Many years ago my then elementary school-age daughter and I were on vacation in Maine. We stopped (as knitters do) in a tiny, now closed, yarn shop in Biddeford. It was full of lots of mass-market yarns, but what I really wanted was something special—something Mainer. I found this skein of loosely spun 2-ply that reads as purple but is really a wonderful heathery mix of blues, reds, and even some green.
My daughter wanted mittens. Mittens with holes for her fingers but not—and this was important—flaps. So I started right away to design a pair of top-down mittens with a buttonhole-like gap. They were a disaster.
I put the yarn away for years, not wanting to admit my failure. And then, after an interstate move and uncounted family changes, I went back to them. This version still has the peekaboo space for the fingers, but is otherwise completely different: bottom-up, with a gradated thumb gusset, ribbed finger opening, and a very pointy top and thumb.
They reminded her of gnome hats, and so we named them GnoMitts. They’re a nice blend of fun and funky—just right for my now-tween girl!