Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mittens and a New Thumb Design

Yes, the storm hit and though we didn't get very much snow yesterday, this morning it is snowing hard and we may yet get another inch making it a total of 2 1/2 to 3 inches of snow. Hardly a storm worth calling the National Guard out for but the transformation in our grand daughters from a year ago is astounding.

Until now, they have been coddled. They've lived in a house that was so warm they ran around in their underwear most of the time and the car was always heated up before they were put inside. Needless to say, they didn't adventure out into the weather much. But this grandma has other ideas. We keep our house in the middle 60's to upper 60's and wear sweatshirts all the time. At that temperature the cold and flu germs stay closer to the ground and don't breed so rapidly. That helps to keep the germs aways from our mouths and noses and the experts say lowers the chance of infection along with our heating bill. They also say your brain operates more efficiently and I could sure use that help.

We also heat with wood and coal that is put inside a free standing stove in the basement ,so the heat level fluctuates throughout the day. We have insulated curtains to close at night and you can really fill the difference when you open them in the morning to let in the light. The temperature in the whole house drops.

The change in lifestyles has changed the way our grand daughters view the weather outside. When it snowed, the first thing they did after school was beg to go out in it. They climbed into the snow pants I bought for them last year but they never wore and out they went rolling and playing in the cold white stuff. A far cry from the whining whimpering children of a year ago that couldn't stand it if their feet or hands got the least bit cold.

We don't have snow boots yet, though I did look a bit for some when I was in town last time but their rubber chore boots did fine for the short time they were out. Their hoods in their coats had to suffice until I can get some hats knitted up. So with new coats, where we are really hurting is mittens. I've one nice commercial pair of double layered ones for our oldest left over from when our kids were small but they are a bit large for her. The other two children were without. Last night, I stayed up to finish a pair for our middle grand daughter. A pair that I had changed the thumb configuration on. The idea came from a thin thin pair of grey mittens that our daughter bought to go with our youngest's mouse costume. The way the thumb lay out flat to the side made it so easy to get our littlest's thumb slipped into that it sparked my creative juices. Those of you with little ones know about slipping on a pair of mittens and then maneuvering a small child's thumb into the separate opening slot. Not fun. With this style there isn't any of that bother. Their thumb goes where their thumb belongs automatically.

Note the position of the thumb on the left and the traditional mitten on the right. The other thing that I don't like is that when you are making especially small mittens, the thumb opening isn't very big making handling three to four double pointed knitting needles with only a few stitches on each a pain.

The right mitten is for our youngest and the left, our middle grand daughter.

Lest you think I undertook quite a designing feat, think again. I'm not that smart. I just casted on eleven more stitches evenly around the needles after the ribbing. Then when it came to the thumb, I separated eleven stitches off onto a stitch holder and stitched around to those stitches again but then added two stitches at the end before attatching them to the stitches on the next needle. When I picked up the thumb stitches to knit them separately I picked up three stitches with a crochet hook filling in the opening that the two stitches from the main hand area left and proceeded to knit the thumb. Now hopefully for you knitters that was clearer than mud.
For an adult, I wouldn't put a thumb in in this manner but for small children, it is a real time saver when dressing them. The little bit of this color and that colored Merino wool yarn is left over from a hat I made. It is some wool I bought some years back and spun into yarn on my Ashford wheel.

Next, I'm going to try making up a pattern for double thick mittens. Ones with a mitten inside of a mitten but attached at the tip of the thumb and also at the tips of the fingers. I've had the idea in mind for years but no little hands needing mittens. I use to just let the grand kid's parents buy their things as I saw the snow pants I purchased a couple different times go unused. They never used the sled we purchased for them or anything else for cold weather we bought until now. The grandkids have big plans that include snowmen, snow angels, and sledding and that is just as it should be.

It brings back memories of snow turkeys and bears and our son with a home-made bow and arrow made from twigs off the willow tree out shooting his snow creations. Oh how our kids loved to play in the snow. I'll show you one of these days a pair of mittens I found from when our children were little. With all the time they spent in the snow, I had to have a bag that trailed around with me where ever I went just in case I had a few minutes to knit. Our kids frequently came inside covered in snow to exchange their wet mittens for dry ones making it necessary to lots of old towels to mop up after them and multiple sets of mittens for each child. And they wore them out at a rapid rate. I can see those days have returned and I'd better get to knitting fast and furiously.

Though I feel the results of staying up late last night, I did rather enjoy watching old reruns of M.A.S.H. with a cup of warm raspberry cranberry juice laced with cinnamon and cloves and my knitting in my lap. Now I'll start on those double layer mittens I've had in mind for years.

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