Raven and Cat’s Paw

Published on Saturday January 27th, 2007

Sun! Glorious winter sun. High clouds of carded wool. And wind, bird-buffeting, window-whistling wind. A lovely day to knit in the south window seat, in short. And to post pictures of the finished raven mittens, at last:



I give you the Raven and Cat’s Paw Mittens, designed by yours truly.

Yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, 1 skein each of mooskit, port wine, and black

Needles: US#3 dpns

Pattern notes: The Cat’s Paw motif on the backs and the Fly motif on the palms are traditional Estonian, taken from charts in Nancy Bush’s Folk Knitting in Estonia. Likewise the vikkel braid. The vision, the raven cuffs, and the thumb design are my own. And here lies the quandary: Can I offer the pattern here? Nancy presents the Estonian motifs as traditional, but certainly the charts are hers, and the vikkel braids were worked according to her information. In none of the original patterns in the book does she use the Cat’s Paw, but she does use stripey fingers in one glove pattern that probably inspired the striped thumbs of the Raven Mitts. In short, my mittens have their genesis in Folk Knitting in Estonia, but I think they have sufficient elements of originality for me to call them my own.

It begs the question: What does any of our knitting do but stand on the innovations, research, and teaching of those who came before us? It’s a well-known adage that there’s nothing new in knitting. At what point do we get to take credit for our ideas and demand some form of tribute from others who want to use them?

These little fellows, at least, are all my own doing:


And my neighbor declared them one of the coolest presents she’s ever received. That she loves them and that they warm her hands is what makes knitting its own reward, in the end.


Published on Wednesday December 13th, 2006

I’m making progress on my raven mittens. Here’s Mitten the First, all ready for a nice blocking:


What is this mitten doing on a workbench, you might wonder? Why, helping to spawn more ravens, since I can’t get enough of them:

ravens_linoblock.jpg   linoblock06.jpg

Bet you didn’t know I could carve linoleum blocks, did you? Mr. Garter didn’t. It was sort of gratifying to hear him exclaim over it: it’s nice to know you’ve got some tricks left in the bag to surprise your spouse after six and a half years together. Anyway, I got all fired up to make cards this year, something I used to do with my mother when I was young. The actual printing is slated for tonight – I’ll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, Mitten the Second has advanced to the top of the thumb gusset, so the prognosis is good for these to be ready by Christmas. Whether the other holiday projects will follow suit is anyone’s guess, so back to the knitting!