I'm still trying to get to my Latvian mittens. I want to Knit Like A Latvian. I didn't exactly make it easy on myself (a common theme in my life I'm afraid). I decided to spin the yarn from some delightful roving (see below for more info.) I asked the seller to kindly dye some in a steel blue color (Project Spectrum colors - I was thinking two birds with one stone.). Then I tried to find the book Latvian Mittens. After 5 weeks I finally found a used copy. I feel like I have been all talk and no knitting.
I think I have picked out my pattern. I love the geometric floral design. We shall see if it sticks once I start swatching (soon I hope, time is running out on these Project Spectrum colors).
I have half of the blue roving spun up and the white on the wheel. While looking through the book, I realized most Latvian mittens have a contrast color at the cuff. I decided to make a bit of black and charcoal gray. I want a semi-monochromatic look.
But let me tell you about the fiber. It is 60% wool, 40% alpaca roving from Jessie at A Piece Of Vermont. Here is the white on my wheel. It spins like a dream! I think it must have been combed because there aren't any neps, just free-flowing soft fibers. I am spinning it long draw and it feels like it is flying out of my hand and onto the wheel. There is a little bit of veggie matter, but most falls out while spinning. I don't mind a bit of VM. It is somehow reassuring, like there really was a happy critter romping in a field.
Jessie sourced all the fibers from local (to her) Vermont. I love that she works with local farms. I expect the 40% alpaca to make nice warm comfy mittens. Perfect for the early spring we have this year. Oh well, there is always next year.
A couple of weeks ago I got a call from my mother. A few minutes into the conversation this is what she said:
MOM: I want you to put me on the mitten list.
ME: Mitten list? What mitten list is that?
MOM: You know, the list of mittens you are going to make.
The sneak plied me with talk about how everything I make is so lovely and that I am so talented. I suspect she may be biased. I did learn to knit from her and well, she IS my mother. She hooked me. Before she was done, I was committed to a pair of mittens and a matching head band to keep her ears warm.
My mother has gorgeous silver hair; I hope I inherit her hair color. She is leaving the color and pattern up to me "because I have such great taste" (see how she
suckered convinced me?). While I was making batts for my Latvian mitten contrast color, I ended up with a couple of colors that were too close to the blue. I decide to make a series of grays in a 60/40 blend of merino and alpaca (similar to the roving from Jessie). Each one is made only from white and black wool and some naturally black alpaca fleece from my stash.
I should have enough of the white and blue left over, combined with these grays to make her set. I think I will use Norwegian patterns. She learned to knit in Norway as a girl. It seems fitting; all during my childhood, my sister and I had beautiful handmade Norwegian sweaters. The least I can do is to put my mother on the mitten list.