I wasn’t on time for the deadline of this blue project of the Historical Sew Monthly, but I wasn’t as late as this blog post! (Eh, I’m the first one to admit that’s not the best excuse ever…) Anyways, the mitten season is over and I present to you The Blue Take-What-You’ve-Got-Project:
This project is really more on the Historically Inspired side of things. There are extant examples of blue mittens or gloves in twined knitting from the 19th or early 20th century, but they are not like my mittens. If anything, the extant examples are fancier, since blue was an expensive and desirable colour. If I remember my facts correctly, the blue knitted socks and mittens were knitted in white yarn first and then dyed blue. There are even examples of folding and sewing the parts of the garments that wouldn’t be shown together, just to save the colour in the vat for more garments.
Another thing that puts this project on the historically inspired side is that I used rather thick knitting needles. Many, perhaps most, of the extant garments in twined knitting are made on rather thin needles. This photo shows the difference, the thin one is of a size normally used in twined knitting, the thicker the size I’ve used in this project.
Like I said, the blue colour was attractive and expensive, and if someone, like me, had a blue yarn and started knitting with it, but then realized that there weren’t enough yarn for the whole project, they might have done something similar to what I did and taken another colour in the thumb, which is the last part of the mitten to be knitted. But to be honest, I don’t think that this approach would have been the historically used one. I think it more likely that if you had a bit of blue yarn, you would instead have used it as a pattern-making colour on a white glove (together with other colours). And if you wanted a pair of blue gloves/mittens/socks, you would have dyed the finished white garment, perhaps to avoid wasting blue yarns. So, the mindset of this project might have been historical, to ”take what you got”, but the finished project might have looked odd in the historical reality. Hence a historically inspired piece!
And as a side note; it’s really difficult to take action pieces when knitting!
The Challenge: Blue
Fabric: Not really… Blue and green woollen yarn
Pattern: Made up, based on a ”basic mitten” pattern in the out-of-print edition of ”Tvåändsstickning”
Year: Inspired by 19th/early 20th century farming communities of county Dalarna
Notions: Knitting needles size 3 (Swedish (and European?) sizing system)
How historically accurate is it? Well, the technique is accurate, but due to the large knitting needles and the look of the finished project, I’d say it’s historically inspired and not accurate.
Hours to complete: Did not want to count. Twined knitting takes longer than regular knitting…
First worn: Apart from trials, not until next winter season. (It’s spring time now! Yay!)
Total cost: From stash, yarn cost approx 33 SEK, which is about € 3-4.