Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mittens and mornings

Now that the white nights of summer are gone, the stars are back on a cold, brisk, clear night. Early morning greets with beautiful sunrises. I had forgotten the sunrises. I realized it this week when I woke up very early and witnessed the day breaking. I took these pictures this morning, around 7, the morning was still new but sun already quite high.
Can you just feel the bite in the air? (I am sure his paws were freezing… These two play together a lot, Väinö is someways very dog-like. He follows me around, is usually close by when I am out and about; and when I call him, he most of the time comes running.)
The temperature was just a few digits above zero. Perfect to take along a heavier coat, a thick scarf and fingerless mittens, hot cup of coffee and sit for a bit in the fresh air. Listen to the day come in with soft steps. Then later to be welcomed to the warmth of the kitchen and the house.I have heard the swans lately saying goodbyes on their way to the south, but I did not see them today.

These mittens…
I took another route, disregarded the heavy white wool and took this Cataluna (100%) instead. I like the wool very much, even though it is worsted weight (!). The mittens will be warm and soft, warm but not warm enough by themselves. Up here you always need double layer during the winter months; hence the lining mitts in this dark red Madelintosh Tosh Sock. During the winter my hands suffer, they become red and dry and tender, thus ultra soft lining mitts are the best way to go, Tosh sock meets this demand very well.
Heavy, double layer mitts seem bit off the place at the moment… The color combination is maybe little bit too warm, I should have paired this oatmeal with colder tones, even though the cold red lining mitts cool off the temperature. I am thinking that when the time is right for these double mittens, the colors are also right. As the world turns all blue and cold, any warmness is going to feel right. But the beads! I know, possibly too much, but I could not help myself. Maybe I should have added a silver thread to run with the wool to add spark to the stars?
I finally forced myself (just the right word, seems little rough though) to knit two mittens at the same time. I did  that for the lining mittens, as they were so simple, plain sockinette only (with the exception of one little roositud star there) and I was afraid of the second mitten becoming a TASK. It did feel awkward in the beginning, I missed my thin double points (2mm/US0) badly at first, but round by round it became easier and I think I am converted. I tried the magic loop, but my old long 2mm circulars’ cords were impossible, they curled like crazy; instead I used Addis, two 24” ones. I am going to try to heat the stubborn circs today for a bit to see if they will become more manageable, it not, I will need to buy new.
(The pictures here are of the unfinished mittens, but the pair is done now and blocking. Hopefully I can find someone who is willing to pose for mittens this week.)
This Roositud Inlay method is unique in Estonian mittens. I am not sure if it has been used anywhere else, but then my mitten research is not thorough at all. The method is very simple and you can use all sorts of little, short bits of wool. The appearance is very much like satin stitch, but is done differently. You take the piece of wool and just bring it to the front of the knitting, knit a few stitches according to the pattern, then take it to the back side, knit on and the wool traps between the rounds. It is not difficult and is described at least in “Folk knitting in Estonia” by Nancy Bush and in “Eesti Silmuskudumine 1 Tavad ja tehnikad” by Anu Pink, Siiri Reimann and Kristi Jõeste (I think this book is translated into English).

If you use wool for the mittens, you should not have problems with floats, as wool felts with wear a little and will anchor the floats. You might want to pay attention on picking the motif, and go for the shorter floats. This technique is somehow a combination of intarsia and embroidery, and the easy way out in both of those fields. If you are looking for something to spark up your sock or mitten knitting, try this technique. And there is no reason, why you should not use this for garments as well.

Wool with you,


  1. Lovely mittens and many thanks for detailing the Roositud Inlay method. I had not heard of it before and just assumed that you embroidered on top of the finished mitten. This Inlay method looks to be a much better way because of the trapping of the wool during knitting. I will try it.

  2. Interesting concept (Roositud Inlay method) - thank you for explaining. I, too, thought you had just embroidered on top. The beads are such a lovely added touch. And your early morning pictures - breath-taking! So beautiful.

  3. I envy your cool weather - still ridiculously hot here (for September). I heard blue jays this morning, though, so fall is on its way. I knit socks and mittens two at a time, but I just use DPNs, switching back and forth as I reach logical stopping points. I find they are more likely to match when I do this, plus no second sock/mitten syndrome!

  4. Ahh Beautiful photos and crafting ♥


  5. Such beautiful mittens! It sounds like you think maybe the beads are too much? I think they are just enough! I've also never heard of this trapping technique and would like to try it soon. Thanks for explaining!

  6. Such beautiful mittens! It sounds like you think maybe the beads are too much? I think they are just enough! I've also never heard of this trapping technique and would like to try it soon. Thanks for explaining!

  7. Anonymous06:33

    I love the mittens. And the inner mittens. Both just so perfect.

  8. Beth in Maryland17:52

    Lene, thanks so much for taking time to explain the technique. I'll try it!

  9. Dear Lene, I am - as always - delighted to read your wonderful blog and see what you created ultimately!! - I, too, have seen the documentation on youtube where you appear and speak about you and your knitting , lovely!- What about your spinning? - I'm into spinning and cannot let pass one single day without it..made some sock yarn , washed and combed wool during the summer, collecting so many different wools from different sheep breeds I could... all tne best for you! Til next time!! Kind regards from Claudia

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  11. These are just BEAUTIFUL!

  12. Anonymous14:37

    Missing your posts...hope all is well.

  13. Anonymous00:48

    Very happy to have learned something new about knitting, especially on a mitten! I am never without them from October to April!