I was teenager, I had a keen interest in the story of the Titanic.
I was particularly captivated by the tale of the two wireless
radio operators, Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, who manned their
stations until the very end, tapping out messages in Morse code.
Earlier this year, I was doing some research on traditional
Fair Isle patterning, and after days on end of looking at charts,
I realized I was starting to treat everything as dots and dashes. I
did a bit of googling, and realized that the rules of Morse Code
lent themselves very nicely to Fair Isle.
In Morse Code, there are two basic elements: a dot and a dash. A
dash is three dots. Each letter is made up of combinations
of dots and dashes. Letters in a word are divided by a
space three dots in length; and words are divided
by a space seven dots in length. For example, the word mitten becomes:
--- --- - - --- --- - ---
So, why not mittens with messages on them? In code! Each
mitten clearly identifies which hand it is to be
worn on, and the thumb says, simply enough, “thumb”.
Want to change the message? Here you go.
(Adepts of Morse Code will notice that I might have made a couple
of tiny cheats in the spacing to make the stitch counts work
out, but I’m hoping you won’t mind too much.)
Atherley, Norman Wilner photos: Natalie
Adult XS[S, M, L, XL] (shown in sizes XS and
FINISHED MEASUREMENTS Hand Circumference: 7[7.5, 8, 8.5, 9] inches Hand Length: adjustable to fit
Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport [100% superwash merino wool;
200yd/183yd per 100g skein]; 1 skein each color XS shown in [MC] Violet and [CC] Sunshine
M shown in [MC] Charcoal and [CC] Natural
Recommended needle size [always use a needle
size that gives you the gauge
listed below -- every knitter's
gauge is unique]
set US #5/3.75mm double-point needles (smaller needles)
1 set US #6/4mm double-point needles (larger needles)
Note: Two circular needles or one long circular needle (with magic loop
technique) may be used instead of double-point needles.
pin or split ring marker
28 sts/32 rounds = 4 inches in
stranded stockinette stitch using larger needles, after blocking
PATTERN NOTES [Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]
When working charted color pattern, be
sure to keep yarn floats at WS of work
2x1 Rib (Worked in the round over a multiple of 3 sts): All Rounds: [K2, p1] to end.
Instructions for the Backward Loop Cast
On can be found here.
The charts for this pattern are very large.
Each fits on a letter-sized
Click the appropriate size below and print
each resulting page.
Each chart spells out a secret message.
Well, not so secret any more. Here's
Size XS Left Body & Decrease – “The
Size XS Right Body & Decrease – “Right
Size S Left Body & Decrease – “The
Size S Right Body & Decrease – “A
Size M Left Body & Decrease – “My
Size M Right Body & Decrease – “My
Size L Left Body & Decrease – “The
Size L Right Body & Decrease – “The
Size XL Left Body & Decrease – “Warm
Size XL Right Body & Decrease – “My
The thumb charts all read "thumb".
Using smaller needle(s) and MC, CO 39[39, 42, 45, 51]
sts. Divide sts between needles and
join to begin working in the round, being
careful not to twist.
Work in 2x1 Rib until cuff measures 3 inches. After the
first few rounds have been worked, place safety pin or
split ring marker in work to indicate beginning of round.
Continuing in 2x1 Rib as set, work next round as given for your
Size XS (Right mitten only): [Work 6
sts in pattern, m1, work 7 sts in pattern, m1] three times. 45
Size XS (Left mitten only): [Work 6 sts
in pattern, m1, work 5 sts in pattern, m1] three times, work
6 sts in pattern, m1. 46 sts. Note: From this point on, stitch numbers
for size XS will be shown as [right hand/left hand] when numbers
for two hands are different.
Size S: [Work 4 sts in pattern, m1, work
5 sts in pattern, m1, work 4 sts in pattern, m1] three times.
Size M: *[Work 5 sts in pattern, m1]
three times, work 6 sts in pattern, m1; repeat from * once. 50
Size L: [Work 5 sts in pattern, m1]
nine times. 54 sts.
Size XL: [Work 7 sts in pattern, m1]
twice, work 8 sts in pattern, m1, [work 7 sts in pattern, m1]
three times, work 8 sts in pattern, m1. 58 sts.
Change to larger needles. Work Round 1 of Body Chart
for your size and hand, placing stitch
markers before and after first st to
indicate placement of thumb gusset sts.
Continue in pattern, shaping gusset as shown, until you
have completed Round 18[20, 24, 24, 26] of chart. 59/60[64,
68, 72, 78] sts.
Remove marker(s) when working next round; leave end-of-round
marker in place if desired. Next Round: Place first 15[17, 19, 19,
21] sts (all sts between markers) on waste yarn, CO 1 st using
backward loop method in color shown, continue following next
round of chart. 45/46[48, 50, 54, 58] sts.
Continue in pattern, repeating last two rounds of Body Chart,
until work measures 1.5[1.5, 1.5, 1.75, 2] inches less
than desired length to top of hand. End with last round of Body
Chart. Note: When measuring length of mitten,
try on mitten and measure along side of hand above thumb opening.
Work all rounds of Decrease Chart for your size and
hand. After final round, cut yarns, leaving 6-inch tails. Draw
tails through remaining sts to secure.
With RS facing, rejoin yarns at CO edge of thumb opening.
Place held sts on needles. Following Round 1 of Thumb Chart for
your size, pick up and k 1 st in space between CO st and held
sts; work held sts in pattern, pick up and k 2 sts in CO edge.
Divide sts between needles and join to work in the round.
Work all rounds of Thumb Chart. After final round, cut yarns,
leaving 6-inch tails. Draw tails through remaining sts to secure.
Weave in ends and block. You don't need any special tools -
just get the mittens soaking wet, roll them in a towel to wring
them out, and put them on. Take them off again immediately,
and hang them to dry.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Kate is Knitty's technical editor for socks.
She has a passion for clever knitting techniques
and clever projects.
You can see more of her work here.
She may well be slightly geeky.