Have you read any of Robin Hansen's books? She researched mittens in the wild, made traditionally in particular cold-weather communities, and collected the patterns as the knitters who made them were beginning to take them along to the grave. I found one of her first two books in the library a while back and immediately bought the new version that combines the most popular of them in Favorite Mittens. I think I'm going to hunt down copies of the originals though, just to make sure I didn't miss anything.
I love this book. It takes knitting firmly into social history, and that's a subject I can't get enough of. I particularly can't get enough of the pattern for Striped Mittens, and for the last ten days or so my liking for them has become, well, obsessive. So when I finished the green and purple hat yesterday I figured I could spare a few minutes to start the cuff:
before moving on to more responsible things.
I went for the smallest of the child sizes, which is meant to fit ages 2-4, but I used Patons Classic Wool - my stash dates from the days when they still used Merino for this - and 3mm needles and no swatch, guessing that whatever size it came out to be would fit somebody. Somebody in this case being one of the children in the orphanage in Russia I wanted to knit a lot of warm things for last spring, ahem. See, I figured that this way I'd get the pattern out of my system faster, while getting a start on the charity knitting I had to put off for my driver's test and sample knitting.
Well, a few hours after I got the cuff done I had a few minutes and thought... why not? And then the thumb gore was just so amazing I thought... a little more? And then it was just going so fast I thought... I can stay up late again! I don't need sleep! which turned out not to be true.
And then this morning while I waited to turn the bacon I finished off the top of the first mitt.
Don't you just love the way the stripes round out?
And the thumb gore - yum.
Best of all, the Classic Wool feels like alpaca inside, I don't know why - is it the stranding? Anyway this makes me extra excited about having found recently in my junk room about 10 balls of it that had been destined for an ill-fated sweater as many years ago - again, in Merino.
Turns out the finished size is perfect for a 5-8 year old, so maybe I'll try another yarn to knit smaller ones for smaller children. I can't help thinking about them for adults, though, too... what with another round of holidays coming. These things are like candy and you know how hard it is for me to resist that.