Robin Melanson grew up in Cape Breton, on Canada’s Atlantic coast, so it isn’t surprising that she appreciates a good pair of gloves or mittens. As you might expect, all the designs in this book are practicalthey’ll keep your hands warm. But they are also imaginative, whimsical, arty, and beautiful. It’s worth looking at the book just to see the 28 ways that Robin played with the basic idea of a hand covering to come up with a collection as varied, interesting, and wearable as this one.
Among the patterns that rank as my favorites are these:
Glaistiga short pair of fingerless mitts in a vintage lace pattern finished with a picot edge at one end and a knitted strap with a yarn-covered buckle at the other. These mitts remind me, in a good way, of something my aunt would have knitted when she was a young woman (my aunt used to knit dresses on size 2 needles…). This particular pair of mitts is knitted side to side, instead of from wrist to fingers.
Filigreea pair of long fingerless mitts in a modern openwork pattern that looks more knotted than knitted. The mitts come in two lengths and would be wonderful in just about any color.
Alesunda pair of pointed Fair Isle mittens that have their roots in Norwegian history, although the Art Nouveau motif on the front and the rich colorway (dusky rose and deep wine-red, punctuated with a bit of acid yellow duplicate stitch) are unusual and a bit gothic.
Brunnhildea stunning pair of long white gloves in a soft, hazy yarn with twist-stitch patterns placed to follow the lines of the long cuff. These gloves are elegant and sumptuous.
I’d also love to knit a pair of thrummed mittens (with warm fleece inside), the flip-top mittens, the wristlets paired with an assortment of detachable bracelets, and--who could live without them--a pair of elfin mittens called Aethelwyne that begin with a subtly fluted cuff and end in a tip as pointy as an elfin cap.
If you want a comfort-knitting project, she has a pair of garter stitch mitts to offer, or if you’re in the mood for something glamorous and a bit challenging, make her beaded mitts. I don’t think there’s a single pair in her collections that I wouldn’t want to make.
If you like gloves and mittens, you’ll love Robin’s bookas inspiration and a guide to hand covering possibilities. While you’re waiting for your book to arrive, try out Robin’s Inca Alpaca Fair Isle Mitts; they are fun, elegant, practical, and sometimes glamorous. In their playfulness they go way beyond the usual hand coverings.
Inca Alpaca 100% alpaca
Inca Alpaca is a wonderful choice for these hand coverings. It is soft, sturdy and very warm even when wet. The great color range of Inca also allows for many fantastic color combinations for use in Fair Isle designs.
Here are some examples of other color options:
For more neutral mitts:
Color A: 1189;
Color B: 1110;
Color C: 1142
For mitts with a purple haze:
Color A: 1131;
Color B: 1142;
Color C: 1108
Or, for brighter mitts:
Color A: 1125;
Color B: 1183;
Color C: 1159
View the Inca Alpaca color palette.
Learn more about alpaca.
Where to buy Inca Alpaca.
Here's the free downloadable Inca Alpaca Fair Isle Mitts pattern
The thumbs of Robin’s mitts are worked by increasing one stitch for the center thumb stitch and placing markers around it, then increasing 2 sts at time inside those markers. The increases are worked every other row with the first increase as a right slanting increase and the second as a left slanting increase. This forms the triangular shaping of the thumb. When the thumb reaches the desired length, the increased sts of the thumb gusset are put on a holder or waste yarn.
The mitts are then worked over the original number of sts, reconnecting the mitt to close the thumb gusset. Make sure to pull yarn tightly to fully close the opening. When the body of the mitts are finished, Robin then puts the thumb sts back on needles, picks up one st to help further close the opening between the body and thumb and works the thumb a few rows longer.