I thoroughly enjoyed reading Saltwater Mittens when we started carrying it last spring, and was delighted to find out earlier this year that there was a sequel in the works. Saltwater Classics is now here!
Saltwater Classics continues in the style of Saltwater Mittens, and includes several more mitten patterns, but it also includes many patterns for hats, caps and vamps. What are vamps? From what I can gather after reading The Great Vamp Debate, vamps are usually thick short socks that are worn as an extra layer inside boots or as a slipper indoors – with many regional variations of course. All I know for sure is that I definitely need a pair or two!
First on my knitting list (and already on my needles) is a new hat for my son. We looked through the book together and he chose the Viking-inspired Helmet which can be worn three ways: with the flap covering the back of your neck, turned up in warmer weather, or turned around completely if you need extra coverage on your face.
Red was the requested colour, so I’m knitting the Helmet in our Winfield yarn in Orchid. We’re planning a pair of red and white mittens to match, but haven’t settled on a pattern for those just yet.
Like Saltwater Mittens, this book is full of gorgeous photography and Newfoundland history and vocabulary. Newfoundland is on my wish list of places to visit and reading Saltwater Classics only makes me more inspired to plan that trip.
The patterns are rated in degree of difficulty from * Easy Does It and ** Tangly, to *** Over the Wharf, with a good selection of patterns at each level. I also enjoyed the “Nan at your Side” tips and tricks sprinkled throughout the book. These tips include how to work neater ribbing, picking up stitches without making holes, and weaving in yarn floats Nan’s way.
All of the patterns in both Saltwater Mittens and Saltwater Classics are knit with Briggs and Little yarns. Our rustic Canadian wool Winfield yarn (which is actually spun at the Briggs and Little mill) is the perfect match for the patterns in these books so we’ve put together some kits which include a copy of the book and two full skeins of Winfield - enough yarn to make at least one pair of mittens.
If you’re feeling inspired to join us in some traditional Newfoundland knitting, Debbie and I are organizing a knit-along for all Saltwater patterns from both books this fall. The KAL will run from October 27 to November 30, and you can find more details in our Ravelry group. We'd love to have you join us!
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One of our big goals for Sweet Paprika this year was to source a new line of Canadian wool yarns. We started contacting farms and mills last January, researching options, connecting with farmers, and collecting samples.
Eventually we settled on working with wool from Circle R Livestock, a family farm in southern Ontario. Over the spring we worked out the details to have the wool milled in New Brunswick, and we then spent the summer doing dye tests and creating colour recipes for our new Winfield (worsted) and Sutton (bulky) yarn lines.
Lately a lot of my crafting inspiration has come from my son, who is growing and needs things, and from my goal to live more gently on this earth and think twice before buying and using things.
My values of living frugally and buying ethically-produced clothing that is not damaging to the environment sometimes feel completely at odds with each other. For me, this is where mending, crafting, and buying second-hand come in. Can I mend something to extend its useful life? Can I knit or sew more of our everyday wardrobe basics? Is it something I can trade or buy second-hand rather than purchasing new?