This winter my knitting passion has taken me down the road of mittens and gloves in traditional style and patterns of Norway and Scandinavia.
While in Sweden I found a wool shop in Sigtuna called Knocks, it doesn't only sell wool and is a magical shop with a real fire near the doorway. I asked them for Swedish wool and while my Swedish family of Van Asch all waited patiently on the street I finally found what I wanted - two skeins of a quite fine, 2ply sport weight wool from a company called Ullcentrum Oland. The wool is quite coarse but high in oils which makes it ideal for gloves that may get wet and take a bit more wear. I would say it is probably a bit too scratchy to wear next to the torso but on less soft areas like hands and feet it is ideal. I have noticed that softer fine wools like Rowan felted tweed will wear through on the sole of the foot, particularly if you are walking around on wooden floors like me. The lovely people at Ullcentrum have told me that if you felt the item by putting it in hot water for a short amount of time, that it will soften. When I say coarse, I don't mean that as a criticism, because it is perfect for mittens and socks which get a lot of friction.
The ethos behind the Swedish wool company Ullcentrum is also very lovely as the owner, Ann, originally started by collecting the unused raw wool from local farmers and turning it into yarns and clothing. Previously they were throwing it away and now this company supports many local farmers. The yarn is stocked all over the world so have a look at their website for where is your local stockist, I just ordered it direct from them as I wanted some more.
I found some patterns on Ravelry and also some from a book I just bought from Amazon. I love the mittens with the pointed tops, not only are they cute but also they give you a lovely large space for a design on the back of the hand. However, one does sometimes want to use your fingers so I also tried out the gloves.
The black and white contrast shows the designs off to their best, but the patterns aren't just decorative, oh no, there is a meaning in the patterns too.
The brown and grey gloves are using some left over wools and I decided for these to knit the fingers in one colour so that they weren't so thick and cumbersome.
|these are my fingerless version for when you need a bit more dexterity|
I'm still experimenting with designs and styles, making some variations on the patterns and trying to perfect the technique.
This month I joined the hashtag on Instagram called #wipsandblooms so if you are a maker of anything you should join with us as there is a competition prize every month.
Knitting is a great stress reliever, it really is like a form of meditation and I absolutely love it. I only learnt a few years ago, just by watching you tube videos, so if you want to own and wear something beautiful that you have also made yourself, faults and all, then start with small items and scarves to get an idea of how to shape and turn.
Later this month I shall also be involved with some knitting for charity and hope to pass along information about how to get involved in that, until then, happy knitting.