How did this project start? I first saw Sanquhar gloves in the early 1980s, as a friend gave me a pair that had belonged to her aunty, who lived in the Yorkshire Dales. I had seen Yorkshire Dales gloves when I visited the Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth collection at Gawthorpe Hall in about 1982 and I still have the notebook somewhere. So I thought that these were Dales gloves and it wasn’t until they were shown in an exhibition in Bradford that someone from the Scottish borders saw them and wrote to the organisers to say that’s what they were. They are Sanquhar gloves, knitted in the Duke pattern, and at the time, I never imagined that they would have become such an important part of my life.
And I never dreamt that I would knit so many pairs of gloves! Why is this? There are several reasons, the first of which was a chance remark made about knitting gloves and mittens, by my daughter, herself a good knitter, while we were looking at the book, Selbuvotter.
She said that it would be good to knit some of the very fancy gloves. Most of the patterns are for mittens but there are some gloves in that book. We, me and my daughter knew of the gloves from Sanquhar and the Yorkshire Dales too, as I said and she had knitted a pair of fancy Swedish gloves some years before which are here:
In 2011 we started with a pair of traditional Sanquhar gloves in the Duke pattern. These are well documented and there are patterns available for this and three other patterns from the Scottish Women’s Rural Institute. the idea was that one of us knitted one glove and the other, the other glove. However, it didn’t work out like that and now I knit my own gloves!