I’ve been needing to knit something from Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition, Terri Shea’s fantastic book about these traditional Norwegian stranded mittens, since the day it came in the post months and months ago. It is filled with so many beautiful patterns. One pair, called NHM #10, are especially gorgeous and dainty. They are copied from a pair of mittens housed at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, WA that feature a lovely scroll on the back, as well as the date (1932) and someone’s initials. Resistance of knitted lettering is futile.

Here’s my start. The yarn is Harrisville New England Shetland, bought on cones at Webs, where they have giant racks of these seductive cones, in Red and Oatmeal. The pattern calls for a gauge of 9.5 sts. per inch, and the book sample was knit at 13 sts. per inch, but I’m going for 8.5 so that there’s some room for a lining.

The pattern has a short ribbed edging, but these mittens are so pretty, I felt they deserved a picot hemmed edge, non-traditional as that may be. I used to use a provisional cast-on for hems, but have been using the backwards loop cast on lately and it’s really nice and stretchy and works very well, all while being less fiddly than a provisional cast on. For this hem, I cast on, knit 9 rounds in oatmeal, one in red, did the *yo, k2tog* picot round in red, knit the next round in red, then 9 more rounds in oatmeal. Then, to knit the hem up, folded it so the cast on edge met the stitches on the needle, lining up the first cast on stitch with it’s corresponding first stitch of the round on the needle. I snagged the first cast on edge loop with the right needle, placed it on the left needle, and knit it together with the first stitch of the round. I then knit the second cast on stitch with the second stitch on the needle. Works great.

Here’s another way to do a picot edge.

This one’s especially happy-making with its red teeth, don’t you think? The inside of the hem is super neat and tidy, which is certainly pleasing, as well!

I got my book straight from Terri Shea’s Selbuvotter website and it came signed and numbered, which is so nice. Be sure to check the site for errata if you get this book, which I highly recommend!

23 Responses to “Selbuvotter”

  1. Lori

    Love the picot hem on that. I’ve been doing the picot edge on all my monkeys and I do them the same way as you. Super easy! The Oatmeal and Red together is wonderful.

  2. carla

    I’ve been drooling over those mittens since I got the book.

    Are you going to follow the chart, or knit in your own initials and the current year? When I get to them, I think I’ll do the latter.

  3. E to the M

    Damn you. I have been trying to resist my urge to buy this book for months. You are breaking down my resolve.

    PS The mitten is bad ass.

  4. Carole

    The picot edge is a wonderful addition to that mitten. I’ll be posting a finished pair from this book tomorrow.

  5. Maggie

    I’ve been eyeing these types of mittens for some time. The only thing that scares me is the colourwork, since I am awful at knitting with both hands. But practice makes perfect, right?

    I love your colour choice. Very classic.

  6. Max

    There are few knitters whose projects I drool over the way I do yours, Adrian. Your color sense and your precision combine to ravishing effect – and these mittens are just… just exciting! I can’t wait to see what happens next :)

  7. merete

    what happy and optimistic votter and this is exactly what i think the tradition is all about. the yarn looks great and i am so envious of anyone with free access to webs without having to think of tax and duties. i am in the wrong country for a knitter.

  8. stacey

    Those are great – the color trimmed picot is a great idea! I keep flipping through this book and am determined to make some this winter!

  9. heidi

    Simply gorgeous, I love the picot trim. I’ve been eyeing that yarn for awhile… how would you rate it? Soft enough for next to skin wear? Generally nice to work with?

  10. whitney

    One of these days I’m really going to have to pick up that book. I love those colors together! Those red picot tips are so perfect, too. The way you describe doing your knit-in hems (using the backward-loop cast-on) is exactly how I’ve always done it, because it works out so nicely.

  11. Anja

    I think I love everything about this project. What size needles are you using? The gauge looks awfully fine. In a very inspiring way. Also, I have a pair of mittens knitted by a Norwegian (a generation above me, so they have to be at least somewhat traditional) and they have a picot edge. So. They’re in good company now.

  12. Marlena

    I love the red and gray! Thanks for the tip on hemmed edges. I was not aware that a backwards loop cast on was elastic!

  13. Katherine Allred

    I’ve looked through the book before, but didn’t think I had to have it. Looking at your mittens though, I decided to order it. Can’t wait to get it and make mittens for myself. The picot, BTW, is lovely.

  14. angelarae

    The colors you are using are soooo pretty! What is the difference between stranded knitting and fair isle? I would like to know. I was thinking of maybe trying this technique.


  15. Marie

    Oh such loveliness! I’ve always been so tempted by the giant cones of Harrisville at Webs. Now I really want to get some. Did you have to pre-wash the yarn (is it greased?) or are you knitting straight off the cone?

  16. Linda M

    Hi, I came to see your mitten from Margene’s link. I am so happy to see how you do your picot hems, I do mine exactly the same way! It is always reassuring to know that someone else has “unvented” the same technique. I love your colors… I’ll check back soon to see the finished mitten.

  17. stephanie

    Oh, I can’t wait to watch these develop – I love the red and oatmeal!

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