Letter from Paris: Ribbed Mitts

October 28, 2022

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202 Comments
  • Thank you for such a fascinating and well written trip into the history of our craft!

    • Yes!! Thank you

  • So interesting! The end result is lovely/

    • I love that, not only do you provide us with history and a translation of the pattern into modern speak, you did it in the colors mentioned in the pattern.

    • What fun, lovely mittens and I so admire you for figuring it all out! And I love that you found her resting place in Scotland and are knitting these wonderful, antique patterns! I have always loved “old” things, feel so connected to them in a strange way! Thank you for sharing the pattern, can’t wait to give them a try❤

  • Love this pattern. Your skips amaze me as always!

    • Gorgeous mittens and entertaining provided as always, can’t wait to give them a whirl!

    • This was a fascinating read and I’m now planning to knit a pair of these delightful mitts! Thank you for taking one for the team and wading through the original instructions for us.

      • Thanks for the great article. I love the mittens. According to an old conversion chart I have, No. 18 knitting wires convert to a modern 1.25 mm, or a U.S. size 0000. So the Berlin wool used would most likely be even thinner than a lace weight!

      • How absolutely lovely!

    • So interesting! Thanks for making it possible for us to knit these mitts

  • Fantastic! I’m going to have to give it a go – especially with it being so versatile sizing-wise. Very amusing and informative write-up. Thank you! 🙂

    • What a delight! Thank you for shining light on this pattern.

  • Witty as always, Franklin. Even with a pile of patterns I want to knit, you’ve made me want to knit this one!

  • These are a delight. Thank you, Franklin and MDK.

  • Alice is correct. This was entertaining and a great intro to vintage knitting patterns! Thank you!

  • Ooooh! As one who rarely partakes in history but often incessantly ponders the future, these are perfect for being present instead. And of course, keeping my hands warm during winter walks with the dogs. Another winner, sir!

  • That thumb looks *huge* before you put the mitten on!

    • And look how long the fold over is on the thumb! I thought it quite interesting and am still wondering why! The mitts look quite comfortable and also quite useful

  • Brilliant! The mitts look great!

  • “…plus c’est la même chose!” Vraiment! Thanks MDK for sharing these letters from Frankin. What a joy.

  • I’ve been reading a lot of early 19th century knitting books lately and my favourite for obscure instructions said they would have added more of the day’s popular patterns, but the instructions were impossible to write in a manner that would make sense. Then along came Jane

  • I love your Letters from Paris. Thank you.

  • I’ve been on a crochet-only kick for the past few years, but the fit of these and Franklin’s delightful writing tempt me to put a project on the pointy sticks again.

  • How interesting! I love that the original pattern is clear-ish. You have to use your own knitting skills to think this one through. Yours look lovely!

  • Thank you for introducing me to Jane’s work.

  • This is a wonderful trip to the past that is oh so modern!

  • Just in time for Xmas (for me, I mean)!

  • Well, these look just darling. And as always, your writing inspires! I look forward to your articles, always.

  • I always look forward to your letters from Paris and, as a collector of old patterns, genuinely appreciate your bringing these gorgeous 19th century mitts to the light of the 21st century day!

    When these patterns come to life, it creates this lovely and very human connection between us and our forebears, doesn’t it?

    • Thanks for the sizing guides! Who would have thought they would fit so many sizes!

  • Wonderful as always Franklin. Those mittens may well find their way onto my to do list.

  • This is fascinating and makes me want to come out of my knitting hiatus. Thank You!

  • Fascinating as usual, Franklin!!!

  • Excellent! I definitely want to try these.

  • Informative and entertaining – as always.

  • Thank you Franklin. I’ve been waiting anxiously for the pattern after you gave us the show and tell during your Patreon reveal. With the weather change now these will be perfect. And I can’t resist a good James Joyce reference.

  • Wonderful color combination, Franklin, and I love the long thumb insert! Really, design worth making! Thanks for unraveling the pattern…

  • I love mitts! Have made several not quite right pairs, so these sound just the ticket. Thank you for doing all the hard work of interpreting for us, that P and B would take a lot of getting used to.

  • Lovely adventure and generous gift. Thank you

  • Wonderful pattern and entertaining analysis! Thank you!

  • I’m inspired! Thank you, MDK and Franklin <3

  • How fun. Thank you for the work in deciphering the pattern for us. And I look forward to your letters from Paris!

  • I think I’ll make the thumb shorter, without the fold. I love the colors. You’re the best Franklin!

  • Thank you for providing a fun history lesson! Now to locate my tiny needles

  • The mitts are amazing in their wide array of hands they fit, and Franklin is amazing in his deep dive into translating some history!

  • Omg these are fantastic! Thanks to MDK for hosting your brilliant pattern and fabulous writing!

  • Great deciphering of the historical pattern, and beautiful result!

  • Fascinating, thank you for sharing! And those are GORGEOUS.

  • Always love reading Franklin’s letters!

  • Fascinating read. I want to give your pattern a try. Thanks, Franklin

  • You make knitting through history compelling and entertaining–thank you for inspiring my mojo again. I’ll start with these mitts for my lovely partner and their cold hands; mvto!

  • I always enjoy Franklin’s retro pattern whether I ever knit them or not. I just got a new set of steel pins, so I think I’ll try this one post haste!

  • Fabulous!

  • As always, dear Franklin, thank you for your wit and wisdom. I look forward to casting on!

  • How absolutely lovely! Thank you so much!

  • Love it! As usual, I wish I could afford the Patreon membership. If I’m feeling brave, perhaps I’ll try to decipher Jane and just figure out what to do when she’s not clear, as often happens with modern patterns. When in doubt, punt. Another marvelous missive from you. Merci!

  • You are so adventurous to try these things! I must say they ended up gorgeous. Must go grab a pattern!

  • Franklin, you are an inspiration and so much fun!
    Thank you,
    CJ

  • Beautiful. I love your interest in historical patterns. And I love that you share them with us. Thank you, Franklin.

  • WOW those are amazing!! Definitely adding these to my queue.

  • Thank you. I love glimpses into the past.

  • ❤️

  • Lovely!

  • These are such beautiful mitts, and I love your color choices. I hope we get to see the other pair you’re making.

  • How beautiful! And I learned even more about the history of knitting patterns which was really interesting. I am so happy to be a Patreon since I have to make these!

  • Thank you for this fascinating history lesson!

  • I love all your writing, but history is my particular jam so this was a joy to read.

  • Absolutely a glorious read and makes me almost want to try making a pair. I too love a challenge!

  • Oh these are beautiful! I love your patterns and look forward to them all. ‍♀️

  • The gusset is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing! ❤️

  • What a fun article and knitting project! Thanks Franklin 🙂

  • Love, love , love your articles!❤️

  • Neat! What fun to figure our an old pattern and have it actually work. Though I’ve never understood the point of fingerless mitts – it’s my fingers that get cold, not my palms and knuckles.

  • Fascinating! Those mitts look amazing.

  • I may just attempt these – I love the fact that they fit a range of sizes, since much of my gift knitting is done without a particular recipient in mind at the start. (Hence my use of afterthought heels in socks, so I can customise to a foot). Thanks for the pattern and the deciphering!

  • I love the puzzles! And what a beautiful result!

  • Love Franklin!

  • I so enjoy everything you write Franklin. Thank you for another vintage knitting treat.

  • These are terrific and look great for stashbusting my sock yarn leftovers – thanks!

  • Fascinating. This mitt is a thing of beauty.

  • Fascinating!

  • Normally, I dislike edited, reworked knitting patterns…for *20th century* patterns. The 19th century patterns, however, are not in my comfort zone, and there is no one I trust more than you to make sense of the (perceived) chaos.

    I have been wanting to knit mitts again; I’ve no idea where mine are…and my apartment, however lovely, was built in 1845. The cat has his hot water bottle (I need one, too, a new cozy is on the TBK list….)…and I need mitts.

    These look perfect. The first pair goes to a dear friend who’s a couture level designer and seamstress and though I wouldn’t call her Mimi, her workroom is chilly. The second pair is for ME. I am just about to gleefully frog the start of a sock that I just wasn’t enjoying. The yarn and needles are perfect for these…

  • Love it!

    • Bonjour Franklin! I have joyfully followed your articles for a while now. These mitts certainly qualify as a sort of hidden gem. Thank you so much for shining it up for us. Thank you also for pointing out that, no, not everyone knew and I’m imagining (and wondering) how prevalent it was for the lady of the house to seek needlework advice and instruction from her household staff.
      I ran into the problem of keeping in mind what new knitters might not know just this week. I had an 11-yr-old student test knit my pattern for a gauge swatch. (Yes, they definitely needed a pattern, especially since it introduced the slip stitch they’ll be using for a community service project.) He had no problem with it. But, my granddaughter pointed out “a couple of opportunities for improvement”. She suggested the packet needs more photos, and that the stitch explanations should be closer to where they are actually used. You know? She’s right.
      BTW, I’m running out of ideas for small projects that require only the knit stitch. Right now I”m testing a monogrammed water bottle cozi, thanks to an article on garter intarsia by our own dear Franklin. It’s intended for the children in the class who have already knit all 62 projects in the book I left in the classroom.
      Advice: If you want to really, really expand your skills volunteer to teach children. They are persistent in their requests.

  • These are so beautiful! On the hand at least. And that blue! Gorgeous. I’m anxiously awaiting my Patreon pattern. I could use a new pair of mitts.

  • Love this! Thank you, Franklin!

  • So cool! Thank you!!!

  • Thanks you so much for delving into the mysteries of 19th century knitting patterns. I have made 2 pairs of your 1880s Weldon’s Practical Knitter gloves–need to make another because the ones I made for myself are just about worn out! Gotta pass on the mitts because I like to keep my fingertips warm. Thanks again!

  • I adore how well constructed this mitt is. It looks wonderfully snug and the ribs look like they can fold down for extra warmth. So versatile!

  • Thank you Franklin for your always great stories of your travels and knitting. See you on Patreon.

  • Our hands are the same size! I’m intrigued by this pattern, and can’t wait to try it out!

  • What a terrific construction. I have to admit, I’d be one following the modern translation, though, as I’m one who still needs really clear instructions.

  • What a fabulous article! I loved the one about your visit to the grave as well. You always provide inspiration which encourages me to try new things.

  • What a great article, Franklin! You’ve brought together my twin loves of knitting and history. Can’t wait to make these!

  • These are incredible! Thanks for sharing and, of course, for the treasure that is your writing and rhetoric!

  • We share a fascination for historical patterns! Lovely to see the finished mittens, they look wonderful!

  • So interesting! Love the mitts!

  • They are such a fascinating shape! I love them

  • Historically accurate and creative approach. Franklin always delivers.

  • You’re a genius.

  • Beauteous !

  • Fascinating article! Thanks for sharing this knit puzzle, loved reading it!

  • That blue is everything.

  • Great article. I may give these a go. I love knitting mitts. So useful, and as you point out, easily fit different sized appendages, unlike socks!

  • After your last post I followed the link provided in one of the comments and immediately got overwhelmed missing the many images between pages of dense text. I still spent a pleasant afternoon just digitally thumbing through trying to imagine what some of the patterns actually were. Thanks for taking us through – much more fun sharing with someone in the know!!

  • It was fascinating to learn a little bit about the history of pattern writing. Now my curiosity is piqued and I want to know more.

  • I learned that vintage patterns are more complicated than I knew. Whatever you write is the best. But this time you outdid yourself. Thank you for sharing.

  • This was so interesting and fun to learn about! Thank you!

  • So love an obliging Mitten, thanks for the wonderful history lesson and the printable link to the original. On my needles soon!

  • “…as the thumb emanates from between these two pearled stitches.” I have to knit this. I wonder how much yarn was in a penny skein*, and was a skein wrapped with a paper roll, such as I used to buy for crewel work. (answers self: *Approximately total of the fawn yarn divided by 5 for one mitt).

  • Franklin’s brilliance and wit always makes my day better! ♥️

  • Interesting! Not sure I will try the pattern but liked the story!
    Did you finish your granny square project? I would love to see it. The squares were so beautiful!

    • Thank you so much, Franklin! I love learning about the history of yarn and our fiber crafts. Need to find a good non-wool for an allergic friend for the first pair of mitts, then will dive into my stash for a pair for myself. Can’t wait to surprise her!!!

  • Please keep up the letters from Paris and the historical patterns.

  • Really love this design! And thanks for the history of the pattern and the designer.

  • Love these mitts! Im excited to try the thumb design, as it looks a lot tidier and integral to the pattern.

  • When you actually wear the mitts for real rather than for a photo shoot, how do you find that folded over cuff? It’s very pretty, but does it get in your way when you are trying to use your hands?

  • Priceless! Love it… these mitts are tempting, even if I never used a pattern for anything. The thumb looks funny and out of proportion alright, but stockinette vs rib – that explains it!

  • Thank you for this informative and entertaining article!

  • What a joyous adventure. Thank you for taking us along for the ride.

  • I *just* finished a pair of fingerless mitts. But, to be accurate, what I just finished was 3/4 of a hat, which I frogged in an act of service to the world and came to Facebook to either amuse or irritate me out of my frustration. Instead, I’m off to the stash, I know I have the right yarn for… more mitts. Thank you!

  • I adore these Franklin and that blue is stunning.

  • I love the contrast between the mitts off the hands and on the hands! So cool!

  • What a lovely set of mitts! I find it so fascinating how “patterns” have evolved. From a few coded lines to pages and videos. Thank you for being our pen pal and sharing knitting from around the world and across time!!

  • These are lovely! And unisex so they can be knit for anyone.

    I always enjoy a side trip to the past with you Franklin. These are definitely going on a must knit list. (Now off to Patreon to go find the translation so I can practice my antique pattern skills and see how they compare)

  • Fantastic as always ♥️ Great info with humor always makes it easier to learn new things! Thank you Franklin

  • Love these. Thank you for making it look so easy

  • Love your color combination. I really like that the pattern is versatile for varying size hands. Another beautifully knit project. Thank you for sharing! Linda

  • I love your antique patterns. The world needs more Jane Gauguin.

  • Wonderful article. Now I am off to find my size 0 double-points!

  • Such great history of knitting explained. Thanks for the pattern!

  • You had me at the photo! I’m going to cast these on right away. Thanks Franklin, for the fun background and history.

  • Your Letters From Paris are always awesome. Thank you, and thank you for the pattern.

  • I love reading about the evolution of knitting and it’s history!
    These mitts are timeless abd will make some wonderful gifts this holiday season. I am in love with that blue, too!

  • Thank you for the background and the lovely pattern. Looks like I should try this and then adapt it to making some for my grandsons.

  • Franklin, as usual, I thoroughly enjoyed your missive! Historically speaking, and since I am a history buff, you rock!! I learn something new from you every time. Merci!

  • These are such elegant mitts! Thank you, Franklin!

  • Fascinating! And I’m grateful you have translated the pattern and made it available. They look beautiful, warm, and even utilitarian. Anxious to start and I have the perfect yarns in my stash!

  • I’m not an adventurous knitter at all right now and will be casting on your pattern asap. I love that you love these old patterns and are able to bring them to life for modern knitters.

  • Franklin is delightful and so generous with his writings. He shares knowledge, temps us with more to learn and something new to try.

  • Those are gorgeous mittens, they look warm & cosy. Excellent explanations too

  • Wow! I was pulled in to this article and couldn’t stop reading. I find old patterns really interesting!

  • I’m so in love with the pattern and that blue is my favorite!

  • Love, love, love!

  • You’ve actually inspired me to make some mitts! Thank you!

  • I’ve been on a mitts kick, so I guess I will have to have a go at these. They look fun.

  • I would love to have a copy of the book. It is beautiful! The mitts are lovely.

  • Love the pattern, the colors, and the story! I may give this one a try!

  • Thank you, Franklin for another fantastic letter from Paris. Informative, interesting and a surprising pattern to boot! I find the malleability of knitting to be forever charming with the same mitts fitting your hand and a larger one.

  • I love these mitts! Well done. Love the colors used, also.

  • As always, Franklin gives a window into the first patterns. I enjoy how he combines history with practical advise. The comment around “everyone back then” confirmed what I already knew (and was mocked a few times when I expressed it). Now I can say “Read what Franklin says on “Modern Daily Knitting!”

  • I love your forays into historical knitting! Those mitts look cozy and I ahh sure that your pattern will let them be easy to knit
    Thank you, again

  • I cannot wait to make these! Fingerless mitts are some of my favorite garments gif the office, and these are attractive and professional looking!! Thank you for sharing them Franklin!

  • I love reading how you make sense of vintage patterns!

  • Lovely! I feel compelled to try to decipher the original pattern now!

  • These are lovely! And almost exactly what kind of mitts I prefer to wear for work.

  • This is a very interesting and informative article. Thank you!

  • Thank you so much, Franklin, for another great column, and for the link to download Jane’s book.

  • I loved reading about your pattern journey! They are great and I love the colors!!!

  • Franklin, thank you. You are such a wonderful and engaging writer.

  • The mitts look great, but I wonder if “Berlin wool” was closer to today’s crewel embroidery wool than to fingering-weight knitting wool. Wouldn’t it be great if you found an unused skein somewhere?

  • That released a dormant memory of learning to knit “plain and purl” and that “k” meant plain.

  • That is so fascinating! Thank you for sharing your research and work with us.

  • Love this!!! What a great pattern and so interesting to hear the history!! Thanks!!!

  • So adorable and practical. What a great adventure.

  • What an interesting idea to knit from an old pattern in the way that it was originally written. That would be fun a fun project to challenge oneself with.

  • Jane is fabulous, and together you two are AMAZING! Tres Fabu. ❤️

  • Love all the history!!

  • Those look lovely and like they will do the job quite well.

  • Great pattern, and I love your commentary!

  • Fascinating Franklin! I love the social history of this craft as much as I love doing it so thank you

  • I always learn so much from your modern translations of these vintage patterns, and this is perfect timing – these will be great for holiday knitting.

  • Wonderful article and I love the mittens. I’m going to download the pattern and give them a try

  • I so enjoy it when you time travel and take us with you What an elegant pair of mitts! I think I may need a pair of these for myself!

  • Great pattern, thanks!

  • I am glad that I waited until Saturday morning while enjoying my coffee to read this letter, as always you amuse me, entertained me, and educated me. Looking forward to making your adaptation from Patreon

  • Wow! This was so interesting and what an astonishing result. Thank you!

  • Thanks for this great article on such a fun subject! Franklin’s writing is the perfect blend of fun and instruction.

  • Fascinating! Also, really nice mitts.

  • Thank you so much for once again taking us on a fascinating journey into the history of knitting. I looked at the book and it is so interesting to see the descriptions of different stitches and how they have changed today i.e. Kfb.

  • Looks like fun!

  • Thank you!! Most helpful info for reading old patterns or even having an understanding of how knitters operated so long ago.

  • So fascinating!

  • I love these! Beautiful as always, Franklin.

  • Thank you. They are beautiful . I have yarn in mind.

  • Mr. Habit I love your letters from Paris and this was a specially fascinating one! Thank you MDK for providing this connection!

  • Hats off to you for providing a path through the field of old patterns!

  • What a fun romp through Jane’s pattern.

  • Love the mittens and this letter has prompted me to dig out patterns that once belonged to my Grandmother dating back to 1952. I’ll have to give some of them a try!! Always look forward to your letters.

  • I just love Franklin. He is so witty and descriptive. He just makes my day as I go adventuring with him. Thank You Franklin for inviting us along on your adventures.

  • Loved your article! Thanks!

  • What a joy to read, I was engrossed x

  • Thank You Franklin! Love the pattern and the colors used as well. find these old patterns so interesting, from seeing things that look so fresh and new to things that are so intricate and haunting. What an amazing find, greatful for your sharing with us all.

  • I was just thinking I needed to start making mitts again to meet winter hand needs for a variety of people…

  • I love the blue tips. Very nice.

  • When I learned to knit, in Scotland as a child not quite in the nineteenth century ( though it occasionally feels like it) we always referred to knit stitch as ‘ plain’ as in ‘plain and purl’ Maybe that persisted from Jane’s day. Great article, as always

  • Another fascinating column! You are amazing! Love the color combo.

  • Oooh this is incredible. Thank you for your insight! I love wrist warmers as I’m always cold but so few stretch well and are plain enough for my taste. These are perfection!

  • Enjoyed your writing as always! I just might knit a pair up.

  • So pretty and appealing!

  • Where can I get a copy of this book? I love it….