Last week it was very cold here – it did not get above freezing for a single hour of the entire week. On some days it didn’t break 20 degrees F. My favorite wool mittens (knit by Steven) weren’t keeping my fingers warm against that kind of chill. What’s a knitter to do?I whipped up some mittens out of an even warmer yarn. This is Julia, 50% wool 25% alpaca 25% mohair in a worsted weight. I just made S1’s gloves out of this yarn, and she reports that they are insanely warm compared to anything else. Alpaca fiber is hollow, which is why it’s warmer than wool (which is solid and covered with scales). I’m not sure if mohair adds to the warmth factor or not, but alpaca definitely does.
I wanted a very quick and simple knit (these took <48 hours) so I turned to Susan B. Anderson’s Waiting for Winter pattern.I put a green edging on just for fun, and I knit the ribbing pretty deep (about 3”) with another inch before the thumb gusset begins. This means the mitten comes way up over my wrists and covers any potential gap between my coat sleeve and my hand.The pattern calls for the hand decreases at the top to be evenly distributed at four points – like you would decrease at the crown of a hat. I thought this was a little odd, but I went with it. The result is a pucker at that end of the mitten.I decreased differently on the second mitten, in the way one finishes the toe of a top-down sock (but I decreased every round, not every other round). You can see the difference but there’s still a little bit of a pucker. I think I like the second way better: I had S1 try on the mittens and she could not differentiate between them by feel. She noticed the central decrease line on one of them but was completely unbothered by it. So I think I may leave them this way for a while and see how they wear. You know, in the interest of science. I can always pull out the tip and re-knit it if I want to. The other thing that surprised me about this pattern – in a good way – was how the thumb gussets are constructed. I expected the pattern to call for an increase, like M1L/M1R. Instead, it has you cast on a couple extra stitches (using the backward loop CO). I was skeptical, thinking this would lead to holes. But you can’t see any holes in the picture above, can you? You can’t see it when the mitten is on, either – see? So overall, I’m pleased with my swiftly-knit mittens and hope they will keep me warmer this week. I will knit these again. This could be a great go-to pattern for using some handspun, which I have plenty of in smaller amounts. Why didn’t I think of that before – handspun mittens? Hey, does anyone need mittens?