Remember when the Yarn Harlot knitted a pair of grey and white Latvian mittens? Those mittens were my first introduction to the complicated and wonderful Latvian knitting tradition. I decided from that moment on that one day I would knit a pair of these wonderful mittens, even if it was the last piece of knitting I ever did. While I know my colorwork skills are zilch at the moment, I am still dreaming of making a pair of these beauties especially since there is a new book coming out for us native English speakers.
Mittens of Latvia by Maruta Grasmane is the English translation of her wonderful book of traditional Latvian mittens (and is currently available for pre-order on Schoolhouse Press). From what I understand, this book doesn’t have the step-by-step instructions of mitten construction or specific Latvian techniques, but it is packed with full color charts and photos of over 170 different Latvian mittens.
Intrigued, I set out to find more information and found three interviews with Maruta about her book. In her time looking for traditional mitten patterns, she noticed that specific regions had similarities with their mittens. For instance, the central region of Latvia used more subtle mitten designs in the body of the mittens with more subdued patterns while the west coast tended to use bolder colors and bigger ornamental designs on the mitten body. So her book is divided up into regional sections to reflect what she found.
Most importantly, she wanted to be able to provide the charts that she found to knitters who wanted to knit them.
I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book, even if all I do for a few years is look at it for inspiration. For my sanity, I might also want to get a copy of Latvian Mittens by Lisbeth Upitis so I can have explanations for the specific techniques found in these mittens. Between these two books, there will be nothing stopping me from finally knitting a pair of Latvian mittens!