The Case of the Itchy Musician

While loving the Fana-patterned cotton-silk fingerless mittens I made him earlier (see “Princess & the Pea” post), the musician with severe reactions to protein fibers asked me to design him another “unusual” but “really warm” pair but this time in some sort of wool that “won’t itch. ” I’d already run the gamut (well, I admit I skipped camel, yak or buffalo). He reminded me that he did not want any synthetic or artificial yarn.  I wondered if machine washable wool designed for baby clothes might work.  I rooted around in my considerable stash until I found a couple of skeins of Dale’s “Baby Ull” left over from baby blankets.   The only colors I had were a Granny Smith apple green and a beautiful raspberry.  I chose the apple green so that if this worked, I could simply toss the finished mittens into a pot and overdye them.  I decided to work in some cables and used #2 needles.  Last night he tried on one mitten (the other one is still on the needles).  He was surprised to see how warm the wool keeps his hand but claims he can still “feel the wool” (translation: slightly itchy).  He fell in love with the pattern and wants the mittens but says he will only wear them when his hands are really cold.

After I finish the pair and overdye and wash them, I will put conditioner (the kind used after shampooing) in the rinse.  I’ve heard that helps soften the fibers, and I am hoping that will help.  Has anyone tried that?

So you’re probably wondering how much I am charging for all these mittens.  We’re trading:  I’m getting guitar lessons, he’s loaned me one of his guitars to practice on (yes, Thor &  have lots of home insurance), and Thor and I get tickets to various performances!

Photos:  Mitten by Karen Berthine, guitar by Michael Thames (


About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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