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Mitten mania

The final project for my batch of charity knitting was a pair of mittens for J., a three year-old boy. I started out by knitting the adorable Piggy Mittens. But then I had a two-fold late-night realization:

1. Mittens for a three year-old should be machine washable.

Maybe not if you know the family and you know they are fine with hand-washing knits. But as a random charity donation? No. Machine wash only. That family has enough to deal with, without the burden of hand-washing a toddler’s mittens.

2. I didn’t have any machine washable yarn.

Due to America’s lack of 24/7 emergency yarn stores (or at least a medical-style on-call/page system for yarn stores) I had to wait until the next day. I ran to the store and bought a skein of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Peacock Blue.

I dedicated the better part of Saturday to cranking out a pair of Sivia Harding’s Child’s Simple Striped Mittens (but without the stripe). Those Piggy Mittens were adorable, but there wasn’t time for all that fiddly stuff.

child's mittens

Amazingly enough, I finished these with enough time to wash and block them overnight, just in time for the Sunday deadline. There was even time to crochet a single chain mitten string (a judicious addition to a pair of mittens for a toddler).

In theory, you shouldn’t need to wash acrylic yarn when you finish knitting a project. In practice, I find that many acrylic yarns have a coating (called “sizing”) and your project is much nicer if you wash it. This is definitely true of Vanna’s Choice, which changes dramatically in the first wash.

3 comments to Mitten mania

  • Ghislaine

    I’m sure the family will appreciate the washability of the mittens. Great shade of blue!

    Eons ago, when I was young and living in Montreal, I remember buying acrylic yarn at the grocery store! It was horrible stuff back then, but in a knitting emergency …

    Those piggy mittens are so cute. I knit a pair for a co-worker (who is pig obsessed) a couple of Christmases ago. I hate sewing things in, so I decided to knit the ears from the point down and then just knit them into the mitten just before starting the the decrease.

    • Erika

      Clever idea on the ears! I had only managed to knit the ears before I realized that I shouldn’t be using wool. I was definitely dreading sewing them on.

  • I’m sure the washability is for the best. Toddler mittens tend to collect dirt as fast as toddlers do…
    I made my dad Piggy Mittens for Christmas some years ago. (He raises pigs. It was a natural.) He unwrapped them, said “Oh, mittens.” Then he started to put one on, took a good look, and exclaimed “Why, they’re PIGS!” Big grin followed, especially when I pointed out that
    a) If he got bored, he could always go out and give the pigs a puppet show, and
    b) When someone asked him what he did for a living, he could whip out the mittens and say “I raise pigs, and I’ve got the mittens to prove it.”