..or a rectangle, or an oblong (although I’m never quite sure what the difference is).

Most of our virgin knitting projects begin with a shape along these lines. Cast on, garter stitch, cast off. And no matter if you’re six or sixty, there is a great deal of pride to be had in the first piece of fabric you create.

I am teaching a Learn to Knit workshop at a LYS next month and was asked to come up with a functional first project idea. I started with the square: coasters, mitts, some kind of cosy?

I went with mitts, as I felt something wearable maximises the boast factor of ‘I made this myself’; it also gets the most out of the yardage, as the learners will be given one 50g ball of Debbie Bliss Rialto for the workshop. June may not the best time to be making woollen accessories but these are tiny mitts, and the more seasonal cotton poses too many tension pitfalls for the novice knitter.

What I came up with could hardly be called a pattern, although for the purposes of the workshop it is, with a pattern sheet and everything. For the more nervous student there is a completely garter stitched version

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And for the more intrepid, a mitt incorporating……………wait for it…………………the purl stitch.

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The workshop is only two hours long, and the brief is that attendees will be picking up sticks for the very first time, so I’m not anticipating FOs in class. I hope there will be just enough time to introduce the basic techniques and get everyone knitting with confidence.

The yarn is a delight. Though a little splitty for newbies, it lovely plump merino-ness is very forgiving and will even out some tension issues. The mitts pictured are unblocked, and not looking too bad. The duck egg blue shade for these samples was provided by the LYS. Personally, its amongst my least favourite colours. Duck egg to me is often dull, uninspiring and overused (in decorating circles at least). But it does have the virtue of being light in colour; whilst students will be able to choose whatever shade they like from the LYS staggering range, I’m hoping they follow suit as it’s so much easier to knit in a paler hue.

It’s also a great colour to match the Birmingham skyline this late spring afternoon; check out this picture from my office window.

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Maybe mitts in June is not such a bad idea after all!

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