Monday, 7 December 2009

I ♥ Selbuvotter

I have recently become intrigued with knitting Scandinavian mittens. When searching on Ravelry I kept seeing patterns from Terri Shea's book "Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition" so I ordered the book from KnitPicks during their recent 40% off book sale.

The patterns are reproductions of actual old mittens and gloves knit in the Selbu (an area of Norway about 400km below the Arctic Circle) tradition. They are from two sources, the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle (NHM) and the private collection of Annemor Sundbø, a Norwegian textile designer and teacher of weaving.
The pattern I chose is called Annemor #12 and is actually a glove (vanter) pattern in the book that I modified to make mittens (votter). The first modification was to do the Latvian braid on the cuff. First, I cast on with the two colours. Then I knit blue on the blue cast-on stitch and white on white. The next step is to purl colour on colour always bringing the desired colour around to the front from the other colour. The next row you purl colour on colour again, this time bringing the yarn around behind the other colour. I then knit two rows of white. Then I knit the cuff rows from the chart, knit two more white rows then repeated the Latvian braid by first knitting alternating the colours.

The Latvian braiding is the most tedious part of the whole project because you are twisting the two yarns in the same direction for 60 stitches when casting on, then the same direction when doing the first purl braid. (That's 120 twists!) Then twisting in the other direction with doing the second purl braid. It might also be noted I did this riding in the back seat of the car on the way to Scooter's piano recital in The Big City in the last hour of sunlight. I got a few rows done on the cuff before I had to pay attention at the recital and finished the cuff at home later that night.

When knitting the back of the mitten, I didn't exactly duplicate the star above the first one as I thought it would make the mitten excessively long so I simplified it a bit. It turns out I could have duplicated it but I think it looks OK as it is.

On the palm, I put 17 stitches on waste yarn for the thumb and then cast on 17 stitches using the twisted loop method. I came back and knit the thumb in pattern after I had the rest of the mitten done.

I had to fiddle with the pattern a bit for the decreases for the fingers as the honeycomb pattern didn't match the rate of decrease I needed. But I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

 Today when I was looking at Annemor's collection of mittens, I saw the original one and noted the palm decreases had been done the same way I did them.

 I ♥ Selbuvotter.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Geri :) I luv Selbuvotter too. They can be a bit fiddly to knit but they are worth it. I am going to knit myself red/white Selbu gloves as soon as I am done my socks.