Posted by: christinelaennec | February 27, 2014

Re-creational knitting

A huge thank you to everyone who left such extremely kind comments on my last post.  Our family really appreciates each one of them.

Now to a little knitting story!  Lilian is a great lady who comes to our house to give the Dafter a massage every few weeks.  She came just before Christmas, and after she’d left she texted asking if we’d found a fair isle mitt, by any chance?  We looked, but there was no mitt.  She still hadn’t located it after the holidays, so when she came in January I told her to bring the bereaved mitt along.  It was a machine-knitted mitt, with a matching scarf.  I did point out to her that it was already starting to fray, which didn’t lessen her grief.

I went up to my bag of Jamieson & Smith 2-ply leftovers, and found similar colours, except for the orange.  I later ordered some orange (always a pleasure to speak to those Shetlander ladies on the phone – “is it more of a marigold you’re after, or a pumpkin?”).  Using the machine-knitted mitt as a guide, I made something of a facsimile, albeit to larger scale.  The colours are less creamy-yellow than in the original but I think they work together pretty well.  When she came for her next visit, Lilian was extremely happy to see what I’d done, so I made another one.  The pattern is essentially a tube, with a bit of stitching to isolate the thumb.  Here is the result:

New hand-knitted fairisle mitts on left; original machine-knitted fairisle mitt on the right.  February 2014.

New hand-knitted fairisle mitts on left (with crochet edging); original machine-knitted fairisle mitt on the right. February 2014.

You can’t really tell, but I toned down the brightness of the cream in the new mitts by dipping them in tea for a bit.  I had a lot of fun doing this project, and of course it was very satisfying to “restore” her mitts to her.  She says the new mitts are warmer, and she’s happy with how well they go with the scarf.  So hooray!

If you’re in Glasgow and looking for massage at home, I can recommend Lilian MacMillan.  One of the things that the Dafter really likes about getting massage from her is that she sits you in a special chair rather than lying you down on a table.  The Dafter always found lying on a massage table a little frightening because it reminded her of times when she was almost immobilised by her ME.  Lilian charges a flat rate for her transport costs on top of the cost of the massage, so if you have other people wanting a massage, it’s very cost effective.  She also operates from various venues in the Glasgow area on a drop-in basis – see her website (link above) for more information.




  1. Wow, stunning. You are such a talented lady.

  2. The new mitts are lovely, I’m really impressed at how well you managed to match them up to the original!

  3. Oh, I love these. I need something like these, only with a thumb hole. How much? I don’t need them that complicated, but the multi-color aspect and something soft is what I’m looking for!

  4. Clever you! I bet she was delighted! xxx

  5. Wow from me, too, Christine! I admire your skill and your generous heart. xx

  6. I need some chocolate brown fingerless gloves. Just sayin’…

  7. Gorgeous, what a lovely thing to do! (And I prefer chair massages too, I feel less vulnerable and more comfy.)

  8. Those mitts are amazing! You could be making a living out of knitting, people would pay well for such craftsmanship. I was very surprised to read that you dunked the wool in tea. Lilian sounds like a very handy gal to know.

  9. What lovely mitts, and a clever idea to recreate them! I’m yet to try fair isle, but I hope to visit Shetland sometime and make a stop at Jamieson’s (preferably in the summer!). I’ve also found your other posts, especially about the Dafter, very moving and inspiring. Warmest wishes to you and your family.

  10. Oh my! You did a beautiful job on those mitts! I know she must have been pleased with them. Very thoughtful of you too.:-)

  11. Well done Christine-you have done a wonderful job of the mittens. I can verify that they are even lovlier ” in the flesh” having seen them at an early stage last month.

  12. Fabulous mitts. And I’m so pleased to know Jamieson and Smith are still selling their wonderful yarn. It’s a long time since I bought any from them. I just love their colours.

  13. Dear everyone,
    Thanks so much for your kind words. This was a fun project to do. Lorna, I thought you might be interested in this use of tea!

    I note the hints of readers who could do with a pair of mitts – an idea for a future giveaway perhaps?

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