Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Limpet Mitts Free Pattern and CAL ~ the Warmup

A few weeks ago, Vicki of Stitchy McFloss suggested that I hold a Crochet-Along. This is something I've never tried, but I like the idea of splitting a pattern into manageable parts and tackling it one post at a time. So I hope you'll join me on a fun little crochet journey as together we make the (drumroll please)...

These dainty little Mitts have been sitting on the Micawber desk for well-nigh a year, waiting for their dilatory designer to tweak the thumb decreases and write a pattern.

Elegant thumb decreases :)

Thumbs are now tweaked, the pattern is written, and a new skein of yarn has been bought. The Micawber hook is poised to make fresh pair, and the Micawber camera is ready to record each breathless step, both for posterity and for you, my Esteemed Fellow Crocheters.

Some Notes on the Construction

The Limpet Mitts feature some of my favourite oddball techniques: the Forward Loop Chain, a Forward Loop Hdc Picot, and of course the Limpets themselves. And what would a Micawber pattern be without some sort of quirky join? This time it's the Slipped Slip (see next post for details).

Before you run screaming from the room, let me assure you that These Techniques are Not Difficult! But they are uncommon. So before we jump into making the Mitts, we'll review the basics of the Forward Loop Chain, and try our hand at a limpet or two. (Photo and video tutorials below.)

I encourage you to practice these techniques before starting the pattern. This will build comfort and confidence when you tackle the mitts themselves.

CAL Schedule

Warmup: Wednesday, November 12
  • Gather supplies
  • Learn the difference between Forward Loops, Forward Loop Chains, and Limpets
  • Practice these techniques
Pattern Part 1: Saturday, November 15
  • Rows/Rounds 1-8 (top cuff)
  • Customising mitt size
Pattern Part 2: Saturday, November 22
  • Rounds 9-End (thumb gusset, body, and wrist edging)
  • Fine-tune the fit around the lower hand, if necessary
  • Suggestions for Variations (if I think of some ... and I probably will)

Gathering Your Materials

For the mitts, you will need:
  • Approximately 100-125 yards DK/light worsted weight yarn (Category 3)
  • US G6/4.00mm hook, or size that gives best stitch quality
  • Darning needle
  • Optional stitch marker
Note: Today we'll just be swatching - for that, you may choose any yarn you like with the appropriate size hook.

All crochet terminology is American.

And now, a Short Lecture on the Difference between Forward Loops, Forward Loop Chains, and Limpets

1. A Forward Loop is a loop that you cast on to your hook. That's all. Just a loop, cast on in a certain direction, that sits on your hook on top of the regular working loop.

2. A Forward Loop Chain happens when you cast on 1 Forward Loop, then yarn over and draw through both loops on the hook. (For a really comprehensive discussion of Forward Loop Chains, including a video tutorial, click here. Instructions are also included the "Practice" section below.)

3. A Limpet happens when you cast on several Forward Loops, draw through all the loops at once, then make another stitch to "lock" the limpet.

Here's a short video demonstration:

Now that we've got that clear, how about a bit of swatching? (No groaning, please - this will be a fun sort of swatching.)

Practicing Forward Loops, Forward Loop Chains, and Limpets

Grab some yarn, any yarn, with an appropriate size hook. (I like to use a worsted or chunky weight yarn for learning new techniques.)

Note to Knitters: You may be more familiar with a backwards loop, which is the common cast-on for knitting. The Forwards Loop goes in the opposite direction - be careful to make it the right way, as it will affect the stitch quality.

Casting on a Forward Loop:
1. With working loop on hook and working yarn draped over forefinger, lift forefinger slightly to form two vertical strands of yarn, one in front and one behind finger.
2. Place hook behind the back strand and use hook to pull strand to the right (or to the left if you're a lefty).
3. Slide hook up through the loop that forms (or use forefinger to move the loop down over the hook). The tip of the hook should be pointing up through the loop.
4. Remove forefinger from yarn while keeping hook in the "hole".
5. Pull on the working yarn to gently tighten the loop around the hook.

Turning your Forward Loop into a Forward Loop Chain:

Yarn over and pull through both loops on hook (you may need to "pinch" the edges of the two loops as you do this).

All photos copyright Sue Perez

Forward Loop Chain complete. :)

Keep casting on Forward Loops and making Forward Loop Chains until the motions become smooth and comfortable for you. (Video tutorial here.)

Now, it's time for some Limpets.

To make a Limpet:
1. Cast on several Forward Loops - 3 is a good number.
2. Yarn over, and pull through all the loops on the hook.
3. Chain 1 to "lock" the limpet.

Now let's make a bigger Limpet, and lock it with a Forward Loop Chain:

1. Cast on 5 Forward Loops.
2. Yarn over, and pull through all the loops on the hook.
3. "Lock" the limpet with a Forward Loop Chain (cast on 1, yarn over and draw through both loops on hook).

Practice making 5-loop Limpets and locking them with Forward Loop Chains, until you can make them smoothly and with even tension. (Why 5 loops? That's the size used in the Limpet Mitts.)

Kind of fun, isn't it? And decorative too. :)

In Conclusion

As you've probably noticed by now, a Forward Loop Chain is just a very short Limpet. The only difference between them is how many loops you cast onto your hook.

The Forward Loop Chain is the basic building block of nearly all the special techniques used in the Limpet Mitts - and you've just conquered it! Now you're all warmed up and ready to tackle the pattern. (Not to mention the Limpet Chair Pad from Interweave Home 2015, available on newsstands now. Hint, hint.)

If you have any questions about this post, please feel free to ask in the comments below, or via email. You can also contact me in Ravelry where I'm known as MrsMicawber.

See you on Saturday, when we'll start on the actual mitts. Meanwhile, happy crocheting!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. limpet stitch? limpet mitts?!
    agh, must have limpet mitts ...

    you are great and thank you, i will be there,

  2. Count me in! I've been wanting to make some fingerless mitts for a long time, and yours have just the character that I was looking for. Heading to bed now but will practice tomorrow. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  3. What a lovely idea. One day I'd like to come back and read your posts so I can have a try.....but life is not going to allow for that just now! Juliex

  4. It's super!!! Thank you sooo much! :)

  5. Yay! Oh I can't wait! Love learning new stuff, and all this is new to me. Is it Saturday yet? Wishing you a most lovely day. :)

  6. darling mitts. Im sending your blog link to a friend who loves to crochet

  7. Well this is going to be so much fun!!!!
    I am going to look for yarn right now.

  8. Ohhhhhh I hope I can do this, too, Sue. Thanks for the do have a way of convincing me I can do it with your clear directions and positive cheering on :) xx

  9. Great! I'm eager to try these mitts. The thumb and the limpets look very promising.

    I've been using your forward loop chain to start crochet projects. It's less fussy than foundation single crochet, more elastic than a simple chain and easier to crochet into, just as you promised. Thanks!

  10. These are so pretty if only I had the time, on my to do list for sure for when the Christmas madness is over. :)

  11. lovelovelove these sweet mitts!

    practiced and am ready for a go!! : )

  12. Pretty! And as comprehensive a pattern as always :)

  13. I like these even better than the magazine. :) They turned out really well, and I do love your elegant thumbholes! Nice texture and great color!

  14. Forward Loop Chain look exactly like a FSC (foundation single crochet). That Limpet is pretty darn cool!


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