Trekking the Globe in Stitches: Antarctica
Needlework from the Seven Continents
This week we’d like to introduce a new seven-part series, “Trekking the Globe in Stitches: Needlework from the Seven Continents.” Inspired by last Thursday’s From the Vault, when we shared an excerpt from Angharad Thomas’s “Knitwear for Polar Explorers,” from the PieceWork special issue Knitting Traditions Spring 2015, we’ll start our trek in Antarctica.
The knitwear worn by the polar explorers to the South Pole provide the muse for our first project, Angharad Thomas’s “Leading Stoker Edward McKenzie’s Mittens,” the companion project to her article. Although the originals worn by the crewmen on the British Antarctic Terra Nova Expedition, 1910 to 1913, led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1868–1912) were machine knit, these straightforward mitts knit up quickly in an Aran weight-wool yarn.
- “Edward McKenzie’s machine-knitted mitts were industrially produced by a well-known British firm, Wolsey, still in production today. They would have been part of his Navy clothing issue. The mitts in this pattern, although handknitted, have the same construction, knitted from the top down. The tubular cast-on is the same one that an industrial knitting machine would have produced. The thumb joins the hand to give the width needed, without a gusset. The shaped wrist and arm are like McKenzie’s. The tubular bind-off re¬flects the cast-on, but neither the tubular cast-on nor bind-off is essential, so more familiar techniques may be substituted as long as they have stretch.”
Designed to be interchangeable between the left and right hands, which makes them wear more evenly, these practical mittens are a perfect gift for yourself or the adventurous person in your life. To embark on your own South Pole knitting adventure find the pattern for the “Leading Stoker Edward McKenzie’s Mittens” in the PieceWork special issue Knitting Traditions Spring 2015 or as an individual pattern download. Worn alone in the fall or over gloves, for extra protection during those extra chilly days of winter, you won’t want to leave home without them.
Embark on your own knitting adventure with PieceWork!