Goldfields Mitts #1

August 24, 2017

My first knitting project, begun and finished in our new city, are a pair of colourwork mittens for Our Dear Boy.

One of the pleasures of moving is unpacking boxes of favourite books long packed away. Since we are just renting at the moment while we look for a house to buy, I only allowed myself one craft-related box of books to unpack. I wasn’t sure what was in the box and I was thrilled to discover that Susanne Pagoldh’s Nordic Knitting (1991) was inside.

This is a lovely book, just crammed full of historic Scandinavian stitch patterns, organised by region. I used to stalk this book at the public library. In the days before blogging, I filled notebooks with photocopies and summaries of this book. A copy of my own came to me a few years ago, part of a deceased knitter’s estate that her daughter disseminated among the knitters she knew.

It is cold here on our walks to school in the morning. Our Dear Boy asked for mittens and serendipity provided the pattern in the pages of Nordic Knitting. Pagoldh provides instructions for knitting a pair of Selbu mittens from the Norwegian Folk Museum Collection. The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn on 1.75mm needles to create a tight, windproof, water resistant fabric.

I had some vintage Patons Herdwick DK from a time when all their scouring and milling was still done in Australia. The gauge is similar and with the pain of knitting in that gauge, I am grateful I did not use worsted! I used a single 50 g ball each of natural white and pale blue dyed darker with Earth Palette cold black dye. The result is a slightly variegated, hairy yarn that looks a little ancient when knitted up as these mittens.

The colourwork is simple and working your beginning of the round on the long columns of colour, completely avoids the jog. Genius and something I must remember! The instructions are very basic and you need to make things up a bit as you go but that was one of the pleasures of knitting these mitts. I worked the double decreases to shape the mitten hands either side of the columns to preserve that patternwork right through.

One of my favourite things about these mittens is the off centre star. Normally such things trouble me but the askewness delights me here. The other thing I loved, is that I had just enough yarn. You can see my leftovers above.

Warm hands…warm heart…that is the hope!

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  1. How satisfying, dear Rebecca, to have finished a project in your new home! I think you have your priorities exactly right- many people would still be unpacking boxes and all the other hundreds of things you have to do when you move.

    1. Dear Polly, I must come clean. There is no way I could start a new project until all the boxes marked for unpacking had been unpacked. I had everything squared away before starting. It is good to have something finished that has only come into existence here. It feels like a solid beginning to a new life.

  2. How inspirational you are. I look forward to your posts and you never fail to inspire me. Thank you for taking the time to share your lovely projects, and these mitts are just perfect – I adore Scandinavian knitting patterns.

    1. Dear Jill, Thank you so much for such kind, encouraging words. It means so much from you as I read your posts marking your return to blogging, your weekly textiles pieces, your puppy raising…all the things. Re the Scandinavian patterns, what do you think it is about them? for me i think it is the 2 colour restraints, i marvel at the creativity that occurs between with the restraints.

    1. Thank you kayderouge, It is VERY pleasing to have just enough yarn. In fact, it makes me feel that I am knitting with destiny!

    1. Thanks Diana, yes, i am pleased with the blue, it came out just right, which in my history of dyeing is often NOT the case!

  3. These mittens are beautiful!! And I love the little string of yarn that’s left.
    Perhaps you moving has helped to bolster your health…I hope so. Is Dear Man at a new school? Have you found a knitting/spinning guild yet? How do the children like their new school/friends? How is puppy liking new

  4. So happy to see you knitting for your dear boy. The mittens look beautiful and love the story about opening up the perfect box of crafting books….and having just the perfect amount of yarn. Looking forward to your new experiences and the adventures of finding your new home to settle into. Joanie

    1. Thank you Joan, I think we need to see serendipity when we move to a new place, it helps with feeling settled and that all is how it should be.

  5. Those are lovely. Your Dear Boy will be the envy of all of the teachers at the school, as well as the other students!

    Good luck in your house-hunting.

    1. Thanks Sophy, we just have to hope he doesn’t loose them. I am not sure if the other kids would envy Scandy mittens though, I would love to think they do but not sure they would!

  6. I’ve had this book for years and enjoy it very much. Your gloves are beautiful. Sounds like you enjoyed this project. Nice knitting.

    1. It is a cracker of a book, isn’t it Marilyn, so much research seems to have gone into it. I wonder what the author is doing now?

    1. Thanks Alina, it is a small project but small projects lead to bigger projects and I hope to be back to knitting sweaters soon. You have been very prolific recently. Good luck with your new Moeke collection.

  7. Ho ho, what restraint! ONE box of craft books at a time. Those mittens are brilliant, colour and work wise! I too have that book, must give it a looksee.
    These books (and cookbooks) need to be revisited. No need for More, until there is a need of course, haha. Let’s hope he is not like my son who loses them……….

    1. Dear Susan, Yes, I am practicing enormous restraint not unpacking the book boxes. There is just no room in our rental house but I’ve kept a few small shelves free to grow the craft/cook books should the occasion present! I like that you and Marilyn and I have the same lovely book, it puts me in fine company.

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