I’m particularly excited to reveal the second pattern from our Warm Hands collection – Amaka – a beautiful pair of long-length gauntlets in five shades of Milarrochy Tweed, designed by the very talented Sylvia Watts-Cherry.

Some of you may know Sylvia from her appearance on the Channel 4 TV show, Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, with her African-inspired Christmas sweater. Or you might well have admired her beautiful Nubian Queen sweater on Instagram. Sylvia’s an experienced knitter, who learned her craft at the age of 7; who knits prolifically, whenever she can; and who takes inspiration from her African heritage as well as her Scottish upbringing.

(Sylvia Watts-Cherry)

Sylvia’s design work is fresh, original, and really exciting. We think she’s one of the most distinctive talents in UK knitting today, and we love the design she’s created for Warm Hands.

Here’s Sylvia to tell you more about Amaka

“The bold, bright colours in the Milarrochy Tweed palette reminded me instinctively of the colours that are are often seen in African fabrics, and I wanted to create a design using patterns that symbolised the continent’s rich culture and identity.”

“The initial idea was immediate, but the final design took longer. My first thought was to have a design that used the intarsia technique for colourwork. But swatching proved this to be restrictive – and my first attempts looked fairly rustic.”

“As I moved away from intarsia, with further thought, the final design began to take shape, combining texture and stranded knitting, and bold blocks of colour.”

“The final design is a series of repeated patterns in a gauntlet that symbolises the markings for spiritual and celebratory reasons and also tribal identification, scarification and beautification. The name of the design, Amaka, comes from the Ibo language of Nigeria. The word meaning beautiful, is a shortened form of the popular girl’s name, Chiamaka.”

“I think these gauntlets look great worn full-length, and equally good scrunched up.”

We certainly agree, Sylvia!

Pop back here tomorrow to see the next design reveal from our Warm Hands collection

Warm Hands book
Amaka Ravelry page
Amaka yarn pack

Sylvia’s top knitting tip: “In flat knitting, I like to add 2 extra stitches and on every row, slip the first stitch (purl wise) and knit the last stitch. This forms neat selvedges to make sewing easier.”