Worn by both men and women, muffatees (also called mitts, wristlets or hand warmers) are a fingerless glove that will keep the hands warm while allowing your fingers the freedom to sew, knit, stir the pot over the fire or fire a gun. Modern folks will appreciate muffatees while working on the computer or sending text messages, as they keep the hand warm while leaving the fingers free to type. Especially nice if you work for a Scrooge - many productions of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" (1843) show Bob Cratchit wearing muffatees in his office, because Scrooge was too stingy to throw more coal in the stove!
This pattern is from "The Workwoman’s Guide, by A Lady," originally printed in 1838. I recommend this muffatee as an authentic, well-documented choice for museum and historic site staff and volunteers, historical reenactors of the early 19th century through the Civil War, or anyone who wants to bring a bit of historic charm into your modern life!
What Size? The muffatees are one-size-fits-most. They are stretchy, and I have found they will fit from a child about age 10 to a full-grown man. The length is your personal preference, not based on the size of your hand.
Which Length? These muffatees are available in two lengths, 5 inches or 7 inches. Short muffatees and gloves were preferred by society women in the 1860s because the shorter length on the wrist gave the illusion that the fingers were shorter - a fashionable look at the time. If the cuffs of your dress or shirt is well fitted, then you will want the shorter muffatees as well. The longer muffatees however, will cover more of your wrist and will keep you warmer. The length is your personal preference, not based on the size of your hand.
Which Color? Society women of the 19th century wore white on their hands to flaunt that they didn't have to do any manual labor with their hands. The white muffatees are very pretty, but impractical for those of us who must struggle through life without a full-time Lady's Maid. Most people prefer the gray or brown muffatees. Gentlemen who wear their muffatees while shooting a black powder musket prefer brown or dark gray muffatees.
Prefer to Knit Your Own? I also sell a muffatee kit that contains the pattern, historic notes and my Suzy the Shepherdess 100% wool yarn so that you can knit your own.
Lydia Maria Child
The American Frugal Housewife, 1832
Suzy the Shepherdess
Suzy Beggin Craft
P.O. Box 54
Stockton, IL 61085 U.S.A.
Phone: 815 541-0897