Bitten by the mitten bug

Over the holiday my sister-in-law asked me if I had any old mittens that she could borrow. She needs a ratty old pair for a hiking trip that she will be taking this winter in Peru. She is going to hike the Inca Trail don't you know. Yes, I am envious! I haven't knit in over five years now and as I sorted through bags of holey old hand-knit mittens (which I have been saving to recover the wool someday), wool and double pointed needles, I got such an urge to knit a pair of mittens that I told her to pick out some wool so I could knit her up a pair. In the past I always put pattern all over my mittens, and as a result there would be a yarn-over every third stitch or so. This time I just knitted non-stop, no pattern. It went fast. And although she said to just knit something functional since she expects to be getting pretty dirty on the trip, I just couldn't bear to see plain empty mittens. So, I cross-stitched a snowflake on the front of each one. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the cross-stitching as much as I did the knitting. It's quite magical to see the image unfold stitch by stitch. I'm not a big fan of symmetry so I gave each mitten a different snowflake. They say no two are alike.

In the meantime I just happened to see a beautiful pair of felted mittens in a local yarn store. They were giving away the pattern with purchase of the yarn to knit a pair, so I bit, and after I finished the thumbs on the Inca mittens I started in on these

And yes, my hand is swimming in this giant mitten. But I gather they shrink up alot. I'm looking forward to felting them as I've never done this before, except by accident of course. I've read that the trick is a good hot wash followed by a cold one, then a hot tumble dry followed by more of the same until they fit just right. Wish me luck.

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