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A New Take on a Knitted Artifact

Nov 22, 2010

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!


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2006 Interweave Knits CD Collection

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on Nov 28, 2010 10:28 AM

Deb Pulliam, who died in May, 2007, shared her encyclopedic knowledge of textile and fiber crafts through the Knitted Artifact column in Interweave Knits. She is very much missed.

Nonie@2 wrote
on Nov 25, 2010 1:43 PM

Is it possible to order a copy of Summer 2004 issue of Interweave Knits?

Nonie@2 wrote
on Nov 25, 2010 1:38 PM

Is the pattern for Sandy Cushman's Mosaic Mitts included in the Interweave Knits collection on CD, that you mentioned above?

tristram wrote
on Nov 23, 2010 12:59 PM

just read your post on Rowan knitting wools.  just to say that Holmfirth is in the Pennines in West Yorkshire. The Apennines, as you quoted in your article, are the mountains which run  north to south down the centre of Italy. Right Continent but wrong country!

on Nov 22, 2010 6:13 PM

WOW I don't envy who ever knit those... 28 stitches to the inch colorwork?! is it stranded colorwork, does anybody know?

on Nov 22, 2010 11:13 AM

Hi Aunt Gert,

The Mosaic Mitts are in the Summer 2004 issue of Interweave Knits OR in Knits Gifts 2006. Sorry I didn't identify that in the newsletter!


Aunt Gert wrote
on Nov 22, 2010 8:22 AM

What issue of Interweave Knits was the pattern for Mosaic Mitts found in?

Aunt Gert wrote
on Nov 22, 2010 8:22 AM

What issue of Interweave Knits was the pattern for Mosaic Mitts found in?

eb3254 wrote
on Nov 22, 2010 7:49 AM

I live in palm beach florida . on 11 10 21 was  the knitting show on grannys squares bolero i will like to have a copy of the instraction since is not in the internet   i will appreciated  email