Today’s pattern has its own animation!
One of the joys of developing a collection like Warm Hands is discovering the work of talented new designers. Today’s wonderfully jolly mittens – featuring stranded colourwork, cosy folded hem, and flower-topped hands and thumbs – are the work of first-time designer, Matissa Hollister.
Here’s Matissa to tell you more about herself, and her design.
“I’m a professor of Organizational Behavior at McGill University in Montreal – a city with a great mix of cultures and languages, a lot of snow and cold, and many opportunities to wear hand-knitted items like mittens.”
“At the moment, though, I’m working in San Francisco and my daily commute involves riding on my electric-assisted bicycle up the steep hills into the Presidio (a former military base now a national park), past an overlook with sweeping views of cliffs tumbling down to the Pacific Ocean, to my office with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which is just a 5 minute walk away. I am a fellow for the year at the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is part of the World Economic Forum – convening a group to develop a guide on the ethical use of Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources (using computers to automate aspects of hiring, benefits, coaching, etc). It’s pretty exciting work.”
“I love knitting, and as a technically-oriented person, I enjoy incorporating my own creativity, alterations, and new techniques when following patterns. I tend to be drawn to modern styles with simplified forms, reflecting the influences of my namesake (the artist, Henri Matisse) and my artist mother, Valerie Hollister.”
“My mother now has alzheimers, and is no longer practising. The mittens I’ve designed for Warm Hands were inspired by one of my father’s favourite songs, which he sings regularly for my mother, and the residents of her nursing home, You Must Believe in Spring and Love (here’s a version by Abbey Lincoln, and here’s my father singing the song)
“I wanted the design to suggest the contrast between the cold colours and sharp geometry of winter and the warm colours and floral patterns of spring”
“The design process took a number of trials and errors to get the thumb and its connection to the palm right. It also took several tries to get the flower looking just the way I wanted: I found that right- and left-leaning decreases needed to be used in unexpected ways (or at least ways that I didn’t expect) to create the petals with the desired effect.”
“I hope these mittens provide those who knit them with a glimpse of the coming spring in the middle of winter”
Thankyou Matissa! (and thanks to Tom for photography, graphics and animation, and Jane for modelling)
Matissa’s top knitting tip: ” I love the technique of splicing yarns that some people call “back-to-back” joins – no ends to weave in and no extra thickness that you can get from techniques that weave in ends as you go! You remove half the strands of each yarn for a section and fold each one back on itself, joining the two loops together, then use moisture and rubbing to secure. This creates a sharp color change so it can be used for colorwork. If you want to be precise, knit to the point where you want to color to change, use a pin to mark the spot, and then undo 4-5 stitches to do the splice so that the color change occurs at the spot that you’ve marked. At this point I can pretty much eyeball the length that I need and I just do the splice 4 stitches from the end and find that I usually get the color change close enough. This is the best site I’ve found that explains the technique.”