I love a good sparkle. I’ve always been drawn towards shiny, bright, sparkly things, which earned me the nickname “magpie” on more than one occasion. I have been known to wear over-the-top costume jewelry, stick sparkly things in my hair, add a bit of sparkle eye shadow, or wear crazy sparkly socks under my boots. I can’t help it.
When we lived on Capitol Hill, I’d often walk to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC with my son to explore on rainy or cold days. Our default exhibit was the Gem & Mineral Exhibit, a wonderful exhibit in the permanent collection which is also home to the Hope Diamond. The rocks and gems are organized in a stunning rainbow of colors, many of which could come from the pages of a sci-fi novel. While the Hope Diamond is housed in its own special room on a rotating pedistal and is indeed breathtaking, I enjoy strolling slowly through the rainbow of rocks looking for color inspiration.
Gemstones have a secret identity. Often rough, dirty, and not much to look at when pulled from the earth, once they are shined, polished, or shaped, you suddenly have an incredible treasure. People can be like that too - you think they may be one way, but once you get to know them and see the inner person, sometimes you find you’ve won the friend lottery. The notion that it takes the earth millions of years to form some of the items on exhibit is mind-boggling.
I’ve been toying with the idea of some sort of gemstone-inspired Fair Isle project for quite some time. When I look back at notes and sketch books, often there’s ideas starting to take shape, but they were always abandoned in favor of something else. When I found myself doodling geometric diamonds while on a phone call, I knew it was time to make this design happen. Once I sat down and started drawing my charts, the design flew out of my brain like had been there the whole time. Like a grain of sand patiently waits to become a diamond, it had been waiting to go from idea to finished knit.
The Sparkle Plenty Mittens tick all the boxes for me - top-notch fiber, fun motif, cohesive design, a joy to make, and perfect color palette. Knit in Magpie Fibers Swanky DK, a superwash merino, cashmere, and nylon blend in Lite Brite and Strange Brew, once I felt this fiber in my hands I was smitten. With picot hem detailing, mirror-image Latvian Braids, diamond, opal, ruby, and emerald motifs dance across your hands. Sparkly thumbs top off these luxurious mitts and this excellent local-to-me yarn is buttery soft and warm. These Fair Isle beauties are constructed with traditional Norwegian shaping and a thumb gusset on size US 2.5 needles.
These mittens make me feel like I have a secret jewel box hidden in the palm of my hands and appeases my inner magpie. While the finished project might not technically sparkle, it’s sparkly in a different sense.
Download the Sparkle Plenty Mittens here.