Mitten Maintenance

trimming pills

After being used frequently last winter, my Fiddlehead Mittens were looking very ragged. They’re knit with Cascade 220 and handspun and they are so pilly! I went through the wool basket this morning and found a few other mittens and mitts that were also in need of some pill maintenance.

My Girdwood Mittens in Cascade Eco:

trimming pills

The Mallory Mitts knit with Nature Spun Sport:

trimming pills

And my Zigzag Study Hall Mitts knit in Reynolds Whiskey:

trimming pills

My method of dealing with pills is to snip them off carefully with scissors. If you have read The Knitter’s Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes, then you know that for many fibers, pulling the pills off will only lead to more pills. By snipping the pills off with scissors (or a sweater shaver if you have one) you leave the surrounding fibers undisturbed. Clara discusses it much more eloquently in the book – it’s on pages 64-65 if you own the book. Read it again, it’s worth it.

After snapping my “before” pictures, I did some careful snipping.

trimming pills

The Fiddlehead Mittens look dramatically different after their haircut!

trimming pills

Nice, right? It just takes a few minutes of attention, plus some vacuuming, and my raggedy mitts and mittens look like new again!

trimming pills


Madalina Mittens

Madalina Mittens

Check out my new mittens! Well, they’re not new to me because I knit them way back in the Spring. But they’re new to you, because the pattern is in the new issue of Knitscene Magazine. The issue will be on newsstands beginning October 25th, and like most issues of Knitscene, there are a lot of knittables in there!

Fore more details, you can view the Madalina Mittens on Ravelry. Don’t you love the name, Madalina? For the record, I had nothing to do with naming this pattern. I let the experts over at Knitscene take care of that.

Madalina Mittens by Mandy Powers

Image © Knitscene

The yarn is Louet Gems Sport Weight knit quite firmly on a US 1 needle. I-cord cast on. Sore thumb gusset. Pointy at the top. I’m quite proud of them.



I finished my potholders for the swap! They are currently flinging themselves up to Massachusetts, and I will patiently (not) wait  for my five unique potholders that will come in return. These were fun to make, but my hands needed frequent brakes because crocheting so tightly with cotton gives me clawhand.

I considered challenging myself with a more interesting pattern, but I feared that would have resulted in unfinished potholders. So I stuck with my own free pattern, Maggie’s Kitchen, and tried to make them very colorful and fun. The yarn is Cotton Classic, and a bunch of the colors came from my Mom’s remnants from this blanket.

before and after, finally!

The other half. All done!

I finished my hallway! What a transformation. All the painting, caulking, and assembling of the Ikea items gave me clawhand for about a month straight. But it’s the best room in the house now. I like to go in there every once in a while just to look around.

We call this space The Hallway. A better description might be Broom Closet, Linen Closet, Pantry, Medicine Cabinet, Homebrewing Headquarters, or Board Game Storage. Anywho. We all love it. There is still a lot of unused storage space, so I think there will be gradual reorganization to get everything in the right spot.

the mittens with no name

And last but not least, I finished my Swap Mittens! (And my swap partner received them, which is why I can show them to you.) These were certainly clawhand-inducing mittens.  I designed a mitten and started knitting it. But the pattern wasn’t exactly how I wanted it. So I tried different yarn. And it still wasn’t right. Then I redesigned the pattern, but the mitten was too big. So I ripped back to the beginning and adjusted the chart. And FINALLY they were right.

I love them, not only because I think they’re pretty, but because I worked hard to get this idea out of my head. And I stuck with the idea even though it wasn’t translating well on the pins. The pattern…is forthcoming. I’ll let you know.