"You know, it really is true that natural dyes cannot be equalled for depth and subtlety."
I addressed my prodigal companion, Elinor Gotland, the lost sheep of the family, who has returned to take full advantage of the festive season. Three cups of tea with sloe gin had not softened her up much. She eyed my skeins dubiously.
"So unique, you never get the same shade twice, Beaut. That lot will have to work together, or never get used at all."
"Well, I was thinking of making something with a Fair Isle pattern. Where you carry different colour strands across the back of the work. Ever tried that at all?"
"Born and bred to it, you daft English muppet. Remember Gotlands come from Sweden? I've been visiting cousins who can knit in the round, two colours per row, five balls dangling and never drop a stitch. Common traditions among the Nordic knitters and the Northern Isles of Scotland. "
"Is that where you went off to? Sweden? Why the sudden departure?"
"Carpe diem, lovely girl. Got a heads up about auditions for parts in a Scandi detective thriller. The Girl with the Sheep Tattoo. It'll be on telly soon."
"Christmas present are they? For someone with hands like shovels?"
"They are for Steve, to keep his hands from freezing to the handlebars of his bike."
"If I were you, Beaut, I'd tell him they are oven gloves."
After a machine wash at 40 degrees cotton cycle, the mittens had shrunk to just the right size! Fantastic luck and a proper dense felted warmth, to boot.
The pattern is called Vera Marguerite, by Pamela Wynne, though perhaps I shan't mention the name to the man himself.