Tag Archives: cranfords

Season of mitts and mellow fruitfulness

The weather’s got cool enough that it’s quite nice to pull on a pair of fingerless mitts when I head out in the mornings, even if it gets too warm for them later on. My Veyla mitts are three years old and looking a bit scruffy and I’ve been meaning to make myself a pair of Cranfords for ages, so I cast on with some leftover Yarn Yard Toddy last weekend and finished them yesterday.


I think this is my eleventh pair of Cranfords, but I still love how quick and easy the pattern is and how pretty the mitts are!


It’s a long way from Oxford to Glasgow. Easily long enough for me to have finished my final pair of Cranfords before I got there:

Cranfords 9

That’s nine pairs of mitts in a little under six weeks.


My colleagues all seem very pleased with them, and it’s definitely raised more money for p/hop than I could have done by myself. I was quite pleased to be able to move on and knit something different, though.

Earl Grey 3

As I predicted, the ‘something different’ was the Earl Grey socks I cast on in August, but I managed to finish those over the weekend too and cast on for a pair of Nutkin socks for myself in one of the yarns from last year’s Old Maiden Aunt club:


I love the way the lace pattern ends up producing a cabled effect, and although the socks are quite simple they incorporate a number of new-to-me techniques: a turned hem rather than ribbing at the top, Priscilla Gibson Roberts’ backwards yarn-over short row method, and a short-row toe, which make them interesting knitting.


Because of the difficulty of getting to London and back on a weeknight, I only managed to spend a couple of hours at The Bothered Owl Christmas Yarn Party on Monday, but I had a lovely evening. I got to meet a couple of Ravelry friends I’d only talked to online before, make some new friends, and squish some lovely yarn. I wish I could have bought all of it, but budgetary constraints prevailed and all I bought was a little purse from the hosts, which I’m using to keep my headphones from tangling up in my bag, and two skeins of yarn from Sweet Clement, a merino sock yarn in deep turquoise and a merino/silk laceweight in a glorious crimson. (Her Etsy shop isn’t up and running yet due to logistical problems, but should be soon, and I advise you to check it out!)

I spent quite a lot of the time sitting at the p/hop stall chatting to Claire and to the various people who came by to look at the patterns. I completely failed to take any pictures, but OneHandKnits, who has a lovely long write-up of the party on her blog, took lots, and has kindly let me use this one of the p/hop stand with about half of me visible on the right-hand side:

Also visible in the picture are my eight pair of Cranfords; I finished them on the bus down, wove in the last few ends while waiting for the Tube at Baker Street, and popped them on the stall for the time I was there before taking them home, blocking them and sending them off to their recipient:

Cranfords 8

I won’t be blogging for a few days, as I’m off to Glasgow tomorrow to visit The Yarn Cake; by the time I get back I expect to have finished the ninth and last pair and moved on to pastures new – or, more likely, to finishing the Earl Grey socks I started knitting for my husband in August and which have been on hold for the last six weeks while I knitted pair after pair of Cranfords. But after that, pastures new!

Seven of nine

I only realised when I was halfway through knitting the first of the latest pair of Cranfords that it was pair seven of nine. The fact that the colour scheme is vaguely Borg-like was completely coincidental.

7 of 9

Although one of my colleagues has asked whether I could make a pair for her to give her sister for Christmas, which would bring the total up to ten. I am tempted to say I can’t manage it, though; I probably could get the mitts done before my colleague finishes for Christmas, but I am getting a bit tired of knitting Cranfords now…


When I woke up today there was a light covering of snow (only about half a centimetre, but still. Snow! In November!) and I chose my outfit with considerably more regard for warmth than looks.


Shawl – Multnomah
T-shirt – Dorothy Perkins
Jumper, cardigan and skirt – M&S
Boots – Timberland

The jumper is fine merino wool, and the cardigan is a roughly aran-weight wool. It was a Christmas present ten or elevenn years ago, when M&S still made their jumpers out of 100% wool rather than synthetics. It used to have a detachable furry collar, but although it was lovely and soft it was never very me, so I ditched it a while ago. The skirt is a not-particularly-warm suedette fabric, but it’s lined and below knee length and I was wearing wool tights under it and an extra pair of socks inside my boots.

On the whole I think this outfit was a very sensible choice; even with the heater on full blast I was struggling to get the temperature in my office up to 19C this morning, and then I spent the afternoon at a meeting in a seventeenth-century theatre with no visible heat sources at all (to say nothing of the fact that we occasionally had to troop outside for votes to be taken) which made my office seem positively cosy!

Meanwhile my colleagues’ Cranfords are all very much in evidence. Pair number six is now blocked and my boss was absolutely delighted when I gave them to her this morning!

Cranfords 6


We had a staff awayday today, so I decided to opt for a casual outfit.


Scarf – Aurantium
Jumper – M&S
Jeans – Next
Boots – Timberland

The awayday was held at a colleague’s house, and we all took our shoes off at the door. Fortunately I had anticipated spending the day in stocking feet, and was wearing my tiger socks, which everyone admired.

I also managed to spend the day knitting while talking/listening, and not only finished the first of my sixth pair of Cranfords (cast on yesterday) but knitted the whole of the second one too. They’re blocking now, so pictures tomorrow, but that’s really not bad going for four weeks. And now I only have three more pairs to make!

Meanwhile I blocked pair number five yesterday and took them with me to give to the colleague who was hosting the awayday.

Cranfords 5


In the end, I agreed to make nine pairs of Cranfords for various colleagues.


I cast on for the first one on 1 November. Not quite four weeks later, I’ve just cast off the first of the fifth pair, which means I’m halfway through; I think I’ll probably have this pair done by the end of November, and should be finished with the lot by Christmas.

I really like the Cranford pattern. It’s simple enough to knit from memory, but the lace pattern gives it interest. It uses tiny amounts of yarn (about 20g of sock yarn for the main colour and another 5g of contrast colour) and is a brilliant way to use up leftovers. And the mittens are very pretty and all the recipients so far have been absolutely delighted (and keep wearing their mitts around the office to prove it). Four and a half pairs in, and having knitted nothing else for nearly a month, I’m not sick of it yet.

Still, it is a little frustrating. I keep looking longingly at the lovely yarns in my stash (and the ones that have appeared in the house in the last few days – don’t know how that happened!) and thinking of all the things I’d like to make once my knitting time is no longer completely taken up with Cranfords.

Oh well. I’m halfway there. And now I’m going to go and cast on for the second of this pair, and then I’ll be more than half way!


Today’s outfit was about as close to neutral as I get. I was going to wear teal tights, but they didn’t quite work (forest green would have done, but I don’t have forest green tights).


Scarf – Acanthus
Shawl pin – Knitting Goddess
Jumper – M&S
Skirt – Boden
Tights – M&S
Boots – Timberland

I think I need to play with my wardrobe and find other colours that go with green.

(Also, this skirt is wool, but it’s a very light wool and the skirt is full and quite floaty and it really isn’t anywhere near warm enough for a day as cold as today was; by the time I arrived at work I was seriously considering knitting myself some bloomers. Which is not really a bad idea, except they would take absolutely bloody ages because they’d have to be in a fine yarn.)

Also, Cranfords number 4 are done:

Cranfords 4

I’m halfway through the first one of pair number 5. When that’s done I will be halfway through. I think I still stand a chance of being finished before Christmas; meanwhile I have asked Antje at The Yarn Cake to put aside a skein of purple Moondance for me so I can knit a sparkly scarf to wear with a plain black dress on New Year’s Eve, so I think the dress plans may have to wait!


There was something about this outfit that reminded me of a Gap Christmas advert, despite nothing in it being from Gap.


Scarf – Goddess Shawl
Dress – M&S, via charity shop
T-shirt – Banana Republic via friend K
Tights – M&S
Boots – Timberland

It was a lovely warm, comfortable outfit – perfect for a wet chilly day following a late night. And, having not been very happy with this cardigan last time I wore it I was surprised by how much better it worked in this outfit; the boxiness didn’t work against the shape of the straighter dress in the way it did with the fuller-skirted one I wore then.

And in mitten news, I have finished a third pair:

Cranfords 3

Knitted in Cygnet 4-ply in charcoal and mauve, these are for my officemate E, who seems very happy with them and certainly seemed to be feeling warmer for having them today!

Wrapped up warm

Today’s weather was frosty and foggy (or fosty and froggy, as the weather presenter on the Today programme very nearly said at five to seven), so I thought I’d better wrap up warm.


Polo-neck – M&S
Necklace – charity shop
Cardigan – Liesl
Skirt – M&S
Boots – Dune

My approach to cold weather is always to wear as many layers as possible and to make sure that as many of them are wool as possible. I’ve pretty much eliminated synthetic knitwear from my wardrobe now – the ‘cashmilion’ jumpers the shops are full of are lovely and soft, but no good at all at keeping me warm. Today’s outfit definitely counted as ‘as many layers as possible’ – with my winter coat over the top I had trouble bending my arms to talk on the phone at lunchtime! – and also scores pretty well on the wool stakes; the polo-neck is merino, Liesl is 100% wool, the skirt is a wool-rich blend and I was also wearing wool-mix tights (and a long-sleeved t-shirt under the polo-neck). Despite this I was still quite chilly in the office this morning, although it warmed up by lunchtime.

In knitting news, I’ve finished the second set of Cranfords, for my colleague C:

Cranfords 2

The main yarn is the Knitting Goddess’s sock yarn in Plumage, left over from the last pair of socks I made for T. I wasn’t sure I had quite enough so I did a double band of garter stitch at the wrist and left out a pattern repeat. I really like how the two-coloured edging looks, although it did make for even more ends to darn in than normal. I’ve already finished the first of the next pair, for my officemate E. The cold weather has brought three more requests today, so I think I’ll be knitting Cranfords for a while yet!