Sunday, 24 February 2008

Cranford Mitts

You may remember this mysterious piece of knitting that I posted a couple of weeks ago. Well I'm pleased to say that now I can tell you what it has become.


It gives me great pleasure to introduce my most recent design project,the Cranford Mitts.

The inspiration for these mitts came from a recent television adaptation of Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. This was a particularly good costume drama which focused on the lives of a group of genteel but far from wealthy ladies of a certain age in early 19th century England. Some of the most notable features of their dress was the gentle, muted tones that they favoured and the fact that many of them wore delicate fingerless mitts to keep warm in draughty, under heated houses.

When Natalie at the Yarn Yard sent me an 'Unbirthday present' of some gorgeous organic merino in a muted, semi solid bluish green my thought returned to the ladies of Cranford and the Cranford mitts started to take shape. I wanted to create something feminine but practical which could be worn indoors on particularly chilly winter days or outdoors when spring sunshine has returned but a nip is still left in the air. Combining a pretty lace pattern with a fairly tightly knitted sproingy merino gave the effect that I was looking for. The mitts are designed to leave the fingers free so only used a modest amount of yarn.

Last month, I thought that Natalie also deserved an 'Unbirthday present' of her own as January isn't everybody's favourite month so she is the first person to own a pair of Cranford Mitts. She liked them so much that we agreed that I would write up the pattern and that she would offer it on her website alongside some specially designed colourways of the merino. So, any day now, the pattern will be available at the Yarn Yard, free with a yarn purchase or for £2 for anyone who has the perfect yarn in their stash already.

This is a new departure for me, to set a price and formally sell a pattern but as a designer, I feel that the fibre arts and people who work in it need to value themselves as creative and artistic people and that their work has worth. I think it's important to create an environment where it is possible for the incredibly talented and creative people that work in this field to make a modest living from the pleasure that they bring other people. Now, I wouldn't presume to place myself in that category but I do also feel that I have a responsibility not to undercut their efforts by launching too many free resources into the system. I'd be interested in hearing what you think about this.

Meanwhile....

...I know you are all on the edge of your seats wondering what my little sock family has to say about my mental well being this week. Well, I think the findings are a little inconclusive. Whilst Moderate Lethargy in the person of the Undulating Rib peach sock is still holding its position in first place, the battle for second place has hotted up with Completely Knackered personified by the plain pretty in pink sock ahead of Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed complicated yellow sock by a nose. It's all to play for....

Yesterday saw the last of the three part sock knitting classes I have been teaching at IKnit. I am going to really miss the two groups of students who have all worked really hard and every single person has been rewarded by amazing progress. It was a real pleasure to enjoy the waving of newly socked feet in the air and take part in the rounds of applause as another sock came off the needles. There is good news for anyone who would like to join the fun and be inducted into the world of sock knitting as IKnit and I are holding another set of classes in April. Visit the IKnit website for details.

IKnit is a lovely place to work, full of enthusiastic knitters, books, yarn.... The only trouble is it's a very tempting place to be when you are really trying to be good and use up the Yarn Archive at home. I'm afraid I couldn't help myself, after spending three weeks sitting under bunches and bunches of skeins of the new Manos Silk Blend I gave in and brought this home with me....

... I'm sure you would have done the same.

16 comments:

Adrienne said...

All your projects look fantastic!!!

Nikki said...

yumm, I'm sure I would've brought that home too!

Your mitts are very beautiful and I think you and n came up with a great way of selling the pattern.

Sussex Yorkie said...

Lovely Manos. How convenient that I have just bought the Cranford Book. Just need the pattern and yarn now.

Jenny said...

The mitts are simply gorgeous!!!

picperfic said...

How we loved watching Cranford and all those superstars in it! Right now we are enjoying watching Larkrise to Candleford...I wonder if you are getting inpiration from that series, my one little weakness! lol

Queen of the froggers said...

I can't wait to get my mitts on your pattern, it looks so nice. I need them in this draughty house!

Mia said...

The mitts look lovely. And there is nothing wrong with attaching a price to the pattern.And the socks are looking like they might want some attention soon.

Mrs J said...

Nice! The yarn looks wonderful just as it is! Art in a bowl!

stash haus said...

I'm going to have to watch for Cranford in the US - probably won't be picked up on PBS for some time.

I think people who are industrious enough to take the time to write up their own pattern should not feel guilty for charging others. I applaud enterprises like knitty dot com, but I can also understand the point about not undercutting other designers. Your pattern is lovely.

And I can't blame you for the Manos Silk, as I brought home 3 skeins myself a couple of weekends ago.

Rosie said...

Those are beautiful. And you are absolutely right to charge a professional price for that pattern, which now needs to join my queue...

natalie said...

The pattern and yarns are now on the website.
Jane, you are just fabu-tastic, ad a certain DJ might once have said.

n

LittleBerry said...

I think the mitts look great and I think you're right to charge for your patterns.....

Anni said...

Gorgeous mitts. Love Manos. I've already given into temptation and got some from GK. And next week I'm going to the Spin A Yarn knitting group and they've got some Manos in stock too. Very dangerous. Think I might leave my credit cards at home. Got plans for my next Manos project and might go and cast on right now.

Karen said...

I've ordered the yarn and the pattern, Jane, and can't wait to make a start on some mitts.

Suse said...

I think Miss Mattie would love those mitts, though you might need to do a more robust pattern for Miss Deborah. I loved that series and I'm enjoying Larkrise too.

I think you should charge for special patterns, the craft should be respected.

Hanne said...

I feel that you should charge for your work. You have already offered free sock patterns and started establishing your name as a designer. Your patterns look professional, they are professional. I don't expect to get professional work for free.
And really, if I like the pattern, £2 is not going to stop me from buying it. In fact, I already bought it and now I'm just waiting for my yarns.