This is one of the Christmas projects I wasn't able to show before. They were made for my mother in law out from Berocco Ultra Alpaca (so soft and delicious to knit with, plus I love the slight haze you get from the raised pile on them).
The pattern was Lopi Mittens from the book Folk Mittens. These at first were too small, so I added a pattern repeat on each side, and several repeats before and after the thumb to get a nice long cuff and a good comfy fit through the hand. I also did the same knit braid embellishment along the cuff that I used for the Inga hats I've made.
Folk mitten patterns are pretty irresistible (bold graphics make them visually appealing, and the patterns often have simple repeats making them easy to remember and fun/fast to knit). I'd recommend this book to anyone since the patterns are great but the historical background information is even better! Did you know that mittens used to be used as currency; I wonder how my landlord would feel about me paying my rent in mittens. There also were a lot of traditions around marriage, such as knitting a pair of mittens for every guest at your wedding, or a pair for every member of your new family. I have toyed with the idea of knitting things for my bridesmaids, and I do knit things for R's immediate family, but I feel a little faint when I think of making 100 pair of mittens between now and September! EEK!
Back to the book though... I love so many of the patterns in this book that I'm toying with the idea of knitting my way through the e n t i r e book ala Julie Powell who cooked her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her exploits then turned into the book Julie and Julia (although I have NO plans to be as whiny or melodramatic as Ms. Powell!). 38 patterns would be a fun challenge and force me to get some more techniques under my belt, as well as work on perfecting some skills I already have (gapless thumb anyone?) however with a wedding coming up I don't think I would but a year deadline on myself, that just sounds like a recipe for pain rather than a fun learning experience.