This is week 2 of the pattern highlights from my upcoming book. If you like what you’re reading about, please join my preorder mailing list. To read more about why I’m doing this (and why you should join the list), you can visit the Month 5 blog post.
Ranelva is worked in Rauma Finullgarn, a 100% Norwegian fingering wool
I haven’t made, let alone designed, very many mittens. However, growing up in Vermont I’ve worn a fair few. I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle (pun intended) on how they’re normally constructed. However, I do like to add my own style to things, and in my previous mitten design as well as this one, I’ve done things a little differently from your average mitten. One of these will be immediately obvious: the fingertips are not centered. Instead, they’re centered roughly on the middle finger, which is most people’s tallest finger. In other words, the decreases for the body of the mitten begin sooner on the outside edge than on the edge closest to the thumb. Speaking of which, the other major difference is the thumb style. The Eastern Thumb (as named by Robin Hansen, at least) is quite underutilized in mittens, but I like the elegant lines of it, the way the increases follow the muscles of the hand, and the way the thumb feels like it’s part of the hand, rather than an afterthought. Also, although it’s not alone in this, the Eastern Thumb is worked symmetrically, so there’s no need for a left and right mitten — either will work. There’s also a really neat trick used to close the top of the body, the thumb and the gusset.
When I first started teaching at the big knitting shows (Stitches, Interweave, and Vogue), I found myself face to face with one of my own patterns in a booth I didn’t know at the time. It was my “Open for Business” sign which had been done in the booth’s yarn. Called “Wall of Yarn”, they were very enthusiastic about my designs and it turned out that they have a very interesting story. They are the sole US importer of a line of yarns from Norway called Rauma. Rauma has an amazing variety of colors and, as it turns out, their Finullgarn matches up nicely with Kauni Effektgarn, which I use in many of my standalone patterns. One of the shop’s proprietors, Jeffrey Wall, has been translating Rauma’s patterns from Norwegian to English and boosting their yarn sales with unique colorwork patterns. They were happy to have me design something in their yarn, and I have plans to continue using their yarns in the future. They have begun to help me by selling my books and patterns at many of these shows, and have even begun to stock Kauni Effektgarn.
As I began designing these mittens, I first settled on the all-over colorwork pattern they were going to use. Like many of my other charts, the noodling and doodling in Illustrator generated a fascinating but very simple pattern that reminded me of rivers or rippling water. Since the yarn is Norwegian, I looked up rivers in Norway to find a good name — and what a surprise! It turns out that Rauma, the name of the yarn, is also the name of a river in Norway. Clearly it was meant to be. I chose another river’s name for the mittens. I found two spellings: Ranaelva and Ranelva; both seem to be correct and accepted spellings for this river, so I chose the one less likely to be mispronounced by English speakers.
This pattern will be available in my upcoming book “Double Or Nothing”. To be informed when the preorder period begins, please join my preorder mailing list. Thanks!