Norne fingerless mitts

We may be heading towards summer, but this didn’t stop me from casting on a pair of Mette Lea’s Norne fingerless mitts for a very dear friend last April. Knit on size 2 DPNs, these mitts are full of delightful details: braided cables along the front, broken-ribbed palms (k2 p2 rows alternate with a row of knit stitches), a stockinette thumb-gusset, and a garter-stitch ‘stripe’ down the side of the thumb for subtle interest. At 6.5 stitches to the inch, the mitts knit up snug and, I think, are pretty sleek. This pattern has made me a fingerless mitten lover.

I used Knitpicks’ Galileo in the Dragonfly colourway. 2 50g skeins were more than enough. Galileo is a Merino-bamboo blend that surprised me with its smoothness and lustre – great for getting those cables to pop and catch light.

The knitting in progress above benefited from the newly returned April sunshine.

By mid-month, the mitts were finished and wet-blocked:

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Blocking ribbing + cables:  one effect of wet-blocking, I noticed, is that ribbing tends to flatten out a little bit (I used almost no pins, and no pressure). For an already-snug glove, a little extra wiggle-room from the flattened ribbing was OK, but I’ve made a note to tread very lightly when blocking ribbing in the future.

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Pre-blocked (left) the broken-ribbing is ‘ribbier’ and more dimensional. After wet-blocking and very minimal pinning (right) the ribbing has flattened out.

I found that wet-blocking, strangely, had the opposite effect on the cables. The braided cables evened out and came to life after their soak. I was a bit concerned that the blocking would texturally blur them out, so I was really happy to see the opposite effect. Norne mitts were the perfect project for learning about wet-blocking different textures.

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Tension:  just as I “can’t step into the same river twice,” neither, it seems, can I knit the same fingerless mitten twice (at least not with my current skills!). The first mitten ended up a bit tighter than the second one. The tension difference isn’t visually apparent, but one feels it when the mitts go on.

I followed the pattern pretty closely on both mitts – stitch-wise, they’re identical. I do remember, though, being much more cautious and careful when working the first mitt, then relaxing and loosening my grip on the second one, having eased into a familiarity with the pattern and cables. Apparently, the knitting registered all of those shifts in learning, concentration, and relaxation. The lesson, it seems, is that in knitting, we are also swatching ourselves!

All the signs of summer are returning to my little corner of the city: the neighbourhood lawn mowers are revving, the iced cappuccino dog walkers are out and about, and one hears the slow invasion of flip flop sandals and night-time wind chimes through open windows again.

I look forward to taking my needles outdoors, and can think of nothing better than mixing up a batch of sangria, soaking in some rays, and spending some quality time with friends and the knitting fairies.

Wishing you many happy hours of making this week!

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26 thoughts on “Norne fingerless mitts

    1. Phew! Thanks, Yolanda. 🙂 It helps to know that even very seasoned crocheters deal with this! 🙂 It’s really incredible what a difference there can be between identically-made items! (oh, slippers sound like such a fun project!)

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      1. A few times, I thought I was so smart and made them simultaneously. A few rounds on this one, then a few on that one and back and forth till done. Genius! And they were still not the same. LOL The lesson is that no one notices most of the time. 🙂

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  1. Nice mitts. I have lots of projects on the go, to pick up depending on my mood and where I am/who I am with. I too cast on something new at the weekend, seemingly out of season, a new project to start with one ball and 2 needles as I was hospital visiting. I didn’t want to take a huge bag of knitting with me, a cardigan in parts that needed sewing up – I just can’t do that in company and I definitely need more space and flat space too. It did feel strange though casting on a new winter scarf!

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    1. Thanks, Christina. Now that I’ve started a sweater, I hear you. It can be a little cumbersome to lug around a huge bag of knitting. Sometimes small new projects are the best when we’re on the move. I bet the scarf will be lovely. And come fall/winter, you’ll have something brand new to wear. 🙂


      1. Thank you. My mum always used to say I had way too many bags of individual projects. Never way too many I say! Just different ones for different occasions!

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  2. Lovely mitts with plenty of texture. Very true about the tension: we have to watch how we knit and not become overly relaxed if the tension was a bit tight in the beginning. I think we all tend to do that, I guess the ideal scenario is to swatch in the most relaxed possible way and start from there, but with complex stitches, it is not that easy. You’ll get there.

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    1. I’m learning a lot through the process. I got a little smug on that second mitt, and it showed! The sensitivity of knitting makes me all the more in awe of how knitters get regularity in their stitches and work. A good reminder to relax and enjoy. Thank you, Agnes. 🙂

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  3. “… In knitting, we are also swatching ourselves” – I’ve never thought of it like that before, but it’s so true! Your mitts are beautiful, and I’m definitely going to take note of your findings about wet blocking. It’s something I’ve only just started doing myself, so any tips and pointers are always useful. Now, you might want to go and clear out 3 drawers to make way for all the fingerless gloves you’ll be knitting this summer… They’re seriously addictive!

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    1. haha! Yes, I think I may have to re-arrange the dresser. I do love making mitts (and am remembering how the Beasties have their origins in the fingerless glove). 🙂 I admit, I really used to dread blocking. But I’ve come to see blocking as a ‘last chance’ to polish the knit; I guess it appeals to the tinkerer in me that way. Also, I’m noticing that the knits dry a little faster these summer days (when it’s not too humid). Looking forward to following along your blocking adventures 🙂

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      1. I’m experimenting with post-blocking “relaxing” now, actually… Do you ever find that things end up looking a little too pressed and neat once you’ve blocked them? And because what I’m making is so small, those sharp creases really show! I’m seeing what effect steam has, but if you’ve any hints for restoring a bit of the movement into the knit, without making the edges curl up again, I’d love to hear them! 😀

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      2. Yes, I’ve noticed creases and folds from how a garment was laid down, too, and the general flattening effect, especially on ribbing. I can imagine that those creases would be a little more noticeable on Beastie-sized garments. But, yes, steam! Maybe that would be a good middle-path between no soak and a full wet block. I will have to give that a go myself next time, too!

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  4. The mitts are amazing, they are something on my knitting “bucket list”. I am amazed by the cables – to me cables are magical undertakings and I feel more certain that I will be visited by a unicorn than make cables in my knitting – ha! The yarn is lovely too. You are so talented 🙂

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    1. Thank you.. 🙂 I am imagining a cable-knit unicorn who will make your cable-knitting dreams come true. 😀 With your quilter’s agility and finesse, I can only imagine you’d be a boss at cables in no time, Tierney! (a quilter friend recently showed me her EPP work with hexies, and I definitely want to try this one day!)

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  5. Great mitts! I’ll definitely be making a pair of these at some point. Thank you so much for posting about them. Also, what a wonderful picture of you knitting. I love it! 🙂

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