Fiddlehead Mittens (or the Best $35 You Would Ever Spend)

Fiddlehead Mittens

Pattern: Fiddlehead Mittens by Helloyarn [Ravelry]
Yarn: Suss Alpaca, 1 skein cream, 1 skein grey; Classic Elite Fresco, 1 skein Max Factor Pink
Needles: US2

Notes: So, I met my friend for drinks the other weekend, and she was with HER friend who was, erm, trashed. My friend pointed out to her friend that I had made my mittens. She grabbed my hand and shrieked, "OH MY GOD! YOU SHOULD SELL THESE ON ETSY.COM! I would pay THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS FOR THEM!!!"

Fiddleheads Colorwork

People don't understand knitting. Drunky, these are LINED! Like making two pairs of mittens? Don't you understand that if I charged for my time, these mittens would cost like $10,000?



Incidentally, knancy recently showed me this etsy listing for a crocheted blanket, the first listing for a handknit I've ever seen that appears to fairly compensate for the crocheter's time.

So, the mittens. Recognize this yarn? It's the same yarn used in my last FO, the Heart Attack & Vine Sweater. The Suss Alpaca I bought those many years ago has turned out to be a great basic. There is one peculiarity about this yarn though, a bit counterproductive for mittens: in a strong wind the alpaca appears to retain the cold - they're actually cold to the touch and stay that way after 20 minutes or so indoors. Has anyone else experienced this?

Fiddleheads Lining

And Fresco, used for the lining, was a new yarn to me, suggested by Ms. Cirilia. You may have discerned after all these years that amazing color is my Kryptonite (which is why I have an easy time staying away from Knitpicks). I only needed one skein of Fresco but somehow acquired ten skeins in various amazing colorways like Tandoori Spice, Superman Yellow (see? Kryptonite!), Magenta, and a couple of neutrals. Oops.

The Fiddlehead pattern is of course well-known, and is one of Adrian's best. My version is a blatant rip-off of a pair that Maya made for a Spiders swap last year. I made minimal modifications mostly in the name of fitting my small hands. First, I downsized yarn and needles to US2. Second, on the advice of the ladies of Lettuce Knit, when I started the lining, I decreased even more than recommended in the pattern to ensure the lining was snug. And honestly it's still a tad bit loose but not at all uncomfortable.

Fiddlehead Mittens in Progress

These are already in heavy rotation this frigid winter because they're AWESOME. This is one of the few patterns I've made that I could see doing again. So fun and well-written, with classy results! Maybe next time I need an extra THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS!!! in my pocket . . .

Posted by jess at March 4, 2011 8:04 AM | TrackBack

I would totally offer to pay you $38 for them (well above market rates!) except that I did not know that it was possible to make Adrian's patterns even teenier! Hee.

Posted by: Ashley at March 4, 2011 9:13 AM

I really need to get over my fear of colorwork and just make some mittens already, I adore the pink lining!

re: $3000 blanket, I notice that a lot of my non-knitter friends seem to think it's just easy peasy to knit everything, and I get a lot of requests (sometimes with offers of payment!) for hats, scarves, sweaters and blankets. I tend to counter with "well, when I worked at the firm, my billable rate was $300/hour, so yes, I'd be happy to make you a hat, if you're happy to pay me." :)

Posted by: nancy at March 4, 2011 9:34 AM

First of all, those mittens are beautiful. I always shy away from white and gray for colorwork, but you have me thinking I've been wrong this whole time.

Secondly, a story. After years of friends asking me to make their mom a hat or their brother a scarf for Christmas--I mean I'm usually FLOODED with these requests from September until January--I decided to work up a price list and pick out a few easily customized patterns and get to business. Whenever someone asked I would tell them a hat would be $50, mittens were $60, and a scarf was $80, plus materials and plus more if they wanted patterning of any kind. Honestly I thought I was pricing things really low!

Of course, as soon as I listed the prices the requests stopped.


Posted by: elizabeth at March 4, 2011 9:48 AM

Great story! My friend K once admired my Mermaid gloves and asked if she could buy a pair. I told her I would be happy to teach her to knit and help her make a pair of gloves, but she insisted. I asked her how much she thought the gloves were worth and she thought $20. I told her that wouldn't even pay for the yarn! Reminds me of my favorite knitting quote - Knitting is like sex. If I like you, it's free, otherwise you can't pay me enough."

Posted by: Martha at March 4, 2011 10:20 AM

yay! They turned out great! Glad you are getting a lot of use out of them. And I clearly agree that this is a reknittable pattern--I've already done it twice and I'm considering making them yet again for my mom.

I recently made a small toy for a friend's kid and they loved it so, they pronounced I could "sell these"... for $30! No, the non-knitters really don't get it.

Posted by: maya at March 4, 2011 10:24 AM

That is too funny! I once had a woman come up to me in a coffee shop and ask me if she could get me to knit her the hat I was wearing. I said that I couldn't charge her what it would cost me to make it, and she said, 'Well, I'll just find someone on etsy to make it for me. I can't take more than 45 minutes to make.'

Ok, lady. You do that.

Oh non knitters!

Posted by: Allyson at March 4, 2011 10:31 AM

Love the mittens with the splash of color inside. I agree with the other comments--it's amazing how people think you can just make something in a day or two. The $3000 blanket made me laugh.

Posted by: lindsay at March 4, 2011 10:47 AM

Love those mittens!

I once had a co-worker admire my crocheted zippered hoodie, and insist that I should make them to sell - for $20! Twenty bucks for a whole sweater. With a hood, and a zipper. I think I died a little that day.

Posted by: Nancy at March 4, 2011 10:50 AM

They are beautiful!

I had to laugh at "drunky" as it's what I call drunk people, too.

Posted by: Adrian at March 4, 2011 10:55 AM

HILARIOUS! Love all of the stories in the comments, too.

Why are opinions on knitting always such extremes? Either people think you can whip up a sweater in a day for $40, or they look at you in total fear wondering what is so wrong with you to make you spend that much time knitting something you could (they assume) buy in a store for $40.

Beautiful mittens, by the way! Love the pink colour peeking out. I am dying to knit myself a pair of fiddleheads.

Posted by: Karen at March 4, 2011 11:24 AM

Ha... LOVE it! I've had the same comments made about my knitting. If they only knew. I just made my first pair of Fiddleheads too and adore them. It is a great pattern and one that I could see myself knitting again. Your mittens are stunning! I love the color peaking out from the lining too. Thanks for the laugh!

Posted by: Mary at March 4, 2011 12:04 PM

Hilarious. Non-knitters. They don't get it. Your new mittens are beautiful! And drunky? That's awesome. I'm going to have to remember that one.

Posted by: Jacey at March 4, 2011 12:37 PM

Shoot me an email the day you put them on Etsy, I'd snag a pair for $35 :)

Seriously though, totally gorgeous- the magenta lining makes them.

Posted by: Melynda at March 4, 2011 12:38 PM

Your mittens are wonderful!

And I love this post. How often I hear someone say, "What would you charge for that?" And it has been hard for me to explain why I don't knit for money.

Posted by: Kelly at March 4, 2011 1:27 PM

They are so gorgeous!! I totally know what you mean about non-knitters suggesting that you sell knitting- they have no idea the hours involved. that hot pink lining is fantastic!!

Posted by: Julie at March 4, 2011 4:44 PM

I love them! The outside and the inside! There are on my queue... Hope I can make them next winter maybe? The etsy comment was pretty funny ;-)

Posted by: Maryse at March 4, 2011 7:09 PM

Your mittens are awesome! I have been wanting to knit a pair up myself but I haven't had the time. I have wayyyyy too many projects going on right now!

Anyhoo, I thought I was the only one that noticed Alpaca seems to hold the cold!!! I knitted up a hat in alpaca and noticed the very same thing that you did. The hat is warm to wear but freezing on the outside once I take it off. Of course, I was in an ice rink and the weather was cold and windy outside on the way to the car but I really was surprised how long it held the cold.

As for the cost of knitting, non-knitters and crocheters really don't get it, no matter how much you try to explain it to them. I thought I was being nice to a friend's sister-in-law by crocheting two dolls for her. They are my own pattern and very detailed. She bugged the ever living heck out of me until they were finished. AND, I made her dolls for free! Last time . . . I EVER . . . do that one. The lady even bugged me after I finished the dolls saying that I could sell then for $20 a piece and had 6 people that wanted to buy one! Yeah. Not gonna happen. Ever. She managed to steal all of the joy out of doing something nice for someone. Ugh.

Posted by: Samantha Edwards at March 4, 2011 7:17 PM

I'm glad the extra decreases worked out, and those look GORGEOUS.

Posted by: Jane at March 5, 2011 7:00 AM

Ha! I thought I was the only one who routinely wanted to punch people after they suggest that I should make so and so and sell it. I do both crochet and knit and I have considered selling some crochet stuff on etsy, but I've never once considered selling anything knit on there. It just takes too long. In fact I rarely even knit gifts for people, just crochet. And why is it ok to suggest to someone that they should do anything for money. It's like, do I look like a homeless person or something? Do I look like I need some extra cash? Why can't people just do anything for fun anymore? Ok... the end.

Posted by: Renee at March 5, 2011 9:10 PM

I love the pink lining! If I didn't live in Los Angeles and actually have a use for mittens, I'd be knitting those RIGHT NOW.

And people really don't understand knitting, do they? I always have people telling me I should sell my finished objects, but when I tell them that minimum wage + yarn would be in the hundreds of dollars they stop asking.

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