Monday, January 9, 2012

In the Bleak Midwinter....

"In the bleak midwinter frosty wind made moan
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow.
In the bleak midwinter, long long ago."

~Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894 

Surprisingly enough, the bleak midwinter has not yet come to our little neck of the woods in Michigan.  It was downright balmy today, nearly 50 degrees when I put Peter on my back and Jonah on the swing in the backyard, sun shining.  I very nearly had the urge to deal with those garden boxes that were never properly laid to rest last fall, warm as it was.

Still, every Michigander (as we are called) knows that winter will indeed have some bleak days.  Those days where the temps stand firm in the teens (or lower), yet the sun shines and little ones beg to be taken out to play in the deep, icy white masses that pile all around.  They are coming, whether or not it may seem so on this oddly warm day in January.  Yes, before I play in the garden again, there will be many bleak, frosty days.

With this knowledge, I took up my knitting needles during rest time this afternoon and concocted a wee pattern.  Quick and easily finished over the course of a child's naptime.  You see, I have a little one with round chubby hands quite a bit too big for newborn mitts, but a bit too small to be able to handle such things as thumbs in his mittens. Someone who needs soft cozy wool to keep those extremities warm while riding on Mama's back, pulling a toddler on a sled on a bitterly cold day.

Perhaps you have a similarly chubby-fisted baby.  Or one on the way (how exciting!).  Or really just like knitting tiny quick things for no reason at all.  If any of those are true, you can find my quickly and probably badly written pattern below.  It is truly easy, no frills, fully functional.  

Please feel free to pass along this pattern as you will but consider posting a linkback if you post it on a blog or website.  Thank you.

(Why wool?  Wool is fabulous for many, many reasons.  The reason I choose it for hats and mittens for my children is because it actually stays warm when wet - something that fleece or acrylic does not do.   Wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in water without feeling wet.  And wool wicks moisture away from the body. Even when drenched, your little one will stay warm).

Bleak Midwinter Thumbless Mitts for Baby

One Size (6-12 months)

Supplies: size 4 dpns
               size 8 dpns
               tapestry needle
               Wool yarn, approx 50 grams (this is a great project for leftover wool as it uses very little yardage).

CO 28 stitches with smaller needles using a stretchy CO (such as the long tail method).  Join for knitting on the round and K 15 row of K1, P1 or until desired cuff length.  Longer cuffs keep mitts more secure, in my experience.

Switch to size 8 needles and knit in stockinette stitch for 15 rounds.  Space stitches as follows:

Needle 1: 14 stitches
Needle 2: 7 stitches
Needle 3: 7 stitches

Begin Decreasing:
Round 1 - Needle 1:K1, K2 tog, K til 3 stitches on needle, SSK, K1
                Needle 2: K1, SSK, K to end
                Needle 3: K til 3 stitches on needle, K2 tog, K1

Round 2: K all stitches

Repeat these two rounds until 12 stitches total remain, ending with Round 1.
Join stitches using Kitchener stitch, weave in ends.

Make second mitt the same.

Put them on a little one, bundle them snug and head out into the great outdoors!

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  1. Lydia, I love that hymn. It has been one of my favorites for years. Thanks for the pattern. I have a special little grandson who sucks his thumb who needs a pair! What a great idea!

    What weight yarn did you use?

  2. Kathlene - worsted weight yarn works nicely! For some reason the photos did not post with the original text - I have now fixed the problem so you have a better idea of what they look like. Enjoy!

  3. Pretty!

    The weather is way warmer than usual here in Iowa, too. I can't recall a January quite like this one. It has been wonderful, though we do pray for some precipitation for our fields.


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