Friday, November 30, 2012

Maddie's Mittens from Code Name Verity

I recently read the excellent book, Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. It's set during WWII, and mentioned in the book are a pair of handknitted mittens which enable the wearer to free the fingers when needed. The author found the 1940's pattern for the mittens while doing research for the book. She included a link to the pattern (see this post for details).
Anyhoo, my book club read the book for this month's selection and I decided to knit the mittens as a gift for the person in the club whose birthday it was this month, seeing as it went along with the book we had just read.
Here is the finished product. I knitted them with some of my handspun yarn - this happens to be Gotland lambswool. It was the only thing in the correct gauge that I had on hand which wasn't listed for sale already in my Etsy shop:

You can see that an upper flap is designed to tuck into a lower flap:

Here you can see the top flipped back:

On the hand:

And with the top flipped back to free the fingers:

I knitted them with a set of new needles that I recently got. You can see in the picture that they are square instead of round. The reviews said that they helped eleviate arthritis pain and carpal tunnel that can arise from knitting. I have both. These really did help with the arthritis - a lot! The carpal tunnel, only so-so. I think the shape helps the yarn stay on the needles better, so you're not gripping everything so tightly to keep from loosing stitches off the ends of the double points. The only drawback is that they are VERY pointy and sharp:

I had finished everything but the thumb of the left mitten by the time book  club met last night. I showed my friend the mittens and told her I'd get them to her as soon as that thumb was finished, which I was able to do this morning.

By the way, Gotland lambswool is the same fiber that was used to make the Elvish cloaks in The Lord of the Rings movies. I believe that the cloaks were actually woven with a blend of Gotland and alpaca, and maybe something else, I can't remember. It's not a very soft wool, it's actually rather scratchy, but just fine for mittens and cloaks : )
Here is a book trailer for Code Name Verity :

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