Mismatched Shetland Mitts
Two right-handed, mismatched, fingerless mitts, ca. 1997 or later. Shetland wool, hand knitted in Shetland, UK. Maker or makers unknown at this time, pending further research. Possibly by the same maker, or not.
Traditional colorwork based on “XO” patterns. Tan mitt is knitted in a palette of natural colors. Blue mitt is knitted in a palette of blues and purples. Condition: Good, with tan mitt requiring repair to the bound off edge of the third finger. Thumb style is traditional.
These mismatched mitts were once pairs of mitts purchased by my mother-in-law, Betty H. Lindsay during her travels to Shetland, UK. Betty Lindsay was co-owner of Yarns International in Bethesda, Maryland, and a co-founder/co-creator of Yarns International’s Shetland 2000 yarn – a joint venture with Jamieson & Smith Woolen Mills of Lerwick, Shetland.
During our first family visit to Shetland in 1997, when Betty was initially inspired to create Shetland 2000, we shopped at the Islesburgh Exhibition in Lerwick, a cultural center where we met many Shetland knitters, including Anna Bell Bray. My husband and I joined my mother-in-law and father-in-law, Betty and Joe Lindsay, a week into their stay in Shetland that summer, and Betty had already visited many shops in the area, including the Islesburgh Exhibition, making some purchases of the beautiful knitwear -- a tradition she continued in future years. These mitts may have been purchased in 1997, or later. She wore them with love and enthusiasm. Finding these mismatched mitts after her death, I had a strong and vivid memory of her ceremoniously drawing her Shetland mitts out – one from each pocket of her coat – and pulling them on as she left the store.
The mitts show two different expressions of the Shetland knitting tradition – the "XO" patterns here are interpreted in traditional natural colors, and in a more contemporary palette featuring tonal blues and purples. All yarns used are likely overdyed Shetland Jumper Weight yarns, as shown in the accompanying color card.
Please stay tuned for my forthcoming blog post about Betty, these mitts, and her passionate efforts to save the Shetland sheep!