On the newsstand: Heart Motif Mitts

One of my resolutions for 2013 is to spend a bit more blog space on talking about the crafts that we’ve got in the magazine, and I’m excited to begin with our February issue.

In addition to our supercute Valentine’s Day crafts, this month we’ve also got a pattern for these knitted Heart Motif Mitts by Debbie Stoller.

Photography by Rose Callahan copyright © 2012 by Sixth&Spring Books/SoHo Publishing. Used by permission.

The pattern is an excerpt from Knit Red: Stitching for Women’s Heart Health by Laura Zander, and I love it – the simple heart motif is easy to learn, the finished mitts are visually appealing, and it’s a small project, so you’ve got time to whip up a pair as a gift in time for Valentine’s Day.

The only problem with publishing book excerpts is that sometimes they call for materials that aren’t as readily available in Canada as they are in the U.S. If you’re thinking about making these mitts but you’re wondering where to get the yarn, here’s some help.

Order online: If you don’t mind shopping online, check out JoAnn.com – they just started offering online shopping for Canadian customers before Christmas, so that’s great news. You can also purchase online from Red Heart. KnitPicks offers a similar yarn, Swish Worsted, for a very reasonable price. I’ve always been pleased with their prices, customer service, and extremely quick shipping.

Substitute a Canadian favourite: You can easily substitute either of two yarns that are favourites of Canadian knitters: Patons Classic Wool and Cascade 220. Both are available at Mary Maxim stores, and Patons should be available at Michaels. Also ask for them at your local yarn or craft store – they are widely distributed across Canada and should be easily available.

Substitute another yarn: Feel free to substitute any other worsted weight (aka weight category 4) yarn that you would like to use, too. If you’re looking for ideas, check out the yarn suggestions on the Ravelry project page, or visit your favourite local yarn store and asking them for recommendations. Small, locally-owned stores are a great resource for knitters, and are usually staffed by friendly, knowledgeable knitters who are just waiting to help you embark on your next project.

Don’t forget, though, that with any yarn substitutions, there may be small variations in gauge. Make sure that you knit (and wash and block) a gauge swatch, adjusting your needle size as necessary to achieve the gauge called for in the project. Also be sure to follow the garment care instructions on the yarn ball label – Washable Ewe is a superwash yarn, manufactured to withstand machine washing and drying, but some of the substitutions I’ve suggested aren’t, and it would be a shame to go to all the trouble of knitting yourself those beautiful mitts and then accidentally felting them.

Happy knitting!