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Bond Buzz, Issue #40
October 26, 2007
Free from Bond America

Welcome to another issue of Bond Buzz!

While Fall may not be in the air yet (we’re having record-breaking high temps here in Vermont), the colorful leaves of fall are still on many of the trees, inspiring knitters everywhere to mimic Mother Nature. This was especially true this weekend where I went to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, where I took the photo at right. The parking lot was jammed.  (So much for knitting taking a back seat to scrapbooking.)

There were Rambouillets

Angora goats
(that produce mohair)

Cashmere goats
(yes, cashmere)

And sheep being shorn. Plus an assortment of angora rabbits (these guys DO produce angora), alpaca, llama, bison and other fiber-focused livestock.  Plus sheep dog competitions, spinning workshops and much more.  I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

However, one could also spend one's life savings on yarns of all kinds, colors and constructions that were being sold from a number of barns where vendors had booths. So to stretch out one skein of hand-dyed, can’t-live-without-it yarn, here are some ideas:

  • Stripes with 2 rows in the hand-dyed and 2 rows in a solid.
  • Fair Isle with the stranded section being in the hand-dyed yarn.
  • Module knitting (yes, this has to be hand knitted (garter st) but the modules could be used as collars, cuffs, matching scarves, etc. for USM-knitted garments).
  • As above, use the hand dyed yarns for a fancy-stitch collar and cuffs and a less-expensive yarn for the body and sleeves of a sweater.
  • Make a sweater for a child.  Yes, there were hand-dyed Superwash blend yarns.
Tips & Techniques . . .

Buff Mittens
An interesting project uses fleece roving to create especially warm "Buff" mittens. Having lived for a number of years in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, I learned that the creator of this technique lived close by.  Annis Holmes had (or may still have) a yarn shop in Chestertown.  These mittens kept many an outdoor Adirondacker warm. While Annis made these mittens by hand, there’s no reason why they can’t be made on the Sweater Machine.

Buff mittens are mittens with the inside being “filled with” carded fleece in loose roving form.  When the mittens are worn, the fleece mats inside and creates one of the warmest mittens imaginable.  The mittens need to be hand washed in cool water, but who cares?  For warm hands on the coldest days, I’d hand wash anything, within reason…..

Here’s the method: 

Using any mitten pattern, make a size that's one size larger than what you'd ordinarily make. There are tons of mitten patterns online, so just pick one you like that calls for worsted weight yarn.

Then choose a main yarn for the mitten itself, let’s say Caron International's Simply Soft® Heather


Tear off (don’t cut, just kind-of rip off) a number of 2” (approx) lengths of fleece rovings. 

About 4 rows above the ribbing or cuff of the mitten, begin a 4-stitch Fair Isle pattern, bringing forward every 4th needle to HP.

Knit 1 row.





Fold the fleece roving piece in half and knit it in the center.






Repeat across until the row has been completed.

Knit 3 more rows and repeat, but stagger the needle in HP (so needle #3 in the group of 3 in WP is now in HP). 




Repeat the knitting in of the rovings.  It will now look like rows of old bearded men.

Continue in this way until the mitten has been finished.  Note that you may want to make the thumb in the same patterning with the roving to keep your thumb from being left out in the cold.

Here’s what the mitten will look like on the right side.  Remember to wear the mittens as soon as it gets cold, probably for shoveling, as the hand movement will serve to mat the wool on the inside and lock in the stitches.

Free Pattern . . .

Belted Bliss Jacket

If you've never stitched with Caron International's Bliss yarn, you have a delectable surprise awaiting you. This luscious yarn is so incredibly soft next to the skin, you'll want to make anything and everything with it. And even though it is a bulkier yarn with some "fuzz" to it, it works great on the Sweater Machine. Start your love affair with Bliss with our gorgeous Belted Bliss Jacket, a must-have that looks great over everyting from tailored slacks to jeans.

In closing, I’d like to comment about the UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) of hand knitters who stop knitting when they get to “Stockinette Stitch Wasteland.”  I think we all have a suggestion for them:  Join us and get an Ultimate Sweater Machine!!  Something we’ve all known for many years!

Happy Knitting!

Cari Clement
Bond America

P.S. As a subscriber to Bond-Buzz, I'd like to invite you to subscribe to the FREE e-mail newsletter—Caron Connections from Caron® International. Just visit the Caron site ( and enter your email address. It's that easy. As a subscriber to Caron Connections, you'll receive monthly emails filled with the latest inside scoop on Caron's new fashion yarns and free patterns.


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