Joleen’s designs are often inspired by different places she’s visited around the world. But her Zig Zag Mittens came from something a little closer to home. After a chilly morning bike ride this fall, she realized she needed to keep her hands warm. She picked up some Vintage DK yarn and knit a standard pair of mittens in the round. What makes them special is the contrasting yarn she used to create designs in front of the knitting.
Tell us more about this colorwork technique.
I had been playing with carrying yarn in front and picking it up to create different effects in another pattern and wanted to try that again. Once I started experimenting with the design, the pattern came together quickly.
What’s your design process?
I generally like to let ideas percolate and take shape in the back of my brain for a while until they grow into sharper pictures. At that point, I’ll have a picture in my mind of a finished project and I write a preliminary pattern, but rarely do the projects turn out the way they look in my head. I find it interesting how projects evolve. Often, the end result barely resembles the initial idea.
How did you decide on the yarn?
I had recently used Vintage DK in another project (City Mouse Hat and Cowl) and just loved the way it worked up. It’s so soft and has a great lightweight feel, a good choice for a lighter mitten. It’s also a very wearable wool that stands up nicely to everyday use. Plus, there are so many great colors in the Vintage line.
Any disaster stories?
Making my very first sweater taught me the importance of swatching. I ended up with a sweater more fit for a chimpanzee than a person; it had sleeves much too long, with a body that was much too short.
What’s your favorite thing about knitting/crocheting?
To me, knitting and crocheting is magical — you’re taking this loose piece of string and turning it into something that someone can wear or use. I’m always amazed when I see what that raw material turns into.