About living a creative life in a small commuity approximately 300 kilometres above the Arctic Circle

Thursday, July 27, 2006

About mittens and yarns

I've gotten a lot of questions about the mittens, what do I do with them, what kind of yarn etc, so I better write something about them. In today's picture you see the traditional pattern my mittens started out as. In Norway, this tradition is dated back to the 1860's (approx) and the woman that sort of "invented" this type of knitting in Norway, or at least is credited for it, is Marit Ernstad, who came from Selbu, a small community in Troendelag, right in the middle of Norway. That's why this kind of knitting is often referred to as Selbu-knitware. The pattern often used is an eight-pointed star. Even my mittens has a kind of that, the small one in the center of every motif and also the rounded one outside the smaller one. Originally the colour choices were few. Black or "sheepish black" as it was called and white or unbleached. During last century it became normal to knit with blue and red for girls/boys instead of black. There is a vast variety of patterns, a lot of variations of the 8 pointed star but also motifs taken from the nature. The second photo (taken by my husband) shows a version I knit for my husband a couple of years ago. They are the most complicated mittens I've ever knitted.

Originally a homespun two-ply yarn was used. I'm sticking to the two ply's, but my yarn is a soft baby wool quality from Dale. It's Merino wool. doesn't itch and can be washed in the machine. The needles I use are 2,5 mm (don't know the American equivalent). My husbands mittens are knitted on 2mm needles. That's very thin!!

So why did I go from black and white to colours? One summer after knitting 5 pairs in black and white, I was so bored with the colours. Earlier that summer I had taken a class with Kaffe Fassett and got a new view on colour. So one day I passed a shop window with colourful sweaters and jackets, and Eureka! I ran into the shop and bought colourful yarn. I knew for certain that the babywool yarn was used for some of the jackets I saw, and decided to give it a try. I'm been satisfied ever since.

What do I do with them? I started selling them locally at the arts and crafts society's Chirstmas Sale. Then a friend of mine wanted to sell them in her flower shop. And a gallery owner here where I live also have them for sale. Now I have an order for ten pairs which I'm working on. I'm wondering about making a webshop where I can sell both mittens and patterns I've designed, but at the moment I think it's going to be just wonderings.

And if you are curious, the headband is a design I developed on basis of the mittens.

Inga

14 comments:

The Calico Cat said...

When you are ready to sell online - let us know, I for one can use a new pair of mittens!

Screen Door said...

Mittens are a millions times better than gloves. My fingers always get numb in gloves. And they are getten harder to find. I've even tried 2nd hand stores looking for mittens for little kids at church -- no luck. You've got a beautiful talent...
Melanie

Judy said...

I also prefer mittens to gloves. These are simply amazingly beautiful!

Hanne said...

I knit socks in baby wool, double yarn, when I do so, as we all have tender skin here. I figured you were using baby wool when I saw how many rounds your mittens are. Very good looking they are too. I sorted patterns yesterday and also found I have several for traditional mittens and socks. I don't knit much anymore, but I enjoy looking at your knitting.

Sweet P said...

I'll take a pair of mittens too! They are incredible and I bet super warm. Just what I need for New Hampshire winters.

the quilters said...

They are so beautiful !!! I remember so much things with this kind of traditionnal patterns. I didn't knit since a long time and I would like to start again but it looks so difficult... Céline

the quilters said...

P.S : Vérom is coming back here http://verom.canalblog.com/ ;)

Patty said...

I too wish you would sell them on line ! I would treasure a pair of mittens from you. You do such beautiful work.
The colors you choose are perfect !

Laurie Ann said...

They are beautiful and look very complicated!! The only bad thing about selling your mittens is if you get too many orders it may not be fun to make them anymore. It may turn into a job instead of a hobby. Ya know? That happened to me when I was selling herbal products.

Alena said...

Inga, the mittens look just gorgeous!!! Love the colors and their combinations, I enjoyed seing all your summer projects you posted on your blog...
My friend is going to Norway for almost three weeks journey, she is longing for cold weather as we are enjoying 40 degrees celsius and more here in Prague... I told her about your 9 degrees - she is so happy :o), let's hope it does not get back to 27...
Take care. A.

Alena said...

oh, and thank you for this post on the history of norwegian knitting -it was really interesting to read.

Jodie said...

Inga

Your Headbands and Mittens are so detailed. They are a work of art in themselves. The different colours are very pretty but I do loke black and white, the design stand out so well. You are very talented.

Jodie

Laura said...

Your headband and mittens are just beyond fabulous. They are absolutely gorgeous, I can't image the amount of work that goes into each pair. Lovely!

RheLynn said...

Beautiful work! I had a pair of blue and red mittens like these when I was very little, from my grandfather. I didn't know that was a special colour for 'children's' Thanks! (I still have one of them tucked away in a drawer)