In a box of my childhood things in my mother’s basement I discovered this pair of mittens I used to wear when I was Devan’s age. They are trigger mitts from Newfoundland.
Devan and me, both at 8 yrs old.
In the 1970s we moved from Alberta to St. John’s, Newfoundland. It was a big adventure for my family and although a part of Canada, Newfoundland seemed so different to us in many ways.
Among our many discoveries was the strong tradition of knitting in Newfoundland—especially handknit trigger mitts, sometimes called three finger mittens.
It seems they are unique to the Newfoundland knitting tradition with the index finger separate from the rest of the mitten allowing the wearer to jig for cod or pull a trigger when hunting.
We were quite taken with these mitts and I wore mine proudly even though obviously I neither fished nor hunted.
The stranded patterns on the mitts are quite common in other maritime areas of North America and Robin Hansen’s books contain many colourwork patterns that are familiar to me from our Newfoundland days.
In addition to the trigger finger, what seems to be particularly distinctive to the Newfoundland mitten is that the stranded pattern stops at the base of the fingers whereas in other areas of Eastern Canada and the US the pattern runs from the wrist to the tips of the fingers.