Mitten Futures

by flowergirlknits

In modern farming, many farmers sell their livestock and crops on futures; that is, they sell their product, which won’t be harvested for months, for future delivery. There is a lot of financial risk/reward going on here (my poor grasp of economics doesn’t allow for a more in-depth explanation) and every farmer I’ve ever known follows the futures market avidly.

The yarn for my Bird-in-Hand mittens has arrived and I’m pretty pleased with the colors. The garnet heather (the reds seen on the left) are a dark, rich red; I think they’ll do nicely. The very bright red on the right is a little too bright for BIH, but I think it’ll work great as accent color in some of the Selbuvotter mittens (which are mostly black and white) I bought both fingering weight and sport weight. The Selbuvotter mittens require fingering weight; I’ll have to swatch for the BIH to decide on a weight.

I just read a day or two ago about how the legendary Elizabeth Zimmermann stated her book The Knitters Almanac, that mittens should be knit in April when the need for them isn’t so pressing. That way, the knitter will take their time and not skimp on the thumb length or rush the colorwork. I think this makes excellent sense. However, my mittens are probably more likely going to be August mittens what with all the cotton sweaters that I’ve suddenly lined up to work on (Somehow I’ve gotten it into my head that just because the sleeves are shorter, summer sweaters are quick to knit; they might be quicker, but I just know they’re not going to be quick. And yet it doesn’t stop me….) Mittens are small enough that, even though they are wool, knitting them in the summer should be fine.

So these are my Mitten Futures. I still remember eating lunch in my grandparents big farmhouse kitchen, the radio tuned to the local station and hearing the market report. “Hogs up .12 a pound…..Corn down .05 a bushel……Beans up .07 a bushel”. The market reporter’s voice is very distinctive and like a home team’s baseball announcer, lends personality to the facts. Everything stops for the market report – conversations, noises, even chewing – so that my Grandpa can hear what’s being reported (the same is true for the weather report) In my memories it is perpetually summer and always sunny and there are a thousand interesting things to do. I still stop everything and listen to the weather when it comes on (I am at heart a farmer), but I haven’t heard a market report for a long time (it’s probably on the internet now anyway!) In my head the market report continues in that one-of-a-kind voice, from an old radio in a sunny kitchen filled with homegrown, homemade food – “Cattle up .11 a pound…..Corn up .03 a bushel…..mittens up .15 a pair……Beans down .02 a bushel……”