January 07, 2007

The finished Rosebud mittens and new WIP

Today was another grey and cloudy day, not the sunshine I had hoped for in order to take beautiful pictures of the finished Rosebud mittens. And what more, there will be no modelled pictures of the mittens. The younger daughter, who has petit hands, has too big hands for them. The mittens were simply too small, something I had slightly anticipated. The good thing is that my niece, even if she is only three, has quite big hands, and will soon be able to wear them. She is having birthday very soon, and I’m still not sure of what more than the mittens to give her in order to manifest my place as aunt of the year (ok, I’m her only aunt, but still, you should never underestimate nieces).


I followed more or less the pattern by Eeva Haavisto in her book Sata kansanomaista kuviokudinmallia; there are some small tweaks in the flower pattern in order not to have to twist the yarn so many times on the backside. And the thumbs are patterned according to the mitten I saw in the National museums collection. The green colour is also from the museum mitten pair, Eeva Haavisto’s pattern was knitted in black, white and red.


Project details:
Pattern: A combination of the mittens with rosebuds from Kurikka in Eeva Haavisto’s book Sata kansanomaista kuviokudinmallia and a pair of mittens in the National Museums collection, from Ilmajoki (both places are in Pohjanmaa, about 15 kilometres apart).
Yarn: White and red Vuorelma’s Satakieli, green Isager’s Tvinni.
Needles: 2mm dpns.
Gauge: 40 stitches and 43 rows to 10 x 10 cm.


The new project I started just before New Year is the Paws and whiskers socks by Theresa, but over here known as the Nino socks, or for the memory of a world fine hamster. The yarn Theresa used for these cat inspired socks was very much in colour with our beloved hamster Nino, who died in November, and I instantly saw her whiskers and paws in the pattern. I decided to knit the younger daughter a pair of Nino socks, initially intended as a Christmas gift, but delayed by other things going on around.


I had first in mind to omit the edge Theresa had made and simply make a ribbed cuff, but changed my mind in the last minute. I now have to sew the edge to the inside (and the inside will be ribbed, but that doesn’t matter). I have reached the heel, almost, and I must say it is a pattern that looks much more complicated than what it is. It’s not mindless knitting, but it is fun and easy knitting. Well done job with the pattern Theresa!

November 30, 2006

John's finished mittens

John told me there is a price for receiving a hand knitted item: you have to model it before you're allowed to use it. How right he is. He also thought it was a pretty small price to pay. Look at the happy young man:


Serious, who, me?

The mittens fit very well, and the thinness of the yarn in combination with the thin needles produced a quite firm fabric. The cuff could have been a bit longer, and could have been knitted on one number smaller needles. The rib is 1 knit, 3 purl, and there is not very much elasticity in the cuff, and I suspect it can even be wider when in use. The top decreases are made as a three stitch band, where the middle stitch is throughout knitted in grey, and the edge stitches in blue. The thumbs are finished with a single stitch band, very much like what I made on the Paistu mittens. The pattern goes up in the thumb, and on the back of the thumb is the same pattern.


The pattern is from Eeva Haavisto's book, and is according to her notes from Kotka, a city on the coast east of Helsinki. The mitten patterns found in this area are very often in style similar to the Estonian mittens, and it hardly comes as a surprise, taking into consideration the ancient commercial contacts between Estonia and this area. The pattern is also one I think can be found in several other areas around the Baltic see. But I think it is very pretty in it's simple lines, and John is very pleased.


Project details:
Pattern: Eeva Haavisto's, from the book Sata Kansanomaista kuviokudinmallia.
Yarn: Isager Tvinni, a 100 % 2 ply merino wool.
Needles: 2mm dpn.

November 24, 2006

Belated update

Okay, time for a belated update. I know I promised this for last weekend, but sometimes are your plans not working out as they should, and, well what do you do. And then when I found the time to sit down and write, well then did the darn net act up, and I couldn’t get the thing posted. Grrr… But her it is. Knitting time has been a bit spare, but I have managed to finish as well the Fifi shawl as my fathers scarf. Both receivers were very pleased, even if Sofia’s shawl was found the next day tied on her big softie dog…


Project details
Pattern: Fifi shawl by Johanna Pajakoski for Ulla nettineulelehti.
Yarn: Rowan Linen Drape, 100 grams.
Needles: Addi circular needles, 3,5 mm.


Project details:
Pattern: Sharfik by Grumperina.
Yarn: Jaeger Extrafine Merino, 150 grams.
Needles: Addi circular needles 4 mm.

And here is one more finished pair of mittens. These were actually knitted back in September, but they were intended for my Secret Pal, so I couldn’t post about them. Here they are, together with some yarns that also were sent to my pal. The yarn is Rowan WoolCotton, and chosen with dry skin in mind. It’s fabulously soft on the hands.


Project details:
Pattern: Cabled mittens from Sarah Dallas’ book Vintage knits.
Yarn: Rowan WoolCotton, a bit more than one ball.
Needles: 3,5 mm.
Alterations: The pattern was knitted on two needles, something I refuse to do, I knitted them on four dpns. The thumb was a new one for me, and was as well easy as giving a nice fit.


And I have made progress on John’s mittens: both mittens are knitted, and only lacking the thumbs. He is getting impatient. A friend of his had said about the mittens with the hole that he doesn’t believe that John’s mum has knitted them, they must be store bought since they are so great. John was pretty pleased, I can tell you, when he told this story, and eager to get the new mittens to show. And I’m so proud of my 14 years old, who is happy to wear hand-knitted mittens to school.

The rest of the WIPs will have to wait until next post. See you then!

November 05, 2006

Who needs new mittens?


Click for a picture of the newly knitted Marko's mittens

The next pair of mittens in the line is for my younger son. John had last winter a pair of Marko’s mittens from Folk knitting in Estonia, but, alas, they need to be replaced as first mittens. And then darned of course!


Click for close up

When I was I Copenhagen earlier this year I bought some soft Isager Tvinni yarns, a 2 ply 100 % merino wool yarn, with mittens for my sons in mind. But I hadn’t said what intentions I had of the yarn, so you can guess I was surprised when we discussed patterns and colours, and John did pick exactly the two colours of Isager yarn that I had bought with him in mind! He wanted a fairly simple pattern, a choice that also made me pretty happy. Mindless mitten knitting is exactly what I need right now. You almost get a zen feeling out of knitting these mittens, and I have, after two days of not too much mitten knitting already passed the thumb. The cuff is ribbed with 1 knit 3 purls. The colour pattern is again* from Eeva Haavisto’s book, and the mitten construction my basic. The Isager yarn is quite thin, and my tension on 2 mm needles is 42 stitches to 10 cm. But it's soo soft! It's heaven to knit with it, and you forget how many stitches there really are.
The pattern has no name, and I haven't come up with anything good yet. So they will for now be John's unnamed mittens.

* My good intensions of doing lot of research for the mitten project seams to be dream intentions. I have so much to do this autumn that all my Finnish mittens seams to be picked from Eeva Haavisto’s book Sata kansanomaista kuviokudinmallia. Perhaps the spring will be more suited for researching what the museums do have among their knitted treasures, and to try to find more literature about mittens and mitten traditions in Finland. Mittens where given at weddings here too, like in Estonia and Latvia.

October 09, 2006

Mittens in progress

The new Satakieli yarns have been very tempting on the needles, and I have knitted way more than I should this weekend. One reason has been watching football, there is not so much to do when the girls are warming up, except to knit. The tournament went well, the girls won two games and played one even.


This is the basket weave mitten, knit with the blue green Satakieli and after a suggestion from Memmu, with golden Satakieli as contrast colour. Sofia, the younger daughter, saw these mittens, and forgot everything about what she had wanted before. Her mitten world was filled with this mitten. And that was a good thing, since what I hadn't taken into consideration was that being knit with three strands of yarn the mitten will be significantly smaller than when knit with two strands of yarn. Sofia's hand was the only one in the family that would fit into this mitten. Being knitted with three strands of yarn will also make them warmer than when knitted with only two.

The pattern is from Eeva Haavisto's book Sata kansanomaista kuviokudinmallia, and she gives the credits for the pattern once again, to Jalasjärvi. Her original was knitted in black, with red as contrast and white as background. Must be a quite impressive combination! The cuff is very long, a good thing for a mitten made for a very mobile child. Knitting with three strands is a bit trickier than knitting with only two, but the result is quite nice. Do you want to have a close up? Click away and you'll get it!


These are the mittens I had already started for Sofia. The white and red yarns are Satakieli, the green Isager Tvinni, bought some time ago in Copenhagen. The pattern is one that you can find as well in Eeva Haavisto's book as on a pair of mittens in the National Museum collection of old Finnish mittens. Haavisto says her model is from Kurikka, and it is knitted in white, black and red. The model in the museum collection is knitted in green, red and white, and is said to be from Ilmajoki. Kurikka and Ilmajoki are about 15 kilometres from each, and the distance from Kurikka to Jalasjärvi is about 25 kilometres. So we are moving on a very small area in the south of Pohjanmaa here. I haven't seen the model in the museum collection personally, only a picture of it, and I think the cuff was made in a little different way, it looked like it had more structure in it. I can't swear either that the pattern is exactly like what I have knitted. The museum picture has been my inspiration, but I have used Haavisto's pattern for the mitten. The lower pattern, above the cuff, is called "ässänväärä", and is a pattern that is used in several different art forms in Pohjanmaa, for example on painted furniture. It's a typical rococo ornament, and believed to have come to Pohjanmaa from Sweden. The flowers above the ässänväärä are looking like rosebuds, so I call the mittens rosebud mittens.

On both of these mittens is the thumb made as I think they were made before in Finland. It's a straight thumb, with the thumb stitches stored away on a tread, and new stitches casted on above (this is by the way my grandmother taught me to knit mittens eons ago). I did cast them on in the colours that would have been used for the stitches; I don't know how much it will matter when the stitches are picked up. The tops of the mittens will be finished in two different ways, more on that in next post on the mittens.

October 06, 2006

More yarn! Thank you Secret Pal!

I got this parcel a couple of days ago, but the weather has been grey and the outcome of my pictures poor. Today there were some rays of sunshine, and I took everything from the parcel out on our garden table for a picture session. Well, everything except the candy, that was already gone. But I took a picture before I started, so there is evidence of what was in the parcel. The candy that the seller had said was popular by the Englishmen had an, hm, interesting taste. Not bad, in no way, but it didn’t taste like anything I’ve eaten before. There is a difference between English and my Finnish taste buds ;-) But the Estonian chocolate, it was good. Really, really good.


The yarn content of the parcel was more than welcome. My pal visited Greece some time ago, and managed to find a yarn shop over there. Two balls of 100 % wool by EL.D Mouzakis, Classico (this is about all what I understand of the label). I think these will be turned into a pair of wrist warmers, perhaps the Haruha from Ulla (even if these will be more in the colour of aki - autumn). The colour will match my winter outfit perfect.


And then there were two hanks of Satakieli from Vuorelma, natural and blue-green. As soon as I saw them I knew what to do with them. There is an interesting, kind of basket weave patterned mitten in Eeva Haavisto's mitten book, and these yarns will fit the bill perfectly. There is only the problem of finding the third colour, the one that will be outlining the squares. I have tested with a rusty red (too bright) and with this blue. The blue matches in colour perfect, but has a tad too little contrast to match the beautiful blue-green. So I'll probably test on other colour, in order to get the blue-green to stand out more.

Thank you Pal! A wonderful autumn greeting! And thank you for the compliments on my knitting.

October 02, 2006

The Jalasjärvi flower mittens - finished!

An other busy week is behind me and the next is about to begin. There has been knitting going on, even if not blogging. And the result: the Jalasjärvi flower mittens are finished!


See those pine needles? The autumn is here!

Project details:

Pattern: The flowers and the flower band are from Eeva Haavisto's book Sata kansanomaisata kuviokudinmallia. The book was first printed in 1947, my edition is from 1953. The biulding up of the mittens is my own. I added a cuff taken from an old sock pattern, one that in Pohjanmaa was called the zig-zag pattern, nothing fancy, just ordinary increasing and decreasing, but quite nice with coloured stripes. The thumb is made as a straight thumb, this is the way old Finnish mittens were knitted, the thumb gusset came later on. The thumb is decreased with a narrower band than the top of the mitten, a two stitch band instead of the four stitch band in the top. The top was usually broader than the thumb, with three or four stitches in the band. Click here for a picture of the tops. Eeva Haavisto gives no clues on how to pattern the thumb, indicating that it is to have the same pattern as the hand. Since it would have been impossible to get the big flowers to continue around the thumb, I decided to keep the back of the thumb striped. I used the Estonian way to knit in a piece of different coloured tread where I wanted the thumb to be - this is not how the thumbs were knitted in Finland I think.

Yarn and needles: Vuorelma’s Satakieli on 2mm bamboo needles. The mittens were knitted with a gauge of 38 stitches and 38 rows for 10 x 10 cm.


Close up of the flower pattern

The next pair of mittens will be for my younger daughter, and you can look forward to see more flowers. It will be a pair I have seen pictures of, they are part of the National Museums collections, and the knitter who made them were according to the archives home from Ilmajoki. The same pattern in different colours is also to be seen in Eeva Haavisto's book, but she credits Kurikka to be the palce where the mittens were from.

See all entries on Jalasjärvi flower mittens.

September 24, 2006

I should be knitting mittens, really


But all I do is knitting socks. I'm almost obsessed by Eunny's Bayrische socks. The fine gauge, the well defined stitches, the beautifully flowing pattern, what more can ask for? There are almost 100 stitches in one sock, the knit stitches knitted twined, and there are twists on every row. It's not complicated at all, but you have to be alert all the time. And it's addictive. I love the socks already, and have problems putting them to the side. I had white and blue Regia silk in stash (hurray for emptying the stash!), and I chose the white, in order to get most out of the travelling stitches, knitted through the back loop.

But before I got this socks obsession, I knitted quite a lot on the flower mittens. Look, the first mitten has got a companion.


I think I will use a smaller pattern on the thumbs, a practise quite common on old Finnish mittens. The other option would be to let the flowers continue on the outer side and then use for example stripes on the inside, a way to come around the problem that also were used a lot. When I'll be able to let the socks rest I'll have to make a decision.

September 16, 2006

The Finnish mitten challenge

It's hardly a surprise for those who know my knitting habits even a little bit that I love knitting Estonian mittens and socks. I don't know why, but there is something in the small scaled patterns, the rhythm of the patterns that speaks intensely to me. I like Estonian mittens more than Latvian mittens, and way more than the Norwegian mittens I used to knit before I first opened Nancy Bush's book Estonian folk knitting. It felt like coming home, the mittens did have everything I liked in Norwegian mittens, and nothing of the things I didn't. And I think I can't blame my ancestors for this, the genetic heritage of those who lived in Estonia 250 years ago must be pretty diluted today.

I think I found one reason why I feel so at home with the Estonian mittens, and it has to do with my earlier weaving activities. Before my babies started to grow into schoolchildren in need of rooms of their own I had a craft room, where I kept the family loom I have. It has been in my husbands family for about 150 years, a quite big sturdy thing (that sad to say is now stored away in pieces, waiting for the kids to move out). I was very interested in how old fabrics were woven, and I studied lot of books on old-fashioned clothing. Perhaps my unconscious mind did take up pictures of mittens resembling the Estonian mittens I later would take to my heart.

HPIM7151.JPGI decided that the mittens my family will receive this year will all have patterns that originate from Finland. There are so many different styles, and I think they have been very poorly exhibited and showed. Mittens from Kymenlaakso are partly very similar to the Estonian mittens. They share many pattern, some pattern have even the same name as the Estonian name. The cuffs are often simpler, and the most intricate pattern that the Estonian mittens represent are not present among the Kymenlaakso mittens. Mittens from the south of Pohjanmaa have elements that remind of old pheasant painted furniture, and are quite different from the Kymenlaakso mittens, but do also have similar features. And mittens from the Swedish speaking areas of Pohjanmaa have again their own twist, totally different from the south of Pohjanmaa. In Lapland are mittens again different, the Rovaniemi mitten is somewhat known but other styles not so. And then we have the thrum mittens. Not as thick as the thrum mittens in Canada, but still warm and with very interesting cuffs.

I have started some initial research, reading books and taking a tour at the archives of the National Museum. I have looked at pictures in the archive, read notes about the mittens, and read through Anna Rauhala's excellent pro gradu exam work on mittens from Kymenlaakso and the outer islands. I have not had a chance to examine any mittens personally, and there are a lot of models I haven't got verified. But I have started :-)


The first pair of mittens will be for my older daughter. The yarn is Vuorelma's Satakieli, in a red that looks like it had been dyed with madder, and a purple that look like it has been dyed with madder and indigo. I have decided not to stick to the original colours, since they were very often sheep white and sheep black, but to try to find colours that could have been created before the synthetic colours took over. The yarn will of course not be dyed with natural dyes, I haven't the time to start involving me in that again, but the colour shade have to look natural. The pattern for these mittens is found in Eeva Haavisto's book Sataa kansanomaista kuviokudinmallia, and it is from Jalasjärvi in south Pohjanmaa. I have not got this specific pattern verified with a museum item, but about half of all the models in Haavisto's are mittens I have found pictures of, and her only changes seams to be that she perhaps has adapted some mittens to a slightly thicker yarn than the original. Thus I assume it to be quite original. According to Rauhala’s research in Kymenlaakso mittens did most old mittens have a stitch count of 40-50 stitches to 10 cm. Haavisto's models have less than this, perhaps as a result of the commercial yarns that started to be more available in the 1940's, when her book was published.

The cuff of the mitten is actually not a mitten cuff. I took the model from a picture of an old sock from Pohjanmaa, but I think it works pretty nice as cuff too. The pattern was called zig-zag pattern. More on the knitting details of the mitten when I advance.

The pattern of the hand does not have a name, so I have decided to call the mittens the Jalasjärvi flower mittens.


Welcome to my blog! My name is Maud, and I spend my free hours grooming Afghan hounds, knitting, cooking, and growing bonsai trees. I am since the summer of 2012 reporting from Stockholm Sweden, entries before that are from Esbo, Finland.

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