We are all our hands and holders


Patterns: Striped Fingerless Mitts by Becky Stern and Noro Scarf (two-tone diagonal garter stitch) by Suzanne Pietrzak
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport (100% Peruvian highland wool), colorways Semolina and Cobblestone Heather
Needles: U.S. 3 Harmony wood 24′ circulars (magic loop one-at-a-time) for the mitts, U.S. 5 Signature straights for the scarf

This is the story of a matching set.

My friend Ali e-mailed me after seeing this a few months ago. “Love that yellow,” she said. “Any chance you’d make me a pair of fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm at work — in a yellow like that, striped with charcoal gray maybe? And maybe a matching scarf? I’ll trade you food!”

The quest for the right colors began. Photos flew back and forth over e-mail; opinions were expressed. Ali was drawn to shades with more orange to them, and we settled on Knit Picks Palette in Bittersweet Heather and Golden Heather. And then I began knitting. And they looked like this.


I e-mailed Ali a picture. “Two words come to mind: Tiger stripes,” I confessed. I opined that this wasn’t what she had in mind. I suggested a move back toward yellow and gray.


And here we are. Yes, bumblebee stripes do come to mind. Two more words, as it were. But with the gray refusing to trend all the way to black, the insect is suggested rather than imitated. This is boldness without ostentation. Fashion-forward without screaming for attention. There’s a modern elegance. Just like Ali herself.


I didn’t sweat the small stuff. Moved the thumb off the seam to make them handed, sure. But decided to embrace the natural jog of the stripes, the easy roll of the stockinette. Even the slouchy, casual fit, introduced deliberately after the first try at mitt #1 turned out too snug for my normal hands let alone Ali’s long, tapered ones.


As for the scarf, all I asked was a slightly more interesting knit — and look — than horizontal two-row stripes. Ali agreed to a scarf knit on the bias, and that was all I needed to hear. For the last two weeks this has been my in-class, in-meeting, in-waiting rooms, carried-all-over-creation knitting.


Easy but not ordinary. A dash of flair, not a cry for attention. Warm, work-friendly, versatile. The bitter cold and snow of the last week sent Ali back to her e-mail this week, looking for her mitt’s companion. I pushed it to 70 inches, blocked, finished, and completed the set today.


A more gratified client no knitter could wish for. May these gifts of warm wool and sunlit hues ward off the chill and brighten the dark this winter, and for many winters to come.

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2 Comments on “We are all our hands and holders”

  1. Coralee Says:

    You are certainly a generous knitter,your friends and family are fortunate! You are also a very prolific knitter!! How do you do it??? I know, easy to do the things you love…I agree but I need to find more time for those things. One of my goals for 2011 along with reminding myself “one or two rows is progress” I don’t have to have 1 or 2 hours every time I pick up my needles…..though it would be nice! Happy Knitting.

  2. Mari Lou Bokern Says:

    I am wearing a tan bamboo hat made by Donna and given to me at Thanksgiving by my daughter-in-law, Ali. Yesterday was the last day of six months of chemo for me. The chemo plus some single digit St. Louis weather made head covering essential. Thanks again to Donna for her knitting skills.

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