Worked in worsted weight yarn, the Backroad Mittens use the same stretchy, variegated-yarn-friendly stitch as the Backroad Hats and the Backroad Scarves. They’re worked from the cuff up, with a thumb gusset at the side, and end with a three-needle bind off. The pattern instructions are written rather than charted, though there is a chart for the thumb gusset for those who find that format easier to work with (like me). The sample is in Widdershin Woolworks Targhee Worsted—the same yarn as the variegated version of the Backroad Hats and the blue Backroad Scarf—a springy, soft, 100% Targhee yarn that’s raised, spun, and dyed in the USA. Targhee Worsted is available through Mooncat Fibers in Taos, NM (575-758-9341). Each batch is different; here are some of the colourways Michelle has done lately. I understand she’ll be dyeing up some new colours for spring in the near future.
You will need approximately 130 yards/119m for the small (6.75″/17cm circumference) and 160 yards/146m for the large (8″/20cm circumference), plus 4.5mm/US7 needles, 4mm/US6 needles (or one size smaller than the needle that gets you gauge), three stitch markers, scrap yarn for holding the thumb stitches, and a yarn needle to weave in the ends.
I was so pleased with how this simple, soothing stitch pattern works with different yarns and dyeing techniques that I did a bunch of scarves, too. The Backroad Scarves pattern includes instructions for worsted, Aran, and bulky weight yarn, and for a long scarf (90″/229cm), a medium-length scarf (68″/173cm), and a short, buttoned cowl (50″/127cm). Each yarn is made in the US from sheep to skein, showcasing just a bit of the variety of local yarns that are now available.
As mentioned above, the worsted weight scarf uses Widdershin Woolworks Targhee Worsted. Michelle dyed this blue/purple up especially for the samples; I love its cheerful brightness and subtle variegation.
The worsted weight scarf calls for 438 yds (600 yds, 789 yds)/401m (549m, 722m) yarn, plus four 1″/2.5cm buttons for the cowl.
I went in a completely different direction with the Aran weight scarf, using Marr Haven Organic Mule Spun Worsted. This woolen-spun Merino/Rambouillet yarn yields a soft, spongy fabric with lots of air and very little stitch definition. Combined with this stitch pattern, it makes for a textured, extra-squishable scarf with a lot of warmth for its weight.
The Aran weight scarf calls for 349 yds (431 yds, 627 yds)/319m (394m, 573m), plus three 1.25″/3cm buttons for the cowl. Alas, Marr Haven sold off their flock after I finished the sample, so there’s not much yarn left in their shop. However, there are lots of farm yarns out there that would give a similar effect: look for a soft, woolen- or mule-spun yarn with a bit of a rustic texture.
For the bulky scarf, I used Sundance from Mountain Meadow Wool in Moss. Sundance is a fat single plied with a skinny single, giving an interesting texture to the fabric. This yarn is spun from Mountain Merino (which I believe is—or at least is related to—Rambouillet). Sundance is ultra squishy and soft, not nearly as springy as the Targhee Worsted, and a bit more dense than the Marr Haven. The bulky scarf calls for 259 yds (348 yds, 460 yds)/237m (318m, 421m) of yarn, plus three 1.5″/3.8cm buttons. I found these buttons at lindabelinda; the original buttons of that design were a bit small for my purposes, so she kindly custom made me a larger set. (Other buttons may have mysteriously fallen into my cart at the same time, because whoa, cool buttons!)
I’m pretty happy that these patterns are finally out, so to share the joy, the Backroad Mittens & Scarves patterns will be 25% off on Ravelry until January 27. (That’s $4.12 instead of $5.50 for the mittens, $4.50 instead of $6 for the scarves.) If you feel like making a matching set, you can get the hat and scarf patterns together for $8. You don’t need a coupon code; the discount will automatically apply at checkout. (And look: the Interweave store has the Backroad Hats pattern on sale, too!)