Friday, November 19, 2010

Knittin'

Last Friday night was the opening night for the Smitten show at the Merrymeeting Art Gallery. The gallery is very small, intimate. On one wall the mittens were hung from tree branches. I got my second pair entered in time for the opening. There were felted mittens, old mittens, new mittens, wonderful mittens knit in gorgeous colors.

My friend Betsy had a display in the entryway of her Irish knit mittens. All were knit with local knitting worsted in the traditional off white color. She made one pair extra big and felted them by putting them in the washer a couple of times. Beautiful cables and baubles.

Angela (sorry I don't know her last name) had a number of pairs of stunning Latvian mittens on display. Very fine yarn, finer than my blackberry mittens which are in sport weight, probably knit in fingering weight yarn like my Fiesta mittens. She knit her mittens based on the designs in Lizbeth Upitis definitive book on Latvian mittens.

Betsy and I took Angela's Latvian mitten workshop on Saturday. There were four of us and we each brought our own needles and yarn to try out some patterns and techniques. I attempted the loopy fringe that is at the bottom of the cuff on some of the mittens in the cover photo. There are many different patterns, many patterns come from specific regions of Latvia. Angela told us that (in the past I suppose) a Latvian woman would have to have knit 250 pairs of mittens before she could get married. Mittens are very important culturally in Latvia. The girls learn to knit when they are old enough to hold needles, about 4 years old. How about you? Were you knitting when you were 4? 250 pairs, that's really 500 mittens! I bet they knit socks, too. I'm such a slacker.

My own copy of Latvian Mittens arrived today from Amazon. I have next week off thanks to comp time. Guess what I plan on doing? Knitting! At the workshop Angela had use four needles instead of three (plus a working needle). I've never used four needles before, but Angela said that the patterns divide better on four needles so I will give it a try.

Speaking of knitting, I came across this slideshow in my web travels. Photos of Shetland complete with wooly sheep and a Shetland pony! What really blew me away are the photos of fair isle samples, drawer after drawer of them. Who says you have to produce something? A swatch is very satisfying. Probably what I should do with the Latvian patterns. Here's the link.

Not forgetting quilting! I'm making a log cabin Christmas tree skirt. It is the pattern where you make six log cabin diamonds and sew them together. I'll take some photos soon.

1 comment:

Florrie said...

Love all those swatches in the slideshow, we're hoping to take a trip to the Shetlands next summer as my sister lives in that corner of the world.....can't wait.

Enjoy your week of knitting.
florrie x