My Dream Colorwork Project: Ibex Valley Mittens

I personally take in every Interweave submission, carrying the piles from the mail drop-off to my desk, cataloging, and showing each one of them to the editor. I see a lot of swatches. Sometimes, when a particularly exciting swatch comes through, I swivel around in my chair to half-shout at Laura, our project editor, to get her attention. This is what happened with the swatch that became the Ibex Valley Mittens.

ibex valley mittens

I am always eager to open Cheryl Toy’s design submissions and see what stunning piece she is willing to make for us, but these mittens are one of my all-time favorites of hers. The motifs are striking, the colors are perfectly selected, and the cuffs are lined in a rich red to bring thoughts of warmth, flannel, and glowing fires.

“Northern Canadian prairie culture inspires these classic stranded mittens. Out in Alberta, you sow wheat in the autumn. The little plants live, vegetative, under the snow all winter long, waiting for a little warmth and moisture to coax them into mighty crops come spring,” Cheryl said. “The [Ibex Valley Mittens] show the tiny plants, light on dark, under the snow, then growing up above the ground toward the sun.” This makes her design a perfect fit with the story in which the mitts are featured—the “Call of the Wild” spread in Interweave Knits Winter 2018.

ibex valley mittensThese mittens are knitted from the cuff up, working the lining separately, and then joining the mittens and lining with a Latvian braid. The yarn, Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, knits into a lightweight and warm fabric, perfect for keeping the frosty wind from reaching your fingers.

Pattern Details

Finished Size 7½ (9½)” lining circumference and 10 (11)” long. Mittens shown measure 7½”.

Yarn Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift (100% Shetland wool; 115 yd [105 m]/7⁄8 oz [25 g]): #343 ivory (MC), 2 balls; #999 black (CC1), 1 (2) ball(s); #572 redcurrant (CC2), 2 balls. Yarn distributed by Simply Shetland.

Needles Sizes 1 (2.25 mm) and 11⁄2 (2.5 mm): set of double-pointed (dpn). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

Notions Markers (m); stitch holder; tapestry needle.

Gauge 32 sts and 41 rnds = 4″ in dark wheat patt on larger needles; 34 sts and 48 rnds = 4″ in St st on smaller needles.

(Originally posted on October 17, 2018; updated on January 9, 2020.)

Want more colorwork projects? Look no further!


  1. rebecca b at 8:31 am January 19, 2018

    Hi these mittens are awesome I would really like to make them but I have the yarn already can I just purchase the pattern. Thanks

    • Jenn at 9:05 am January 19, 2018

      Hi rebecca b – the patterns from Interweave Knits Winter 2018 will all be available in the Interweave store to purchase individually on February 6th, to include the pattern for the Ibex Valley Mittens. Cheers!

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