I was born on Vancouver Island, where I grew up across the road from the ocean. My family spent summers and holidays on our sail boat, exploring the islands and bays of Desolation Sound. The landscape of my childhood marked me with a strong affinity for water, wind, and waves, and for this reason I’ve always loved Japanese wave motifs. I painted my bedroom wall with a large-scale version of this design, collected dishes that feature it, and have made a number of swatches inspired by it.
Finally, after a lot of tinkering, this motif found its way into a knit design: the Waves mittens. The delicate design looks fabulous in two colours – I used the most obvious of pairings, blue and white like the china. This pattern was originally published in the beautiful Making Magazine Dots issue, and is now also available singly, get your copy here!
Worked in Jamieson & Smith 2ply Jumper Weight, at a fairly compact gauge, the fabric makes an excellent lightweight mitten. To create a thicker mitten, you could knit a smaller size in heavier yarn (try sport weight), or knit a lining mitten for inside.
speedy swatching for mitten size
One quick way to swatch for mitten size and check your colour combo is to cast on the number of stitches that your size will have at the hand, then work for 10-20 rounds in the colourwork pattern. Pop this little tube on around your hand and see how it fits (you can take the needles out). If it’s just about right to fit around your hand at the widest point above the thumb, then you have chosen the correct pattern size and needles. If not, then either change mitten sizes or needle sizes to adjust the gauge you’re working at. If it’s too small, choose larger needles or a larger mitten size, and if it’s too big, try smaller needles or a smaller mitten size.
Other knitters have made beautiful versions of these mittens in other colour pairs (check them out here). You can also browse a number of other effective monochrome and two-colour pairs on our Pinterest board here for inspiration.
Waves waves waves and trees trees trees!
Waves are just one of our obsessions. If you look at our designs, it’s not too difficult to guess where we’re from! The landscapes of Canada’s west coast inspires us, and this shines through in our knits.
Alexa recently knit a subtle version of the North Shore sweater in greys with just a pop of teal. North Shore was one of our very first joint designs and water, waves, and trees feature heavily! Since then we’ve also taken to the forest, with our Banff hat and mitten designs.
What motifs inspire you?
We recently checked out Andrea Rangel’s new book, Alterknits, as part of our Colourwork Bibliography. Alterknits includes hundreds of unique motifs, all shown in 2 colours. It also includes a template pattern for mittens which allow you to fill in your own chosen charts (very cool!). If you fancy a chance to win a copy of Alterknits, join in our Strange Brew (and Dog Star) KAL – it’s one of the great prizes!
More TCK knits inspired by the wild west coast: