Hazel’s Fishing Mittens: A Knitting Project

9 February 2022
Bookmark This (5)

Sponsored in part by:

Ad for the book Gathering Colour, featuring the book cover and the words, "Use natural pigments to make dyes, inks & paints from the world around you." A button at the bottom says, "Buy now."

These utilitarian mittens imitate the traditional fishing mittens knit in great quantity by my grandmother Hazel—we called her Nanny—and used by my father and grandfather while fishing and lobstering offshore during bitter Nova Scotia winters. I’d rather not call them felted mittens since felting wasn’t a thing for Nanny—she just knit mittens that became sturdy through hard use. The mittens are knit oversized to allow for shrinkage and felting either from deliberate technique as described in the instructions, or from rough outdoor wear.

image description: a lined index card, with handwritten notes for a knitting pattern

Cynthia’s grandmother Hazel’s original pattern notes.

Finished Size

Adult: One size. Fishing mittens are deliberately oversized to allow for shrinkage and felting.



100% wool yarn, fingering weight, non-superwash. About 325 m/355 yards in 75 g / 2.65 oz.

Shown in: 100% wool, unknown variety, handspun, natural colour (undyed).


3.5 mm/US #4 needles for small circumference in the round: your choice of traditional or flexible DPNs, 1 long circular for magic loop, or two shorter circulars.


Yarn needle
Stitch marker
Waste yarn for holding thumb stitches

image description: a pair of handknit mittens worked in off-white wool, oversized and somewhat loosely knit, ready for felting

Knitting complete, before felting.

image description: a pair of handknit mittens in a pot of water


image description: a pair of handknit mittens worked in off-white wool, after felting

After felting.

Copyright © Cynthia Levy except as indicated.
image description: a three quarters head and shoulders portrait of a white woman wearing glasses

About Cynthia Levy

Cynthia Levy is a craft enthusiast and knitting designer living in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories but originally from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Recently retired from a career in law, she now makes time each day to indulge obsessions for knitting, weaving, quilting, pottery and more. Whenever the weather permits, she’ll be found outside exploring the northern wilderness by floatplane or snowmobile. See more of her work at www.redtigerdesigns.weebly.com.

Related Posts

Blue Jay Circular Yoke Sweater

Blue Jay Circular Yoke Sweater

[Studio Members] The Blue Jay is a bird that can’t be missed—its vivid colour and loud squawk are unmistakable, and they come around designer Nicky Jensen’s Ontario home all winter long, brightening even the dullest days. Blue Jay is worked from the top down, seamless, in the round with thoughtful shaping to flatter diverse bodies. A surprise bit of colourwork detail is added to the back forearm of one sleeve using duplicate stitch.

Kinsol Shawl Knitting Pattern

Kinsol Shawl Knitting Pattern

[For Studio Members] Designed by Elizabeth Elliott, Kinsol is a textured and heavyweight sideways triangle shawl. The twisted-stitch patterns are inspired by the Kinsol Trestle in British Columbia, one of the tallest timber rail trestle bridges in the world. The shawl is suitable for knitters of all skill levels who can read charts; a tutorial is provided for how to make the twisted stitches.

Get 10% off!

Join our mailing list to get special Studio Membership pricing! PLUS hear about new Digits & Threads content and community news.

Subscription success! Well done, you.