Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Search For The Perfect Mittens

In New England, kids definitely need warm mittens. Up until this winter, Zoe (age 3.5) has relied on store-bought ones made of Polarfleece. But as she is definitely old enough to spend more time actually playing in the snow this year , I decided that those would no longer suffice. Wool mittens were required. I remember, all too well, days of sliding and skating wearing pretty hand-knit--but acrylic--mittens, that were freezing cold once wet. As a knitter, I could not possibly wish this upon my own child.

I could have just made some of the fulled mittens that are made with nice thick yarn and then shrunk; those knit up quickly. But I wanted something a little more--ahem--"difficult" looking. (I'm sure that there are no other knitters who have such ego issues, but I'm trying to be honest here.) So I dug out my old copy of "Fox and Geese and Fences" and my new copy of "Knit Mittens!" (both by Robin Hansen, and both wonderful) and pored over patterns until I found one that was relatively simple while appearing fairly complex.

For those of you who are not familiar with these "Maine mittens", Robin Hansen refers to them as "double-knit", but this does not mean that there are two layers of knitted fabric as is the case with true double-knitting. Rather, these are more like fair-isle using 2 strands of wool, so that there is always two layers of yarn. The result is a thick but pliable mitten, with a pretty pattern to boot (to mitten? hmm).

After an initial gauge disaster (no, I did not swatch--so I take full responsibility for the frogging that ensued), I am now on track, and hope to finish these up before the cold weather! (And the Yarn Harlot should take note--these are, indeed, being knit on old Boye colored needles.)