A New Take on a Knitted Artifact

Browsing through magazines is one of life's greatest pleasures (at least it is for me!). And there are so many great digital resources these days, the browsing opportunities are endless.

I was recently looking at digital back issues of Interweave Knits and I came across some fabulous knitted gloves, highlighted in a feature called "Knitted Artifact." I love just about anything "old-timey" —historical mysteries (Sherlock Holmes), movies (Howard's End), and audiobooks (Sense and Sensibility)—so the "Knitted Artifact" feature is right up my alley!

I had the Indian glove shown below in my head as I continued my browsing Interweave Knits, and when I happened upon Sandy Cushman's design for Mosaic Mitts, I new I'd found an instance of "everything old is new again."

Have a look!

"Glove": Indian, nineteenth century; handknitted; wool; 75⁄16". 30.12, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Gift of N. M. Heermaneck. Photograph © 2006 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Knitted Artifact
by Deborah Pulliam

Intensely patterned in yellow, black, red, and white, this knitted glove from nineteenth-century India comes from "the stores of the Nizam of Hyderabad."

Seven Muslim hereditary Nizams ruled this autonomous princely kingdom in the Deccan plateau region of India from 1724 to 1948, when Hyderabad became an Indian state.

Knitted in very fine, loosely plied woolen yarn at a gauge of 28 stitches to the inch, the glove is typical of Indian knitting, which draws heavily on the bright color patterning and elaborate floral designs developed in the eighteenth century for shawls and other printed fabrics. (Although there's some evidence of knitting in eighteenth-century India, Moravian missionaries may have encouraged its rapid spread in the early nineteenth century.)

One repeated and varied element in Indian and Persian design is the boteh, a cone-shaped image often with a curving tip that has been interpreted as a flame, tear drop, pine cone, pear, tree of life, and the shah's thumbprint.

In western Europe, the motif became especially well known through the patterning of paisley shawls, which reached the height of their popularity in the nineteenth century.

Mosaic Mitts by Sandy Cushman

Mosaic Mitts

With their cone-shaped colorwork design and use of two colors, the Mosaic Mitts resemble the Indian glove. Even the word "mosaic" evokes a middle eastern feel. The use of decorative mosaics in Muslim mosques is legendary.

I would love to see these mitts in a color-scheme similar to the Indian glove—a yellow base and a black or dark gray inset color. It would be neat to incorporate some red, too; maybe in the cuff and finger ribbed areas.

These mitts are the perfect choice if you want a gift in a hurry, and two identical mitts make a pair—they fit equally comfortably on either hand—the perfect quick and easy knitting pattern!

And good news!—slip-stitch colorwork means you work with only one color in a row, so these vibrant mitts are a breeze to knit.

I invite you to engage in some browsing of your own: get an Interweave Knits collection on CD today!


Post a Comment