In the past few weeks I have enjoyed teaching folks at the shop how much fun it is to knit double point needles. It's not an easy task to fumble the little triangle of needles and yarn into stitches that loop-de-loop around and around and build the tube for a sock, mitten or even a cowl. It's important to learn this technique as you will need it to finish many small parts and pieces of projects that those magical circulars cannot accomplish.
When I was raising my sheep, I knit myself many pairs of fingerless mitts with no thumbs. Believe it or not, even in the cold, I needed my hands warm but my fingers free. Long mitts that tucked into my sleeves were the best, and knit right up to the last knuckle of my pinky. But my favorite pair was from my sheep Lucy's fleece. She was a Romney Corriedale ewe with delightfully long locks that I hand spun. I held a strand of hand-spun Angora and knit these little shorties that were a staple in my pockets during lambing season.
Like many things in the craziness of my life, I lost them one spring. It wasn't the first time. My big dog Maddy was famous for collecting my clothes and when I wasn't in the house. Once I walked out the door, she would search for anything that she could that smelled like me. Mittens and gloves in the bin by the door were her favorite. She had a large bed with a bumper around it, the ultimate in dog comfort for her 130 pounds of monsterous Mastiff self, and she would take my gloves and mittens and smooosh them into the corner then lay her giant head on them. It wasn't fair to blame her this particular time though. I looked everywhere, searched in the pockets of all of my coats, vests and sweatshirts, I searched all corners of the barn ... still nothing. Bummer.
It wasn't until the spring thaw, when I was finally able to get water to run from the outdoor spicket that I saw them. There by the outside faucet frozen in a thin layer of ice lay my stand-by fingerless mitts. I left them -not willing to risk putting holes in them trying to chip them out of the ice. In a few days I was able to reclaim them from where they had fallen, a little wet but still perfect. I brought them into the house to dry and thought how resilient wool is. I slid them on and smelled them. Ahhhhhhhh still sheepy and now with a touch of earthy goodness.
As I continue to knit on those little double points I find the smoothness of the bamboo on the wool even more delightful. Its my go to when I need a little mindless action going on in my hands. My Farm Blend is my number one choice of yarn for mittens of any kind. I hope my students will feel the same and as they practice will find the rhythm and placement of the needs will become so natural. Tug those stitches tight as you come around each corner, count your stitches every few rows, and enjoy the lovely little loops as you find your own way around and around.