Sunday, October 31, 2010
adventures in thumb anatomy and halloween
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.
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."
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.
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.
Happy Halloween! We were a viking wench, a roll of toilet paper, and two decapitations.