Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Mittens for Very Cold Hands

I have a problem.  It's called Raynaud's phenomenon. When I experience cold weather, (or a rapid change in temperature), the blood vessels in my fingers contract and blood supply is decreased.  It's not dangerous, but it is unpleasant, and I therefore try very hard not to get my hands cold. (It's true for my toes, too, but the problem is generally easier to solve with 2 pairs of socks.) Combine this with naturally low blood pressure and not great circulation, and it's a recipe for needing mittens in October.

This means that I need a fairly extensive collection of warm hand-wear. It's October now, and I'm already wearing fingerless mitt to walk the dog in the morning  

Another couple of weeks, and it will be full-on Fair Isle mittens for the morning walks.  Stranded Fair Isle makes lovely warm mittens because the strands provide a lining that keeps the wind out, and keeps the warmth in.My Morse Code mittens are my latest Fair Isle mitten design.

Come the middle of November, the Fair Isle mittens will start to fail me.

At this point, I usually give up with the hand-knit mitts entirely, and switch over to my Everest-rated Expedition mittens from Mountain Equipment Co-op.  Come January, I'm wearing those with an additional layer underneath.  

As a knitter, I also feel slightly sad when I have to break out the store-bought mittens.  Surely I should be able to make something myself. Surely I should be able to keep myself warm with wool?

This year, I'm trying something new.

I'm making stranded Fair Isle mittens to be felted! So they're wool, stranded, and they will be felted. The felting will make them thicker, denser, more windproof. With any luck, these will keep me going until December...

The design is a very very loose interpretation of the Felted Fusion Mittens from Green Elf Designs, using Briggs & Little Heritage yarn.

Unfelted, they are comically large.  Being a household with only a front-loading washing machine, 'll be hitting up my friend with the top-loader again this weekend.

And there are rather a lot of ends to weave in.  It's a good thing I'm teaching a Finishing class tonight... I always need a good demo for weaving in ends...


Anonymous said...

They look awesome & I hope they turn out fantastic for you! :)

Anonymous said...

You might try using corespun yarn for your mittens and maybe adding Thrums... They are supposed to be warmer that way!
Rav Id-KittyKatz

cari said...

Can't wait to see a post-felting pic. Great idea for keeping your paws warm!

Allison said...

They look terrific! I hope the colors don't get too obscured when you felt it.

Just out of curiosity... have you tried thrummed mittens? Or mittens knit straight from a silk mawata? I understand that both are terrifically warm.

Kirsten said...

I'm currently knitting some Fiddlehead Mittens... fair isle PLUS an entire knitted inner layer, and since they're turning out huge I thought I would try felting mine too! They should carry me through the winter!