I’m done with the left Selbuvotter mitten! I’m currently trying to block it into submission–I steam-ironed it after finishing the main knitting, just to see how it looked, and found that steam does amazing, wonderful things for stranded colorwork. It was so flat and beautiful! Now the ends are woven in, and it’s soaking in Eucalan.

I’ll definitely have to break into my second skein of cream-colored Telemark, but I’m hoping the black skein lasts through the rest of the second mitten.
Problems thus far:

  • I somehow missed two sets of palm decreases and had to sharply decrease towards the top of the palm. The messed-up area with its little jog is kind of visible on the palm side of the band. Also, I somehow missed the instructions to ssk/k2tog in MC in the beginning of the book, and just did it in whatever chart color presented itself. I didn’t realize the decrease lines would visually align themselves with the side bands rather than the This led to some sort of ugly bits where the black seems accidental.
  • I can’t ever seem to get the tension right in the area between needles, so the side bands are all weirdly puckery.
  • Screwed up a few sts on the palm and duplicate-stitched over them.
  • Also screwed up a bit in the palm pattern on the thumb, but it’s the inside of the thumb, and it looks more or less right, so I’m not fixing it.
  • Nota bene: There’s a tiny error in the chart: the left-hand band chart is missing two black sts, 4 rows down from the top. It’s obvious which ones they are, but beware.

Other Notes
As far as fit, they’re perhaps an inch too long in the fingers, but pretty much perfect in the thumb, with just a tiny bit of extra length. The book warns that mittens may shrink lengthwise during use, so this should be just fine. I gave my other pair of Nordic mittens* to my mom when she was visiting. They were pretty, but the thumb was too high or the fingers were too short, due to gauge issues, and so they were never totally comfortable to wear, though the fabric was nice, cushy and nearly waterproof from working aran weight yarn on size 3 needles.

Terri Shea writes of these mittens: “The palm pattern, reminiscent of the quilting pattern Double Irish Chain, is complex and unless the knitter memorizes the rhythm of each row, it will be difficult to knit.”

I didn’t find it difficult at all when following the chart, but when it came time to extend the pattern to the palm, where motifs were cut off midway, I got kind of confused.

So here is how I’ll remember the sequence for the second mitten. The main motif is white diamonds staggered by a half-drop (and can also be seen as a sea of tiny CC crosses arranged in a diamond-shaped grid). For each set, the rows consist of the following, moved left or right as appropriate to maintain the white diamond rows of 1 MC, 3 MC, 5 MC, 3 MC, 1 MC, all centered atop one another:

1) *K1 MC, k3 CC* across

2) *k3 MC, k1 CC, k1 MC, k1 CC, k1 MC, K1 CC* across

3) *k5 MC, k3 CC* across

4) rep Row 2

Begin again with Row 1, which serves to put the 1-stitch MC point on the first set of diamonds, and also to put the 1-st foundation in place for the next set of diamonds offset by a half-drop.

Thumb: Apparently I didn’t pick up enough sts, so I have 13 sts on the palm (12 picked up plus 1 picked up from edge) rather than 14–but in any case: I defined the end of the round as just after the palm sts.

Rather than knitting the charted thumb, which didn’t appeal to me, I continued the vertical stripes from the gusset on the outside of the thumb, and the palm pattern on the inside of the thumb.

Work 19 rows, then decrease as follows:
Rd 1: k1 CC, ssk MC, work to last 3 sts, k2tog MC, k1 CC. ssk CC, patt across palm sts to last 2 sts, k2tog CC. 11 sts palm, 13 sts gusset.
Rd 2: k3 in pattern, ssk MC, k3 in pattern, k2tog mc, knit in pattern to end of needle. ssk CC, patt to last 2 sts, k2tog CC. 9 sts palm, 11 sts gusset, 1×1 stripes on gusset now.
Rd 3: ssk CC, patt to last 2 sts of side, k2tog CC. ssk CC, patt to last 2 sts, k2tog CC. 7 sts palm, 9 sts gusset.
Rd 4: ssk CC, k1 MC, sl1-k2tog-psso CC, k1 MC, k2tog CC. ssk MC, patt to last 2 sts, k2tog MC. 5 sts each side
Rd 5: ssk CC, k1 CC, k2tog CC, ssk CC, k1 CC, k2tog CC. Cut yarn and draw through these 6 sts.

I really like the looks of the wrong side of colorwork (and I consistently carried
the CC, black, ahead, by picking it up with my left hand first, under the MC, and holding it there Continental-style while throwing the MC with my right hand, so it’s all proper and pretty). However, I kind of ruined it with my woven-in ends. I just weave them up and down under the floats of the opposite color, which is functional, but then they spoil the look of the lovely horizontal floats.

I’m calling this mitten “Black Lilies” because it’s catchier than NHM #7, and because of this introduction to the pattern:

“The main pattern is a stylized lily, according to Annemor Sundbø, and symbolizes purity and the Virgin Mary.” (Sort of the opposite of the black dahlia, then.)

“Lilies arranged in a rosette pattern as seen here were often used in woven tapestries in the county Trondelag, where Selbu is situated.”

Here’s a nice picture of some real black lilies.

Also, I’ve concluded that the world needs a review of the book Knitknit, which I have out on loan from the library, because someone online was asking about project pictures and I could not find my favorites anywhere. There are some really nice photos in the book. Stay tuned! I’ll try to get a review up before I have to return the book to the library.

* The other pair of Nordic mittens:

Patons SWS in Natural Plum and Natural Navy. Look at that corrugated ribbing… such a pain in the ass, but so beautiful. (Better than the rest of the mitten–the color values were too similar, so the pattern didn’t stand out well in most places. I’ve learned my lesson.) The pattern was the North Star Mittens from Robin Hansen’s Knit Mittens! and it was full of errata. You can find my grouchy review on the product page.

See the thumb problem I was talking about? Contrary to what you might believe from looking at these mittens, my thumb does not branch off from my hand midway up my index finger, nor does it end at the same place as my pinky. Of course, it’s knitted fabric, so it stretched… somewhat. But not really enough.