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Knitting Traditions offers this Lovikka Mitten pattern for children in two sizes as a thank you for our Internet visitors.

You can get information about the Lovikka Mitten pattern for all five sizes by clicking here.

The Lovikka Mitten was developed in northern Sweden by a woman named Erika Aittamaa in 1892. The story, according to Sheila McGregor (The Complete Book of Traditional Scandinavian Knitting) goes like this: Erika lived with her poor family in a wooden cabin and knitted for the people in town. A woodsman requested a pair of very thick, long-wearing mittens, and so she set about to spin and knit two pairs of really thick mittens which she felt would last several seasons. When the customer came back, he was not pleased and even said she had "spoiled good wool". So, Erika took them back, and washed and brushed them. The mittens were a hit and she got many orders for them. She later added the turned back, embroidered cuffs.

These Lovikka mittens are cushiony, being made of two strands of yarn and then fulled (felted)! After fulling to the desired size, the mitten is brushed, inside and out, for warmth and coziness, with optional embroidery and braid on the cuff for a traditional look.

Palm Circumference: Small Child - 6" ( Medium Child- 6.75")

These mittens are LARGE when knitted, to allow for shrinkage during the fulling process. You have the option of NOT fulling them, and knitting a smaller size, adjusting for the lengths. The fulled sizes are approximate, based on what I got under my conditions in my home. You can always full your mittens longer to obtain a shorter or narrower mitten. The following measurements were made before and after fulling. The lengths were taken of the mittens with cuffs extended (not turned up).

. Unfulled Fulled
Length: 9.25 (11.25) inches 8.75 (10.25) inches
Width: 3.75 (4) inches 3.5 (3.75) inches

For The Mittens

For Fulling By Hand For Fulling By Machine

3.5 sts/inch and 5 rounds/inch in st st. After being fulled: 4 sts/inch, round gauge varies.

With a size 10 dpn and two strands of yarn held together as one, cast on 24 (28) sts.
Arrange the sts equally on 4 needles and knit around with the fifth. Slip on a marker for the beginning of the round. Join by purling the first stitch with both the tail and the working yarn. This technique reduces the "jog" common to circular knitting. (Remember on the next round that these four loops of yarn are one stitch.) Finish the round in purl.
Purl one more round.
Knit 6 (7) rounds.

The knitting will now be turned and worked in the opposite direction so that the right side of the cuff, when turned up, will show. Normally, a hole will develop if the knitting suddenly reverses. Following is a method for closing up the hole as you begin knitting the other way:
Push the knitting inside out, and face what used to be the inside, but is now the outside of your mitten. Your yarn is coming from the left needle; make sure it is at the back of the work, ready to knit a stitch. Pick up the horizontal bar of yarn between the first and last stitches of the round. Place this bar on your left needle and k2 tog. Next, choose and work either the Traditional Fit Option or the Modern Fit Option.

Traditional Fit Wrist Option:
The Lovikka mitten traditionally does not cinch in at the cuff. Work in st st for the next 18 (21) rounds, or desired length to base of thumb.

Modern Fit Wrist Option:
The Lovikka mitten traditionally does not cinch in at the cuff,. as we are so used to with our modern day mittens. If you want your mitten to hug your wrist a bit, you can work some K2,. p2 ribbing where it will not show as follows: Knit for 3 rounds. *K2, p2, rep from * for 6 (7) rounds. Knit for 9 (11) rounds, or to desired length to base of thumb.

Thumb Placement for Left hand mitten:
Next round: Knit 3, then slip 3 (4) sts onto waste yarn. Cast on 3 (4) stitches onto your right needle. Go on to finish the round.

Thumb Placement for Right hand mitten:
Next round: Knit to last 6 (7) sts of the round, then slip 3 (4) sts onto waste yarn. Cast on 3 (4) sts onto your right needle and finish the round.

Continue to work in st st for 12 (15) rounds.

Check to see that all four of your needles have the same number of sts on them: 6 (7) sts. *SSK, knit to the end of the needle, repeat from *, until there are only 4 sts left (one stitch on each needle). Break off the yarn and pull the tail through rem sts, then to the WS. Weave in ends.

Slip 3 (4) sts from waste yarn onto one needle. Join yarn and knit across these, pick up 1 stitch in the corner, pick up 3 (4) sts along the back of the thumb, and pick up 2 (1) sts in the other corner. Total: 9 (10) sts. Arrange the stitches onto three needles and knit around with the fourth.
Work st st for 8 (8) rounds.
Decrease tip of thumb by working an SSK at the beginning of each needle until there are 3 or 4 sts left.
Break yarn, pull through to WS and sew in.

Fulling is the process of felting woven or knitted fabric. Felting refers to this process as applied to unspun fibers. Wool fibers are comprised of overlapping scales which enmesh with each other when subjected to agitation and sudden changes in temperature. It cannot be undone, as many of us know who unwittingly threw that new cashmere sweater in the washer and it came out sized for our three year old. Fulled garments will wear longer, and they won't unravel if a hole develops. They are very warm, as there are no gaps for the wind and cold to penetrate. It's amazing that when one WANTS to full something, it takes a bit of work and time. But it's not hard and really is fun! Intentional fulling is an intuitive process, and you may want to practice and gain confidence on your gauge swatch before trying to full your mitten. If you are new to fulling, try the first method, by hand. Here you have much more control over the process, it happens more slowly and you can stop it whenever you see that the garment is the size you desire. For you impetuous knitters out there, the machine method may suit your personalities better, but keep a close eye on your work -- don't take a nap in the middle of the cycle! The more tightly the yarn is spun, and the tighter the fabric is woven or knitted, the less the garment will shrink. Also, drape and flexibility of the fabric are reduced, the more the piece is fulled. It is possible to full too far, so that one's hand can't bend inside the mitten! (Yes, we still joke about my "armored mitten" around the house...) I like to full to the point where the individual knit stitches would not unravel, but they are still visible.

Fulling by hand -- the classic way:
There are two advantages to this method! One, if your hands give you problems muscularly, the hot soapy water soak will benefit you! And two, you can choose the direction in which your fulling occurs. If your mitten turned out too long, but OK width-wise, rub the mitten in the lengthwise direction and it will shrink in length much more than width. Conversely, if your mitten is too wide, but OK in length, rub the mitten back and forth across the width and it will shrink more in width than in length. So, fill your kitchen sink with hot sudsy water (I use Ivory dish soap, but some people use Murphy's Oil Soap) and immerse the mitten. You can just use your hands, gently rubbing back and forth on the surface of your mitten. Or, you can use a cookie cooling rack (or a specially made felting board) and rub the mitten in the direction which opposes the bars. This is a gentle motion, not a rough, exhausting one. Keep trying on the mitten (or measuring it) to see if it has reached your desired dimensions. You can immerse it in really cold water and that will shock it into felting more too. Then back to the hot water again. When you are satisfied with the size, rinse your mitten in a fresh sinkful of clear water, roll in a towel to get rid of the excess water, and lay flat to dry.

Fulling by machine -- the impetuous way:
Throw your mittens in with a load of wash--the more full the load, the better the felting because there will be more agitation from bumping up against other clothes. Just be sure that white mittens go into a light load, and dark mittens into a dark load. I use my regular laundry detergent, and the normal time I do my wash. Use the hot water setting if possible; warm, if you're worried about your other clothes bleeding. Check the mittens every 10 minutes. If, after the whole wash, rinse, and spin cycles are complete, your mittens still aren't the size you want, throw them in the dryer on high and check every 5 minutes. I found with my clothes dryer that there was no change for 10 minutes, but after 15, the mitten had fulled down to the size I wanted. It can happen all of a sudden!

Once the mitten is dry, turn it inside out and brush it with a hair brush or pet brush. Don't brush the cuff. The stitch clarity needs to be maintained so that it will be easy to embroider. Turn the mitten right side out and brush the outside, until the surface is fuzzy and soft.

Embroidering the Cuff: Following are several different stitch patterns used on Lovikka mittens, from several sources. Use a single strand of contrasting yarn in a tapestry needle. You can use more than one color too.


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Photo: © Rick Mastelli 1993
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Beth Brown-Reinsel
Knitting Traditions
P.O. Box 722
Forest Hill, MD 21050

last updated 1/31/03