merry mucklemuff

I am currently completely obsessed with the knitterly potential of colourwork tubes. Here is my latest tube – which I have called the Mucklemuff. In Scots, ‘muckle’ is a sort of catch-all emphatic expression which means big, large, or much. This skater’s muff is all of these things, and its name is also a shout-out to the lovely and talented Mary-Jane Mucklestone.

Here’s Mary-Jane, myself, and Gudrun, looking like a line-up of shifty woolly criminals at the Woolbrokers during Shetland Wool Week. I think I am removing the sticky-label for jumper-weight shade 125 – which is, incidentally, one of my favourite J&S colours – from my head.

You may recall that, during Wool Week, I was completely blown away by the sight of the swatches that Mary-Jane had knitted for her book – 200 Fair Isle Motifs. The Mucklemuff uses one of Mary-Jane’s motifs, and illustrates just how useful her book is for knitters.

Each motif in the book is swatched and charted – in colour and black and white. Alternate colourways are given, and many pages include suggested allover patterns as well as single repeats. This is incredibly useful for imagining the potential of an individual motif. Sometimes repeats do surprising things when you chart them en-masse – they often don’t work up quite as you’d imagine. But, as I turned the pages of Mary-Jane’s book, I was immediately able to picture the zigzags and crosses of motif no.172 as a balanced allover pattern — saving me hours of chart-fiddling and squinting. I whipped out my needles and started swatching, and soon the Mucklemuff was born!

The Mucklemuff is knit in 2 shades of Artesano aran (I used shades c853 (pine) and 3528 (deep purple). It begins as a provisionally cast-on lining tube in plain stockinette, which is knitted to half the length of the finished object. The ‘outer’ is then knit in colourwork, folowed by the second half of the stockinette lining. The two sets of live stitches are folded in on themselves and grafted together – leaving a small gap to fill with fibre stuffing (I used combed Shetland tops from Jamieson and Smith). After stuffing, the final stitches are grafted – and the end result is an entirely seamless, lined, stuffed, super-cosy, and pleasingly double-layered tube. Stitches are then picked up around the top and bottom edges to create a neat i-cord finish and attached wrist-loop (for carrying your Mucklemuff).

And the pattern also includes instructions for creating an optional icord strap, which is simply passed through the Mucklemuff, thus . . .

. . . before being tied around the neck.

The Mucklemuff pattern is my present to all of you, and it is now available as a free Ravelry download until January 6th. You have 12 days of Christmas to get your skates on and download a copy!

I’m going to take a proper break now – though I may pop back here from time to time, I’ll be on my holidays and not answering my email until January 9th. Thanks so much for sharing 2011 with me, have a lovely Christmas and Hogmanay and I’ll see you again in 2012!

62 thoughts on “merry mucklemuff

  1. I know it is not the point of the post. But I LOVE your coat! Really, I first didn’t see the mucklemuff but only the arms of that georgeous coat!

    Have a great christmas and happy new year. Enjoy your holidays!

    Greetings from Germany

  2. That’s so kind of you to let us download this pattern…what a lovely Christmas gift. It’s a while since I’ve done any fair isle knitting but what a great way to start again. I love your coat too…it looks perfect with the Mucklemuff.

    Have an awesome Christmas holiday and Happy Hogmanay…
    Debby ;o)

  3. Merry Christmas to you, and thank you for the lovely pattern. I was born in 1952, and when I was a little girl we all had these to wear with our dress coats for church. It brings back many fond memories… appropriate at this season!

  4. Kate – Thank you very much for the pattern. My Mom made me a muff from a piece of her old fur coat – fur on the front and satin close to my coat (with a pocket for Sunday school collection and a linen cloth hanky) so the pattern brought back many happy memories. I am 71, so my muff is rather old now.
    Happy Christmas to you and yours. Peg in Canada

  5. Thank you so much for this lovely present! I really adore all your colour work, and reading your blog is inspiring on so many levels.
    Have a merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

  6. Thank you for the free pattern, Kate. I had a faux fur muff when I was a kid and loved it, so it will be nice to knit one up, especially with such a lovely design.
    Merry christmas and Happy New Year,

  7. One of the best Christmas presents I’ll receive this year, I’m sure! Thank you so much for the lovely pattern. I’ve been lurking for awhile but didn’t want to pass up this opportunity to tell you how wonderful your blog and designs are. Have a great holiday. Kelley

  8. OMG I do love this so much. Your creativity is limitless. Of course I do love Mary Jane Muckle so it is a no brainer. I will be downloading this. Happy Holidays to you as well and a blessed New Year.

  9. What a wonderful gift! I’ll definitely download it and perhaps it may become my between Christmas and Hogmanay knitting. In case you are interested, 9 of us are all going to start your Peerie Flooers mittens on January 10th. Our yarn arrived at the LYS(it had been back ordered) on Dec. 20th and since all 9 of us were not there that day, we decided we’d start after the holidays. We are so excited. I think this muff might excite them too. I’ll spread the word. I’m also casting on DECO on January 1st for a Blue Moon Fiber Arts KAL for sweaters. 3 of us are doing DECO. I think I’m a little obsessed with your patterns. Have the very merriest and healthiest of holidays. We’ll be back when you are.

    Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  10. Coat envy here too. The handwarmer is elegant in appearance and in construction – thanks for a charming gift. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

  11. I so wanted a muff when I was a child skating in eastern Canada. And now you have give us the gift of a beautiful pattern. It would be on the needles, except I am now retired and in Florida for this winter. Timing is everything
    My very best greetings of the season to you, Tom and Bruce. I grew up with a black Lab who looked a lot like Bruce. They are wonderful dogs. I hope that you continue your recovery progress (albeit with the unfortunate occasional set back), and that 2012 is a happy, successful and healthy year for the 3 of you.

  12. Lovely! Your muff brings to mind festive images of ice skaters on a pond. It’s too warm for ice this year, so I’ll content myself with nostalgic memories of winters past. Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!

    -Heather in Illinois

  13. Wonderful! And I agree about Mary Jane’s book- the graphs showing the motif in multiples are incredible and have opened my eyes to how limited my vision of a small pattern can be ; )

    Happy Christmas to you and your little family… and may 2012 be a good year for you!

  14. Thank you so very much – I am looking forward to making it. Like another commenter, I too had a little fur muff with a pocket for Sunday school money and a little hanky. I am 71 too so perhaps those were the times for little fur muffs.
    Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year.

    P.S. AND the coat – delicious.

  15. Kate – There is something perfectly comforting about a muff and this is gorgeous. Takes me back to being a child.

    Have a lovely rest and joyful Christmas.


  16. Thank you so much for the pattern-gift…the muff looks so cosy and warm-can’t wait to start. I also like your coat-it’s really,really nice.
    Frohe Weihnachten to you and your loved ones!
    betti from Germany

  17. Gosh, Kate, this is so sweet of you! It will be a good warm-up to the Boreal. Your posts have brightened my life, expanded my horizons, and set me thinking about some of the deeper meanings of the art of knitting. Thank you! Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012 for you, Tom, Bruce, and all your loved ones!

  18. Kate, thank you so much for the muff pattern, I also had a few muffs when I was younger and I loved all of them!
    Thank you so much for your blog, I’ve been reading it for a few years and it often makes my day! It’s always inspiring, always interesting and always so beautifully photographed!
    I wish you a great holiday season and I wish you perfect health for the coming year!!!
    Joyeuses Fêtes from Quebec!!!

  19. Thank you for the pattern. I am sure that I will never use such a lovely muff as I live in the south of the US where it will be 60F degrees & sunny today. However, as a fan of Jane Austen, I may make it just because. . . Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  20. Merry Christmas, happy holidays and thank you Kate. I’m supposed to be concentrating on my daughter’s Deco ..a sleeve and half to do before birthday on 5th, but I’ve always wanted a skater’s muff…and this would be just right for my trip to Princes Street at end of the week. So I’m off to stash dive for some green to match my wool coat.Naughty Kate, you’ve tempted me again.

  21. HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU, TOM AND BRUCE .The progress you have made following your stroke is an inspiration and your honesty about the bad days is also something that will resonate with many people not just stroke victims but those who suffer any long term disabling condition.
    When you return to your work, post Hogmanay, [as a fantastic designer] would you please, please, please consider doing a ‘bonnet’ to match mucklemuff as I would love to make bonnets for my teenage granddaughters who love classic ‘woollies’. I mean a bonnet along the lines of – in terms of general shape the one by Knit and Tonic’s Wendy recently [see KNIT AND TONIC BLOG – only in your own style with a more classic look and soft lining like your muff?

    (how about tartan culottes and kilt hose for you when climbing and a pair of woollen drawers for Tom- under his kilt- for windy days, LOL!

  22. Thank you! I have a friend who is blessed with 2 nicknames-Pinky & Muffy. For her going away present I made her a pink muff.
    This one is so beautiful, that I was going to buy it. I am so grateful for your gift.
    Merry Christmas!

  23. Thank you for the lovely pattern present! As always you have lovely pictures up and I enjoy seeing your world.
    Merry Christmas to all of you! (thinking of the animals too)

  24. Thank you for the gorgeous pattern. I had a muff, as a child, that my Mum made. I will be using my Christmas book tokens to buy Mary-Janes book. Wishing you and yours a wonderful festive break. Here’s to an exciting 2012, full of potential. x

  25. Thank you so much for the gift! Your knitting and your posts are always so beautiful and inspiring. All the best to you in the new year!

  26. What a great combination! I love your work (recently made Sheep Heid as my first stranded project) and love Mary Jane’s book! Thank you so much and have a wonderful holiday season! With love from Seattle, Washington

  27. Thank you for your very generous gift… and for your spirited description of Mary-Jane’s book: I managed to get a copy on Amazon and am really pleased. Best wishes for 2012, Kitty

  28. Dear Kate,
    thank you so much for the great pattern. My mother always wanted to have a muff, but I never had a good idea how to make one.
    I hope you had a nice cristmas. I wish you a great new year and lots of knitting inspiration. :-)
    Greatings from Germany,


leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)