January: Shaila Mittens

Happy New Year 2018! I hope that your year will be filled with fun knitting projects, with the minimum of dropped stitches and tension problems. :)

 Shaila Mittens by Ella Gordon. Image © Jesse Wild.

Shaila Mittens by Ella Gordon. Image © Jesse Wild.

January is the AYoT month for mastering the colour dominance in your Fair Isle projects. The video tutorial for the month has been released on Mason-Dixon Knitting (and will shortly be added to our Year of Techniques video tutorial page). The tutorial walks you through three different ways of holding your yarn for Fair Isle projects, all of which will ensure that you keep your yarn dominance consistent. This helps your projects to look neater, and makes sure that your yarns don't tangle as you work.

The A Year of Techniques project for helping you to work on mastering dominance is Ella Gordon's beautiful Shaila Mittens. These feature a series of peerie Fair Isle motifs. Peerie motifs are small patterns that are commonly used in Fair Isle designs as dividing bands. They are generally just a few rows deep, and feature small patterns that repeat across a few stitches. This makes them great for beginner Fair Isle knitters as there is no need to worry about weaving in the floats at the back of your work, you can just strand the yarn behind.

 The Shaila mittens allow you to practise afterthought thumbs, which are worked the same way as last month's afterthought heels. Image © Jesse Wild.

The Shaila mittens allow you to practise afterthought thumbs, which are worked the same way as last month's afterthought heels. Image © Jesse Wild.

The mittens start with a plain stocking stitch cuff lining before working the outer cuff in corrugated rib. This is where you work the knit and purl stitches of the rib in different colours. The hand of the mitten is then worked in the Fair Isle pattern, and some knitters in our Ravelry group have mixed things up very effectively by using a different foreground shade for each peerie band. I'm looking forward to seeing what other lovely colour combinations people come up with as we go through the knitalong month. 

As always there are prizes available in our Ravelry group for knitters who post a pic of their Fair Isle project to the KAL thread this month. We will be giving away a voucher for our online shop, as well as 3 runners up gifts of pattern downloads from Ella Gordon.

If you haven't already got yarn sorted, then we have a number of colour options available for the Shaila Mitten kits in our online shop. The kits include 4 x 25g balls of Jamieson & Smith 2ply Jumper Weight and cost just £10.50 plus shipping.

I can't wait to see our projects! Don't forget to use the tag #ayearoftechniques on Instagram and Ravelry, so that we can see all your gorgeous work!