Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What's so strange about wearing wool mittens?

Buying the ski equipment at a 3-letter outdoors store that was not started in Wellesley, MA was a tad strange at times.

Apart from the young man who didn't seem to want to bring out boots for me to try on, there were two sales people who questioned that I would wear wool mittens to cross-country ski with, and shouldn't I have leather palms on them? They thought the wool mittens would wear out where I would be gripping the pole.

The second one I shut down with the comment that it didn't really matter because these mittens were made with the leftovers of a $7 skein. Not quite accurate, but I don't think it requires a full skein of each color to make the Maine two-color mittens that Robin Hansen promulgated in her two (now three) books. The wool/mohair blend is tough and warm. I've had pairs wear out over the course of several winters, but, since they don't cost that much in either time or materials, I don't have to treat them as precious objects.

On the other hand, I look at the store's stock of handwear and find one pair for $18.00, most way more and way more engineered than what I need. The benefit of the Maine two-color mittens is that the 2nd color forms an inner layer for additional warmth, and as they are worn they will felt slightly for better wind resistance. The wool already keeps the hand warm even if it gets wet with snow. Could I ask for anything better? Can their product match that?

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