The final pattern in the Colourwork Club, the Broughton mittens, is now available. All three Colourwork Club patterns are now available for a single low price. I designed this pattern to be a small project that would stretch your colourwork skills and I hope you enjoy it. We’ll be sharing step-by-step tutorials on the blog over the next couple of weeks if you’re feeling a little intimidated by the directions. The braided cast on is challenging — you’ll probably need to start over a few times before the tension is right, I know I did!
The pattern includes some new, fun techniques like the Estonian Kihnu braids at the cuff, and feature an optional flip-top opening. I love the flip-tops because I find without them I’m constantly taking my mittens off to do something with my hands, with flip-tops you can quickly use your fingers without risking a mitten falling in a puddle! For extra warmth, softness and a neat finish the mittens are lined with lambswool, which is used held double to add a pop of contrast on the cuffs. The thumbs and flip-top openings are worked using an afterthought method where stitches are held by knitting them with scrap yarn, which is removed afterwards to create an opening and live stitches — this is a really useful technique that you can use for sock heels and pockets, as well as thumbs.
This braided cast on is worked in two colours and gives a pleasing, rounded edge to the mittens. It's a traditional technique used on mittens and stockings in Estonia, Kihnu is a small island with a rich textile history. The finished cast on is similar to some latvian braids, but forms the edge rather than being worked after casting on. You can learn more about it in this helpful tutorial document. Here's a video tutorial.
As I said above, the hardest part is getting the tension right. The trick is that after slipping a new stitch back to the left needle, to pull the other colour yarn snug. You'll probably find you need to practise a bit and dedicate a lot more time than you usually would to casting on. It's totally worth the effort, but if you don't want to do the braided cast on you can do a backwards loop cast on and pick up stitches for the lining directly from it to create a simple folded edge. If you're looking to expand your colourwork skills further into decorative techniques like this braided cast on you might be interested in the books Estonian Knitting 1 and 2.
If you're not a member of the Colourwork Club all three patterns can be purchased together here.