Saltwater Mittens from the Island of Newfoundland:  More than 20 heritage designs to knit

Saltwater Mittens from the Island of Newfoundland: More than 20 heritage designs to knit

by Shirley Scott & Christine LeGrow
  • from-the-atlantic-canada
  • illustrated-art

Woollen mittens have long been a Newfoundlander’s best friend. The warmer the better. In a quirky climate of freeze, thaw, blow, and drizzle, good mittens made all tasks easier—to split birch, hammer a nail, gut a fish, draw and haul water, hang clothes on a line, shoot a seabird, or snare a rabbit. Social life, too, always required the finest mittens and gloves. This continues today. These mittens are as practical as they are beautiful—double-knit with two colours means twice the warmth and wind resistance. The patterns are rated by difficulty and varied in style, including trigger mitts, wristers, five-finger mittens (a.k.a. gloves), fingerless mitts for wee ones, and, of course, classic mittens for all. The dozens of colour photographs will inspire you to make your own bold colour choices. The nuggets of history, and tales of mittens and their knitters, make Saltwater Mittens a book knitters and non-knitters alike can enjoy.

Christine LeGrow of Spindrift Handknits and Shirley A. Scott (“Shirl the Purl”) have collected and studied mittens from across Newfoundland for the past 40 years. Recognizing the value of these artifacts, they have expertly and painstakingly recreated more than 20 heritage patterns for today’s knitter.


Shirley Scott, author

Shirley Anne Scott, “Shirl the Purl”, is a handknitter with a special love for history. She writes, “I am intrigued by the way that people who lived precarious existences in wild rough places created works of knitted art, almost always without the benefit of such a simple thing as electric light, and often without the benefit of literacy. My work springs from admiration of their work.” A native of New Brunswick, Shirl has made her home in Newfoundland for more than a decade. Why did she move here? A taste for penitential exile is one possible explanation. Her love of history, hand knitting, and North Atlantic culture is perhaps a better one. In Newfoundland she has found shared interests, deep friendships, and much food for the soul. A librarian by profession, Shirl wrote Canada Knits: Craft and Comfort in a Northern Land, about the history of knitting in Canada.

Christine LeGrow, author

There is nothing like the cold wind off the Atlantic to inspire a design for knitted mittens.  Christine LeGrow lives and works in Outer Cove, on the rugged northeast coast of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula.  Many of her original designs for mittens, hats and other accessories took their cue from Newfoundland's early knits and their distinctive palette of natural wool – cream, white and grey.  Today, a full range of forty colours complements these Spindrift classics.  "I went wild all together and added as many unusual combinations as I could," says Christine.  LeGrow shares her designs with 25 home-based knitters in rural Newfoundland communities who work on contract for Spindrift.  Travels abroad and the contemporary influence of her grown children are also an endless source of ideas for Spindrift's fun loving mittens.

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Boulder Books



rights available: World

Additional Information

age range: General

number of pages: 128

publication date: 10/01/2018

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book