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, quite obviously, 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 Barn yarn 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 harts 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.
Please note the patterns from the collection are not available to purchase separately.