My husband Jeff and I had the opportunity to take a short bike tour of Deer Island and Campobello Island in Atlantic Canada a few weeks back. While we were there we visited the world’s only International Park, the Roosevelt Summer Residence on South Campobello Island, there, I was so excited to discover that some of Eleanor Roosevelt’s original knitting still there.
Eleanor was a brilliant person. In her lifetime she was chair of the UN Commission of Human Rights, and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, she also chaired JFK administration’s Presidential Commission of the Status of Women. AND.. she was an avid knitter – an art form not at all academically recognized at the time (interestingly however, many papers and books have been written on FDR’s stamp collection..)
(I photographed this framed –see below– photo of Eleanor at the museum building in the FDR park. Under the documentary photo reads: Mrs. Roosevelt actively and patiently led the U.N. committee that drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and oversaw its adoption in 1947.)
*(This is a mitten pattern originally written in Eleanor’s handwriting, and found within the presidential papers in Hyde, New York.)
Mrs. Roosevelt’s Mittens
Translated by Franklin Habit from unpublished notes in the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library.
Women’s S [M]
Cuff to fingertip: 9.5  inches
Circumference at palm: 8  inches
St-Denis Yarns Nordique [100% wool; 150 yd/137 m per 50g skein]; color: Chalk Blue; 2  skeinsRecommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below — every knitter’s gauge is unique]
1 set of 4 US #4/3.5 mm double-point needlesNotions
length of scrap yarn
ruler or measuring tape
24 sts/36 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch in the round
N1, N2, N3: Needle 1, Needle 2, Needle 3
Make two — or three, if the intended recipient is inclined to be absentminded.
Round 1: [K2, p2] to end of round.
Knit two rounds.
Rounds 2, 3: Knit.
Round 4: N1 — k8, m1, k1, m1, k8 (19 sts). N2 and N3 — knit. 51 sts.
Rounds 5, 6: Knit.
Round 7: N1 — k8, m1, k3, m1, k8 (21 sts). N2 and N3 — knit. 53 sts.
Rounds 8, 9: Knit.
Round 10: N1 — k8, m1, k5, m1, k8 (23 sts). N2 and N3 — knit. 55 sts.
Rounds 11, 12: Knit.
Round 13: N1 — k8, m1, k7, m1, k8 (25 sts). N2 and N3 — knit. 57 sts.
Rounds 14, 15: Knit.
Round 16: N1 — k8, m1, k9, m1, k8 (27 sts). N2 and N3 — knit. 59 sts.
Rounds 17, 18: Knit.
Round 19: N1 — k8, m1, k11, m1, k8 (29 sts). N2 and N3 — knit. 61 sts.
Rounds 20, 21: Knit.
Round 22: N1 — k8, m1, k13, m1, k8 (31 sts). N2 and N3 — knit 63 sts.
Round 23: N1 — k8, sl next 15 sts to scrap yarn, CO 5 sts, k8. N2 and N3 — knit. 53 sts.
Round 24: Knit.
Round 25: N1 — k8, sl1-k1-psso, k1, k2tog, k8. N2 and N3 — knit. 51 sts.
Round 26: N1 — k7, sl1-k1-psso, k1, k2tog, k7. N2 and N3 — knit 49 sts.
Round 27: N1 — k7, k3tog, k7. Needles 2 and 3–knit. 47 sts.
Repeat these two rnds until 15 sts remain. Break yarn leaving a long tail and run through all sts.
Rounds 1–8 (or until thumb is 1 inch short of desired length): Knit.
Repeat Rounds 9 and 10 until 8 sts remain.
Wash according to yarn manufacturer’s instructions, and gently block to shape.
Working away on a different sort of ‘footy’
Later that month we took our daughter to see a soccer game as part of the FIFA Women’s U20 World Cup in Moncton NB, and I spied a few fellow knitter’s in the crowd waiting for the second game to start. Who says we don’t knit in hot weather! (…well, actually it was threatening rain, but it WAS during the summer month of August!)
And my most crucial summer camping items!