Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back (60 years) to basics

On the first or second snow day this week, I cast on for a plain pair of mittens. At first I was using the Easy Striped Mittens pattern, but I wasn't happy with the worsted-weight gauge of 4.5 sts./inch -- too loose to keep out the cold. So I turned to The Complete Book of Knitting, a hardcover published in 1947 that my mom bought me last year at a church sale. Chapter 1 -- "Learn How Steps" -- explains basic techniques and includes patterns for simple scarves, hats, sweaters, socks, gloves, and mittens. The "Four Needle Mittens" pattern uses worsted-weight wool at a gauge of 6 sts./inch -- that's more like it.



This Georga 100% Wool is a Wal-Mart mystery: made in China, mercerized (?), no yardage given for the 100-gram ball, no info to be found online. But I like it -- it's a good, solid worsted weight. Sturdy. Perfect for winter accessories, and not at all scratchy.

Also on the mitten front, I have some sad news: my Double-Thick Mittens are no more. I was just using the wrong yarn. When the first version was at too tight a gauge for the pattern, I liked the resulting fabric; when I went up to bigger needles to fit the pattern, the knitted fabric was too loose. So it was just a bad match. (Scheepjes Invicta, which I was using, is on the thin side of fingering sock yarns.) I'll try again when I find the proper yarn for the pattern. And in the meantime, my hands will be toasty in my plain Four Needle Mittens.

15 comments:

Chris said...

Definitely the time of year to be making warm mittens, isn't it? Brrr!

Jessica said...

Those are just so fabulously vintage-y in a "they don't make 'em like they used to" way.

redpajamamama said...

Thanks! I have the same book but had overlooked this nice pattern until I saw your completed mitten. I have a big collection of old pamphlets and knitting books and show pictures from them on my blog almost every week. I love the old patterns.

La Cabeza Grande said...

Plainly beautiful - evenly in the mystery mercerized yarn!

Nadia said...

I love the practical simplicity of them!

Tom Jacques said...

Maybe the "mercerized" wool has been approved by Canadian TV star Rick Mercer?

Just a thought!

Brainy's Brother Tom

nicole said...

I am jealous that your big box stores carry yarn--wool yarn no less. Thanks for the mitten link. J's sister was just saying that she wanted a pattern for mittens in worsted weight! Yay, Internet!

Jennifer said...

I like that pattern! Plain and simple. A no-frills mitten perfect for our winters.

Anonymous said...

Those are beautiful mittens. I am a mitten freak and make them all the time. Interesting location of your wool find.
Ron in Mexico

knitty_kat said...

Those are perfect! Who could ask for anything more in a mitt; sturdy, warm & thick. Mystery yarn be damned - damned warm that is!!

claudia said...

Mooky is not only probably the world's cutest cat, but a lucky monkey too. My kitties get only storebought catnip mice. Deprived.

Seanna Lea said...

Nifty. I don't think I've ever finished a pair of mittens (I seem to stop at the fingerless gloves stage). They look so cozy, though I keep expecting one of the strings on them to keep the mittens together.

Stacey said...

mittens. need to cast on for some mittens! that book is a classic.

Thalia said...

Doesn't mercerized wool = superwash? Hmmmm.

Gorgeous mittens, simple and just right.

GISELE said...

I love that yarn....but my local Wal-mart STOPPED ORDERING IT !!! They are down to just 1/2 aisle of wool and nothing in that aisle is actually "wool"....very disappointed....no where else in the city of Regina SK Canada population 200,000....can you find wool !!!! Gotta start buying it on line now...ridiculous.