Wednesday, January 12, 2011

As I Mentioned Last Time

The Estonian Mitten books arrived, and I'm thrilled with them. The one that first caught my eye and sent me searching was this: The Glove and Mitten Patterns of Kihnu Roosi.

The bulk of the book consists of very clear photographs and charts, and it would be worth having for these alone. But Nancy Bush has published a translation of the text, and included it as a supplement to the book. The translation certainly adds to the richness of the experience as the text has background on the author, Roosi from Kinhu, who collected and charted the patterns; her (sometimes brief) comments on the individual mittens/gloves and on the specific motifs used in each; as well as some technical information on the actual knitting. This is definitely not a "learn to knit a mitten" book, and Nancy's own Folk Knitting in Estonia will be a very helpful resource.

All of the mittens and gloves in this book come from one specific area and conform to a certain type: hand in black and white (or dark blue and white), with a white cuff that has touches of other colors on the mittens - sometimes just a narrow band of stranded colorwork, sometimes including braids or what appears to be very narrow corrugated ribbing. Some of the white areas include fancy ribbing, openwork or knit/purl textures. Gloves have colorful entrelac cuffs. The author says very little about the cuffs beyond the fact that they are worked in finer yarn on smaller needles - but the photos are clear enough to work out much of what is going on.

I think that one of the things that initially grabbed my attention about these patterns is an affinity of some of the hand motifs with some of the earlier Selbu mittens I have seen pictured in other books. I think this is a matter of the fine gauge, the use of natural black and white, and the frequent appearance of the motif we often call the "Selbu Star", Norwegians call a "Rose" and in this book is called a "Poppy". There are very definite differences: Selbu mittens have a thumb gusset and the Estonian ones do not, Selbu mittens use different patterns on the palm and the back of the hand with a dividing line between them while on the Kihnu mittens the pattern motifs are carried all the way around the hand.

It is unlikely that I will ever try to knit an exact duplicate of any of the mittens or gloves in the book, but it is a wonderful design resource as well as providing fascinating background on this segment of Estonia's very rich knitting tradition.


YarnThrower said...

Interesting mitten book! I think that some of the intricate mitten patterns are just so pretty. (In fact, I just started a new colorwork mitten... Had to rip it all out, but that's a different story...) Interesting that the pattern goes on both sides of the hand... Always love the cuff variations...and what an impact just a few rows of a different color can make...

Anonymous said...

I am looking for this book Kihnu Roosi kindakirjad!!
It is out of print now .(
Who wants to sell it to me
Please write to