Chris shared her MacLean Mitten pattern with Carol while we were visiting Catherine's home at West
Bay, Cape Breton.
Mittens from: A Nova Scotia Work Basket
Nova Scotia Museum
Halifax, Nova Scotia
(Out of Print)
I did not live in Nova Scotia in the winter, so didn't know about this "family pattern" until the late 1950's
when I was in highschool.
My Aunt Caroline, Catherine Urguhart's sister, knitted them for me and sent them to Brookline (Mass.).
Her mother, my grandmother, knitted the pattern gotten from her mother. (My greatgrandmother was the
sister-in-law who was given the one mitten found on the Grand Banks fishing boat.
Around 1974 I heard that they were putting together this Work Basket Book. I knew two of the ladies.
I told one that we had a family mitten pattern.
So Joean Gordon took my pair of mittens for many months to make a graph of the pattern.
At one point they almost decided not to put it in the book as it was most likely a Newfoundland pattern.
But it had been in the MacLean family for 120 years. It would be Johanna )MacLeod) MacLean who first
figured them out.
So 3 generations had knitted them, and it may die out with the present generation. Catherines Urguhart's
daughter tried to make them, but had trouble around the thumb. So she gave up, and I only made one pair of mittens so
would not even attempt a patterned pair.
I do not know how Aunt Caroline knew the exact year, but close enough.
Aunt Caroline knitted her my daughter a pair during a visit with us. Her time to leave must have been
before she was to finish them. So I saw her light on late in the bedroom, and there she was knitting madly in bed!
(She was also a weaver so patterns were easy for her.)
So, that is the story of the Mittens, with the hopes that it can be carried on.
West Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia