Traditional Shetland Dags by Shelia January

Traditional Shetland Dags

September 2013
DK (11 wpi) ?
17 stitches and 20 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette stitch
US 5 - 3.75 mm
170 yards (155 m)
S (M, L)
Flag of English English

When in Lerwick, Shetland, I saw a slide presentation by designer and Shetlander, Elizabeth Johnson about dags, the traditional fingerless handcoverings worn by Shetland fishermen. I was so taken with the practicality of the simple mitts that I made careful notes from the slides and went back to my B&B to make one. The next day I showed my prototype to Elizabeth, who approved it, even down to the decreases on the thumb, and told me that once I made the second and gave them to my husband, when the other men in our farm neighborhood saw him using them, I’d get requests for more. And she was right—they are popular!

Dags are easy and quick to make of medium-grade wool and are lightly fulled after knitting. The design is simple and intended to allow the mitts to be quickly put on either hand with no regard to right or left, wrist or finger edge. They are not intended to fit snugly but should be just loose enough that a couple of sharp shakes of the hand will get them to fly off but they stay on nicely otherwise. I’ve also used the basic pattern with a longer wrist ribbing to make colorwork mitts with Fair Isle motifs or other stitch patterns, it is very versatile.