Well I don’t know about you but I feel like I’ve been catapulted into this new year, or as everyone keeps emphasising, new decade, and rather than having any grand plans or dare I say it ‘resolutions’, I’m still trying to get my arms and legs in order and rub that bruise on my arse that resulted from the force of the propulsion combined with the weight of the landing.
So in terms of the blog, I have yet to reach for my planner, notebook, scrap of paper, or anything else on which to sketch out my future plans. I did indulge my desire to have a way of posting quick updates directly onto the website other than through full blog posts, and felt very accomplished for working out the technical steps required to add the new ‘Notes in the Margin’ feature. This is now in the right hand sidebar and will have news, shout outs and anything else I think may be of interest to readers. So far we’ve had a radio programme that spoke intelligently about knitting, a couple of fabulous book releases, and reference to a blog post listing all the UK knitting/yarn/stitching shows in case you’d like to timetable them in this year.
Today however, as I sit here with my tea and slice of Christmas Cake, I do want to have a little look back to a project I finished last year which was started over 2 years ago intending to be a surprise gift for Christmas 2017.
A couple of years ago, while my partner was away, I though it would be a good idea to make him an new pair of mittens. His beloved mittens from his days as a postgraduate student in Minnesota, now approx. 30 years ago, had seen better days and many miles of cycling in them had worn away the palms.
So I set about trying to find a pattern for a pair with the same motif. Therein lay the first hurdle, I couldn’t find one. In examining the mittens more closely I also realised that the construction was different to that of the only other pair of colorwork mittens I had made, namely the thumb didn’t sit to the side, but emerged from the palm of the gloves. Further delving suggested that these, based on the thumb placement and style of colorwork rather than lace or ribbed cuff, were traditional Men’s Selbu Mittens. Even with this information I couldn’t find a match so decided to reverse engineer the mittens with the originals as my pattern. (Since I embarked on this project, Anne Bardsgard has published Selbuvotter, the definitive text on Selbu Mittens, it has been translated into English and is supported by an informative website)
I started by charting the cuff then worked up to the main pattern. From this I learnt that a certain degree of ‘fudging’ took place to get from the required number of stitches for the cuff motifs to this for the hands.
I also had a couple of false starts with the actual knitting as the first yarn chosen wasn’t quite thick enough to create a sturdy fabric at the required gauge for the size I needed, so a quick dash to my then new local yarn store was required where I opted for Jamieson & Smith’s jumper weight which worked better.
By this point, the weekend when my partner was away and I’d hoped to make good headway in the mittens was pretty much over and I was still only at the cast on stage.
In the month up to Christmas I snuck in a few rounds here and a few rounds there wherever I could in between other gift knitting and made it to Christmas wth a single incomplete mitten. Not to be put off I wrapped it up with the promise of a second to come…