Morse Code Knitting – 5 Days @ 5WPM – Day 2

Posted on August 13, 2013



It’s still mid-August, but winter is fast approaching and that means Winter Field Day will soon be here.

If you plan on lugging your equipment out to a remote, off-the-grid location in an effort to scare up some unique contacts, make sure you pack a set of Morse Code mittens to keep your hands warm.

Kate Atherley is a teacher, technical editor, writer and designer based in Toronto, Canada. And she is a knitter who developed a pattern for insulating your digits, that follows the digital pattern developed by Samuel F.B. Morse.

Atherley says her interest in Morse code dates back to when she first heard the story of the radio operators aboard the Titanic who manned their posts to the very end.

More recently, while she was researching “traditional Faire Isle” patterning, she realized she had started thinking of knitting in terms of dots and dashes.

“I did a bit of googling, and realized that the rules of Morse Code lent themselves very nicely to Fair Isle,” she says in her Morse Code Mittens blog post.

So how does Morse Code knitting work?

“Each pattern is two line combos of two colours, repeated many times around the mitten,” Atherley says. “There’s a background colour and a foreground colour.  In the foreground colour, I used 1 stitch for a dot, 3 stitches for a dash.”

Atherley says she tried to stick to a consistent pattern using a single space in the background colour between elements of a letter and three spaces between letters, though that wasn’t always possible.

“In most cases I used three, but sometimes four or five, spaces in the background colour,” she said.  “In this particular type of 2-colour knitting, five stitches is the outside limit for a stretch of a single colour without starting to affect the fabric; a shorter gap makes for more even knitting.”

“I also fudged the spacing a little bit: some of the background spaces are four or five dots long rather than three. I did this to stretch the phrases out so that they would fit in the appropriate number of stitches.  I built each phrase so it wraps around the mitten twice.”

Each pattern size contains a not-so-secret code which, Atherley says, is some variation of the same message.

“For size S, I use the phrases ‘The left mitten’ and ‘a right mitten’,” she said.

Atherley blogs about knitting at Wise Hilda Knits and is the technical editor for Knitty which contains the patterns for her Morse Code Mittens along with a complete list of materials and links to articles on the knitting techniques she used.

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