Saturday 30 March 2024

Estonian mittens

 I've been wanting to knit estonian mittens a long time, and then really with thin needles, as it was done in the old days. The book Estonian knitting 3, Mittens, is an inspiration for that, with its huge amount of mittens and instructions on all sorts of techniques that come with the traditional mittens knitting.

In the light of my project 'Book knitting' I now knitted a pair of mittens from this book. No way that I would consider getting rid of this book, even if I would never knit anything from it, it is far too beautiful! But, anyway, this book knitting project of mine was the last nudge to pick a pattern.

The pattern I chose is a pair of mittens from Vormsi island. It is an island between the larger island Hiiumaa and the mainland of Estonia, with only a few hundred inhabitants and with beautiful nature.

My left mitten next to the mitten in the book - you can see the difference in the number of repeats.

Most of what I write below can also be found in my Ravelry project (link to the project) and is simply a repeat of the text. On the project page, you can also find some more technical details of the mittens.

I know that the patterns are knitted on extremely thin needles and that my 2.0 mm needles are a little bit too thick still, but that I what I chose to use. This made that I chose a little bit fewer pattern repeats so that the mittens would not be too big. I've never before knitted on 2.0 mm needles. Initially I was very conscious about it, but through the project it did'nt feel so difficult anymore. Also, the stranded knitting became a little bit faster, especially when I made an effort to knit with the very tips of the needles, instead of sticking in the needle maybe 2 cm, I only used the 0.5 - 1.0 cm of the needle tips.

The pair

Decreasing for the top of the hands was a bit difficult. The book said to knit the 'side seams'  in 'herringbone', which I understood to be in a checkered pattern. Each pattern repeat contains two rounds that are all-brown/dark, and there I made mistakes so that the checkered pattern wasn't very well visible. I did not want to re-do it. On the thumbs, I decided to do solid lines along the sides of the thumb, one white and one dark, which worked fine. Decreasing at the top of the thumbs, I found out that, on the solid brown rounds, I could simply slip the white stitches, which helped the side seams look uninterrupted even though there were solid brown rounds. When only my knitting at these decreases becomes more even, this will give really neat decreases.

At the top of both the hand and the thumbs, it was fiddly because of the steel needles slipping though the stitches, just sliding down on my lap when I wasn't observant enough.

A tiny bit small but they fit!

I now know that 72 stitches with 2.0 mm needles gives mittens in size very Small - next time I'll cast on more stitches.

Also, with my 72 stitches, I had an uneven number of the 8-stitch pattern repeat. This is visible in the thumbs, the thumb patterning isn't mirrored equally.

The book and the pattern were not yet in Ravelry, so I have set both up, which was also a new experience for me, and it went well. A very fun fact that I discovered today was that there is another raveller that has started knitting these mittens, so now there are alreay two projects linked to this pattern on Ravelry!

Saturday 23 March 2024

March update

 This month goes by so fast! Some specifics that are worth mentioning and remembering for me are:

We were in Sweden the first week of March. Always nice. I spun a lot, but I did some outdoor work too, like gathering branches that had fallen down on the grass during winter storms, raking the last of the autumn leaves that had fallen down after we were there in November. The beech tree had still a lot of brown leaves when we left then, and now they had all come down. As it is an old tree, it loses many branches too, small sticks as well as a bit larger ones. I freed the locks of the three-chamber well (for our waste-water) of leaves, weeds and moss, so that the guys emptying it can find them. The honeysuckle that climbs the wall of the outhouse got a hair-cut and I removed dried, brown sticks of flowering plants that died down in the autumn but will grow fresh green leaves and yellow flowers again in spring.

My son had his birthday while we were away. He did really not mind! He declared that he only wants to receive presents that are useful, so I tried to find something in every shop we visited, and we were rather successful. And the best of it all was, that he agreed and he was really happy with the finds from Sweden.

Back home, there was not so much spinning. However, I knitted another pair of fingerless mittens as contribution to a knit-along on basic fingerless mittens where you are supposed to use your own imagination to create something unique. More information is to be found on Ravelry.

March: the days are getting longer. The temperatures are still quite low, but the sun is getting stronger. Plants are emerging from the soil. My rhubarb plants are coming, and I am sure that this year, they are strong enough so that I can harvest from them. That will be the first time, and I do hope they are a bit sweet and not too bitter.