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Phoebe’s Muffatees knitting pattern

In Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer, Phoebe wears a pair of lace muffatees, or gauntlets/arm-warmers that hide a rather deadly surprise. :)

I actually got the idea of having her wear muffatees because I saw a lace manchette pattern in Miss Watts’ Ladies’ Knitting and Netting Book, published in 1840, page 20. However, after doing some research, I found that they were called muffatees in the Regency era, and the term manchette did not arise until a few years later. They were essentially arm-warmers worn under those long sleeves on day dresses, which were usually made of muslin too thin to be very warm.

I decided to knit Phoebe’s muffatees using a Leaf Pattern originally suggested for a purse in Mrs. Gaugain’s book, The Lady’s Assistant, volume 1, 5th edition published in 1842, pages 234-237. I think there was an error and row 36 in the original pattern was duplicated erroneously, so I have adjusted the pattern.

The original manchette pattern called for “fine” needles and cotton, which I’m guessing would be US 00 or US 000 needles (or maybe even finer!) and crochet thread, and cast on 100 stitches. Not to be outdone, the original Leaf Pattern (for a purse) called for No. 20 knitting wires, which is .875 mm and apparently a size in between 5/0 and 6/0! Wow that’s tiny! The “finest twist” silk yarn is likely similar to very fine crochet thread.

However, I’m using fingering weight wool and US 1, which will make a 7.5 inch (unstretched) circumference. If you’d like your arm warmers to be a little smaller or bigger, add or subtract one pattern repeat (11 stitches) or block it a little more aggressively to increase the circumference.

It’s unlikely that my character Phoebe, in the Regency era, would have had muffatees made with this luscious merino/cashmere yarn, nor would she have had this delectable hand-painted colorway with blues and purples, but I’ll be honest, I’ve been dying to have a project to use this yarn with, so I indulged.

I also made this pattern into a PDF, which you can download here.

Yarn: Knit Picks Capretta Superwash, Springwater Hand Painted (80% Superwash Fine Merino Wool, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, Fingering Weight, 460 yards/100 grams), 1 ball

Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm)

Circumference (unstretched): 7.5”
Circumference (lightly blocked): 8.5”
Length: 10”

Gauge: 13 sts in lace pattern = 1.75 inches


Loosely CO 66 stitches in the round. (At first I used two needles held together and Norwegian cast on, but that wasn’t quite stretchy enough since the edge waves a little due to the leaf pattern. So I frogged and instead cast on using crochet cast on and a size C crochet hook.)

Set up round: knit

Start lace pattern:

#148 Leaf Pattern (in the round, 11 stitches for each pattern repeat)
k = knit
k2tog = knit two together
ssk = slip, slip, knit
YO = yarn over

Round 1: YO, k1, YO, k3, k2tog, ssk, k3
Round 2 and all even rounds: knit
Round 3: YO, k3, YO, k2, k2tog, ssk, k2
Round 5:YO, k5, YO, k1, k2tog, ssk, k1
Round 7: YO, k7, YO, k2tog, ssk
Round 9: YO, k3, k2tog, k4, YO, k2tog
Round 11: YO, k3, k2tog, ssk, k3, YO, k1
Round 13: YO, k3, k2tog, ssk, k3, YO, k1

Round 15: k1, YO, k2, k2tog, ssk, k2, YO, k2
Round 17: k2, YO, k1, k2tog, ssk, k1, YO, k3
Round 19: k3, YO, k2tog, ssk, YO, k4
Round 21: k4, YO, k2tog, YO, k3, k2tog
Round 23: ssk, k3, YO, k1, YO, k3, k2tog
Round 25: ssk, k3, YO, k1, YO, k3, k2tog

Round 27: ssk, k2, YO, k3, YO, k2, k2tog
Round 29: ssk, k1, YO, k5, YO, k1, k2tog
Round 31: ssk, YO, k7, YO, k2tog
Round 33: Remove marker, k1, replace marker (marker moved 1 stitch to the left). (YO, k3, k2tog, k4, YO, k2tog)
Round 35: YO, k3, k2tog, ssk, k3, YO, k1
Round 36: knit to 1 stitch before end of round marker, slip 1, remove marker, slip stitch from right needle back onto left needle, insert marker (marker moved 1 stitch to the right).

Repeat from round 1.
Repeat these 36 rounds for the leaf pattern.

In the original manchettes pattern, the pattern called for a row of k1, YO to thread a ribbon through to secure the manchette to the arm, and to mirror that k1 YO row on the other end of the manchette. Since I don’t have a maid to tie the ribbon for me, I decided to skip this row.

However, one option that you can do is that when you get to your wrist, do k1 p1 ribbing for 1/2 or 1 inch to secure the arm warmer more snugly to your wrist. I did not do this because I didn’t want to break up the pretty leaf lace pattern.

Knit leaf pattern for about 10 inches (unstretched). I like arm warmers that can cover the base of my thumb and my knuckles, which is why I knit it for so long, but you can knit it however long you like.

Bind off loosely (I used a size C crochet hook).

I very lightly blocked it to open up the lace pattern.


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My Lady Wynwood’s Spies series starts with Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer


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