Mitten Progress.....

So I've been spinning up some fibers to work up a prototype mitten and finally have some show and tell. It's not perfect yet, but I LOVE how it fits so thought I'd share my experience - for what it is: a work in progress!

First, to recap, this is the mitten (above) that inspired me to learn nalbinding some 10 years ago on our first trip to Iceland. At the time, I thought this looked amazingly uncomfortable and ill-fitting. Still, I was intrigued and so the journey began!

I first spun up this colorful and stray merino fiber I had laying around for the last couple of years! I knew that I needed to practice spinning a bulky singles yarn, since I just about exclusively have spun plied yarns all my spinning life! And, to boot, I never spin bulky!! 

So I practiced first on this colorful yarn. Spun it Z and ended up with an aran weight, instead of bulky. And, frankly, because it is SO amazingly  soft I really wantto knit a cowl out of it instead....

So I went back to the wheel and I spun up some Icelandic roving that was next in queue!  Since this is likely  the type of fiber the Vikings were more likely to have been working with anyway, I figured this was perfect. 
I spun it S and got a perfect bulky gauge so decided to work up the prototype mitten using this yarn.  

  WOW....did I love nalbinding with this. It splices so beautifully (Icelandic is a good felting wool, so that makes sense). And the mitten was actually really quick to nalbind. Much faster than knitting the mitten would have been! It occurred to me while whipping this up last night that nalbinding might be really great for kids to learn if they aren't ready to coordinate the two knitting needles yet!

Anyway, the mitten fits like a glove!  Even if I did make the cuff a little on the long side, it is a perfect fit thru the thumb and fingers. And unlike what I expected based on the mitten I saw at the museum all those years ago, it is really supple and comfortable to wear.

The only thing that I'm going to change in the "mate" I make to this one, is to try something a little different at the thumb. The gusset increases worked well, but I don't love the closure I have at the junction between the thumb and forefinger. 

Otherwise, I'm very happy with it. 
It is very plain - but I look at it as a "canvas" on which to stitch some lovely designs once I finish the mate. 

I highly recommend buying an Icelandic fleece if you are a spinner and interested in spinning your own yarn for nalbinding. It is really a pleasure  - and if you use a lamb's fleece it is not at all scratchy if you have concerns about that. (I don't honestly know if the top I was spinning was lamb or adult - my sister purchased it for me on our second trip to Iceland and it was already in roving)

But my goal (after finessing the thumb on the "mate" for this mitten) is first to spin up a lovely light fawn colored Icelandic lamb's fleece I have from my niece's flock (Crooked Sapling Farm) to make a pair for her (she just tragically lost this sheep Bernie). And secondly, to spin up a jet black lamb's fleece I have (also from Jake's flock) to nalbind myself a pair! This is Okra, the little guy that I got the really black/dark brown fleece from.

If you want to learn a bit more about Icelandic fleeces, check out this video I also did last year as I was sorting Okra's fleece into tog and thel!

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