Today’s Warm Hands designer, Tiina Väätäinen, hails from eastern Finland – where there are many opportunities to wear the warm, woollen accessories she loves to knit and design. Tiina’s a talented designer of socks and mittens which often incorporate many playful elements. Her beautiful Lumikuningatar mittens, for example, reflect their snowy landscape across the hands when brought together, while her while Kinos pattern combines short rows and texture to great effect in a bold and original design. For Warm Hands, Tiina has created a really beautiful pair of mittens that are, in their style and flair, perhaps typically northern European.

In many Scandinavian and Baltic countries, mittens are often treated as a small canvas upon which a knitter-designer might display many different technical accomplishments and celebrate their own aesthetic preferences and use of pattern. Tiina’s Saighead mittens begin by knitting a light, neatly-fitting arrow-patterned cuff in a combination of openwork and travelling stitches. The arrow motif is then echoed and carried through the warm body of the mitten, which is completed in a dense stranded colourwork pattern.

The combination of techniques make Tiina’s mittens a particularly engaging and interesting knit. Here she is to tell you more about herself and her design.

“I have four kids, so as you might imagine, our household needs lots of socks and mittens! Luckily I love to knit these things. Woollen socks and mittens have a special place in my heart.”

When I’m designing patterns, I’m inspired by many things: nature and music, art and fairytales. My Lumikuningatar mittens (Snow Queen in English) were inspired by an old Danish fairytale which was illustrated by the Finnish painter, Rudolf Koivu. I love the artists of the Finnish Golden Age, for example Albert Edelfelt, Helene Schjerfbeck and Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

(Albert Edelfelt, Women outside the Church at Ruokolahti (1887), Helsinki Ateneum)

“My all time favourite painting since my teenage years – Edelfelt’s Parisienne (or Virginie) can be seen in the Onni Art Museum, in my hometown of Joensuu.”

Albert Edelfelt, The Parisienne (Virginie) (1883)

“Pattern – and its use in ordinary household items like tiles and textiles – often makes me think of the connections between cultures.”

“This arrow motif has many resonances for me, from the design of the Moroccan tiles in my kitchen, to the ancient hunters of Scotland and Finland.”

Saighead is Scottish Gaelic for arrow, and the colours of these mittens make me think of Scotland’s big skies, clear water, and rough mountains.”

“Why not choose two of your favourite shades of Milarrochy Tweed and knit a pair of mittens inspired by a landscape that you love?”

Thankyou, Tiina, for your beautiful design for Warm Hands

Warm Hands book
Saighead pattern on Ravelry
Saighead yarn pack
Tiina’s Ravelry design page