Victorian Mourning Mittens by SpillyJane

Victorian Mourning Mittens

August 2014
Light Fingering ?
8 stitches = 1 inch
in Stranded Colourwork pattern
US 2 - 2.75 mm
246 yards (225 m)
8" hand circumference
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Never knit colourwork before? Since these mittens only use one contrast colour these ones would be a great place to start!

Mittens based on an antique Victorian Mourning brooch/pendant that I have in my possession.

Common mourning iconography is present in both the brooch and the mitten - the star, reminiscent of the spark of both life and love; the (now missing) pearl which presumably would’ve been set within the star, symbolic of pain and tears; black glass, standing in for jet, made fashionable by Queen Victoria in her mourning of Prince Albert; and the wreath of bay laurel, never-fading and never-ending, much like the bereaved’s love and grief. I have read that in the language of mourning jewellery white is supposed to represent the loss of a child, so that’s something else to think about, too.

The backside of the brooch has a small glass window with a curious piece of beige-ish woven fabric set behind it - this is either the deceased’s hair woven into a herringbone pattern or a piece of fabric waiting to be replaced by such an object. When removed, the glass window reveals a hollow compartment, in which one could have placed a small memento of the deceased’s - either another lock of hair or a small scrap of clothing.