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"!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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!
Very confused with thumb gusset pattern. Why not thumb gusset in words.
The questions and answers are very helpful. I have no problem following the patterns, but getting the thumb gusset right was another story. Somehow I always get off track and lose the outline. After reading your response to Pamela, I finally ‘got it’ ! Thank you so much! I have Saltwater Mittens, Classics, and Gifts and love the patterns and stories.
Confused on Thumb Gusset for Bay Chaleur mittens ! Can you please send details of round 1 to 14. Chart in words.
Please help me as I am having trouble with the thumb gusset on the mummers mittens featured in the book Saltwater Mittens.Any help would be appreciated.Love your site!
Thanks Jayne Gallant
I too am having trouble with the thumb gusset chart
I have 17 stitches for this section
How do I go from these 17 stitches to the 5 which starts the chart?
I am just starting the thumb gusset on
Mummers classic mitts for ladies. I’m looking at the thumb gusset and I am confused. Could you help explain it please?
The pattern is written to be worked on a set of 4 double-pointed needles, so your stitches will be divided over 3 needles. The instruction to “arrange” them simply means to make sure you have 24 sts on the 1st needle, 13 sts on the 2nd needle, and 12 sts on the 3rd needle (you should have 49 sts total). You may need to slip some stitches from one needle over to another to make this work out.
If you happen to be knitting your mitts with 2 circular needles you can split them so you have 24 on the 1st needle and 25 on the 2nd one instead.
Hope that helps!
I am making the Mummers Mittens in a ladies size M and on page 129 of the first book, SaltWater Mittens, just before shaping the top it says to ‘arrange stitches 24, 13, 12.’ ‘Arrange’ them to do what?
how do you pick up the 5 sts in the thumb garret of the blowin, a gale mitt.
The thumb gusset chart for the Blowin’ A Gale pattern is shaped this way because the gusset starts with a very small number of stitches and then gets bigger as you increase. You can completely ignore the empty space between the squares. I think it’s shown this way with the two columns of dark stitches to give a visual representation because you’ll see these columns on either side of the gusset in your knitting.
So after Rnd 1, you’ll have 5 sts in the gusset between the markers.
Rnd 2: increase 2 more sts to have 7 in the gusset
Rnd 3: still 7 sts
Rnd 4: still 7 sts
Rnd 5 increase 2 more sts to 9 sts
Rnd 6: still 9 sts
And so on until you get to the full gusset width of 19 sts on Rnd 20. I hope this helps! Please do let us know if you’re still getting stuck.
I’m knitting trigger mitts for men “tangly”, page 178 of this book….i’m having a problem understanding what the blank spares mean for “Blowin’ a Gale thumb gusset chart”….also should I always have 17 sts (start to finish)of the gusset?
I’ve sent you an email. If you’re still having trouble with the thumb gussets I’ll be happy to help you out!
I do not understand the thumb gusset chart
I just sent you a quick email, if you let us know what pattern you’re using and a bit more detail about what you’re getting stuck with we’ll do our best to help you out.
my mind goes blank when I finish the thumb gusset. I am just doing a sample before I use my good yarn.I really want to know how to knit these mitts.
I just sent you an email :) I’m sure we can help you get those thumb gussets sorted!
Im not new to knitting and have worked charts before but im mind boggled on the thumb gusset charts. If someone could please email me a response i could send a picture of what im confused by. Im certain im just having a brain fart and need a good knock to clear my head lol. Thanks Amanda
My husband purchased book for me so I could improve my trigger finger pattern.I am on my third pair and am
Hooked to say the least !Cant wait to try every pattern !
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!!
Laisser un commentaire
Voir l'article entier
Getting to know Catherine from The Small Bird Workshop
Fifteen Years of Sweet Paprika!
This year we're celebrating Sweet Paprika's 15th anniversary, and it's honestly been a bit hard to get my head around where the time has gone! We've been looking back through some of our old photos, and thought it would be fun to share a little retrospective here. Our little business has come a long way in the past 15 years!
Most of the images I'm including are not our polished product photos (although those have also come a long way since the early days), but more of a behind-the-scenes look at some of the memorable stepping stones along our journey.