I talk a lot about Sweden, partly because it is simply a country rife with so many things I love (baked goods, folk art, knitwear, etc.) and partly because I had the immense privilege to live outside of Stockholm with an amazing family when I was a junior in college. I arrived in the winter, and it was very dark and very cold. I had thought the winters in Maine were dark and cold, but this was a whole new level of dark. I would take the train to school in the dark, spend the day in classrooms, and take the train home in the dark. I began to doubt that the sun existed anymore.
Scandinavians prepare well for this phenomenon by making their homes colorful and cozy. There are a lot of brilliant patterns and bright colors to help keep winter doldrums from following you indoors. And winter weather accessories are also cheery, bright little beacons that shine through the gloom. I arrived in Sweden with some knitwear, of course, but my collection grew during my adventure. A pair of patterned two-toned purple (with green accents!) mittens purchased from an island in the archipelago are a staple of my winter wardrobe.
Interweave Knits Gifts 2015 has an awesome collection of merry mittens, eleven pairs in fact! They are full of great techniques and dynamic patterns, perfect to make for the winter we all know is rapidly approaching. Adrienne Larsen’s Starflower Mittens are bright, colorful, and cheery. Beautiful stranded colorwork shows off the fantastic juxtaposition of a solid yarn with a variegated, working together to create a stunning pattern.
Also, the stranded colorwork knitting technique creates an amazingly warm fabric. Because you are carrying one strand along as you work with the other, you create a double thick finished work. With the cuff rolled back, below image, you can see how those strands not only add warmth but also create a very polished looking inside to the mittens. The real trick with this technique is not to pull the strands too tightly as you carry them along, or your fabric will look in turn puckered or pinched and overall uneven.
Plymouth Yarn Galway Worsted and Plymouth Yarn Gina are both available in many beautiful colors, with so many combinations possible. If you want to make them just like in the magazine, we have a beautiful kit available!
Winter will come, with or without bright and beautiful knitwear, but the transition to shorter daylight hours and a drop in temperature ends up being a much more pleasant experience with some festive handknits. Whether you like to knit for others, for yourself, or both, now’s the time to cast-on winter wear. There’s no feeling like that first really cold day when you get to wear your new mittens (scarf, sweater, hat, socks, etc.) for the first time, so get knitting!
Yours in yarny goodness,