Two-Thumbed Arctic Fisherman’s Mittens
The fisherman of the north have known how to keep fingers working in bitter cold conditions for centuries: wool mittens. Before the invention of gortex and polar fleece, fishermen had to put their hands in freezing water, haul ropes and handle fish, only utilizing the natural materials at their disposal. Some communities produced knitted two-thumbed mittens made out of spun and fulled wool as their answer to this dilemma, because wool repels water up to a certain moisture density, and once that level is surpassed, can still retain the hand’s heat. It fulls down to the hand’s shape to provide a custom fit. Lastly, when the palm and thumb are too wet or messy to be useful, the thrifty fisherman can rotate the hand 180 degrees, put his thumb into the second knitted thumb and have a whole “new” pair of mittens! In this class, we will knit and full our own set of two-thumbed mittens, based on a pair held in the Vesterheim Norwegian-American museum. Participants should be able to cast on, knit, and knit in the round.