mittens for the absent-minded

When you were a kid, did you wear your mittens and gloves on bands or strings threaded through your coat sleeves to keep them safe? I did, and have very vivid recollections of disliking the practice as I grew older, for seeming childish. My grandma knitted all my gloves and mittens, and if keeping them safe by tying them to me felt infantalising, it was also certainly practical, since I was a very absent-minded kid who was forever losing and forgetting the stuff I was supposed to carry about: mittens, textbooks, PE kit, musical instruments. I recall more than one occasion on which my mum had to drive to the Ribble depot in Preston to retrieve the violin or clarinet which I’d once again managed to leave on the school bus (O happy days when local authorities were able to loan music-obsessed kids not one but two great instruments!). I must have been somewhat exasperating for my parents to have around.

But I suppose being absent-minded is really just about having other matters on one’s mind that seem much more pressing or more urgent . . and I’m still like that all these years later. I certainly envy those of multi-tasking temperament, who can do or remember several things at once . . . especially since my absent-mindedness (or, rather, single-mindedness) means I still have a tendency to leave things behind, or lose the odd glove or mitten.

But I no longer regard mittens on strings as childish: surely they are simply a super-practical solution for the absent-minded? So I recently wove myself a simple narrow band to secure my favourite winter mittens – these are sheepskin, not knitted, obviously, and are made with a small ring at the wrist, to enable a string or band to be attached, and threaded through the sleeves of one’s coat.

The mitten ring is quite small, and so is the lobster clasp I acquired to attach to it – and so I wove this band quite narrowly (I think I might have gone narrower still for a neater fit with the hardware)

It’s 45 warp threads in total on a background of 10/2 cotton, with 3/2 cotton for the central pattern threads, of which there are just 5.

This motif repeats over twelve picks, and is very simple and intuitive to weave. Though the pattern is not reversible, each side of the band has its own attractions (one of the many things I’m enjoying about this kind of weaving).

So as long as I don’t manage to forget my coat (always a possibility) my mittens are going nowhere!