Icelandic Mittens Part 1: Must Try Harder

Awhile ago I started knitting the lovely Fair Isle pattern Icelandic Mitts from Hilary Grant’s book, Knitting From The North.

Like most new projects, I started so enthusiastically and I had such high hopes for how they would turn out. Unfortunately, this time my knitting skills haven’t been quite up to scratch and I think I will have to start them again!

Firstly, I REALLY struggled with the tiny needle size and fine yarn weight required for this pattern. The mittens are knit in the round on 2.25mm and 2.5mm DPNs and the yarn I chose is the lovely fingering weight Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.

As the mittens are fairly narrow, and the needles so small, I found it very fiddly to cast on and it took me about a million goes to get something I was happy with.

After I had overcome this issue, I then realised that I had gotten the colours mixed up on the chart and was knitting the red where the white should be and the white where the red should be and so I had to start again!

Spot the difference!

Secondly, I had been knitting the colour work two-handed as per the Fair Isle style, and the tension on my left hand was pretty terrible. The worst parts were the sections before and after moving to the next needle. As you can see from below it was either too tight or too loose and the fabric therefore ended up very inconsistent! I have knit two-handed before, but it was using aran weight yarn for a hat, so this was very different!


I think at the beginning of the mittens the tension on my left needle was too tight, and you can see here where the yarn has pulled. To over compensate this I have then knitted FAR too loosely, and this has resulted in the mitten being way too wide, and also the stitches being very irregular.


To say I’m disappointed is an understatement! I’m usually fairly good with knitting and can trust myself to produce something close to the original pattern, even if it means starting a few times, but I think this is my first truly rubbish end result!

I think what I’m going to do is leave this one mitten almost finished, and start my next two projects which will be a cat scarf for J’s niece and the Asklöv hat from Pom Pom Issue 18. Whilst the latter is still tiny needles and fine wool, as it’s a hat and not mittens I don’t think it will be quite so fiddly and hopefully this will help me perfect my two-handed knitting, ready for another shot at the lovely mittens!

Keep your fingers crossed for me! And if you have any advice about how I can improve my two handed knitting I’d love to hear it!

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