I was a bookish child, and when you are a bookish child in Scandinavia, you grow up reading Astrid Lindgren. Lindgren was a Swedish author who wrote books for children of all ages. I grew up alongside the unruly children of the Bullerby books and the exceptionally naughty Emil from Lönneberga. I cheered for the feisty Pippi Longstocking. And I was heartened by the strong, empowering presence of Ronja the Robber's Daughter when the Brothers Lionheart broke my heart. Astrid Lindgren's characters were constant companions - I learned so much from her books about love, family, friendships, and the power of gentle, yet firm civil disobedience. And so I designed a pair of utterly Nordic mittens with Astrid Lindgren in mind. The children of Bullerby could have worn these ice-skating. Maybe Emil's sister Ida was looking to wear these, but Emil dumped them in the soup. Pippi misplaced them and only found them when her monkey put them on his ears. Who knows. I wore them to my favourite Scottish fishing village where I skipped stones.
The Lindgren mittens are adorable. They are also a rather quick knit as they are worked in DK/light worsted on 4mm needles. No row uses more than two colours and the pattern repeat is pleasingly small. The only slightly fiddly bit is that the top uses a three-needle bind-off - I have included written instructions for this in the pattern (and there are some very good youtube videos too).
The mittens use three colours of double-knitting/light worsted yarn. My sample uses Drops Lima - a wool/alpaca blend. My sample used around 1.5 balls of shade 0701 (Petrol mix) and one ball each of shades 0619 (Beige) and 3609 (Red). Drops Lima is currently on sale until end of December 2015 which means the Lindgren mittens could be knitted or gifted for around £10!
Because I used a DK yarn, there are many alternatives. Blacker Yarns has a whole world of suitable British yarns (the Classic DK range is a favourite of mine). Eden Cottage Yarns Whitfell Alpaca DK would be super-cosy. Rowan Baby Merino Silk is top-range luxury (and I love how its heathered shades look in colourwork). Baa Ram Ewe's Dovestone DK would be even more luxurious.
Over the last few years I have taught so many classes on Nordic knitting - I am always very keen on emphasising that Nordic knitting isn't a monolithic beastie that resembles reindeers adorned with snowflakes. Lindgren reflects my own reflection upon the multiple strands that make up my knitting heritage as well as giving thanks to a woman whose books opened my heart and my mind.
"Everything great that ever happened in this world happened first in somebody’s imagination." - Astrid Lindgren