With cold weather, I want the warmest mittens. Scandinavian countries and other northern regions have their own unique styles. I am a firm believer that wool is the best insulator. Sheep seem to agree.
We went for a several hour, cross-country ski explore last weekend when the temperature was in the teens. Here’s the view from up behind our house.
On the trip, I tumbled, toppled and fell flat on my face – literally, when my skis came to a stop under a fallen log. At least I can get up again without a problem now. My mittens
were caked with snow, damp on the outside and frozen – yet they remained warn until the end of the trip. They were stranded colorwork – knit with two yarns at once, when one isn’t used, it is carried behind the work and forms a loose, double layer fabric. Plus those mittens have an additional alpaca lining. The lining felted a bit from my sweating palms, and that is part of the process. The felted fabric, think boiled wool, is denser and warm.
The thrum mittens I sent to a friend use extra strands of wool roving to add a soft, cushy lining on the inside – and they match her jacket beautifully.
These various mittens are warm, with designs or techniques often unique to their region.
I visited the Lake Placid library the other day and stumbled upon two beautiful books about warm knitting techniques – and someone who knew me by my knitting and this blog!
The first is <a href="http:// http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js“>Twined Knitting: A Swedish Folkcraft, published by Interweave in the 1980’s. Used copies now fetch more than $50; it has become a collector’s item because it sold for $19 new. It has the history of twined knitting, techniques and patterns. I am working on a sampler mitten and live the fabric. It’s a dense, double layer, stretchy fabric.
The texture techniques were usually worked in one color but I found some beautiful Koigu yarn while on my trip to Lake Placid and am playing with it. Some successes and some not.
A lot of time is spent in untwisting the twist which invariably builds up. Twined is roughly translated from two-ended because when worked in one color, you knit from both ends of the same yarn. Here’s the technique, which works for me.
I tied both balls of yarn together like a package and secured them with a half hitch knot. To untwist, I dangle the yarn and let it unwind on its own.
Next I am going to knit and felt some Danish mittens from techniques in Felted Knits. When the temperature drops to minus ten Fahrenheit, on more than one occasion, I seek warmth – and indoor hobbies (obsessions).
Here’s a link to a filmmaker, Andrea Odezynska, a friend just told me about. She has recently made a film, Felt, Feelings and Dreams, about Kyrgyz women who returned to felt making after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is on my must see list. Here’s a review from an early screening.