Hello folks! Sorry for the radio silence. Since enthusiastically writing the last set of blog posts back in January, I've moved to Stockholm and spent the past two months settling in and adjusting to the pace of life in this new city. I've also taken a couple of overnight boat trips to the nearby cities of Tallinn and Riga, just for a day. Scandinavia, Estonia and Latvia are all known for their strong knitting traditions, and I've managed to pick up a few pieces of knitting for myself whilst there. I love having tangible souvenirs, items which can be incorporated into daily use but which embody something of the places that I've travelled to. I hate ornaments meant only for display, not use. I couldn't afford a hand-knitted traditional sweater or scarf, so I found that I've started collecting mittens instead.
In the top photo, the left mittens are from a Stockholm brand but made in Latvia. They're knit in two layers from fine Latvian wool, with the lining being a smoother wool than the gnarlier outside colourwork. The pair on the right are far more rustic, but very charming. They're handknitted by the grandmothers of Tallinn, and I bought them from the shop of the Estonian Folk Art and Craft Union.
There seemed to be less traditional knitwear for sale in Riga, so instead I purchased a kit to knit my own mittens from Hobbywool (a lovely shop in which my partner declared, "I've never been surrounded by so much wool!"). The shop sold lots of knitted accessories as well as mitten and sock kits, and some yarn - which I still regret not buying as they had lovely bright colours, and it was fairly cheap.
That the three pairs of mittens are practically in the same colours was definitely not intentional. It's just worked out that way; in fact, I would have liked to choose a mitten kit in blue and white, but those colours weren't available. Oh, well!
I've always been intimidated by stranded colour-work, so I'm looking forward to the chance to finally try it. I won't be starting the kit any time soon though, since I still haven't even finished these chunky red mittens that I started in January. They were meant to see me through the Stockholm winter! Still, with it still snowing in late March, I'll probably still have the chance to wear them at some point before I leave!