- The Gallica mittens are a wonderfully warm pair of mittens featuring a striking all-over fair isle motif which can be knitted as shown in alternating shades or can also be knitted in one main shade with a contrasting background. Knitted in Barn a rustic DK weight yarn, these mittens knit up quickly and are super toasty. These simple mittens are a great introduction to mitten knitting techniques.
The inspiration for Gallica is multifaceted — like most designs in reality, Inspired in part by Harriet, the charming pair of mittens in The Vintage Shetland Project; the motifs on those mittens in turn inspired by the floral motifs popular in the late 1940s and early 1950s, just like the Rose Cardigan and indeed, Floribunda. Using one motif all-over the design was suggested to Susan by Stromfirth, the striking 'shooting' stockings from The Vintage Shetland Project. These too use a floral inspired motif across the body and foot of the sock and use just two colours throughout. Susan decided to pare down the floral motif into a more abstract, cubist design but instead of only using two shades throughout, Susan used five.
The colour scheme was inspired by the gorgeous shades of the Floribunda cardigan. The colours of the cardigan were all hand dyed by Susan who discovered whilst dyeing those shades, that if she continued using the dye bath continuously without adding more dye it achieved the vibrant and glorious pink shade of Gallica and the almost apple-like shade of Frond. Bordering these with their sister shades of Rosehip and Folius added depth and variation and created a wonderfully tonal surface pattern. These colours against the natural grey of the Dry Stone Wall gives the mittens a real vintage quality, a favourite pair of mittens found in the drawer of an old wooden cabinet.
The mittens are knitted in the round using DPNs, or magic loop could be used if preferred. The knitting commences with the cuff which is worked in striped corrugated ribbing as do many traditional Shetland knits. The main hand of the mitten is worked in standard stranded colour work with only ever two colours used on any one round and a maximum of 5 stitches in any one colour at a time. The thumb gusset is worked to the side of the mitten. Additional thumb gusset stitches are worked by knitting into the front and back of the stitches as shown in the charts. To ensure continuity of the pattern you may need to knit into the back of the stitch with a different colour than that used to knit into the front of the stitch. Be sure to follow the chart which indicates which shade to use for each part of the increase. The two mittens are knitted identically.
There are three mitten sizes each with its own chart and all the charts are read from right to left on every round. There are also three thumb charts provided alongside the main mitten charts.
Susan is wearing the second size mittens in the photographs.
The pattern includes instructions for three sizes and contains clear written instructions and full colour charts, plus a comprehensive schematic diagram and sizing chart.
Susan Crawford Barn 100% British wool
(225m/246yds per 100g skein)
1 (1, 1) skein, shade Dry Stone Wall
3 (3, 3) 10g skeins, shade Frond
2 (3, 3) 10g skeins, shade Gallica
1 (1, 1) 10g skeins, shade Folius
1 (2, 2) 10g skeins, shade Rosehip
Set of 2.75mm (US 2) DPNs
Set of 3.5mm (US 4) DPNs
Waste yarn or stitch holders
- Knitting in the round
Following a chart
Knitting a Fair Isle pattern
Blocking a mitten