Sunday, June 26, 2016

Latvian Mitten Camp Continues

"Knit Out Your Latvian Design" Mitten Camp included not only lectures and hands-on workshops, but also an afternoon field trip to the nearby town of Talsi and an evening of music and dancing!  Yes, all women dancing together, just like in my high school gym class where I learned to lead since I was always in the tallest half of my class (the tallest half learned the man's part, the shortest half learned the woman's part). To this day, I can't follow -- as my husband can testify.

Photo courtesy of Carla of The Dutch Knitters
(shown dancing here in a blue jean skirt and cowboy boots)

Hands-on knitting techniques were focused on various unique mitten cuffs.  Some of these were familiar to me, but there are always variations and little tips and tricks that get passed along, so it was fun and interesting to sample these cuffs.

One of the cuffs was scalloped or what the Latvians call "notched."  It was a slight variation from a scallop that I've done before.  I'm using the scallop now on a mitten that was inspired by a little Estonian knitting book that I bought from author Külli Jacobson, titled Siberi lilled or Siberian Flowers.  Külli was a participant at Mitten Camp but is a professional knitter living in the Seto region of Estonia. The book is currently available here and Külli writes about the background of the book on her website here (scroll down to October 28, 2014).  I love how the mitten is turning out!

We also sampled a wedge-shaped cuff that was shown in Maruta Grasmane's book Mittens of Latvia on page 164.  I had tried this interesting cuff before mitten camp and had questions regarding the chart in the book which has an error in it.  Here are the errata details for those who are interested: The orange wedge (as shown in the book) is not diagrammed properly.  Each wrong-side row is NOT worked over fewer stitches than the preceding right-side row.  Also, the row that works each wrap (yarn over) together with its associated stitch is worked on the right side with green (not on the wrong side with orange as shown).  Here's my little cuff sample:

On our field trip to Talsi, we saw a weaving exhibit and a weavers' studio.  We also met with a talented group of knitters and saw their beautiful display of mittens.

We weren't the only ones dancing.  In Talsi, we saw a young, energetic group of dancers posing for a group photo.  So colorful, and check out their stockings!

At the Talsi Museum (Talsu novada musejs) we viewed some of their mittens, socks, and woven belts that are held in storage drawers.  Besides getting our hands on this knitwear, we also had some fun electronically.  We photographed ourselves into a historic scene complete with traditional dress and you'll see that still we were busy with yarn in our hands.  Here's the usually elusive Lizzy with her crown and braid.

After an evening of toasting the organizers and teachers, we finished up on Day 3 with a little more hands-on work, then we received our official diplomas from the Latvian National Centre for Culture, ate lunch, and hopped on our bus for the ride back to Riga.  Farewell friends -- until we meet again!

Teacher Baiba, teacher Ina, organizer Linda, participant Külli, and Senā klēts representative Ziedite
Four Latvians plus Team Estonia


  1. Oh Mary,

    it was such a good time! See you soon in one of the next craft camps or wherever needles are clicking, women are dancing and speaking in all tongues of the world!

    Cheers, Connie