Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mitten Knittin' Time

A few years back during the Christmas holiday, I knitted this mitten and cap set for a charity mitten tree.  It was my first try at knitting mittens and I fell in love with them.  Aren't they cute!  

That year, the charity provided a pattern for folks who wanted to knit or crochet.  My friend thought it would be great fun to knit a set for the tree, so she got the pattern, picked up some yarn and set out to knit up the set.  She didn't know how to knit - did I mention that?

Several phone calls, emails and a video chat later, she "gifted" me the yarn.  The pattern, I'm told, had an unfortunate accident involving a fireplace.  I didn't ask questions.

I have knitted sweaters, scarfs and afghans before.  My mom taught me to knit and every time I pick up a set of needles, I remember those lessons and I think about how I am carrying on a tradition that goes back - well, forever.  I even did a pair of socks once, but I never knit a mitten.  It's the thumbs.  They scare me!  Increasing, decreasing - all without making holes.  I was intimidated - but my friend needed me.

Fortunately, the internet provided me with a good pattern.  I found a pre-war 1940's classic mittens and cap pattern that was perfect.  Sturdy, washable, durable and most importantly cute!  I knitted them up during my commute and got them to the mitten tree on time.  A few weeks later, I saw a little girl playing out in the snow wearing my mittens and cap.  Lovely!

Well, I showed that picture to my little sister - and ever since then, she has been begging me to make her a set of mittens.  How can I say no to my little sister?  So this Fall when I went to the Sheep & Wool Festival, I picked out some hand-spun wool for a pair of mittens just for her.  And this weekend, I started knitting.

So here is the first mitten, sis.  I hope you like it.  I think it really fits your personality!

Colorful, right?

Great flexibility in the thumb for when you go snow-shoeing with the pups.

The happy/playful look...

Shy and demure...

Oh!  Where's the thumb?

There it is!

Note the fancy braided cast-on - and stranding inside for double insulation.

The delicate stripes on the cuff really set off the checks, don't you think?

So I made up the pattern.  It's based on the 1940's pattern from the first pair of mittens, with a bit of a tumvante Gudmundstj√§rn pattern mixed in.  Yes - a Swedish mitten pattern (in Swedish no less, but they were so adorable that I had to translate it).  They should keep you toasty warm.

Now I just have to finish the second one...

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