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Weather proofing mittens?


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Bit of a long story ... When I was talking with my mother and her sisters, they mentioned that my grand father would weather proof mittens that my grand mother would knit for him.  He was a fisherman, and fished on a dinghy in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, so those mittens had to be wind and water resistant.  They mentioned that he would soak them in ice, water, salt and something else.  This was 70 years ago, so I can't blame them for not remembering everything that was done (none of them continued knitting or crocheting after they left home).  What they said of the final result was that those mittens stayed very worm and dry over the very cold winter months.

Does anyone here have a clue as to what would have been done?

The reason I'm asking is that I crocheted some winter mittens and I am looking for anything that can help with wind penetration.  I used a very small hook for the size of yarn, and the holes are very small and mostly unnoticeable.  However, when the wind kicks up I can feel it coming through.  I'm looking for ways that could help tighten it up.

Thanks in advance!

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I've seen knitting patterns for gloves that are lined with (I want to say roving, which is unspun wool yarn, but it was a different word--oh wait, thrums!)  on the inside. 

Here is a crochet pattern for a mitten that shows adding thrums .

I seem to remember reading (somewhere) that fishermen would do something 'fishy sounding' to stay warm, like your relatives remembered, on the order of wetting their knitted wool sweaters with sea water to keep them warmer... sounds like there may have been some grog involved, but you never know...hmm...or not?  I found an article that seems to agree with the fishermen, see the part where it says ' how much water can Merino wool really absorb', it says that it warms as it dries --hmmm!

 

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2 hours ago, DHagen said:

Bit of a long story ... When I was talking with my mother and her sisters, they mentioned that my grand father would weather proof mittens that my grand mother would knit for him.  He was a fisherman, and fished on a dinghy in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, so those mittens had to be wind and water resistant.  They mentioned that he would soak them in ice, water, salt and something else.  This was 70 years ago, so I can't blame them for not remembering everything that was done (none of them continued knitting or crocheting after they left home).  What they said of the final result was that those mittens stayed very worm and dry over the very cold winter months.

Does anyone here have a clue as to what would have been done?

The reason I'm asking is that I crocheted some winter mittens and I am looking for anything that can help with wind penetration.  I used a very small hook for the size of yarn, and the holes are very small and mostly unnoticeable.  However, when the wind kicks up I can feel it coming through.  I'm looking for ways that could help tighten it up.

Thanks in advance!

Sounds like he fulled them, salt water, friction then ice.

Here's an interesting article I found.  New England's Fisherman Mittens (gatheringyarn.com)

"The reason I'm asking is that I crocheted some winter mittens and I am looking for anything that can help with wind penetration.  I used a very small hook for the size of yarn, and the holes are very small and mostly unnoticeable." 

Are they wool?  You could turn them inside out and brush them.  Till the fibers get fuzzy and interlink.  If they are oversized 100% wool, you could full them.  Or, add a felt liner. (sewn)  It's been too many years and memory foggy since I fulled items, but I remember vaguely others mention what they did in cold regions like Canada or Scandanavians to add additional warmth.

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12 hours ago, NCcountrygal said:

Are they wool?  You could turn them inside out and brush them.  Till the fibers get fuzzy and interlink.  If they are oversized 100% wool, you could full them. 

They are 25% wool.  I don't know if it is just me, but I seem to have some issues when working with 100% wool.  I'm about to start some mittens for my wife that are 100% wool, so I'll have to get over it pretty quick!

Thank you for the article and advice!  I'll put my peepers on these and give it a try.

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14 hours ago, Granny Square said:

I've seen knitting patterns for gloves that are lined with (I want to say roving, which is unspun wool yarn, but it was a different word--oh wait, thrums!)  on the inside. 

Here is a crochet pattern for a mitten that shows adding thrums .

I seem to remember reading (somewhere) that fishermen would do something 'fishy sounding' to stay warm, like your relatives remembered, on the order of wetting their knitted wool sweaters with sea water to keep them warmer... sounds like there may have been some grog involved, but you never know...hmm...or not?  I found an article that seems to agree with the fishermen, see the part where it says ' how much water can Merino wool really absorb', it says that it warms as it dries --hmmm!

 

Thank you.  I'll give these a read and see if I can pull the thrums off.

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6 hours ago, DHagen said:

They are 25% wool.  I don't know if it is just me, but I seem to have some issues when working with 100% wool.  I'm about to start some mittens for my wife that are 100% wool, so I'll have to get over it pretty quick!

Thank you for the article and advice!  I'll put my peepers on these and give it a try.

Just to add. I think even acrylic can be brushed to fuzz it up.  For adult mittens I’ve made I’ve usually gone with a blend of washable merino wool myself. Pure wool unless it’s felted/fulled aggravates my skin. 
Have fun making them. 

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58 minutes ago, NCcountrygal said:

Just to add. I think even acrylic can be brushed to fuzz it up.  For adult mittens I’ve made I’ve usually gone with a blend of washable merino wool myself. Pure wool unless it’s felted/fulled aggravates my skin. 
Have fun making them. 

Yeah you can felt this kind of yarn if needed.

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? Interesting.  I was going to recommend Scotchguard for another 'how to waterproof?' question a while back, and went to google a link to Scotchguard, and found it had been taken off the market because of nasty chemicals.  The stuff I'm familiar with (and I used in the past fabric raincoats after washing them) didn't say 'fabric crafts', they must have reformulated it.  Article, from 2020

 

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22 hours ago, Granny Square said:

? Interesting.  I was going to recommend Scotchguard for another 'how to waterproof?' question a while back, and went to google a link to Scotchguard, and found it had been taken off the market because of nasty chemicals.  The stuff I'm familiar with (and I used in the past fabric raincoats after washing them) didn't say 'fabric crafts', they must have reformulated it.  Article, from 2020

 

I haven't used the product in years. I too assumed they made a safer formula. I wonder if it smells as bad as the first one.

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