Maddie's mittens

1940s knitted mitten pattern from the Victoria and Albert Museum
My own 1940s handknitted mittens

(originally posted 20 September 2011)

I'd not done any knitting for about 14 years when a friend pointed me to this pattern.  I worked on these mittens while writing the last half of CNV and came to associate them with Maddie Brodatt so strongly in my head that I put them in the novel.

The mittens turn out to be part of an up-to-the-minute trend in that they have flaps that flip back so you can free your fingers.

The pattern, and the first image reproduced here, are from a booklet called Essentials for the Forces by Jaeger Handknit, dating to the 1940s, available on the Victoria & Albert Museum website here (the pattern for Maddie's mittens is the PDF called "Mittens for Women"):

The second image is of my finished mittens.  I wear them at my desk because my house is so dang cold.

Make Do and Mend...

For anyone who's actually interested in the knitting experience... This was the first time I used an old pattern - it dates to the 1940s.  The needles and yarn I used probably date to the 1970s.  It was also my first experience knitting in the round on 4 needles.  I actually really like doing this.  The pattern calls for "2 oz. of Jaeger "Super-Spun" ("J.S." Quality) Fingering, 4-ply (9d. per oz.), and 1 set of No. 13 Jaeger knitting needles with points at both ends."  I have no idea what "2 oz. of 4-ply" translates to in modern English, because the yarn I used was SO OLD it actually said on it "2 oz. 4-ply."  Likewise, I used an old set of British No. 13 needles.  I have since knit 2 more pairs of mittens like these, using 2.25 mm needles (US 1) and Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino yarn (1 ball per mitten at 50 g / 125 m).


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