Saturday, January 16, 2010


I am having SO much fun knitting Selbuvotter (Selbu mittens). Selbu is city in Norway; votter is the Norwegian word for mittens. So, essentially, selbuvotter are Norwegian mittens. They're colourwork and I'm loving colourwork, especially little mittens like the red and white ones in the picture below. I put them with my Lilac mittens to give you an idea of how small they really are.

I'm not sure what age of child they'll fit (I have no one but Sam, who's 4, to try them on and she hasn't been around the shop this week), but they're definitely toddler-sized.

I've included the picture below for one reason only... see where the thumb joins the palm? The mitten on the left was finished first; I tried to match the thumb pattern to the palm, but didn't quite "get" the instructions in the book. I "got it" on the second mitten, and the pattern flows seamlessly from the palm to the thumb (the thumb is knit last).

Now that I know how to make that pattern flow properly, this next little pair should be perfect! I cast on for this pair after work yesterday, and I anticipate that I'll have at least one of the mittens finished later today. Kids' mittens just knit up so quickly!

Details. Right! Both patterns are from Terri Shea's excellent book "Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition". If you're at all interested in historical or colour knitting, this is an excellent book to have in your library. The instructions are well written and the charts are clear and easy to follow. The red and white pair are NHM #5 (page 96) and the second pair is Annemor #2 (page 43).

Incidentally, NHM refers to samples Terri cataloged from the Norwegian Heritage Museum. Annemor refers to samples she received from Annemor Sundbo, who also has a fascinating book "Everyday Treasures: Knitting from the Rag Pile". She also has a Flickr page with many samples of old Norwegian garments, which you can find here. If you enjoy colourwork, and are looking for inspiration, be sure to browse her galleries. I know I came away inspired.

Both pairs of mittens are made with Sandnes Garn Lanett, a 100% superwash wool, on 2.5 mm needles. I used double pointed needles for the cuff and, as you can see in the last picture, I'm using the magic loop technique for the body of the mittens. The patterns both called for 2.75 mm needles, but there's so little difference between the two that I went with what was at hand. Besides, I don't think it really matters what size the mittens end up being; they'll fit someone!

I have every intention of making more of these mittens; they knit up quickly, they're fun to knit and they're pretty darned cute!


  1. Since everything you do is amazing, then is simply follows that your little red and white mittens are adorable. I have tried stranded knitting once, and it wasn't that difficult other than the fact that I constantly got the yarns tangled, and had a very hard time keeping everythng loose enough that they didn't strangle when they were finished. I have read that some knit them inside out to make sure the strands are not pulled too tight. I tried that and got totally confused. Now you understand a little better why I am always mesmerized to see all of the beautiful color knitting that everyone else seems to do, but not me. :)

  2. Hi Ev,

    thanks for visiting my blog! The Shetland shawl is already done, but I didn't want to take the Drops shawl for my friend out of the limelight yet!
    Your mittens look great! Because they're twined knit (i guess?) they'll be quite warm. Here is a lot of snow; we could use those here, hihi.

  3. It seems knitting mittens is as addicting as knitting socks. They al are great! I wonder what you daxt on next - I mean wich colour combination as it will definitely be mittens!