Thursday, 15 January 2009

Getting my head back into colour work.

Since Knitted Lace of Estonia arrived in my house, it is very hard to work on other things. Its an interesting read. If I didn't have the nice red scarf, I would be hard pressed to knit anything that didn't come out of this book. I really could use that red scarf and darn it, I am going to finish it first.

So, to get my mind off lace, and right back to stranded colourwork, where it belongs (the upcoming vest, etc.) I will tell you about my interesting day at work.

On occasion people come in with articles knitted by others. Yesterday a mom and daughter came in to wander through the store for a while, had a great time and left. The mom was putting her mittens on and turned right around again to show us her mittens. She thought we might be interested.

She was right.

Her gloves were beautifully worked Latvian mittens knitted by an elderly relative. They were a series of large snowflakes bordered by smaller snowflakes, worked in a soft brown wool and cream natural colour wool. They had the looped fringe on the wrist edges, and braids separating a small border pattern on the cuff, and a traditional thumb.

The customer was interested to know if we had ever seen anything like these before. Though I had not had the pleasure, we do have the book Latvian Mittens in the store. I pulled the book from the shelf and showed them.

They looked at the book while we looked at the inside of the mitten, and at the braiding and the looped edge. The mittens were much more substantial than I expected, heavier, denser. I'm not sure what I was expecting but boy oh boy. These are not namby pamby mittens of a single layer. They are businesslike things, knitted for practical warmth and beauty in very cold nations. It was just wonderful to have my hands on a pair, to see them with my own eyes.

They were just as entranced by the book. They loved the photos, and then realized that the history part of the book and the patterns were in both English and Latvian. They both speak Latvian and can read well enough to translate. They were just tickled to find a book right here in Canada that both they and their relative could read. They bought the book.

There is a elderly woman from over the seas who is going to be delighted to see that Latvian is alive and well and lives on book cases all over Canada and the rest of the world.

And me? I'm deeply impressed by books like Knitted Lace of Estonia, and Latvian Mittens, with their intertwined history and patterns. They add richness and depth to our knitting experience. They illuminate the ties we share time with skilled men and women through the ages. Nancy, Lizbeth. You've done good.

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