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.”
Valerie Hollister, Original 17
“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)
Warm Hands book
You Must Believe in Spring Ravelry page
You Must Believe in Spring yarn pack
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.”
I think your mitten design is lovely and does remind me of your mother’s work, especially the digitally inspired works. I loved her work. miss being in touch with your parents and hadn’t known where they were. Your father singing is so moving. I loved meeting Valerie and Rob in Paris in 1964. We were all so young and just starting out! I’m happy to have come across this blog and your mittens and their story. Please let your parents know I am thinking of them.
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Where can one buy that gorgeous basket from?
What charming mittens, and a lovely family story! I cannot quite justify a whole book of mittens, so I hope a few of these patterns are eventually available for individual sale. Also really love the individual interviews (and knitting tips)–such a fun idea.
Oh My goodness the daisies are SO unique! To have the flower sitting on the tip is wimsical and original! The hint of spring on our hands keeps us warm ready to wave good bye to winter and HELLO to spring!! I love these!
Matissa—you will forever continue to surprise me with your talents. As an “observational knitter” to my yarn art obsessed wife, we are both thrilled to see your design. I absolutely love it.
They are gorgeous! Bringing in dads again, mine was a farmer and flowers like daisies, black-eyed susans and tiger lilies always remind me of him. This is a beautiful design. And congratulations on working on the ethical use of AI. Challenging and exciting work!
Thanks everyone for the kind words. The image that Kate picked out of my mother’s photo gallery is a bowl that she painted for a charity auction. We loved it so much that we made her paint two so that we could keep one. It’s now in my apartment in Montreal. The swimmer is my father, he swam competitively in college and still swims several laps of butterfly twice a week in his retirement community! My mother made several paintings of my father swimming, and then in addition to the bowl she designed a weathervane that sits atop her studio in Vermont. Here’s a photo: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2ny4pz5gmgu58qk/weathervane1.jpg?dl=0
How lovely to have the video of Dad singing. It made me think of my dad, who has been on my mind lately. Thanks! Great mitts, too.
What a hoot! I know Matissa (from many years ago at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, USA), and it’s such a wondrous thing to not only come across her in this unexpected way but also to discover she’s a designer of fabulous mittens, particularly beautiful and inspiring. I do hope she’ll get a chance to read my comment. All the best to her and knitters everywhere from Roma! Susan Milord
I’m indulging my nationalism for a brief moment. Great to see a Canadian in the mix.
How heart warming to hear her Dad sing to her mother. I loved it. Mittens and technique also great. Thanks. what a change from
Montreal to San Francisco…have lived in both those cities so know of which she speaks!
This is a terrific series and I’m really enjoying the roll-out. Well done, all.
Lovely video of Matissa’s father singing!
What is the shawl pattern. Love that too.
I would love to know too the pattern to the yellow beauty Jane is wearing, gorgeous!
Love these mittens and can’t wait to get my copy of the book! I’d also love to know the pattern of that gorgeous shawl!!
What a gorgeous pattern , and what a wonderful post, as well as the whole idea. It isn’t just a project about mittens, or designing, or knitting; it is ever so much more and totally synergistic!
I love this design for the sharp color contrasts and since we would have daffodils in spring (daisies not until well until summer) could imagine a daffy on the finger tips, or how about a dandelion (also later)…..?
This is such a heart warming blog and so is the series. With the world in total chaotic, dangerous turmoil, at least we can knit!
Thanks for the tip on spit splicing and the link, most helpful.
Those mittens are just lovely.Looking forward the book I also ordered.Wish you a Happy New and Creative Year
What a fantastic collection this is turning out to be. I want to knit them all 💕
I loved the story that goes with these mittens. Beautiful!