Sliding into Winter with Warm Fingers and Toes

Each year I search out new patterns for socks & mittens in my quest to find the perfect blend of warmth & easy construction. I’m no frills when it comes to hand work and don’t like to spend time working on intricate patterns. Quick and easy is the first criterion in pattern selection. Next, is yarn weight. Worsted and sometimes bulky is really all I spin.

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Warm, wool mittens are a must here where winters are long and snowy. In fact, several pairs are necessary in insure there is always a dry pair at chore time. Then there is the pair “for good” that is worn out in public. You know, the mittens without bits of hay embedded so deeply they’ve become part of the fabric. Wearing one pair at a time won’t keep hands warm and dry. You really need to double up. Wearing two pairs at once keeps hands pretty warm. So, that was the scheme for a few years. These were my first mittens and were knit flat on two needles. They held up well and are still pressed into service during particularly nasty weather when nothing is drying between outings.

When I got tired of having many pairs of mittens drying, felted mittens remedied the clutter. They are so thick and warm. The first pairs came from the book Knit One, Felt Two. The pattern makes a wide pair of mittens, but the knit cuff that is added after felting hugs the wrist to keep cold air out and the mitten on. Along came Fiber Trends Snow Country felted mittens. This pattern, using two strands of worsted weight yarn, makes a cushy, warm mitten, and the short stitches cause the palm to bend with ease. There is a definite left and right to these more tailored mittens.
I began raising rabbits again and this time opted for dual-purpose French Angoras. Angora is reputed to be seven times warmer than wool. WOW! That will keep hands & feet warm, except it won’t hold up to rough wear. Enter double-knit mittens. Now, I can have a super warm angora mitten tucked inside longer wearing, tough Shetland wool. The beauty of this is the single thickness of the cuff cuts down on bulk under your jacket sleeve.The best part of this construction is that they can be pulled apart for drying, yet remain attached. I made this one in the spring and it hasn’t had a full test, yet. I have been wearing a felted mitten on one hand and this one on the other. The wind doesn’t cut through it at all which makes the felted mitten feel a bit breezy. I followed these fairly simple directions that I found online.

Next week…SOCKS!

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