A couple of months ago, I was poking around on ravelry when I noticed down in the left hand corner a beautiful shrug called Ripening. Unfortunately, just as I noticed the beautiful shrug, the page changed over! I frantically hit the back button, but alas, the pictures of designers work changes everytime you go to a particular page. The shrug wasn’t on there anymore. I spent several days looking at every shrug, every shawl, every possible spelling of the word Ripening that I could think of. I just couldn’t find it.  Then one day, there it awas again on the deisgners spot, and I quickly went to look at it, and that was how I was introduced to the delightful knitting designs of Jane Thornley.

I looked at all her designs, which are just beautiful, and I emailed her and she emailed me back, and then finally, I knew I had to do something as wild and free as her designs. I just didn’t have it in me to do another feather and fan shawl, or anything huge.   I have been needing a pair of fingerless gloves for a while, you have all been witnesses to that. I make a pair, and they end up being gifted to someone who need them just as bad as I do.  So I decided that was what I was gonig to do, I was going to do feather and fan fingerless mitts.  Since I had a ton of yarn left from the Marialis shawl, I decided to use those up, as the little bits would not serve well in a larger project, but I should have plenty of those to finish a pair of mittens.

I wanted the mittens to have a bit of that gauntlet type of thing going on the forearms, and regardless, with no ribbing, they wouldn’t have fit too tightly anyway, so I started out with size 3 needles, cast on 36 stitches and started the feather and fan pattern.  It wasn’t too long before I decided this project needed beads.  When I got about halfway up the arm, I tried to make the gauntlets smaller by decreasing the number of stitches, but that made the feather and fan wonky.  So I finally decided to just go down a size in needles.  I threw in a row of purl stitches every so often, and changed colors at will. I tried not to be too methodical, but I think Jane’s free form must be a very learned art, as I found myself falling into patterns of stripes and beads without even trying.  I changed to a size two at the mid forearms, and then to a size 1 at the wrist.

I added stitches for a “sore thumb” thumb at the base of the wrist, working the feather and fan pattern around it.  Also, on the hand, I didn’t do yarnovers for the increases, but just regular increases like you do on the toe of socks, so that there wouldn’t be holes on the hand part. There aren’t any beads on the palms of the hand, either, as I felt that might make holding a steering wheel kind of painful.

I had to finish the mittens with ribbing, just a small enough amount to keep them from rolling. I tried a couple of other finishes, but nothing looked right to me, and these are fancy enough with the ripples and the beading and the yarn overs that they don’t really need a fancier finish.  Too much wilder, and I would be self concious about wearing them.

I loved knitting these.  I was surprised how much thought it took for me to knit “freeform” but it was a wonderful project, and really let me be creative. Jane could not be a more encouraging designer, and I really appreciated her kind words about my project.  I have enough of this yarn left (after a shawl and mitts!) that I could probably do a hat or a scarf, and I probably will, after Christmas though. I think a skinny scarf like these mitts, with beading and maybe even a fringe, would be so pretty.  Would definitely have to buy a black coat though, to avoid clashing!

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