Christine LeGrow of Spindrift Handknits and Shirley A. Scott ("Shirl the Purl") have collected and studied mittens from across Newfoundland for the past 40 years. Recognizing the value of these artifacts, they have expertly and painstakingly recreated heritage patterns for today's knitter. Their first book in the Saltwater Knits series, Saltwater Mittens from the Island of Newfoundland, is a Canadian best-seller and won the Best Atlantic Published Book Award in 2019.
'From the island of Newfoundland' says the cover of Saltwater Mittens and that was enough for me to fall in love with this book and it's companions.
As a fan of anywhere remote, wet and cold, and therefore with knitting in wool, Newfoundland fits the bill!
These books showcase patterned functional knitting from this remote province of Canada. The array of mittens and gloves in Saltwater Mittens charmed me instantly and the second book with socks and hats is just as attractive. The third, recently published and perhaps in time for Christmas giving or receiving, is Saltwater Gifts, which extends the range. This includes a hot-water bottle cover, tea cosy and gloves and dog bandana matching set alongside sturdy gloves, mitts, hats and socks.
All three books include knotting history, stories, patterns and photographs. All are by Christine LeGrow and Shirey A Scott ('Shirl the Purl') who have been researching and collecting Newfoundland mittens 'for the past 40 years' and this depth of knowledge, alongside yarn and knitting know-how is evident.
The books are enhanced by wonderful photographs of knitted pieces, both displayed flat and being worn. Pictures of the Newfoundland landscape put the knits in context.
From a knitting point of view there is plenty of support for how to get going with these items, many of them being knitted on 4mm needles in the round with wool that approximates to UK double-knitting weight. The authors also suggest that oddments can be used and there are small sizes for babies and toddlers.
These books are both fun, informative and important, documenting crafts and stories that might otherwise have been forgotten. Their significance is shown by the fact that both the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the national Government of Canada have given financial support to their publishing.-- Angharad Thomas * SlipKnot - Issue 169 *