Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's Mitten Season

We have been having what the older folks around here call an 'old fashioned winter'. This means colder than usual and more snow than usual. I've been living in Labrador for over 20 years now and I can actually remember the old fashioned winters. I know weather does seem to go in cycles, but the past two winters were really scary and to me is proof positive of global warming. We actually had our first official green Christmas last Christmas and the Churchill river didn't freeze up until well into January.

Which brings me to this winter. No evidence of global warming so far. We've had a tonne of snow and temperatures have made me extremely grateful that I now have a car with auto start. Long stretches of temperatures in the minus 25 degrees Celcius have become the norm this winter. So much so that when the temperature warms up to minus 10 it feels downright balmy.

Which brings me to knitting. And mittens in particular. I need more, my daughter needs more, everyone I know could stand more mittens this winter. And if pressed to name what my most favorite thing to knit is, I would say mittens everytime. They are the most useful thing especially when living in the climate that I do. I knit a lot of them, but it seems that the people who are important to me (Yes, Amy, I'm talking about you!) also lose a lot of them. So, I'm in a crunch to knit more. And in keeping with my resolution of every second project being handspun, here are my handspun mittens.

The pattern is called Warmest Mittens and can be found as a free download on Ravelry. Very simple yet effective pattern. I don't really need to use a pattern at this point in my knitting career and I did alter this pattern to fit the yarn a little. I'm sure the intended recipient will like these since the cuff is quite long and that was her very specific request.

I like them a lot. They are obviously not matched as is often the case when knitting with handspun. That dark stripe in the middle of the right mitten really surprised me as I don't even remember the roving having any dark spots.

I recently purchased this roving when I was in Halifax. It is targhee and its the first time I've ever spun this fiber. I enjoyed spinning it. I was going for a worsted weight and adjusted my sidekick to have a quicker uptake and it worked! The yarn was nice and consistant. The lady at the Loop in Halifax told me that Targhee is a decendant of Corriedale, and it felt exactly like spinning Corriedale. Its nice to try different fibers.

Here is what the yarn looked like right off the bobbin. Totally over spun or over plied but definitely not a well balanced yarn.

But after a nice soak and a few whacks it ended up being a very nice plump springy worsted weight yarn. I even have enough left over for another pair.

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