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A couple of old mittens.

We have just discovered a couple of old mittens in the attic in Arne’s family home, and we are now getting them cleaned to add them to our archives. We don’t know much about them at the moment, but we plan on doing some detective work, and hopefully, we will be able to update you with more information as we start to discover things.

At the moment, we believe these mittens were made in the 1940s or 1950s. The reason we think this has to do with the quality and look of the yarn, as well as the natural colours. It wasn’t popular to knit with strong colours like red and blue until around 1955, so we think these were made before 1955.

View of the mittens from the top of the hand. Both motives are called Selbu and depict roses with 8 petals. Click to enlarge.


View of the palm and thumb of the mittens. The smaller has the same Selbu rose from the top of the mitten and a smaller pattern on the palm. However, the larger mitten has an unusual pattern repeated both on the palm and the thumb, which has been inserted in a way that is not typical of traditional Norwegian mittens. Click to enlarge.


The mittens were quite dirty and stained, so we are now in the process of cleaning them. Unfortunately, we had to wash them because of the visible stains. Our most preferred way to clean 100% wool fibres is by storing them outside, in the cold, overnight, as wool is self-cleaning when using this method. But because of the stains, that was not possible. This is what we have done so far:

  1. We soaked the mittens in cold water, using a mild detergent used specifically to wash wool fibres.
  2. After soaking them, we pressed the water gently out of the mittens without making any necessary movements that would felt the fabric.
  3. We rinsed them three times, again, gently pressing the water out of them and not subjecting them to any rough treatment that could potentially felt the fabric.
  4. The mittens are now drying; we have laid them flat and will leave until they are completely dry.
  5. Once the mittens are dried, we will make sure to store them in an acid-free box, away from sunlight, in our archives.

We promise we will get back to these mittens as soon as we discover any more information.

While we wait, we designed several mittens in our webshop, which are inspired by traditional Norwegian mitten patterns, like the Eivor Mittens, which we designed for Rowan in 2018.


Eivor Mittens, from our webshop. Click on the image for more.