My First Pair of Saltwater Mittens

by Debbie Sullivan March 19, 2019 1 Comment

My First Pair of Saltwater Mittens

Last fall knitting friend who had just returned to Montreal from a trip to St John's mentioned to me the delightful work of Christine LeGrow and Shirley Scott. They are working hard to document and preserve the Newfoundland tradition of "trigger mitts". I was intrigued by what I heard, and became further interested last December when one of our aunts sent me and Elizabeth the link to a short documentary piece on CBC's the Sunday Edition about their new book. I still hadn't yet gotten my hands on a copy of the it when the lovely folks at Boulder Publications contacted us earlier this year and asked if we would be interested in carrying Saltwater Mittens From the Island of Newfoundland. But by then we had heard such good things about it already that we happily said "yes"!

Colourful ring of mittens with diamond pattern

I had high expectations for this book, and when we got our first batch of them in the mail and I finally got a chance to read it myself I wasn't disappointed. The mittens featured in the book are both practical and beautiful, featuring bold and graphic traditional colourwork patterns. They're traditionally knit from sturdy wool that stands up well to use in all weather and use the unique Newfoundland "trigger finger" construction for warmth and dexterity.

One of the things I love about the way this book is put together is that all of the designs are shown in multiple variations and colour combinations (such as the Big Diamonds pattern in the photo above). This makes the book itself a visual treat, and I think also encourages the reader to have fun and experiment with creating their own combinations, rather than attempting to make exact replicas.

Bowl of colourful baby mittens featuring graphic patterns

For knitters who are new to working with two colours these patterns may seem a bit daunting, but the authors carefully walk the knitter through each step of planning and executing their project. Their conversational tone makes the detailed instructions very accessible, and they cover every aspect of the process from yarn selection and colour choices to increase and cast-off techniques. They also recommend beginners start with a pair of "Wee Ones" (their baby mitt pattern, shown above) as a way to practice the colourwork techniques on a small project with minimal shaping. 

Spring Ice trigger mittens in dark grey and white pattern

 Although the baby mitts are adorable, and I'm sure I will knit a pair or two in the future, I actually need a new pair of mittens myself, so decided that I would try my hand at a pattern called Spring Ice, which is given in a women's size and features the traditional trigger mitt shaping.

Cuff and partially knit hand of mitt in light and dark blue pattern

I'm working these up in Andante (our superwash merino worsted weight) and am super pleased with how they're turning out. Once I got started on the pattern it was hard to put down, I kept wanting to knit one more round to see the design continue to emerge under my needles. 

Another charming aspect of the book is the inclusion of little tidbits of wit and wisdom from Newfoundland knitters, and I think my favourite is this quote from Elizabeth Warner: 

Quote from Newfoundland knitter in red text

I unfortunately am not so practiced at knitting in my sleep, so eventually had to give in and leave my newly started mitt to go to bed, but not before I had nearly completed all the thumb gore increases! 

Palm of mitten in light and dark blue pattern showing thumb gore increases

I think the rest of these mitts will knit up very quickly, and I might get them done while it's still cold enough to need them this year... 

We have the Saltwater Mittens book available now, so if you're inspired to join me in being part of this continuing mitten tradition you can purchase your own copy right here! 





Debbie Sullivan
Debbie Sullivan

Author


1 Response

Jennifer
Jennifer

April 07, 2019

I bought this book and loved reading it! Actual knitting something is next, so please do let us know how yours turn out. I’m very curious if the trigger finger style looks, um, dainty or not. The patterns that call out to me in the book are all women’s sizes that I would have to adjust for my sizable hands, and I just can’t tell if the trigger fingers would look nice when worn or not. Handy perhaps, but would I look like a Lego figurine?

Thanks again for the detailed description of the book that convinced me to buy it. It is a fun read!!

Leave a comment


Also in News

baking sheet with twelve chickpea raisin chocolate chip cookies
Recipe: Chickpea Cookies

by Debbie Sullivan May 22, 2019

Even though I've been trying to eat mostly healthy snacks recently, sometimes it's nice to have a bit of a treat. Since our Nousrire orders have included lots of dried chickpeas lately, as well as chocolate chips, peanut butter and dried fruit and nuts, we pretty much always have the ingredients for these cookies at hand. I like this recipe because it's relatively low in sugar, has the added protein from the chickpeas and nut butter, and is quick and easy to throw together (it's also gluten-free if that's important for you). I often make a double batch and freeze half - mostly to keep us from eating them all at once!

View full article →

Teaching Kids to Weave
Teaching Kids to Weave

by Elizabeth Sullivan April 25, 2019 1 Comment

Over the past four months or so I've been teaching kids to weave at my local homeschooling centre. I'm by no means an expert weaver, but I do have some experience with a floor loom and various smaller looms. One of the best parts of teaching the kids is that it's motivated me to get back into weaving and I'm looking forward to returning to some of my own projects that I'd put on hold.

View full article →

Crescendo mini-collection + giveaway
Crescendo mini-collection + giveaway

by Elizabeth Sullivan February 13, 2019 44 Comments

We are so pleased to present a mini-collection of patterns featuring our Crescendo gradient sets! We sent yarn to several indie designers and they have recently released their beautiful designs. This collection includes knitting and crochet, lace and texture, large projects and small. Enjoy perusing the patterns and then don't forget to enter our giveaway! 

View full article →