The New Newfoundland work knit

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on trigger mitts lately.

I’ve been using Shirl the Purl’s Baccalieu pattern, and Scott and LeGrow’s Diamond pattern from their Some Warm Mittens series.  I made these two pairs using Briggs and Little Regal yarn.

File_000 (2).jpeg

Shirl the Purl has done a lot of research on the origin of these mittens, and the origin of similar hand coverings across northern countries and provinces. If she’s giving a talk on historical knitting in Newfoundland and Labrador, go. It’s fascinating.

Trigger mitts were a traditional Newfoundland mitten made for use while seabird hunting, (trigger mitts for the rifle, get it?) or for fishing, or other outdoor work.  The separate thumb and forefinger gives the wearer more use of his/her hands, while still keeping them warm with the two-colour double knit. Function and fashion!

Now, trigger mitts were designed for the outdoor Newfoundland worker who probably looked like the people in this photo.


But the truth is, not a lot of people in Newfoundland and Labrador work like that these days.

Most of us have indoor jobs. Those of us who work outdoors tend to be skilled tradespeople or labourers at something like this.

muskrat falls.jpg

That got me thinking. What could I knit that represents the modern, outdoor, hard working man or woman of Newfoundland and Labrador?

I came up with this.

File_003 (1).jpegI was inspired by the ubiquitous safety vest, and the rock and steel of the industrial work site.

I also needed a change from trigger mitts, which, to be honest, are a bit labour intensive and require more than some of my concentration. I decided to mix it up a bit and go for a simpler, colour blocked sock. I used DROPS Nepal yarn.

These socks should tuck nicely into a pair of steel toed work boots.  The 35% alpaca and 65% wool blend yarn would keep the feet of tradesmen or tradeswomen toasty on the Muskrat Falls job site, on the deck of an oil rig, or while framing up a house on Kenmount Terrace.

I’d like to try this sock in a hot pink, to match the colour of the hard hats that some tradeswomen wear on the job.

Now of course, even though most of us don’t make a living in an open boat, trigger mitts are still really popular, and worn by people from all walks of life in many outdoor situations.

Maybe I should make a pair of trigger mitts in safety vest colours.





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