One of the first knitting websites I stumbled across, before Ravelry had even been sketched out, was a Japanese one that, reassuringly, hasn't changed a bit since then. I remember trying to knit their pattern for Sanquhar gloves, although it was way beyond my skill level (and my nonexistant ability to read the text) I loved the strong geometric pattern. I had no idea then that the traditional design originated not from Japan but from a small town less than 2 hours from where I lived. I've never made a pair of gloves, but I do have a stunning pair displayed in my studio that my aunt rescued from a charity shop.
Everytime I think a design detail might be too finicky I look at the teeny tiny, patterned gussets between each of those fingers. You can knit anything.
Years later I knew we'd moved my studio into the right building when I walked past this calendar hanging in the hallway outside the studio of illustrator Anna Wright. Anna grew up near Sanquhar and created this illustration for A' The Airts who've been doing great work to keep the traditional patterns and techniques alive and vibrant within their local community and beyond (read Kate Davies' post about their recent knitting workshop event here.) I love that it features photos of actual knitting that's tied to a specific tradition, rather than just a generic idea of wool or knitting and the unravelled yarn works perfectly with Anna's loose linework.
Every day at work I make coffee in one of the mugs, cheered by those mischievous sheep. As someone who's notorious for leaving half an inch of cold tea or coffee sitting in the mug I swear the fact that there's a hidden wee sheep at the bottom of the cup encourages me to drink up, sometimes I even manage before my drink is tepid! The top is wide enough for an aeropress too, unlike most of the bone china mugs I find in the UK.
In case you need a mug for yourself, or maybe a signed print my lovely neighbours at Anna Wright have created a coupon code for a 20% discount on any Knitting Circle item. Just enter code YSOLDA (in all caps) at checkout - code is valid until the end of June.
Have you ever tried knitting one of these iconic patterns?