Friday, August 28, 2015



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.

This one, although similar, is in the pattern "Cornet".  The Cornet has a symbolic role in the Common Riding ceremony in Sanquhar.  A pair of gloves in this pattern were presented to the first Cornet when the parade was revived in the 1930s.

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.



weavinfool said...

What a lovely thing you are doing for Pine Ridge. There was a local man who did clothing drives for the Reservation and would then drive the clothing to Pine Ridge. Unfortunately he was killed in a car accident on his return trip. Apparently they have a great need for warm clothing.

Mary Lou said...

I think my first exposure to Sanquar was also the Japanese website. I then ordered something from a museum. Wonder where it went? Not that I ever would make gloves in that gauge. Lovely warm things for the rez. So generous of you.

skeindalous said...

Such wonderful knitted items for the school! Bright and well made. They will be a blessing to someone, certainly.

knitski said...

I love how you found Sanquar! Wonderful gift items as well I must say for the kids at Pine Ridge! The hats are perfect and that sweater is a real keeper!