The subject of knitting came up on Facebook today via a post I shared from my friend Jane including this image of women knitting clothing for London evacuees during the Second World War.
With that post and being cold up here today just out of Angaston (it is autumn), I was prompted to retrieve this knitting project, one I never finished and relegated to the UFO file (unfinished objects).
This knitting project is about incy-wincytuff. Teeny-tiny mittens, little Christmas mittens. The mittens have been squashed together and put away for a few months so still have a bit of fluff and fleck on them. As for the photography, well, I’m not a photographer nor is this blog about photography.
Anyway, this knitting project is for serious knitting mainly because each mitt is a fiddly little production despite being knitted in one piece. Yes, tiny. It’s not a difficult pattern by any means and requires simple alternate rows of plain and pearl once the cuff/band is knitted in the standard knit 1 p 1. There is some turning required, some slipping a few stitches over (psso) and some placing a few stitches on a double pointed needle (pin) for the thumb but no need for double-pointed needles throughout. I whip up a mitt easily on two skinny-binny needles. The use of 3 ply cotton (instead of wool) means tinier work over all and it’s that miniatureness that makes the project delicate.
I’m using size 14 needles with 3 ply white cotton for the white mittens. While I have many wooden and plastic knitting needles I prefer metal needles for this kind of smaller work.
The 3 and 4 ply cottons are easily available at any craft or sewing outlet like Spotlight though I use left over remnants sourced at garage sales, op shops and so forth. I sometimes use size 13 needles for a slightly larger weave but prefer 14 to get these cute little cotton mitts.
These tiny pieces are ready to be tidied up, turned, pinned, gathered at the tip and hand stitched.
I generally make the mitts for Christmas hanging ornaments usually tied as a pair. I generally add cotton ties or loops. Sometimes I slightly gather the cuff by simply threading little ties through the band made by twisting a few strands of the cotton. I might add tiny white pom-pom balls to each end of the tie. The ties can also be used as hangers for placing the mittens on the tree. But the mittens are just as gorgeous without any hangers.
There’s a lot to be done with these little mitts. They make delightful gift tags whether one mitt or as a pair especially when stuck or tied to a wrapped Christmas present.
Sometimes I add a tiny piece of holly or dried lavender. Once I placed a tiny candy cain inside for a treat, the canes you see around Christmas season.
The mitts can even be lightly padded inside with soft stuffing but look gorgeous either way.
Lovely to include one or a pair as sweet gifts in their own right. I have placed a pair inside a card and mailed. Lovely as a thank you message or as a bon voyage message for the person heading overseas to a northern hemisphere winter.
Done in more seasonal colours, one could hang them around a wine bottle, no? Perfect for all the winies out there in the Barossa Valley during festive season!
I read that somebody used similar small knitted items, Christmas stockings maybe, as place markers on a Christmas table by inserting a little card with the guest’s name just showing at the top or used the hanger or loop to enclose cutlery or the napkin.
There are many possibilities other than as Christmas tree ornaments. One time I inserted a written message in the mitt as part of the gift tag. You could put in a love note, a hello, a thankyou, even a small wrapped gift. Somebody suggested jewellery.
I’ve used 4 ply wool in the these burgundy and cream coloured mitts. I do not use acrylic – ever. Ever. Even my sewing thread is cotton. Always. I will not use polyester thread in my work.
Being 4 ply wool yarn and because I use size 11 or 12 needles, these mitts are slightly larger but still teeny tiny and so cute. They measure on average about 7 cm in length from the top of the cuff to the longest finger tip.
So, yes, the white cotton mitts are smaller.
Mixed and varying mitts knitted in 4 ply pure wool. I need to brush them off.
You can see I’ve added stripes here. I’m starting to experiment more with colour, stripes and mixing colours and motifs. Just means more time, thought and patience. Even embroidering on them can work.
But mitts aren’t the only tinies I knit. I make mini beanies, hats, sweaters, stockings and so forth mainly for use in Christmas season. That’s not to say I only knit around Christmas time. I’m a knitter and knit anytime of the year whether it be seasonal items or not. Does anybody else knit year round?
As a child, knitting was a winter ‘sport’. Wool, being associated with cold and keeping warm, wasn’t generally regarded as an all year thing. You knitted in winter when it was cold.
Of course, back then, we used wool as that was easily available and synthetics were not widespread. So I understand why wool and winter travelled together as clothing and for knitting.
This old Patons Woolcraft pattern book tells us a few things. Mainly it tells us about the pure joy of knitting with pure wool. The pure joy is marketed by featuring of all things, pure white lambs hopping around large balls of wool while pure little Bo Peep watches and protects. All clean, soft, pure and sweet as we sit and knit our loved ones all those jumpers, cardigans, bed socks and hot water bottle covers not to mention the baby wear! All those booties and bonnets. Every stitch was a stitch of pure joy and love! Who remembers?
We could buy this pattern book for 2/- (2 shillings). Remember? Not sure why I’ve kept it as dilapidated, torn and tattered as it is and held together with durex (sticky tape) now yellowed and brittle.
So yes, I knit anytime, anywhere, including in the car if I’m a passenger and especially while watching TV. I cannot watch TV without something else going on whether it be knitting or reading of some sort. In fact I do a lot of knitting in front of the TV. Of course, now, in front of the TV, it’s the lap top and phone encroaching on my knitting time. Ugh!
Sizing the woollen mitts to maybe 7 cm from the cuff to the tip. Cute and tiny.
4 ply wool in beige and burgundy.
Works in progress.
3 ply cotton. Like baby yarn size. These little ones end up about 6cm in length.
I think we used to knit the face washers or face cloths in this 3 ply type cotton didn’t we?
Woolen mitts ready for finishing.
I have various patterns for mittens as there are different styles around all easily available on the internet. Really, once you have knitted a few mitts you don’t need the pattern as it’s very basic knitting using only plain and pearl stitches. You soon memorize it as it’s so small.
Adding colourwork charts, pattern weave, stripes, motifs and so forth as well as needing double-pointed needles, as some patterns require, is what brings complexity.