Cabled Mittens – A Knitter’s Journey

Wool knitted mittens by Annie

Knitting Wool Mittens using Annie’s Woolens Mitten pattern

Cabled Mittens as an Inspired Gift

I have been a hand-knitter since age 9. My first memory of knitting: I had an inspiration to hand-make gifts for family for Christmas. Where the inspiration originated is a mystery to me. But I was moved to begin my first knitting project for my Grandmother: a pair of cabled mittens. A trip to a local yarn shop connected me with the owner who was instrumental in beginning journey with knitting. I remember purchasing the yarn, the cable needle, a knitting pattern book, and a set of double-pointed needles. The fun and challenge of knitting cabled mittens for my Grandmother now lay before me!

No One Said I Couldn’t

The first stitches were knit and purled with the shop owner sitting beside me. My ritual was to go home, once started with the shop owner’s help, until I ran into questions or problems. I would then return to the shop owner for help whereupon she would patiently assist me. Not once did anyone say that knitting a pair of cabled mittens as a brand new knitter was counterproductive. I received encouragement for aiming high.

Miles of Support

I was unaware at age 9 that I had tremendous support in accomplishing my first knitting project. At age 9 I could not drive. It was my father that would drive me to the yarn shop. I would have to wait until he was available to take me. However, he was always willing.

The yarn shop was about 25 minutes away from home. It was quite a means of support to have my father give of his time and gas expense to drive me this distance. Miles of support refers to the miles traveled to further my cause of knitting the cabled mittens.

Gifts Given Can Also be Gifts Received

At age 9, I was unaware of the gifts I would be receiving from this experience into the future. At that youthful moment, the joy of giving was my focus despite imperfections in my knitting.  The hours of learning and toiling were spent simply with the intention of giving.

My future was profoundly altered by giving away those handmade, cabled mittens. I had dry spells in my knitting after age 9. But boyfriends were recipients of my knitting, my Dad was a recipient of multiple sweater vests that he was proud to wear to work, and friend of mine received gifts of mittens, scarves or hats. Finally, when I had a family of my own, I knit sweaters and other winter wearable items for my husband and three daughters. Once they had all of the knitted items they needed, I began a business (Annie’s Woolens) to continue to knit for others. For me, it’s a lesson in paying attention to what you love to do as part of a career or hobby option. Knitting gave me joy – the rhythm, the feel of the wool fibers, the colors, the knitting needles, the finished projects – all of it gave me joy.

Follow Joy

One never knows when a seed will be planted or a spark ignited. I was unaware at age 9 that something magical was happening within me that would take me on a journey as a business owner for 30 years. But the fact that I continued to choose to knit for others throughout my youth and into young adulthood could have been a sign had I been paying attention. The lesson I take from my story is to follow joy. The activities, tasks, projects that offer joy repeatedly may be a means of rewarding oneself with a meaningful career or hobby. The path is ours to take.

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How To Video: Using Annie’s Woolens Christmas Stocking Liners

Our NEW originally-designed Annie’s Woolens Stocking Liners are perfect for adding some sturdiness to our Personalized Christmas Stockings, especially when loading them up with a few heavier stocking stuffer items. This How To Video shows how to position the cotton stocking liner inside one of our stockings so that it fits perfectly.

The liners are available in two beautiful colors that compliment the wool colors of our stockings. They add a stunning finished look to the inside. No more snagging. No more stretching! We recommend that these liners remain in place. Removing them will pull at the wool fibers and may cause breakage.

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Celebrating a Milestone with a Look Back

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A Milestone spanning 30 years! Celebrating a milestone of 30 years in business seems unfathomable! My story is one of developing a passion into a business with all of the unexpected twists and turns that have led to where we … Continue reading

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Pondering What’s Important?

In my every day life of work and play, it’s not often I take time to acknowledge what’s important to me. However, our current Northwoods weather has prompted me to ponder.

From Winter to Fire Danger

Three weeks ago it looked like winter was far from over with 3-4 feet of snow on the ground. But what a difference a week makes! We have experienced temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s! There remains little chance for snow to hang on. While exuberant that winter has ceased, May is the month when we can expect high fire danger before the grass is green and the trees leaf out. Today is one of those critically-high, extreme fire danger days with dry, gusty winds and high daytime temperatures.


Patches of snow will not last long!

What’s Important?

In the thirty years Annie’s Woolens has resided in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, we have not been threatened directly by a forest fire. However, all of us are aware of the potential and remain on the alert. So this state of affairs prompted me to ask my husband what one thing he would grab if we had to leave our house in a hurry. He was not sure. I wasn’t either. But with some time, my answer became clear:  I would grab 2 bracelets that my mother made.  She was a silversmith. I have been without both parents for a number of years. The few physical items I possess keep the memories of my parents with me. I wear my father’s watch every day. And I love to wear the bracelets my mother made as a way of holding her close to me. In all of the stuff that we possess, I find it interesting to think about what rises to the top in importance.

What One Thing?

How would you respond: In the event of an emergency and you had to leave home within minutes, what one item would you grab and take with you assuming any family members/pets are able to leave the house in safety? All hypothetical, of course, but makes one ponder. Please comment and share. 

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Being Creative – Keeping Things Fresh

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In our line of work, the routine of each day can become monotonous. Most of the year we are in production of our knitted Christmas stockings to build up inventory for the year. For example, currently I am working on … Continue reading

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What Do You Do With a Sunday?

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When you live in our neck of the woods, preparing for winter is important as winters are long and can be quite harsh. Our family has already been making preparations. Our wood is now cut and stacked and our chimney … Continue reading

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Which Hat Do I Wear?

Which hat do I wear when the phone rings?

Which Annie Am I when the phone rings after work hours?

It’s after 4:00 in the afternoon on a week day. The women I work with have left work for the day to go home. The phone rings and it’s an unfamiliar name on the caller ID in a different part of the country. Is it a relative, a robo-call for my husband and me, or an Annie’s Woolens customer? I often don’t know which hat to wear in answering the phone: that of Annie the family member/ friend or Annie the business owner of Annie’s Woolens. As a rule, I will answer “Annie’s Woolens, Anne speaking. How can I help you?”. It is one of the interesting and humorous aspects of being a home-based business. I can be in the middle of cooking dinner, doing a load of laundry, washing the dishes or some other home activity. It can be confusing.

If you are a customer and it’s after hours and you hear my voice on the line answer  “Hello” instead of “Annie’s Woolens”, just know that I don’t know what hat to put on after work hours but that I am happy you called! You have reached the correct number and I am happy to assist you!

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