FO: Brenda’s Mitts

I started knitting these fingerless mitts (Fresco Fair Isle Mitts by Pam Allen, Interweave Knits, Fall 2008) way back in October when I last visited with Brenda and Tonia. Casting these on represented the start of the ALICE STARMORE YARN MANIA (which has pretty much reigned over my knitting ever since) and I am really happy with how they turned out. The pattern is very easy, the gloves don’t use up much yarn, and the whole project is a handy little canvas on which to experiment with colour.

That said, I didn’t stray too much from the colours specified in the original pattern because I wanted to really explore using dusky purple golden shades together.

I find it impossible to work with Starmore’s yarns without thinking about places and vistas, and the colour combinations that one apprehends while out wandering/wondering. The Fresco mitts remind me of sunsets by the sea… of the saturated palette of gold light, pink clouds and navy waters that you see just before the sun drops away. Perhaps this is no surprise, since Selkie and Driftwood – two of the colours which I used in the gloves – are from Starmore’s Sea and Shoreline palette. The other colours are Solan Goose, (creamy white) Wild Orchid, (Cadbury’s purple) Golden Plover, (tawny gold) and a small quantity of a Jamieson and Smith 2-ply in pale mustard yellow which Brenda gave me.

Sunset at Kimmeridge Bay, January 2011

I like how the pattern disappears when the shades are very close together, and then reasserts itself when the contrast between the background and foreground colours increases. I also love how the mitts are sort of subliminally saturated with a warmth that is fiery and bright, because of the exquisite way that the yarns have been blended with so many reddish/tawny tones.

Seaweed at Kimmeridge Bay, January 2011

I had originally intended for these mitts to be mine, but when I saw them in Brenda’s house, with Brenda’s things, and with Brenda’s clothes, I realised how well it all went together. And so now these are Brenda’s mitts.

Come on, these were totally designed to accessorise this outfit

I also like that the Fresco Mitts are somehow reminiscent of the seaside and its treasures, because this is a bit of a theme in my visits to costa del Cast On. I am not sure if you listened, but I really enjoyed Brenda’s description of “The Thing” in Sharing the Joy, and last time I visited we went to Amroth beach and Brenda found “A Thing.”

(To be fair, the light and images in this particular seaside image do not match the gloves at all and so perhaps in the future, an Amroth Beach colourwork glove will be required in pale turquoises, soft greens, and restrained, sandy golds…)

I love this photo that Mark took of me, Tonia and Brenda walking on Amroth beach last Summer just after my birthday. And even though it is raining hard on this particular visit, I love looking out of the window and knowing the sea is right there, just beyond the tree-covered valley.

While the rain keeps us indoors and the light is grey and the animals are fractious, the gloves are a reminder of sunsets and warm suns. Under the circumstances the only thing for us to do is bust out all our 2-ply and wax lyrical on the gloriousness of FAIRISLE KNITTING and GOOD RADIO.

Which is exactly what we have been doing.

Oh, and photographing the handknits:

I hope you are having a nice weekend, that you have Gin and girlfriends, and more ideas than time to realise them.

And gloves, if your hands are cold.

You can hear the animals fighting (Jasper the cat and Truman the dog) right here, and Tonia carving a spoon. It’s a good soundtrack for a Sunday.

See what I mean? Brenda’s Mitts.


Pattern: Fresco Fair Isle Mitts, by Pam Allen, Interweave Knits, Fall 2008
Needles: DPNs 2.25mm and 2.5mm
Yarn: Alice Starmore’s Hebridean 2-ply in Solan Goose, Wild Orchid, Selkie, Golden Plover and Driftwood, plus some misc. 2-ply Jamieson and Smith in a pale mustardy gold shade
Ravelled: Here

12 Responses to FO: Brenda’s Mitts

  1. Joanna says:

    These are absolutely beautiful. (And yes, I think they are definitely Brenda’s!) I am really enjoying your linking of knitting and place. Colourwork is something that has been calling to me for a while now and I’d like to make this the year I actually give it a go, but first I’m going to think a bit about places I love and the colours that are associated with them. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Lara says:

    I *heart* the mitts. The colours are indeed fabulous! You are making me think that I must also buy some 2-ply and start colourwork knitting forever (although really not portable for my trip!). Glad you are having a fab time with Brenda – knitting, radio, girlfriends are awesome and have also been in my weekend. No rain here though xxx

  3. Jo says:

    Felix, these are beautiful. Really, I can so go along with dreaming of the seaside while knitting with Alice Starmore’s yarns. The whole coast-island-nature thing just buzzes through ones mind and body like a tingle. And, yes! – the outfit looks perfect with those mitts.

    Do enjoy yours stay, even if there is rain! We are many miles away from the sea and it is quite sad! I will be listening to the podcast episode you mentioned tomorrow and think of you all there (after the gin!) – you have quite a nice collection of friends. How did you all meet, I wonder?!!


  4. Liz T. says:

    Lucky Brenda! Those are awesome mitts.

  5. Knit Nurse says:

    Beautiful mitts and a great match for Brenda’s outfit. They made me think of late heather, dried grass and the browns and greys of mountain tops. The Brecon Beacons perhaps?!

  6. What lovely mitts! The colours are stunning.

  7. Diane says:

    Beautiful mitts! And I LOVE your photographs. Very inspiring.

  8. Wendolene says:

    Thank you for sharing more lovely pictures and knits! Very inspiring.

  9. Wendolene says:

    Thank you for sharing more lovely pictures and knits with us! Very inspiring.

  10. colleen says:

    I’ve come back several times now to this post to see your lovely photos and read your words. I’m especially taken with some of the components of a good weekend – gin, girlfriends, gloves and more ideas than time to realise them. Where to start!

  11. Samantha Payn says:

    Thank you for the sounds. The sound of a small dog ragging is one I link to my mum’s house and is full of happy memories.

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