Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Knitting as a form of Diplomacy

The next NATO Summit is scheduled for November in Latvia. Why would I care? Here's the reason:

Seems that the good people of Latvia -- from all over that small country, men and women all summer long -- have been knitting traditional mittens to give to the 4500 participants in the conference. The picture shows 2250 -- or half the final number.

These mittens are exquisite works of art -- they are some of the folk knitting that I think raises knitting from the plain old domestic craft to an art form. I love reading about, seeing, and trying out all forms of folk-knitting.

Here are some things that might pique your interest too:

The Renaissance of Latvia's Ethnographic Mittens

The Story of a 1000 Year Old Mitten

Latvian Mittens: Traditional Designs and Techniques is a fabulous book about a woman's search to find out the history of her husband's ethnic background and the knitting trail she followed. One cool thing about this book is that it is written in both English and Latvian!

Here are some excellent books about folk knitting:

Folk Bags: 30 Knitting Patterns and Tales from Around the World by Vicki Square

Folk Shawls: 25 Knitting Patterns and Tales from Around the World by Cheryl Oberle

Folk Socks: The History and Technique of Handknitted Footwear by Nancy Bush

Folk Vests: 25 Knitting Patterns and Tales from Around the World by Cheryl Oberle

Folk Mittens: Techniques and Patterns for Handknitted Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski

Andean Folk Knits: Great Designs from Peru, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia by Marcia Lewandowski

These are just some of the books that have fascinated me for many years. These are just the "exotic" books. There are also books about Fair Isle, Aran Islands, Bauhaus, and other ethnographic knitting styles. All are fodder for my knitting mill!

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