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Our first winter in Vermont taught us a lot. We quickly learned to use the woodstoves for heat and how to rig up the mailbox when the snow plow knocked it down.

The most important thing we've learned is about keeping warm. It seems that the key to warmth is trapped air. That means tight fitting gloves aren't likely to be warm -- whereas big woolen mittens will keep your mitts toasty.

Unfortunately, mittens really limit what you can do with your hands...enter the muff. Because of the large amount of space inside a muff, it keeps you nice and toasty, yet you can take your hands in and out quickly. It's great for a stroll down a snowy lane and watching a movie on a chilly night.

This muff is knit with all your little bits of leftovers and is a great reminder of past knitting projects. The outside is worked with two strands of yarn -- alternating one yarn every row. The inside lining is ribbed for a cozy feel.

Don't have scraps? The notes at the end of the pattern give instructions for a striped muff.


model: Shannon Herrick photos: Stephanie Shiman

Length: 11 inches
Diameter: 20.5 inches
[MC] An assortment of leftovers and odd balls of DK and worsted weight yarns -- a two yard piece is not too short -- to equal about 330yd/300m (see notes on selecting yarns)
[CC] 6 oz/330 yds of a coordinating DK or worsted weight yarn for the cuffs and lining

16-inch US #10.5/6.5mm circular needle OR SIZE NEEDED TO OBTAIN GAUGE
Stitch marker
Tapestry needle

12 sts/16 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch, using 2 strands of MC yarns held together.

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here]

Notes on using scrap yarn:
The yarns can be selected from a particular color group, or from a random mix of colors. Try to choose a wide variety of textures: wool, mohair, boucle, ribbon, handspun, recycled silk, etc -- the more the better. Handpainted and variegated yarns give a nice effect because of their ever-changing colors. Add in a few dark-colored and light-colored yarns for highlights.

Pfb: Purl into front, then back of next st. 1 st increased.


Using two strands of CC held together, CO 40 sts. Place marker and join, being careful not to twist.

First Cuff:
Rounds 1-8: [K2, p2] to end.

Round 9: [K2, p1, pfb] to end. 50 sts.

Round 10: [K2, p3] to end. Break CC.

Muff Body:
Next Round: K all sts using 2 strands of MC yarn held together.

Continue in stockinette st, switching yarns every row (or as desired) as follows:

Switching yarns as you knit: For the most interesting effect, switch one yarn every row. For example, work the first row with one strand each of yarn A and yarn B, held together.

Cut yarn A, leaving a tail, and add a strand of yarn C, holding it together with the stand of yarn B already in use. Knit one round.

Cut yarn B, and add yarn D. Continue working in this way. You might find that some handpainted or variegated yarns can be worked for a couple of rows without changing. Do not forget to mix up the textures as you go. Think of the muff in two halves and balance the colors and textures on either side.

When work measures 11 inches from beginning of Muff Body, break MC.

Second Cuff:
Round 1: Using two strands of CC held together, [k2, p3] to end.
Round 2: [K2, p1, p2tog] to end. 40 sts.

Round 3: [K2, p2] around.
Repeat Round 3 until work measures 10 inches from end of MC section.

BO all sts loosely and break yarn, leaving a 1-yard tail.

Alternate version

Striped Muff:
Work the muff as above, but instead of randomly switching yarns, plan and work a stripe pattern. Alternately, combine one solid and one self-striping yarn, for a more muted, tweedy effect.


On WS of work, tie knots to secure ends of MC yarns. (Ends will be hidden once cuffs are sewn together.)

Turn long ribbed cuff to inside of muff and pull out the opposite end (see photo). Sew CO end of work to BO end. Weave in remaining ends. Adjust so that seam is hidden in the inside/middle of the muff


Stephanie and family are loving Vermont -- despite having to repair the mailbox on a weekly basis during snow season.

When she's not busy chasing five-year-old daughter Adaylia; Stephanie spends her time knitting, spinning, sewing and dabbling in other fiber-related activities.

Stephanie's newest fiber adventure is importing a plethora of recycled silk yarn from Nepal; you can read more about that at her website.