Meow de los Muertos Mitts by Karen Porter

Meow de los Muertos Mitts

Knitting
October 2018
Sport (12 wpi) ?
28 stitches and 30 rows = 4 inches
in Stranded stockinette in the round
US 3 - 3.25 mm
235 - 270 yards (215 - 247 m)
8" palm circumference
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Dia de los Muertos is always a much-anticipated holiday where I live in southwest New Mexico. It’s usually celebrated for several days, beginning October 31 through November 2, which is the official Day of the Dead. Despite its somewhat macabre symbolism, it is a joyous celebration, filled with life, color, art and humor. It’s much more than a remembrance of our lost loved ones – it’s a celebration of their lives. It’s common in many parts of the Southwest US and Mexico to decorate the graves of loved ones during this holiday, and even to have picnics at the graveside so that the spirits may join in the gathering. In my little town, Dia de los Muertos is celebrated with parades, processions, art exhibits, dances, feasting, and most iconic of all, offrendas. These are offerings to our dear departed ones, usually constructed in the form of an altar. They often contain both traditional and non-traditional elements, such as candles to light the way for the spirit to find the offrenda, food and drink to sustain them, photos and belongings of the departed, mementos from their lives, and other items that tell something about the loved one’s personality or life. Pets are honored as well as people, and for those who have recently lost a loved one, constructing an offrenda is a wonderful way to grieve by celebrating and sharing the joy their life on earth brought to others. Most offrendas are quite beautiful, really art in themselves.

Flowers are an important part of the observance, for their symbolism as well as their beauty. Marigolds are referred to as the Flower of the Dead, as their distinctive scent is thought to guide the spirits of the dead to their offrendas, then back to their graves when it is time. Much Dia de los Muertos artwork is decorated with flowers and is very lively and colorful. The image of the calavera (skull) decorated with colorful flowers, vines and other elements, has become quite well known as a symbol of the observance. I’ve seen several playful images of cat calaveras, and I wanted to use this idea in a colorful pair of mitts that express joy and fun in remembrance, and that will keep your hands warm while you’re out celebrating. They feature flowers in bright colors, including marigolds.

These mitts are knitted in stranded colorwork in the round, worked from a chart, then embroidery is added afterward. You can embroider them as lavishly as you wish, following my example or making them completely personal, or even leave the calavera plain. I’ve embroidered mine with very simple stitches – just French knots, lazy daisy stitch, and a few straight stitches. If you’ve never embroidered on knitting before, I hope you’ll give it a try! There are lots of good embroidery tutorials on YouTube, and the stitches I used are all simple ones that even a first-time embroiderer can master. It doesn’t have to be perfect – a little asymmetry can add character. And best of all, if you don’t like your first efforts, it’s easy to remove your embroidery stitches and try again.

Skills required:
• Long tail or other elastic cast on
• Backwards loop cast on
• Knit and purl stitches
• Knitting small circumferences in the round
• Stranded garter stitch (tips given)
• Stranded color stockinette knitting
• Simple increases (M1R and M1L)
• Simple embroidery stitches, such as French knots, straight stitches, lazy daisy stitch, or your choice

Yarn requirements:
Sport weight yarn suitable for stranding. You will need approximately 50g of the two main colors (black and white/natural) and smaller amounts of the others, so this is a great project for leftovers. I used Cascade 220 Sport, 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, 50g/164 yds in the following colors and amounts:
• Black - 8555 Black – 85 yd
• White/Natural - 8010 Natural – 50 yd
• Bright Green - 8914 Granny Smith – 10 yd
• Orange - 9542 Blaze – 10 yd
• Red - 8895 Christmas Red – 40 yd
• Yellow - 9665 Gold Fusion – 40 yd