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Instant gratification

As a break from the socks, I started a pair of mittens this weekend. Zoom! After working on socks on small needles, the heavy-weight mittens go extremely quickly. I’d seen thrummed mittens online and decided I must try it! A holiday weekend with temperatures in the high 80s F is a great time to start incredibly warm wool mittens, right? (It was almost too hot to try them on for size without my fingers melting.)

I pulled a pile of grey fleece from my wool stash, and some random white wool from who-knows-where from my yarn stash, and packed them off for a weekend-long picnic with this bunch. I started on Saturday afternoon with my drop spindle, spinning and plying some of the grey wool to use in decorative bands on the cuffs. I was very pleased that I remembered how to wrap the singles into a ball properly, so that I could ply from both ends.

These mittens have tufts of wool knitted into the stitches every few rows. Nick described them as “putting your hand into an inverted small animal”, but they’re much nicer-feeling than his description implies.

Inside of mittens

The tufts show up more clearly in this closeup.

Inside of mittens

I’m not a super-fast knitter, but by Sunday afternoon I’d finished the entire left mitten.

Left mitten

Ignore the cuff on this one – this was my first attempt at stranded colorwork, and I wasn’t sure if the odd appearance was due to my error, the difference in weight of the two yarns (didn’t get the grey quite heavy enough) or some other problem, so I didn’t rip it out and try again. The pattern is from a traditional Gotland, Sweden mitten, and it’s really supposed to look like this.

Colorwork cuff

The inside isn’t too bad, regardless of what the outside of the first mitten looks like. The pattern comes from a library copy of The Swedish Mitten Book: Traditional Patterns from Gotland, an interesting little book. I experimented with using the two-hand method of holding one color in each hand, which works very well for me (after a few minutes of fumbling), even with my funny backward stitches.

Inside of cuff

My fellow picnicers were quite amazed at both the mitten and the speed of production. I came away with two commissions and an offer to sell them for me. After an hour or two of work on Sunday while watching Casino Royale I now have the second one about two-thirds finished. Then, back to the socks…

New skills: stranded colorwork, thumbs (these are my first mittens), thrums. These are very satisfying to make, and as close to instant gratification as knitting comes – I forsee more mittens in my future.

1 Comment on “Instant gratification”

  1. #1 Laura
    on Jun 4th, 2007 at 11:27 am

    They do look so cozy! I may have to try them myself. However, I shall probably wait for cooler weather…I have lots of sewing to do, anyway.

    Tell Nick I believe that would be an _everted_ small animal. ;)