Monday, 15 December 2008

Desolation Island Mittens - Finished!

These are the warmest mittens I have ever worn and I would like to think that Louisa Wogan knit with similar wool for Stephen Maturin or those American whalers who brought her back to the United States. I finished them three ways, first with a squared off top, then a pointed one and finally settled on a rounded edge by knitting two together around in the last three rows until there were only three stitches left which I ran through with the tail of wool. Since we have no description of the mittens, let alone Louisa Wogan’s knitting techniques, the mittens are open to interpretation and are more of a tribute to part of her seagoing output than a reproduction of an early 19th century style. The wool, handspun, from an unknown breed (it was a gift to me), is dense and thickly spun.

The mittens were photographed on a nearby beach. Not quite resembling Desolation Island ( but looking appropriately bleak, I quite like it in the winter, when the wind is blowing and the air is so invigorating.


Hugh Yeman said...

This makes me wonder how a sailor kept his hands warm while, say, rounding Cape Horn. Would he require a degree of prestidigitation that would preclude mittens? If so, would he wear fingerless gloves beneath the mittens, whipping the mittens off when needed? That would leave the mittens... where? Dangling from a string? That would be too ungainly for a sailor. Shoved beneath epaulets?

One More Stitch said...

Your questions have been the recent topic of an online group interested in historic knitting. The consensus arrived at, based on opinion, 21st century experience and original documentation, was that the gloves/mittens/mitts were removed for ease of movement and accuracy of the task(s) involved. Where they were temporarily stored (pockets, inside coats/jackets, etc.) is not known.