Thursday, January 10, 2013

Embroidered Mittens


We’re having a regular New York winter this year, thank goodness.  Not that I’m complaining about last winter, which was essentially nonexistent and the whole of January and February, those deep, dark months where we normally have to mount an expedition just to take out the trash, was balmy and bright and instead of knee-high snow boots I wore ballet flats with no socks.  [Let’s pause for a moment of nostalgic reflection…long sigh…] No, this year, it is cold, and we have our snow.  It is as it should be.  This is the North.  I need mittens. 

Sometimes I wear two pairs at once, multiple mitten layers, which really keeps the wind out.  And how do people wear gloves, anyway?  Don’t their fingers need each other?  Mine do.  Gloves look spiffy, but in the bitterness of January, my fingers get so cold they want to die.


I have a regular mitten pattern, and if you’re a knitter, you probably do too.  Mine is just a plain mitten with no fanciness, but I felt like making a pair of fancy-ish mittens.   I felt like making some gray mittens with embroidered flowers on them. 


A pair of mittens requires only one ball (less than 100g) of worsted weight yarn and an evening or two cozied up by the fire.  As I knit mittens, I always feel like Ma Ingalls, preparing for the Long Winter.  Making mittens feels like one of the cozies things a person can do. 

I made the mittens first, then began stitching the flowers, for which I used crewel wool and a large-eyed needle.  I started with the french knot centers, leaving the tails hanging out the front:


I dealt with the ends later, but having them out front where I could see them as I worked, instead of letting them dangle around inside the mitten where they could and did get in the way of every single stitch, was a lot easier. 


The petals were added last, just a few straight stitches in pink and yellow.  It was somehow hard to get a good picture of the finished mittens.  Everybody tried to help me:





Well, you get the idea.  They’re wooly and warm, but pretty, too.  I think you could do this even if you aren’t a knitter; just take some plain mittens you already have and stitch on a few flowers.   That’s the soul of cozy.


  1. Great idea! Very pretty too.

  2. Gives your mitts so much more personality! They look great!

  3. I LOVE them! The colourful flowers are really pretty. I crocheted a pair of pale blue mittens and stitched on some lazy daisy flowers in the same colour. They are are very nice too but I like yours even more! I've come to see that I just can't wear gloves any more as fingers get too darn cold. So, although it is a nuisance having to put them on and off all the time to accommodate what I need to do when out and about, mittens it is. They look so cute too! Your pictures look really nice. I bet everyone wants a pair for themselves now.

  4. I just did some for my 4yo last night :) Hearts though... as demanded.

    You know what I find really works for the non-freezing hands? A pair of those stretchy mini-gloves inside warm mittens. Bonus that if you have to pull off your mittens to do a zipper or something, you're still covered.

  5. I love your wonderful mittens, even more so with the flowers.
    As it's not so cold here I have a pair of crocheted wrist warmers.

  6. LOVE! When I was a teen, back in the 70's, we would embroider on our jeans! I have been wanting to do that again! I also did some on a couple of shirts. I love it! Your mittens are darling!
    xo Kris

  7. I love mittens, and also prefer them over gloves ... mittens are for outdoors - gloves are for driving. You've really made a pair of utilitarian mittens lively and fun! Wendy

  8. oh they are fab! I'd definitely go down the route of embroidering shop bought mittens as it'd take me months to knit a pair! Mind you, I don't get on with mittens, I'm a glove girl. You said "don't your fingers miss each other" but I ask "don't you need your fingers??" You can't do anything with mittens on, but you can with gloves on.

  9. These are lovely! And glad your winter is back to normal - though ballet flats in January is a great thing to experience once! I love having pretty gloves (can't do mittens, I need my fingers independently moving!) and I may go find me a pair of plain ones just for this purpose! I've always wanted to try and crochet (not a very good knitter, this one) a pair of gloves, but haven't gotten up the courage yet! Thank you for sharing!! xoxo, Jess

  10. What a lovely idea Kristen - you always have them! You've done a beautiful job embroidering them, they look so pretty and chirpy and remind me of SPRING!!!
    Keep warm!
    Gill xx

  11. These are fantastic, do I see bare feet on the step?

    1. Haha, yes, those are her bare feet. She was in a hurry, I guess! :D

  12. Wow! Cute way to make a sweet pair out of normal mittens! I really love how you always come up with such great ideas!

    Love, Kirsten

  13. They look lovely, the embroidery really brightens up the mittens.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  14. Hi Kirsten , love your mittens and I LOVE your latest blanket....don't think I commented on it before as I was in a rush, but it's wonderful.
    Jacquie x

  15. Wearing two pairs at once? Now that's cold. Love your mitts. The embroidery adds a one of a kind, personal touch. Very pretty indeed.

  16. So very lovely! I feel embroidery is out my comfort zone but feel inspired to have a go. Heather x

  17. oh i LOVE! this is something i've been wanting to do, embroider on my knits. so pretty! i love the mitten pattern too, i don't have one since the need for mittens here is small to none. oh and i love your snow!

  18. You are seriously awesome!! I am so impressed by how much great work you turn out. Love it :)

  19. Love the mittens! The bright colors are perfect, almost summery-citrusy. They will brighten up your winter quite well, I think. Trust me, I lived in Syracuse for years. I know of what I speak. :)

  20. I love your mittens. Simple patterns are the best. The flowers takes them over the top!

  21. You have WAY MORE snow than we do here in Michigan! I love those mittens! my mom is going to knit a new pair for me (hopefully before winter's end *lol!* ) I think I might embellish mine in a similar manner :-)

  22. They are lovely! Living here in IL, sometimes I miss that NY snow! An old fashioned NY winter is good for the soul.

  23. You have a knack for taking something plain and simple and turning it into something warm and wonderful! Best wishes, Tammy

  24. Those are beautiful mittens. Which pattern do you use?

  25. Kristen, I am always amazed at how fast you make things. I love these!! You have such a wonderful imaginations for adding detail.

    Would you share the entire pattern?

  26. Wow, Kristen! What beautiful mittens!!! The BESTEST projects are the ones that are both practical AND pretty!!!
    Keep warm, and have a great weekend.....

  27. Hi Kristen
    Awesome!! What a wonderful way to remind you of Spring during those really cold winter days. I love the way the flowers make the mittens pop!!!!

  28. Oh those are beautiful, It`s a bit to much snow here in Sweden for knitted mittens but maybe for spring..? I guess one can go pretty crazy on a pair to, make all sorts of patterns and decoration. I love to before pictures to, were you get to see the colors and just imagine what you made.

  29. I've only ever knitted one mitten - just the one! Seeing these though has made me want to get on with mitten number two and get the threads out. Beautiful x

  30. What a brilliant idea. Love how you've done them. May just have to borrow your inspiration. Off to find some boring wool, lol, to knit plain mittens so that I can play about with the flowers.

  31. Ooh they are so cute. Clever from you.

  32. Gorgoeus mitts....I'm not a lover of mittens but I think I could make an exception in this case. :-)

    keep well

    Amanda :-)

  33. Hi Kristen,
    That lovely stitching would be pretty on a scarf too.
    Very nice! :)
    penny x