. The flowers needed to be a little further around, but otherwise they are nice and warm, and keep my fingers free. The tops I can fold down or leave up, depending on how much I need my fingers.
So, 5 hours on, this is all I got done. Admittedly I got interrupted a lot, but all in all I need to find a simpler way.
I think we'll go with one layer of boiled wool instead!


  1. Oh Mrs C these look delightful!! I think I need to whip up a pair (or three) for the office as the air con doesn't seem to cope well with winter (come to think of it - it couldn't really cope with summer either!)

    1. Well if you take the embroidery out of the equation, it's a pretty quick make! :) And it can be reversible too. These are made from the $20m merinos at Global :)

  2. Ooh they look so warm. I just spent the day training at the blue mountains in an old heritage building which was beautiful but unheated and freezing - these would have been a hand saver!

  3. Well, it is winter, I am cold, and 5 hours is well worth the effort and time to warm our Down Under fingers up! Know what I'll be doing next weekend...J

  4. Funnily enough I just bought a pair of these with the flat thumb! (I wouldn't normally buy, had gift vouchers and there were limited options but the screen printing was cool). They're unlined though - guess they have the fancy machines to hem it. I'll have a closer look when I pick them up.

    Your machine embroidery is great! I must try that.

  5. I don't think the flower is boring at all! I'll have to consider something like this in about 4 months when my Midwestern US winter comes back. :)

  6. Those are really nifty. Here on my half of the planet it's supposed to be getting hot but but the weather has been unseasonably cool so it's been really hard to get into a summer sewing mood and I find myself actually tempted to try making mittens.

  7. Dear Mrs. C.,

    These are NEAT! The pattern is super...I've never made mitts because the thumbs scare me for some reason, and these look warm and cozy. Can you use felted wool, do you think?

    I like how you use your own projects to test and refine classroom projects. Efficient and fun and productive.

    Very best,