Ice Harbor Mittens at SWHPL and on Swan’s Island

Last week, master knitter, folklorist, and author Robin Orm Hansen started off her local visit with a Women’s History Month event at the Southwest Harbor Public Library, where she met with others of her tribe of knitting aficionados to talk about mittens, mittens, mittens – Fishermen’s mittens, mittens from Norway, mittens from Newfoundland, and much more!

Together they shared stories, traditions, and beautiful examples of intricate knitting patterns. One local woman showed mittens with tassels that her family sends her from her home country of Norway every winter. Another local woman displayed a case of dozens upon dozens of handmade mittens for dolls. They all had a wealth of knowledge, experiences, and stories to share!

The next day, Robin and IRW program director Ruth Feldman headed out to Swan’s Island Elementary School, where students had read Robin’s book, Ice Harbor Mittens, which tells the tale of a young sternman lost in the fog at sea who discovers the compass pattern on his mittens actually helps him find his way home.

Most of the students had brought in a handmade pair of mittens to show. During grade level workshops, students drew mitten designs, learned how to make rope, and mastered finger knitting.

They also heard from Robin about turning fact into fiction and had some great ideas about how they could evolve the story from their handmade rope into a fantastical tale.

By the end of the day, many students had yarn in their hands, and they didn’t want to stop finger knitting! For more photos from a great day, visit our photo album.

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