Mawittens?

Silktens? Mitssahs? Hankittens?
Mawata Silk Hankie Mittens
mawittens-progress

Did you see the Yarn Harlot’s post this past week? If you missed it, Go here. The next day she answered questions. If you missed those Go Here.

I had already started and was half way up my mittens before she posted her answers so I’m going to post some stuff here too. My experience with the Hankies. I am not an expert in knitting with hankies but I had to do these and I thought I’d share.

FIRST:
EXFOLIATE and lotion yourself up. Before you even get the hankies, do this. You will not regret it. Why? The hankies stick to rough skin. It’s annoying. It will pull and tug and stick. So really, do yourself a favor and make sure your hands are soft. I tried to get a picture this morning of hankies sticking to me but I did a good job with my sugar scrub

What do you exfoliate with? The simplest is 2 parts rough sugar to 1 part olive or Almond oil. I don’t use salt because salt is drying. Just mix this up, scrub your hands with it and rinse off most of the salt, towel off your hands and then admire the fact that they’re already softer. If you want them to smell good too then you can add a drop or two of essential oils. I just made a small batch to keep scrubbing my hands with. I scrub over the sink, it can get messy but it’s so worth it. I have some lovely hands now.

SECOND:
Get yourself some hankies. Wait….what are hankies?
mawittens-1
Hankies are not handkerchiefs. They are silk fibers. Crash course in hankies = We get silk from the cocoons of silk moths/worms. They’re held together with worm spit. To remove the spit the cocoons are boiled in a solution with softens them up. They can be reeled or you can spread them out over nails in a square – making what looks like a small hankie. Layer after layer after layer….. Each individual hankie is very thin. Many times when you pull up on one, you end up with a couple. It’s all ok. If you want to know more about silk and silk production see Michael over at Wormspit

In the answers from Yarn Harlot, she mentioned that 40g was enough. I sell them in 1 or 2 ounce bunches if you want to get them from me. I put up a bunch the end of last week and I’ll be putting more up this week. I dyed 6lbs last Friday. Having finished half my mitten I am guesstimating that its going to take me with my women’s size small hands about an ounce and a half to make a pair.

THIRD:
Attenuate.
The number of stitches you cast on will matter how you attenuate. Will it be thicker or thinner? I’m going to post at the bottom my WPI and general pattern notes so you can follow that if you like. So how do you do this attenuate business? There’s a Knitty Article about spinning with silk hankies. Follow her steps up to the spinning part. These mittens were made with unspun hankies. Amy just did a great job in her article explaining how to attenuate.

If you want to attenuate a bunch ahead, don’t just wind it into a ball. Like it will stick to you, it will stick to itself and the center will be a mess. Get a toilet paper roll or something like that and put your “yarn” onto that.
mawittens-ball

What about joins? Do like this:
mawittens-join
Thin out the end and beginning so that together, they would be like the rest of it. You can use it just like that or since I was making rolls of it, I wanted to make sure it stayed so I rolled it a tad.
mawittens-roll

Voila!

FOURTH:
Knit baby knit.
WPI – I did this but because of the nature of the hankies, it’s misleading. It came out to 6 WPI but really this isn’t bulky “yarn”
Here’s what I did but it’s all subjective. On a good note, this stuff does frog easy. I started one mitten with 44 sts but it was way too big for my wee wrists. and then 40 sts and finally settled on the puny 36 sts

-US3 DPN needles (but I knit loose, you’ll probably need 4s
-Cast on was 36 sts (yes, I have smallish hands)
-2 inches of 2 by 2 ribbing
-then stockinette until I needed a thumb. I wasn’t in the mood for a “sore thumb” so I decided to just do an inserted one.

Now this is where I am at….
So you take the mitten out in the snow and take a photo.
mawitten-insnow

Go to work and stare between the mitten and the clock waiting for the hands to move faster so you can get it done…..

The rest of pattern, I plan to have it work up as:
Knit straight til I am up to the top of my pinkie finger, Start my decreases for a round top mitten. Then do the thumb.
As soon as I can, I will finish this baby and I’ll post more thoughts. Right now I’m thinking my gauge is a little loose and I’d like a tighter mitten. Maybe. It’s very drapey and lovely. I’m also of the mindset that I need a cowl made like this….. More coming soon.

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12 Responses to Mawittens?

  1. alke says:

    I vote for “HANKITTTENS”
    It’s such a lovely word!

    Thank you for all the info – I’m going to exfoliate right now.

  2. farm-witch says:

    So, we should have an exfoliating/attenuating/hanky party at SPA???

  3. moiraeknittoo says:

    I love you so much for answering all the questions I had about this process! Especially the join and the storage, and yes, even the sugar scrub recipe. I actually have a kilo of silk hankies on hand, but no dyes that I can find, and will have to go investigate your shop ASAP. Thank you!

  4. Manise says:

    Josette has a great idea! Add a bit of wine to the mix that would be a blast.

  5. Dana says:

    Between you and the YH I definitely want to make mittens now! What colorway is it that you’re knitting with? I’d love some hankies in that color!

  6. Manise says:

    Oh and awesome mawittens!

  7. Jamisyn says:

    You and Steph have definitely inspired me. I’ve bought hankies (because that’s what spinners do, buy different fibers for no reason) but I hate spinning with them. I WILL knit some of these, or another project…but LOVE it!!

  8. Denice says:

    Hey Amy,

    How fun is this! I’m totally going to play over February break, splashing dye around and then making crazy awesome mittens! Thanks for clarifying some of the details. I’ll post pics when I get busy with it. :))

    Denice

  9. Meg says:

    Mittens sound lovely, but your suggestion of a cowl has me drooling. I can’t wait to get home, now, and look through my stash. Or wait for the SE order I placed this week that just happens to have some hankies in it. Hooray for inspiration!

  10. lisa says:

    I saw these over at the harlots, and she had few comments (a rarity), so when I saw these on your FB post, I thought I’d already told you what I think about them. But no! It was that other harlot… hahahahaha

    FABULOUS! LOVE!LOVE!LOVE! These!!! Since I don’t spin enough I’ve always felt these silk hankies were too fancy for me to botch up. But this? OMG, I can TOTALLY do this.

  11. Pingback: ENTANGLED » Blog Archive » Fourth time’s a charm

  12. Sylvia says:

    Hi,
    these mittens are fabolous I will have to try that as well. You have a great webside I`ll be back visiting soon.
    Sylvia

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