Back across country from Galloway, we arrived at Sanquhar, just north of Dumfries. Many years ago now, I was a regular reader of a blog written by a Texan, which often suggested interesting links to knitting related sites. Thus, I heard about the publication, in Japanese, of a book on Sanquhar knitting, which I had never come across before. How the internet shrinks the world!
Basically it involves knitting gloves on very fine needles, using a range of geometric stranded patterns. Early examples seem to have made use of drugget, a kind of cotton thread used in the carpet industry. There was a carpet factory nearby. Now, a little industry has started up, producing items in the famous patterns, using knitting machines. The gloves, which have acquired symbolic status over time, are just too complex to make on a machine.
The museum is housed in the Tollbooth, under which was the town jail. You can still see the iron ring to which thieves would be tied for pelting purposes on market day. Inside is a treasure trove of Sanquhar gloves.
Back on the street, we visited a curious shop combining dog biscuits, and pet supplies generally,
with knitting yarns. I was surprised to see that the preferred yarn for the famous gloves is now Regia, not the sock yarn, but a plain three-ply. Of course, I bought some, along with a set of wickedly fine dpns for glove knitting. One pair apparently takes ninety hours to complete.
On the drive back, I made this little hat, incorporating the most famous pattern, the Duke, after the Duke of Buccleuch, the local landowner. I like to think of the small boy on the Pine Ridge Reservation starting school in this hat. Small world, indeed.
Also knitted on this trip was this bright jumper. It is going to Pine Ridge for the Shannon schools pre-school drive, to support children going into kindergarten. I hope it fits someone.