Beehive Wool Shop

Newfoundland Fair Isle Mittens with Shirley A. Scott


The Beehive is delighted to host "Shirl the Purl," aka Shirley A. Scott, Canadian author and "knitting historian", for a special 3-day workshop where you will create your own mittens in the Newfoundland tradition. 

Please note that this course is not suitable for beginner knitters, however you do not need to have knit Fair Isle/Stranded Colourwork before (please read the required skills below).

Skills Taught:

  • The "Newfoundland double-ball" (fair isle) knitting tradition. European origins.
  • Design principles of Newfoundland mittens.
  • Sizing and customizing fit.
  • Yarn and colour selection.
  • Double points, two circulars, Magic Loop?
  • Fair Isle / Stranded knitting

    Skills required:

    • How to read patterns (either written or charted)
    • How to knit and purl
    • Be able to knit to gauge
    • How to knit in the round, whether with DPN or magic loop. 


    • 1 skein worsted weight yarn in a dark colour; 1 skein worsted weight yarn in a light colour. The colours should be highly contrasting. Part balls of each colour are sufficient for the workshop. Briggs and Little Regal yarn gives the best results, but some good substitute yarns are Cascade 220, BlueSky Fibers Woolstok, and Drops Lima. (Students can use 3 colours if they prefer, however only 2 are required)
    • 1 set of 4 mm double pointed needles. If you prefer the magic loop method of circular knitting bring a single 4mm circular needle of appropriate length.
    • 2 thin, short circular needles in any small size, for 3-needle bind off only (Session 3). Optional.
    • 2 ring markers. 1 darning needle.

    Spring Sessions:

    Dates Time  Teacher
    3 classes: May 20, 21 and 22
    10:30am-12:30pm Shirley


    About Your Instructor

    Shirley Anne Scott, “Shirl the Purl”, is a handknitter with a special love for history.

    “I am intrigued by the way people who lived precarious existences in wild rough places created works of knitted art, almost always without the benefit of such a simple thing as electric light, let alone the benefit of literacy. My work springs from admiration of their work.”

    A librarian by profession, Shirl wrote a book about the history of knitting in Canada many years ago. This book, called Canada Knits: Craft and Comfort in a Northern Land (McGraw Hill, 1993), opened many doors in the early days. She went on to publish her own knitting newsletter (for 62 exhausting issues), to establish her own craft tour company, and to design and publish many knitting patterns. She is now co-author with Christine LeGrow of the popular Saltwater Mittens, Saltwater Classics, and the upcoming Saltwater Gifts (Boulder Books). Life is good.

    A native of New Brunswick and a survivor of 50 years of living in Toronto, Shirl has made her home in Newfoundland for more than a decade. Why did she move there? A taste for penitential exile is one possible explanation. Her love of history, hand knitting, and North Atlantic culture is perhaps a better one. In Newfoundland she has found shared interests, deep friendships, and much food for the soul.


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