Sunday, October 31, 2010

adventures in thumb anatomy and halloween

chevron mitts

These chevron fingerless mitts have been taking form since Rhinebeck. They are top down with a sore thumb. I finally got my hands on a copy of Kenan Ozbel's out-of-print book, Knitted Stockings from Turkish Villages, and the pattern is Corporal's Stripes from the book. This book is such a treasure, I hope that it will be reprinted. I sent my money off to Turkish Culture Shop and since I didn't receive a confirmation of any kind, was worried I had tossed the money out the window but my book eventually arrived via DHL. Bliss.

chevron mitts

Anna Zilboorg says this is her book Magnificent Mittens: "When mittens were made of woven cloth or leather, it was necessary to use gussets and shaping to make them fit at all. When Scandinavians started knitting them, they followed the sewn patterns far more than was necessary for comfort." And later: "In Knitter's Almanac, Elizabeth Zimmerman declared that there was no need to place a gusset on the palm, thereby distinguishing the right and left-hand mittens. She said the gussets should stick straight out from the side so that mittens could be worn on either hand. Since her word is law to me, this is the way I have designed the mittens and have named them "Sore-Thumb Mittens," because the thumb sticks out like one."

mitten thumb anatomy

A little note about thumb anatomy: 1. The Sore-Thumb sticks out to the side and the mittens are interchangeable. This is nice because there's no disruption to a stranded pattern. 2. The Invisible Thumb, common in the Baltic regions, in which the pattern on the thumb would blend in with any stranded pattern on the palm. 3. The Gusseted Thumb or thumb with gusset, is where stitches are increased in a triangle shape the accomodate the thumb on the palm side of the mitten, typical in Scandinavia. 2 and 3 both create right and left hand mittens. I've paraphrased what Anna Zilboorg described in Magnificent Mittens.

chevron mitts

Since both of these women are my heroes, I thought I would give it a go. I knit the mitts top down, cast on separately for the thumb and inserted it on the three side stitches, then reduced as I knit down creating a side gusset or sore-thumb. The up shot of it is that while they are perfectly comfortable to wear, in this case I don't love them. The pull on the thumb makes the side "seam" spiral in a way that bugs me. I think the sore thumb would be fine on a looser fitting mitten but I wanted these to be form fitting, I will redesign them with a gusset.

Viking wenchthe Fam

Happy Halloween! We were a viking wench, a roll of toilet paper, and two decapitations.


Michelle said...

The gloves look really nice in the photos. It's interesting how many different ways there is to do something as simple as a thumb. Your costumes all look amazing! I hope you all got lots of candy.

Mary Beth said...

Such creativity going on here. Did you make all of those get ups? Love the decapitated head costumes. Very realistic. :) Oh, and of course you'll just rip back these mittens and restart them. Ugg. I can't even imagine creating them the first go round. I love the look of color work but it's very daunting for me to even think about trying it, ha ha!

nicole said...

Too bad the mitts didn't turn out exactly how you wanted, because they are GORGEOUS!

And wow, those Halloween costumes are amazing. The decapitations are especially impressive and scary!

Deborah said...

I absolutely love your fingerless mitts! They are truly beautiful and the color combination is perfect! As always I bow down to your colorwork and creativity. The Halloween costumes are fantastic!!!! Love a family that dresses up together.

Sayschnicklefritz said...

The mitten drawing and thumb tutorial combine sweetness and precision so nicely. I was ignorant as to the regional populatities of the different thumbs.

You already know my position on the pretty mitts, so just let me say you and your fam do the BEST costumes! I imagine your neighbor folk love to see you guys every Halloween.

Oiyi said...

Awesome costumes!! Maybe my husband and I should try to partake in the festivities next year. But I always get too lazy. Plus, Melody always steals the show.

The mitten drawing is pure genius. Love the simple line drawing. Your fingerless mitts were gorgeous. The perfect color combo.

Kim said...

Wow I never really thought about thumbs before. Seems the fingerless mitts I have on today are sore thumb. Beautiful mitts!
I can't get over those decapitations! Might have to copy you next Halloween.

yaya said...

Incredible - The Viking Wench never ceases to amaze me, now with her decapitations and support for the paper industry. And somehow the crew always falls in line - how could they not with such a Brunhilde wielding her bosom about the deck.

Yarny Days said...

Love, love, love!~