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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
why are there so many knitted mittens?
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Nov 13 2013, 12:45am

Post #1 of 37 (1047 views)
why are there so many knitted mittens? Can't Post

In these films? Has anyone else noticed this or am I just too critical?

I thought it was just a dwarf thing but noticed in some of the promo material that Bard's kids are wearing them also among other characters.

It seems to me like this is the least appropriate material to go "on an adventure" in the wilderness in and might look better on the dwarves' grandmothers waiting at home in the Blue Mountains.

I don't recall seeing a single knitted piece of fabric in all three LOTR films.

book Gandalf

Nov 13 2013, 12:55am

Post #2 of 37 (623 views)
wool [In reply to] Can't Post

i have knitted pair of fingerless gloves,these things are quite common in the world! lol they are very warm and great in winter. i would tottaly take then camping or on a trip.

odd thing to get hung up on when watching a film!

This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party.


Nov 13 2013, 1:10am

Post #3 of 37 (584 views)
But they cant be very sturdy? [In reply to] Can't Post

And what if they get wet? It seems like dirt, liquids, grime etc. would all penetrate this material.

I know its odd but it really irks me. Why not leather?


Nov 13 2013, 1:28am

Post #4 of 37 (561 views)
I Agree with wool [In reply to] Can't Post

Pre-plastic based fibres for warmth wool was it and it is/was very sturdy (I am of that generation). I have a pair of wool snow mitts that have lasted for decades. Very appropriate for the climate of the Hobbit. Leather gloves does not keep one warm!!! but woollon gloves/mitts do.

Na Vedui

Nov 13 2013, 1:29am

Post #5 of 37 (548 views)
Knitted woollen stuff can be pretty tough [In reply to] Can't Post

and isn't unknown for use in wet, dirty jobs - think of traditional fisherman's guernseys, for instance. Also, if wool is not over-processed to clean it up (as it tends to be in modern times), it has a fair bit of natural lanolin in it to keep the wet at bay; that's how sheep don't get totally waterlogged in a rainstorm.


Nov 13 2013, 1:30am

Post #6 of 37 (551 views)
...by the way wool stll works when wet [In reply to] Can't Post

...wool acts as an insulatar even when wet that is why it is so good.

The Shire

Nov 13 2013, 1:48am

Post #7 of 37 (544 views)
fudge ripple [In reply to] Can't Post

I want to know how they can possibly have ice cream if there are (presumably) no freezers.


Nov 13 2013, 1:57am

Post #8 of 37 (517 views)
LOL [In reply to] Can't Post

This has also been bothering me!

Na Vedui

Nov 13 2013, 1:57am

Post #9 of 37 (519 views)
Possibly they used [In reply to] Can't Post

an ice-house?

See article: http://en.wikipedia.org/.../Ice_house_(building)


Nov 13 2013, 2:01am

Post #10 of 37 (527 views)
my Fiance [In reply to] Can't Post

Just said the same thing to me...

Still not buying it - if you wet wool it gets soppy and heavy and uncomfortable. Or at least it seems that way to me but obviously I do not wear it on my hands.


Nov 13 2013, 2:04am

Post #11 of 37 (507 views)
When there is no other choice....to keep warm!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

When it gets too soggy you wring it out. Do that with woollen socks/gloves all the time when camping

The Shire

Nov 13 2013, 3:07am

Post #12 of 37 (474 views)
no cones [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, but that would mean they could only enjoy ice cream in the winter as that would be the only time ice was handy. They are clearly enjoying it in the summer. The question is also begged as to how they managed to acquire fudge and ripple it into the vanilla. Tolkien makes no mention of chocolate in the texts. I guess we have to assume there are cocoa plants around, however, I don't believe they grow in climates with cold winters.

Maybe when the Valar sent Gandalf to middle earth he was tasked to bring cacao seedlings. (?)

And this this doesn't even begin to address the waffle cones. wtf...waffle cones! I guess if you can accept the ice cream then waffle cones are easier to swallow (no pun intended). Although I think they should not have had the modern standard cross-check pattern embossed in them as that would seem to require some modern contrivance.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Nov 13 2013, 3:54am

Post #13 of 37 (468 views)
It's all in the comparison of available options. [In reply to] Can't Post

Most natural fabrics/materials are permeable. Cotton and linen soak through quickly and retain no warmth. Leather by itself will also soak through and lose its heat-conserving properties pretty quickly. Oiled leather will be more waterproof but is also weaker and not great for gloves. One might have an oiled leather cape, but it would be heavy and not nearly as warm as wool pound for pound. And leather, unless it is well-lined, is not a good insulator in very cold/wet conditions. Insulated gloves would be bulky and impractical for doing much with the hands. Down is warm, but is destroyed by the damp. Oilcloth or waxed cloth is water repellant, but heavy, sometimes greasy, and not the most durable against rubbing - which is important in things like gloves and boots. That's pretty much all your other options.

Wool, as has been said, retains warmth even when wet and can be quite tough, depending on the type of wool and the yarn size/twist. Yes, it gets heavy, but that's still better than inviting hypothermia, especially when any of your other options would be equally heavy while sucking all your body heat away from you. Until impermeable man-made fibers came on the market, wool was by far the best heavy-duty fabric going. And when it comes to gloves, knitting has the distinct advantage of being completely flexible, form fitting, and eliminates chafing seams. It's very very practical.

Be grateful you live in this day and age! You have advantages over your grandparents and great-grandparents (and all the generations before) that you probably never appreciated!


"Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dűm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone."

Tol Eressea

Nov 13 2013, 6:27am

Post #14 of 37 (428 views)
fudge ripple? [In reply to] Can't Post

Have I missed something? Shocked


Nov 13 2013, 8:20am

Post #15 of 37 (397 views)
They keep your hands warm [In reply to] Can't Post

Knitting is an ancient craft. Wool is practical, warm, harder-wearing than you might think - and some types of wool also have a degree of waterproofing. Think of the traditional fisherman's sweater.


Nov 13 2013, 10:57am

Post #16 of 37 (351 views)
The whole point of the ice house [In reply to] Can't Post

was that you filled it with ice in the winter and the insulation prevented it from melting so that you could have ices in the summer. I wrote a fanfic where the practical Thorin builds an ice house for that very purpose and he bases it on ice houses he's seen in in Rivendell, LOL!

Fudge isn't chocolate: it's made from sugar, butter and milk and is a traditional Western sweet.

Where is this thread going?


Nov 13 2013, 11:45am

Post #17 of 37 (321 views)
There are ...MORE Sheep, than.. People in New Zealand// [In reply to] Can't Post



Nov 13 2013, 2:32pm

Post #18 of 37 (287 views)
i'll take your word for it... [In reply to] Can't Post

but it still seems to me that if you picked up say a thorny branch or tried to climb up a jagged outcropping wearing one of these knitted gloves that half of the material would stick to the surface of one object or another and be ripped off.

I can totally see woolen socks, or a woolen sweater but the gloves seem completely impracticable to me.

But again I haven't actually worn them I'm only going by the look...


Nov 13 2013, 3:01pm

Post #19 of 37 (287 views)
more than just wearing them... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you'd have to have actual experiences with backwoods trekking or camping to judge them.

Especially when you put them up against only materials that would be available 100 years ago.

I can remember when we practically got down on our knees in thankfulness for this *new* item: a closed cell foam sleeping pad! (Berkshires, dang cold sleeping up in those hills) Having camped before many of the newer fabrics were available, I can attest that wool has some deficits but many, many attributes. And, compared to other choices, it was usually the best option.

It may not seem to make sense but those of us with experience can attest that it does make sense. :-)

(I once went trick or treating - as an adult chaperoning a group of children - in the rain wearing a Mexican wool poncho and natural fiber peasant hat. I did not feel the rain or the cold one bit.)

LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
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Nov 13 2013, 3:32pm

Post #20 of 37 (273 views)
well said! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've got classic books on nature/survival, wool is the fabric of choice due to it's breathability and insulating properties - will even insulate if wet. Plus it can be spun fine for shirts and socks, heavy for blankets and sweaters - it's tough and repairable.
Of course there are modern fabrics now, but love my genuine wool socks and sweaters - keeps you warm at the bus stop.


Nov 13 2013, 3:49pm

Post #21 of 37 (271 views)
Knitting doesn't tear easily [In reply to] Can't Post

It will stretch if it catches on something, but it will also pull back into shape.

I can see two reasons why they're using a lot of knitting in these films. One is that we're looking at very different populations. The Blue Mountains and Laketown are further north than we've been before, so presumably colder. On the human side, they're also poorer than the people of Gondor, or even Rohan, and knitting was always associated with working communities, where people needed things that were hardwearing and warm.

The other reason is that these films have a different costume designer....

Werde Spinner

Nov 13 2013, 4:40pm

Post #22 of 37 (260 views)
Considering the weather outside today... [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish I had some knitted mittens or gloves! For that matter, I would be glad to be kitted out in knitted everything like Ori as long as it kept me warm.

I have noticed the comparative abundance of knitted materials in the Dwarf costumes (have not noticed it so far in those of the Laketown residents) but did not have a negative reaction to it. I'm not a scarf person, but I like Bofur's scarf (and would you believe that I have actually seen one that looks just like it in real life and it wasn't part of a cosplay or related to AUJ at all?!) and his knitted fingerless gloves/whatever they are called. Actually, several of the Dwarves seem to wear them - at least Oin, I think. I just assumed knitwear is naturally warm and hardy, and looking at the responses from people who have much more experience than me my assumptions seem to be right. Nah, the knitwear doesn't bother me.

The real question might be if Dwarves crochet. If so, then we can figure out whether Bofur was just trolling Bilbo with the 'croquet' response or not. Laugh

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."


Nov 13 2013, 5:14pm

Post #23 of 37 (244 views)
Depends [In reply to] Can't Post

On how the wool is spun. Rug wool can be very tight, thick, and smooth, more like a tough rope. Or you can spin it w. more fluff. But wool is tough, even when snagged the stuff I own doesn't break - also the stitches
you use can be very tight, very hard to pull.

Tol Eressea

Nov 13 2013, 8:09pm

Post #24 of 37 (213 views)
Take it from someone who knits+ an article on it+knitting stereotypes [In reply to] Can't Post

Knitting was most likely one of the few ways to make such things in Middle Earth. That and crochet and sewing. Being a knitter/crocheter/seamstress myself, I know that knitting makes really sturdy, warm mittens when done correctly with the proper yarn and I'm actually quite pleased with the prominence of knitted items in the Hobbit movies so far! I also know for a fact that these knitted items were all hand-made.

In fact, here's an article on the movie's knitted items http://www.knittingdaily.com/...it-for-a-hobbit.aspx It's titled "Yarn fit for a Hobbit." Hope you like it!

BTW, please don't subscribe to the unfortunate stereotype that only grandmothers knit. Knitting is very popular amongst people of all ages and genders (note Rosey Greer the famous knitting American football player) and it is not nearly as limited (or itchy) a craft as many people think. You can make any item of clothing as well as other items with knitting as you can with any other craft. The quality of the finished product depends on the skill of the knitter. Knitting can even be therapeutic as some people do it for relaxation (lowering blood pressure) or to help them with quitting a habit such as smoking or whatever else.

Knitting rant: finished.

Eowyn of Penns Woods

Nov 13 2013, 8:18pm

Post #25 of 37 (189 views)
*throws down knitted glove-in-progress* [In reply to] Can't Post

Especially the harder-wearing 'longwools', and the 'grabbier'/ 'stickier' breed yarns or when the item is fulled/felted. And the more wear they get, the more fulling/felting can take place in high friction spots!

Historically speaking, though, knitted items were for both the very rich and the poor at various points and places in time.

See, I wasn't kidding about the gloves! =)

That's a wool and silk blend. I'm on a glove-knitting spree at the moment. I have circulation issues in my hands and feet, and nothing keeps me comfier in cold weather than my handknitted socks, gloves, and mittens. Even more so when made from my own handspun yarn.


Not a TORns*b!
Certified Curmudgeon
Knitting Knerd
NARF: NWtS Chapter Member since June 17,2011

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