The Skye Boat Poetry Mittens

June 9, 2016 in Outlander Inspired Knitting Patterns, Uncategorized by M C

A dream ends on Outlander..

Mittens for a tragedy..

Since Bear McCreary used the Skye Boat Song melody as the basis for his Outlander theme is awash in versions of this old song, but this one strikes me as particularly authentic.. if the song can be called authentic at all.  The Skye Boat Song was not written by a Scot, but by an Englishman, Sir Harold Boulton, in 1884.  Boulton became interested in Scottish folksongs and ballads while at Oxford and, borrowing from an old sea shanty for the first half of his tune, and using an air collected by Annie MacLeod in the 1870s for the second, created a tribute to the flight of the Bonnie Prince (or Young Pretender, depending on which way your kilt swings).  The work was first published in Songs of the North by Boulton and MacLeod, in 1884, a book that went into at least fourteen editions.

Outlander Theme

Boulton also wrote the words to another well known and recognizable piece: All Through The Night, putting them to the Welsh melody “Ar Hyd y Nos.”  It’s a lot of text for my version of poetry mittens, but I think someone could make magical mittens from that lullaby.

Skye Boat SongI did two versions of this mitten.. one in The Farm at Morrison Corner (which is to say “my sheep”) wool, an Icelandic and angora blend, which is somber.. and a much brighter version out of Knit Picks Palette.  There is no question that while the Palette works up nicely it is appreciably lighter, and not as warm, as the wool I usually use.  This genuinely surprised me, and I think, despite the incredible array of colors available in that line, if you’re using a Knit Picks wool I’d consider going with Andean Treasure yarn.  This is a sport weight, 100% alpaca, but since you’re drawing it down on a size 2 it’s lack of memory shouldn’t be a problem… in fact, I used it for the inner cuff on the sample mittens.  You could also try the Wool of the Andes sport weight to get a more robust (and warmer) mitten.

The pattern for these mittens is a chart, and actually, more of a sketch.  The mittens incorporate Jacobite symbols.. the rose, and the saltire, for example, along with fleur de lis for the French king and wild geese (for The Scottish Prisoner).  Where you place your hidden symbols is up to you.. although the fleur de lis makes a dandy thumb pattern.  You can mix and match palms, as I’ve done below.. or choose to match your palms, either with the waves pattern or the plaid.  All that really matters is the math.

Jacobite symbols      Saltire knitting pattern

And the math is as follows:

Using a US size 2 and fingering or sport weight wool:

Cast on 68 stitches. K2P2 in ribbing for 2″ then K 4 rows around.  Create a picot edge by K2 tog YO around on the next row, then knit 4 rows.

Outlander Knitting PatternsTo make the braid K1 row I use one color which will appear in the main body, and often a color that does not but fits with the overall scheme (in this case, a pale blue on both mittens). K1 row in white.  K1W, K1B around.  Bring the yarn to the front and purl white in the white stitch, blue in the blue, bringing the new color under the old every time you change color. The yarn will twist abominably.. which is why you don’t see a lot of these braids!  Fear not.

On the next row, again, purl white in white, blue in blue, but this time bring the yarn over every time you change stitches. The tangle will neatly unwind as the braid forms. Finish it off with 2 rows of white.

Increase 4 stitches on the palm side, and 4 on the back: total of 8, for a count of 76 stitches.

Work your cuff pattern.  When you can tuck the cuff inside the mitten and it is level with the current row pick up stitches from the cuff and knit them together with your working stitches to lock the cuff in place (or, simply stitch it in place later, but this is cleaner).  Work every 3rd stitch as a “pick up from the edge of the cuff, knit together with working stitch in pattern” stitch.

Outlander Theme mittensWhen you’re ready to begin the body of the mitten, inc 6 stitches on the front, and 6 on the back.. total 88 stitches.  On the front designate 4 stitches as the base of the thumb gore.. for the left hand mitten place them on the left side of the palm, for the right.. on the right.  Increase as you work every other row, 1 stitch on each marker, adjusting as necessary to keep the fleur de lis pattern working smoothly.  You will end with a total of 34 stitches on your thumb gore, and end the thumb gore when the gore wraps around your thumb. If it does that, then it fits properly and is long enough.  Put 34 stitches on a holder and cast on 4 stitches (or as many as it takes to make the palm equal to 44 stitches).

Continue upwards in the pattern until the mitten covers your little finger.  Then begin decreasing.. either right on the edges or 4-5 stitches on either side in from the edge, it’s your decision.  Dec 1 stitch each edge, front and back (4 stitches/row), and the mitten should come out neatly to be just the right length to cover your second finger as you run out of stitches.

Pick up 34 stitches on the thumb gore, plus 6 across the back.  Knit up in pattern until you can just see the tip of your thumb. Then k2 k2tog around, k1 k2tog around, k2tog around.  I find I like to make a cute stripe of the last 2 rows, and end with a dark tip, which I tell myself hides the dirt!

SkyeBoatPoetryMitten as a .pdf file

A few words about those charts.. the darker mittens use the curls for waves on the back.  The lighter ones I simply used the waves pattern from the front.. faster and easier to do.

Happy knitting while you wait for seasons 3 and 4!

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