23.1.12

47 Cosy muffatees


I blame Beatrix Potter. My fascination with muffatees began with Benjamin Bunny ...
That wood was full of rabbit holes; and in the neatest, sandiest hole of all lived Benjamin's aunt and his cousins—Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter. Old Mrs. Rabbit was a widow; she earned her living by knitting rabbit-wool mittens and muffatees ...
Kate Greenaway's Going to the Party played its part too ...
Overcoats and wrappers, furs and muffatees, hands deep down in pockets, cosy as you please. Little lads and lassies, trotting through the snow, please tell us where you’re going, we should like to know.
Muffatees, the simplest kind of mitt, no fingers or thumbs, just an open-ended tube of knitting with a thumb-hole in the side. In the largely unheated homes of the 18th and 19th centuries they were essential daily wear in winter, and early knitting books abound with patterns for them. They're pretty useful still, particularly if you're trying to economise, as we are. We donned thick sweaters, woolly socks and muffatees in the recent cold weather and turned all the thermostats in the house right down ... we've saved a fortune on fuel bills and we weren't cold, not once!


Gardeners welcome muffatees, and in the past they were recommended for huntsmen, sailors, and army officers, but not, it seems, for the poor foot soldiers ...
During the cold winters in the Peninsula many of the Guards took to pulling down the sleeves of their long Welsh flannel shirts over their hands and tying them to form a sort of crude glove. The officers could not do this so a number of them had ‘muffatees’ sent out from England, which were normally knitted by ‘the prettiest ladies we know’, according to Ensign Rous. When he wrote home on 17 September 1813 to ask for some muffatees he said that they were worn by a few officers; but that the ladies should not knit any for the soldiers, as it would make them too tender ...*
I'll be making my Runrig Muffatee pattern - they're knitted flat from side to side, and have a three-needle bind off so they are essentially seamless - available soon AVAILABLE NOW, so if you know of any fighting men in need just click that link and get the PDF ...

Cut flower challenge #12, First Snowdrops

I'm linking this post to Emma at Silver Pebble's and Mrs Thrifty Household's Making Winter blog hop. Comfort and cosiness is the theme this month and all manner of warming delights are to be found there.

* Ian Fletcher, 1994, Wellington's Foot Guards, Osprey Publishing

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Many, many thanks for all your kind and helpful comments about our plans for the allotment. Our list of things to plant is now even longer than it was. But we must be patient and savour every step of the journey, from the promise of the plot, to the harvesting of the first produce, to the plenty we hope for in the years ahead. And I now know who to ask if we need advice along the way!

47 comments :

  1. Oh Annie they are so very beautiful and thank you for giving us the little bit of history behind your muffattees. So sweet, the quote about Ms. Potter's bunny rabbits, makes me think of our bunnykins mugs xox
    We have also been very strict with our use of heating this winter and I am looking forward to seeing us reap the benefits when we get our next bill.
    ps. I'm so looking forward to following your allotment progress, how very exciting after such a long wait xox Penelope

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  2. These are so lovely! I love the ruffled edge on them. I have a couple of pairs of these muffettees, although I didnt know thats what they were called! They are so handy!

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  3. I can see how these would be great in the garden when it's still a might cold. They're washable, aren't they?
    Brenda

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  4. I'd love a pair of those. They are really nifty.

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  5. your writing is wonderful to read, and to read about muffatees is ridiculously pleasing...thankyou!

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  6. dear annie, how interesting! and clever are you? i love reading about beatrix potter and the soldiers and the history of the muffatees. and i very much look forward to the pattern. thank you!

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  7. Do you know I never knew what muffattees were despite reading Beatrix Potter over and over as a child.They strike me as an old-fashioned solution to a modern problem -that of texting whilst keeping your hands warm.

    By the way the spell checker thinks I mean fattiness.

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  8. love the name! i am so looking forward to making some, i love the edging too...your a genius.
    congrats on the allotment too, i seem to have completely missed your last post, how exciting, i am sure there will be lots of fab'growing' blog posts to come
    love jooles x
    p.S i have a little giveaway happening over at mine if you fancy a peek!

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  9. I didn't know that the fingerless mitts had a special name - and such a lovely one. I was especially thrilled to see Kate Greenaway mentioned as she is a great (I'm not sure how many greats) aunt of mine.

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  10. What a brilliant idea, and I love the word 'Muffattees'. I am hopeless at knitting, but for those I could try.

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  11. Love this word, "muffatees"! It makes me want to knit some! I love the color and the picot edging! So lovely.

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  12. I have some but now that I know they have a special name I shall use it!
    Thank you!

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  13. Oh they're wonderful - I'd never heard/read this word and I love the references. Are those picot edges I spy?

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  14. How lovely to discover I have a pair of muffatees. Thank you for the enlightenment.

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  15. These are stunning Annie and I love the background detail about muffatees - what a super word!

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  16. I love your muffatees,I have just about finished a pair with thumbs in tho'. Think I am going to have to knit another right hand one, as it didn't turn out right!! Will have to wait until the weather cools off a little.
    xx Sandi

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  17. How lovely! I had never heard of them but now I need a pair to match every outfit. And hurrah for the woollies about the house in winter; we are all too cossetted with our light shirts in overheated houses.

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  18. Hello Annie:
    Well, we have never heard of muffatees until now, despite being Beatrix Potter devotees in our childhoods.

    A pair of muffatees will surely come in very handy [pardon the pun]on the allotment. They sound like such a good idea, warm and yet allowing for movement of the fingers and thumb. Perfect!

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  19. I bought a wonderful wool hoodie in a charity shop recently with built in muffatees at the end of the arms (made in Canada I think where they know about cold). I am wearing it now and can testify to the perfect marriage of pragmatism and comfort. Hurrah for the muffatee!

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  20. We call them fingerless gloves here, but I much prefer 'mufatees!' Love that name. I have a pair that I bought at a sheep and wool festival. I could and should knit some for myself.

    xo
    Claudia

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  21. Muffatees! I love that word and I love the fact that they've been endorsed by Mrs Rabbit!
    Such a beautfiul little green jar of snowdrops. :)
    V x

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  22. What a great illustrated history lesson. I love the new word and the look of your muffatees, too.

    The three-needle cast off is also a clever design idea. Looking forward to seeing that pattern.

    Cheers!

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  23. Muffatees is a fantastic word. Like everyone else I had never heard the word befroe and yet have been a long time fan of them! Have you seen the ones on the front of this months 'Mollie Makes' Frustratingly I have yet to get a copy but plan to have a go when I do. Looks like crochet though.
    I adore your beautiful snowdrops, they really brought a warm glow to my heart. Spring is on its way x

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  24. These are so pretty, I find fingerless glove really useful. Also,just to let you know, I've nominated you for the Leibster blog award. Check out Planet Penny in a while to find out more!

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  25. Annie, these muffatees are simply beautiful and I had no idea that their name was so lovely too! I must have missed it (oh the shame) when I read 'Peter Rabbit'...in fact, I'm going immediately to check my copy! So thank you for the word and I'm now awaiting the pattern, which is gorgeous and shows off your first snowdrops to perfection. Another winner!! Axxx

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  26. Sweet! Now I have snowdrop envy.

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  27. I too am smitten with your muffattees, they put me in mind of Miss Muffett and her tuffett.

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  28. Muffatees...so much I'm learning here. Could a beginner make these muffatees once you make the pattern available?
    I started my sky 365 project today and am happy to do so!

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  29. These are just beautiful. I'm a bit obsessed with fingerless mittens at the moment, or muffatees as I shall now call them, so I'm looking forward to the stripy gents' pattern. Joe's studio is freezing and he's requested some having seen the Mary Mucklestone ones I've been making for the girls. Beautiful photographs too.

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  30. I have a pair of these and they are taken with me whenever i am out. So useful to have your fingers free but hands warm.

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  31. So pretty! I had no idea what these were called, thank you for the history lesson. I must say it's been more than cold enough to justify these where we hang our hat :D

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  32. how many times I've read beatrix potter--and obviously skipped right over "muffatees"!!! I love that word. I love those mitts! Thanks for the little history lesson!

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  33. I wear my muffatees when I'm working on the computer because I get cold hands for some reason. But I'd like to make some myself :)

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  34. Lovely muffatees....and I already have a pair knitted for me by a kind friend last year, and I didn't even know that they were muffatees! Yours are beautiful and I love the pictures of them and the sweet snowdrops.
    Helen x

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  35. These are lovely - I like the crinkly edge.

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  36. Am wearing mine in bed as we speak! my friend Victoria gave me the tip of keeping your wrists warm to keep your fingers warm! jennyx

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  37. Hi there, Lovely post! Your recent competition inspired me to have my first blog competition to win a wonderful photography book,
    http://carly-serendipity.blogspot.com/

    Oh and I got the Vintage Flowers book for Christmas, such a fab book! x

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  38. Very lovely - wanna, wanna, wanna! (And how could I have forgotten about Beatrix Potter? Thank you for reminding me!

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  39. Muffatees is a much nicer term than mitts or fingerless gloves. I've started wearing them too this winter and what a difference they make! (Also linking a crochet mitts pattern to the bloghop.)

    I love your little green snowdrop vase. And the snowdrops too!

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  40. We're fans of putting sweaters on rather than the heating, too! It's a modern day thing , the idea of walking round an over heated home wearing a t-shirt, and even my parents, who were war babies, seem to feel affronted at the idea of having to put on a sweater. I think it's a sign that the world has gone a bit mad! And now I've read about Mufatees from your quotes, I feel even more educated in the art of keeping warm, though I must admit, I find that when I'm drawing, the bulk of them feels uncomfortable, so I don't try to wear them any more. What a wonderful post! Vanessa xxx

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  41. How gorgeous, I had no idea they had a name, I shall use it often now! Love your green bud vase with double snowdrops ~ lucky you,

    Sarah -x-

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  42. What a wonderful word. I have just made my first pair and they are so quick and easy I am now tempted to have dozens. Will wait for your pattern now! I wonder what the history of the word is? It has an Anglo Indian sound. I must go and find out!

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  43. hello there, i keep thinking about these muffatees and i can't wait to see the pattern...will they be small enough for a 6yo? my daughter is dying for a pair!

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  44. Well, I really learnt something today, I never knew that was the name for them. I have developed something of a passion for muffatees since I started knitting and find them fabulous for wearing around the house on a chilly day. I too have been reaping the benefits of less central heating use!

    S x

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  45. What a lovely post - great pictures and I absolutely second everyone above - *love* the word muffatees and the history behind these gloves. A super bit of history. x G

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  46. I too enjoyed your little blog about muffatees. As an historian "buff" and someone who works with actors and re-enactors at a living history museum, I have made many pairs and am always looking for fun new historically correct patterns for various items. Muffatees were often worn over kid gloves because the kid gloves weren't warm and they were very precious and needed to be kept clean.

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  47. Muffatees! Sounds like the beginnings of a children's book series!! Go for it! Please!!!

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