As a longtime Jane Austen fan, I’m delighted to share my contribution to the Fall 2012 issue of Jane Austen Knits: my Longbourn Mitts!

(all project photos are the copyright of Interweave and Spin Off)

Jane Austen Knits is a special publication that the folks at Interweave put out from time to time to celebrate feminine knits that are inspired by, or even representative of, the styles, surroundings, and characters of Jane Austen’s writing and her own life.

The Longbourn mitts are named for Longbourn, the family home of the Bennets of Pride and Prejudice. More specifically, the home that I was envisioning was the private home that the BBC used for their famous television adaptation of the book in the mid-90’s.

The home featured ivy trailing up the front walls of the home, even in winter, and I began to picture a simple trailing lace feature encircling sleek mitts. And the idea was born!

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The yarn used is the delicious dk-weight Silk Blend of merino and silk from Manos del Uruguay. The merino definitely imparts warmth to the mitts, while the singles construction of the yarn really allows the silk portion to give the fabric a special sheen. And with generous yardage, only two skeins are needed! It’s a very quick project that not only travels easily, but knits up very speedily for gifting! They are worked in the round on US5 double-pointed needles and come in three adult sizes, the smallest of which is pictured here.

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You’ll also notice one other (entirely fanciful) element to the mitts, most clearly pictured in the first photo above. In addition to being inspired by the home of Austen’s characters, I also wanted the mitts to reference the structure of women’s garments at that time. The first thing that came to my mind when I thought of those garments was: corsets and their laces. So why not add laces to the side of each mitt? To create that effect, I introduced an openwork ladder panel and I-cords that can be laced through the panel on the outer edge of each mitt and then tied into bows at each end. If laces that remind you of corsets are just not your style, then simply omit the I-cords, and the ladder panel remains as an additional elegant lace feature!

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Once again, it was a delight to work with Interweave on this project, and I love the way the photographs capture the rustic charm of the design and the beautiful texture of the yarn. There are many outstanding designs in the current issue, and you can learn more about each of them and purchase the issue here!

(And if you’re knitting up a pair of these mitts, be sure to share your project and finished photos on the Longbourn Mitts page over on Ravelry!)

One final note: it has to be said that my love of Jane Austen definitely extends beyond the page to the many TV and film adaptations of her work. In fact, it was seeing the film adaptation of Emma in the 1990’s that originally sparked my interest. So it was only right to pay homage to that moment in my designer’s bio, published at the end of the pattern.

Gabrielle, this one’s for you. Skittles, anyone? 😉

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