Thursday, 24 July 2014

Introducing the Broadlands Mitts

The design that I am previewing for you today is inspired by the industrial history of the 19th century, the story of one building and its relationship with my family.

Broadlands House is an imposing building on the outskirts of Newport, Isle of Wight. It has recently, as is the way with many such buildings, been converted into apartments. In my youth it was the offices of the Department of Health and Social Security but before that it was a lace factory which played a part in the history of my family. 

My three times great grandfather, George Sutton and his son, William, my great, great grandfather moved from Radford in Nottinghamshire, one of the centres of lace making in England soon after 1827 when the lace factory was established. Both worked as lace makers at the factory for many years. George retired some time before 1851 and by 1861 William was a farmer. The factory produced their own patented machine made blonde lace  and was established in such a a 'remote' location as the Isle of Wight so that improvements in their skills and techniques could not be copied by neighbouring manufacturers. Eventually, however, they found it more and more difficult to compete as blonde lace ceased to be fashionable and finally closed on the retirement of the owner in 1877.

The Broadlands Mitts were inspired by the beauty and intricacy of this lace contrasted with the austerity of the lines of the building.

A panel of cables and lace runs up the index finger of each mitt

The rest of the mitt is knitted in an austere ribbing.

The pattern gives two options, a wrist length set shown in the olive green which can be completed with 50g of Cascade Heritage sock yarn available from Wild and Woolly in Clapton, London or an elbow length version which require 75g of Wollemeise Pure sock yarn available from Loop in Islington, London.

The pattern also features an asymmetric thumb gusset which is reversed on each mitt to ensure that the lace panel is as smooth and uninterrupted as possible.

The pattern for these mitts will be launched on our stand, Nic and Jane at Fibre East this weekend and will be available as a download from Ravelry next week.

I would like to think that my grandfathers would approve of me carrying on a form of the family trade!

Photography by Nic Walker.


Lou said...


Mairead Hardy said...

OMG! These are gorgeous! I must queue these.

Anna Feldman said...

What a triumph. And I love the gussets :)
You've done you'd three times great grandfather William proud!

Bernardeena said...

These are beautiful, I love wrist warmers so I will have to find these on Ravelry when you put the pattern up.