The Great Pockey Competition
WINNER OF THE £5 AMAZON BOOK TOKEN DRAW WAS LIZ WHITE, WHO WROTE:
“I have always thought of them as ‘pockies’ but I am not sure if I ever saw it written - possibly when I was around 6 and knitting them at school - in wine wool, I remember. I also remember my mother showing me how to make them with an overlapping slit on the palm - so that one could get one’s fingers out for fine movement. Really sophisticated for Motherwell in the 1940s!”
We know very little about the origin of the Scottish word “pockey”, also called mitten. You can help by telling us what you know about the origin of this word.
If you send us information via Contact Us we will enter your name in a draw to win a £5 book token from Amazon. Alternatively you can send us some information about mittens from your country or region with a picture of some traditional designs.
All entrants will receive a free copy of our Pockey Pattern which is available to purchase from our Traditional Knitting Patterns page.
Pockeys differ from gloves in that only the thumb is knitted separately with all the other fingers tucked in together for warmth. They can be worn over gloves as well for extra added warmth.
A brief survey of knitters over 50 years of age showed that only a few recognised the name and could explain what they are. Most of the respondents were from the southwest of Scotland.
My own experience with “pockeys” is from primary school in Kilmarnock, where we were taught how to knit them at age 10.
Not necessarily a happy experience as it was my introduction to knitting with four needles, under strict supervision.
With our new pattern at —-Advanced Beginners’ Level—-you can introduce these to your pupils in a much happier environment or try them out yourself.
One thing we do know about pockeys is that they keep your hand’s warm, and if you’re worried about losing them you can crochet or braid a length of cord which goes through one jacket sleeve, across the back and down the other sleeve to attach a pockey at either end. Equally effective for children who don’t really want to wear them in cold weather and forgetful adults.
Woolen pockeys are part of the knitting tradition in many countries, especially in Northern Europe.
Ours are knitted in Double Knit weight wool dyed with cochineal, birch leaves and indigo. You can use any combination of colours to create your own original design and warm hands.
You can purchase our Traditional Pockey Pattern for £2.99 here