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Re: Lithuanian knitting

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  • Donna
    Hi Everyone, I just wanted to say hi and give you a little info about the knitting in Lithuania. I spent the summer in Vilnius and traveling around the
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 10, 2008
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      Hi Everyone,

      I just wanted to say hi and give you a little info about the knitting in Lithuania. I spent the
      summer in Vilnius and traveling around the country, mostly to visit museums and
      collections of knitting. It was amazing. The knitting in Lithuania is mostly -- at least
      historically -- small accessories including socks, mittens, gloves, and wrist warmers. The
      rest of the national costume, that is the outfits that most people wore in the 19th century
      and earlier, was made out of woven fabric and laces made with other techniques. There
      was some crochet as well, including really ugly knitted house shoes. :-)

      In winter, knitted items were made from wool, and for summer wear linen was used. The
      linen was used in its natural color and wool was dyed with plant dyes. The knitting
      techniques used here are similar to what you find in Latvia and Estonia, as are some of the
      colorwork designs. But there are also unique colorwork patterns, particularly of floral
      motifs. The Lithuanian empire once stretched all the way to the Black Sea, so you find
      influences ranging from Scandinavian to Turkish in the knitting designs. In addition to
      colorwork, knitted lace was also popular, especially for summer gloves and stockings.

      I found several old Lithuanian knitting books on my trip and they include some really
      interesting techniques for shaping toes and heels and mitten fingertips, many of which I
      have never seen before. There are several groups around Lithuania that specialize in
      reproducing the national costume garments for singing groups (and whoever wants to
      pay!), including the knitted items. The wrist warmers and lace socks are the most popular
      now, because the outfits are often worn in summer for outdoor concerts, and mittens and
      thick wool socks would just be too much on top of the layers and layers of clothes!

      Today's yarn shops are mostly filled with Italian yarns and patterns from Russia and
      Germany. Linen weaving yarn/thread is available in linen shops, but I only found one shop
      that carried linen (blend) yarn that was heavy enough for knitting. There are a couple of
      knitting mills in Lithuania, but they mostly spin merino imported from New Zealand, even
      though there are two breeds of Lithuanian sheep that are rare and have unusual fleece.
      The farmers just throw that wool away. I see a business opportunity!

      That's it for now. I'd love to share more if you have any questions, and I'll also be writing
      some article and a book about this soon, so much more will be forthcoming. I tried to post
      some photos, but I can't get on my network drive where they are stored right now, so I
      will try again later.

      Donna
    • Karin
      Wow, thanks for all the information. I didn t really know anything about their knitting traditions. Will be great to see your book in the future. ... knitting
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 10, 2008
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        Wow, thanks for all the information. I didn't really know anything
        about their knitting traditions. Will be great to see your book in
        the future.



        --- In nordicknitters@yahoogroups.com, "Donna" <druchunas@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Everyone,
        >
        > I just wanted to say hi and give you a little info about the
        knitting in Lithuania. I spent the
        > summer in Vilnius and traveling around the country, mostly to visit
        museums and
        > collections of knitting. It was amazing. The knitting in Lithuania
        is mostly -- at least
        > historically -- small accessories including socks, mittens, gloves,
        and wrist warmers. The
        > rest of the national costume, that is the outfits that most people
        wore in the 19th century
        > and earlier, was made out of woven fabric and laces made with other
        techniques. There
        > was some crochet as well, including really ugly knitted house
        shoes. :-)
        >
        > In winter, knitted items were made from wool, and for summer wear
        linen was used. The
        > linen was used in its natural color and wool was dyed with plant
        dyes. The knitting
        > techniques used here are similar to what you find in Latvia and
        Estonia, as are some of the
        > colorwork designs. But there are also unique colorwork patterns,
        particularly of floral
        > motifs. The Lithuanian empire once stretched all the way to the
        Black Sea, so you find
        > influences ranging from Scandinavian to Turkish in the knitting
        designs. In addition to
        > colorwork, knitted lace was also popular, especially for summer
        gloves and stockings.
        >
        > I found several old Lithuanian knitting books on my trip and they
        include some really
        > interesting techniques for shaping toes and heels and mitten
        fingertips, many of which I
        > have never seen before. There are several groups around Lithuania
        that specialize in
        > reproducing the national costume garments for singing groups (and
        whoever wants to
        > pay!), including the knitted items. The wrist warmers and lace
        socks are the most popular
        > now, because the outfits are often worn in summer for outdoor
        concerts, and mittens and
        > thick wool socks would just be too much on top of the layers and
        layers of clothes!
        >
        > Today's yarn shops are mostly filled with Italian yarns and
        patterns from Russia and
        > Germany. Linen weaving yarn/thread is available in linen shops, but
        I only found one shop
        > that carried linen (blend) yarn that was heavy enough for knitting.
        There are a couple of
        > knitting mills in Lithuania, but they mostly spin merino imported
        from New Zealand, even
        > though there are two breeds of Lithuanian sheep that are rare and
        have unusual fleece.
        > The farmers just throw that wool away. I see a business opportunity!
        >
        > That's it for now. I'd love to share more if you have any
        questions, and I'll also be writing
        > some article and a book about this soon, so much more will be
        forthcoming. I tried to post
        > some photos, but I can't get on my network drive where they are
        stored right now, so I
        > will try again later.
        >
        > Donna
        >
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