I’m thrilled to have my sock teacher and knitting buddy Jane Lithgow, better known as Probably Jane as guest writer on the blog today. She has a fab new winter mitten pattern on limited free release, and here tells us the story behind the mittens and shares some family memories:

Everyone needs snowballing mittens for Christmas
I’m here to offer two things – embarrassing childhood photos and a Christmas gift.

At this time of year it is common to become a little nostalgic, particularly thinking about festive seasons from our childhoods and how magical they seemed. I was going through some old family photos the other day and came across a couple that took me back a few years to what I believe is my fourth Christmas…

Jane and donkey

I’m sure I asked Santa for a pony….

Jane and santa

This is more like it! Who doesn’t love an inflatable Santa?

Of course, this season isn’t just about presents, our family loved to be outdoors, whatever the weather, as long as we were well wrapped up and snug. I remember one winter when the weather suddenly became very cold. Almost overnight Mum had knitted up a pair of red mittens each for my sister and I. They were made from thick wool, in a very simple design but they did the trick and kept our fingers toasty warm, even when it started to snow. Best of all, because wool absorbs water, you could even make snowballs and have a decent snowball fight without getting chilly fingers. The only problem was that they did have a tendency to fly off if you threw a particularly large snowball.

With this in mind I got to thinking about how I might make a really well fitting but simple mitten that could be knitted up really quickly if it turned cold or an urgent gift is needed. Being a great lover of toe-up socks, I’m sure I’m not the only person who has popped the foot of a sock over her hand and thought ‘That would make a nice mitten…’ So, I set about designing a mitten that could be made in a matter of hours in either aran or DK weight yarn that starts with a sock toe cast on, hugs the fingers and can be knit to a perfect length for the fingers. It includes a proper gussetted thumb achieved with a provisional cast on and a ribbed cuff that sits exactly where it needs to to hug the wrist. Now I just need some snow to test them out…

Fairlee Mittens by Jane Lithgow

As it’s only just over a week until the Christmas holidays I thought that I would like to give something back to the knitting community to say thank you for all the support in my first year as a freelance designer and teacher. I am therefore offering this pattern free of charge until the end of the year – especially for those who need a Christmas gift in a hurry or anyone who is planning to go snowballing.

They can be downloaded via Ravelry, just click the Fairlee Mitten link!
Have a lovely holiday season.

Thank you so much Jane, you are never going to live the inflatable Santa picture down! See more of Jane’s patterns over on Ravelry and keep up to date with her knitting, crochet and spinning adventures on her lovely blog, Jane’s Probably Knitting.

All images © Jane Lithgow and used with permission.


3 Responses to 16th december: snowballing mittens

  1. Gillian B says:

    I love the mittens! I’ve been looking for a pattern very like that for a while so I’m very glad I found your guest-blog and link here. Thanks!

  2. nancy g. says:

    thank you very much, probablyjane, for the pattern. Just got some new yarn so I will try it out right away.

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