This is another post that I started a while ago, but never quite was ready to post…
You might remember a few posts back I showed off my very FIRST attempt at hand-spinning using a drop-spindle.
Well, although the spun wool LOOKS quite pretty, I didn’t want to just let it sit on the dowel and be pretty – I wanted to use it. Of course, since I was on a nålbinding kick… that was where it was going to be used, rather than picking up my long-abandoned knitting needles…
I hemmed and hawed for a while too – did I want to make a hat, mittens, or try something totally different? I still wanted to try another method of doing the thumb on mittens, after making a pair using commercially-spun wool, so I opted for that instead – which ended up being a really good (and really bad!) idea.
Since this was the first wool I’d ever spun.. it wasn’t consistent. There were areas that were over-spun and a bit kinky, areas that were very tight and thin, and areas that were fluffy and bulky. Overall it might have been fine for the “oh look it’s handspun wool- how quaint!” look (I had several people at a modern stitch & bitch session complain that my pretty handspun was going to be lost in the dense nålbinding structure) but for nålbinding it presented some challenges.
- There are patchy areas
- The loops were hard to pull through with inconsistent gauge of yarn
- … and I didn’t have enough yarn to make two mittens.
I finished one mitten, and was a bit disappointed with the patchiness, but decided to go forward with it nonetheless, and started a second mitten. This also meant I needed to spin up some more wool! I joked to friends that I might just need to make several mittens, in order to pick out a pair that were well-made all the way through!
I decided to try a slightly different way of building the thumb onto the mitten. Once I was at the level where I wanted the thumb (working from the wrist up) I made my hole the same, but didn’t add much extra room for the hole (just a bit to go around the thumb) and then continued to the fingertips as before. When it came to add the thumb, I did an extra row of stitches to build up the outside of the thumb, and then went back to go over there to start building the thumb itself. I also only reduced on the inside of the thumb to build a slight taper, rather than all the way around.
The resulting mittens – aren’t entirely matching. They have slightly different techniques, and don’t quite fit or look the same, though I’m actually still really happy that I was able to make them.
On another note, having worn them on cold, rainy day (along with a nålbound hat) I can definitely attest that they’re cozy warm and kept my hands (and head) really dry! I was very impressed!