Out and about in the winter streets of Oslo, I always bring my Selbu mittens to keep my hands nice and toasty. The cold can quickly bite at your fingers, making a brisk walk outside less enjoyable. I’d say mittens are an essential item to surviving the long, dark winters of Norway.
One thing I quickly learned in Nordic temperatures is that mittens are warmer than gloves. It is the pockets of air between your layers of clothing heated by your body that keep you warm, and mittens, especially woollen ones, provide that space needed around your hands.
The Selbu mitten, created in Selbu over 150 years ago, features the iconic star-rose pattern, which has become a national symbol of Norway.
Wool has always been an important natural material for making clothes in Norway – it breathes, and keeps you warm and dry – and the gift of handmade woollen products is sweetly valued. Knitting mittens and scarfs, jumpers and socks, for family and friends is a labour of love, and hold sentimental value. Some Norwegian families have a long tradition of passing down woollen clothing.
My Selbu mittens are certainly special to me. One day I had forgotten to bring mine on a trip out, so my BF let me wear his. They were big enough that we could hold hands in them. I loved his mittens so much – the pattern and the warmth, and the fact they were his – that my BF gave them to me. It is the gift of pre-loved Selbu mittens that make them extra special!