When I started it was just going to be a fingerless mitts pattern (Dromanach) first. I had some beautiful speckled yarn from Eden Cottage Yarns to work with and I needed something that would compliment the yarn without being hidden in the speckles and wouldn’t fight with the pattern. I can’t just knit a plain stockinette pair (too boring!) but lace wouldn’t work and I didn’t think cables were a good choice either so I settled on a textured pattern. My favourite way to add texture will always be garter stitch – it’s simple, easy to work and it always looks good. I decided to position the garter stitch around the thumb and up the other side of the hand because I love the way it hugs the hand. Because the back of the hand is plain, you can (and my testers did) use some really bright yarns without losing the details of the pattern.
Slowly though, the idea of a matching hat (Claiseach) just crept up on me and wouldn’t leave! I wanted to make the hat DK weight because a 4ply hat just isn’t warm enough for winter here and takes so much longer to knit. A couple of my testers knit their hats with 4ply held double for a matching set and it worked really well! For the hat, I decided to make the columns go up the sides and leave the rest plain. I rapidly discovered that even though the hat is knit from the bottom up, it helps to design it from the top down – that way you have the right number of stitches for the crown before you start! I prefer a slouchy hat, so I knit that style for myself but I’ve also included a beanie option and details on how to adjust the length.
The names Dromanach and Claiseach mean Ridge and Furrow in Scottish Gaelic. I picked the names because the garter stitch reminds me (a little) of ploughed fields with their ridges and furrows and the two names go together beautifully! My testers have knit their hats and mitts in a fantastic range of colours, solids, speckled and variegated – check them out below!
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