October 02, 2006

The Jalasjärvi flower mittens - finished!

An other busy week is behind me and the next is about to begin. There has been knitting going on, even if not blogging. And the result: the Jalasjärvi flower mittens are finished!


See those pine needles? The autumn is here!

Project details:

Pattern: The flowers and the flower band are from Eeva Haavisto's book Sata kansanomaisata kuviokudinmallia. The book was first printed in 1947, my edition is from 1953. The biulding up of the mittens is my own. I added a cuff taken from an old sock pattern, one that in Pohjanmaa was called the zig-zag pattern, nothing fancy, just ordinary increasing and decreasing, but quite nice with coloured stripes. The thumb is made as a straight thumb, this is the way old Finnish mittens were knitted, the thumb gusset came later on. The thumb is decreased with a narrower band than the top of the mitten, a two stitch band instead of the four stitch band in the top. The top was usually broader than the thumb, with three or four stitches in the band. Click here for a picture of the tops. Eeva Haavisto gives no clues on how to pattern the thumb, indicating that it is to have the same pattern as the hand. Since it would have been impossible to get the big flowers to continue around the thumb, I decided to keep the back of the thumb striped. I used the Estonian way to knit in a piece of different coloured tread where I wanted the thumb to be - this is not how the thumbs were knitted in Finland I think.

Yarn and needles: Vuorelma’s Satakieli on 2mm bamboo needles. The mittens were knitted with a gauge of 38 stitches and 38 rows for 10 x 10 cm.


Close up of the flower pattern

The next pair of mittens will be for my younger daughter, and you can look forward to see more flowers. It will be a pair I have seen pictures of, they are part of the National Museums collections, and the knitter who made them were according to the archives home from Ilmajoki. The same pattern in different colours is also to be seen in Eeva Haavisto's book, but she credits Kurikka to be the palce where the mittens were from.

See all entries on Jalasjärvi flower mittens.

September 24, 2006

I should be knitting mittens, really


But all I do is knitting socks. I'm almost obsessed by Eunny's Bayrische socks. The fine gauge, the well defined stitches, the beautifully flowing pattern, what more can ask for? There are almost 100 stitches in one sock, the knit stitches knitted twined, and there are twists on every row. It's not complicated at all, but you have to be alert all the time. And it's addictive. I love the socks already, and have problems putting them to the side. I had white and blue Regia silk in stash (hurray for emptying the stash!), and I chose the white, in order to get most out of the travelling stitches, knitted through the back loop.

But before I got this socks obsession, I knitted quite a lot on the flower mittens. Look, the first mitten has got a companion.


I think I will use a smaller pattern on the thumbs, a practise quite common on old Finnish mittens. The other option would be to let the flowers continue on the outer side and then use for example stripes on the inside, a way to come around the problem that also were used a lot. When I'll be able to let the socks rest I'll have to make a decision.

September 16, 2006

The Finnish mitten challenge

It's hardly a surprise for those who know my knitting habits even a little bit that I love knitting Estonian mittens and socks. I don't know why, but there is something in the small scaled patterns, the rhythm of the patterns that speaks intensely to me. I like Estonian mittens more than Latvian mittens, and way more than the Norwegian mittens I used to knit before I first opened Nancy Bush's book Estonian folk knitting. It felt like coming home, the mittens did have everything I liked in Norwegian mittens, and nothing of the things I didn't. And I think I can't blame my ancestors for this, the genetic heritage of those who lived in Estonia 250 years ago must be pretty diluted today.

I think I found one reason why I feel so at home with the Estonian mittens, and it has to do with my earlier weaving activities. Before my babies started to grow into schoolchildren in need of rooms of their own I had a craft room, where I kept the family loom I have. It has been in my husbands family for about 150 years, a quite big sturdy thing (that sad to say is now stored away in pieces, waiting for the kids to move out). I was very interested in how old fabrics were woven, and I studied lot of books on old-fashioned clothing. Perhaps my unconscious mind did take up pictures of mittens resembling the Estonian mittens I later would take to my heart.

HPIM7151.JPGI decided that the mittens my family will receive this year will all have patterns that originate from Finland. There are so many different styles, and I think they have been very poorly exhibited and showed. Mittens from Kymenlaakso are partly very similar to the Estonian mittens. They share many pattern, some pattern have even the same name as the Estonian name. The cuffs are often simpler, and the most intricate pattern that the Estonian mittens represent are not present among the Kymenlaakso mittens. Mittens from the south of Pohjanmaa have elements that remind of old pheasant painted furniture, and are quite different from the Kymenlaakso mittens, but do also have similar features. And mittens from the Swedish speaking areas of Pohjanmaa have again their own twist, totally different from the south of Pohjanmaa. In Lapland are mittens again different, the Rovaniemi mitten is somewhat known but other styles not so. And then we have the thrum mittens. Not as thick as the thrum mittens in Canada, but still warm and with very interesting cuffs.

I have started some initial research, reading books and taking a tour at the archives of the National Museum. I have looked at pictures in the archive, read notes about the mittens, and read through Anna Rauhala's excellent pro gradu exam work on mittens from Kymenlaakso and the outer islands. I have not had a chance to examine any mittens personally, and there are a lot of models I haven't got verified. But I have started :-)


The first pair of mittens will be for my older daughter. The yarn is Vuorelma's Satakieli, in a red that looks like it had been dyed with madder, and a purple that look like it has been dyed with madder and indigo. I have decided not to stick to the original colours, since they were very often sheep white and sheep black, but to try to find colours that could have been created before the synthetic colours took over. The yarn will of course not be dyed with natural dyes, I haven't the time to start involving me in that again, but the colour shade have to look natural. The pattern for these mittens is found in Eeva Haavisto's book Sataa kansanomaista kuviokudinmallia, and it is from Jalasjärvi in south Pohjanmaa. I have not got this specific pattern verified with a museum item, but about half of all the models in Haavisto's are mittens I have found pictures of, and her only changes seams to be that she perhaps has adapted some mittens to a slightly thicker yarn than the original. Thus I assume it to be quite original. According to Rauhala’s research in Kymenlaakso mittens did most old mittens have a stitch count of 40-50 stitches to 10 cm. Haavisto's models have less than this, perhaps as a result of the commercial yarns that started to be more available in the 1940's, when her book was published.

The cuff of the mitten is actually not a mitten cuff. I took the model from a picture of an old sock from Pohjanmaa, but I think it works pretty nice as cuff too. The pattern was called zig-zag pattern. More on the knitting details of the mitten when I advance.

The pattern of the hand does not have a name, so I have decided to call the mittens the Jalasjärvi flower mittens.


Welcome to my blog! My name is Maud, and I spend my free hours grooming Afghan hounds, knitting, cooking, and growing bonsai trees. I am since the summer of 2012 reporting from Stockholm Sweden, entries before that are from Esbo, Finland.

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