Saturday, March 30, 2019 | 7:00 pm
Ticket includes dessert, coffee and tea $20
Interweave Yarn Fest is giving you a chance to see and be seen in your latest and greatest fiber projects. Share your best fiber creations (up to 3 items) at Interweave Yarn Fest's Saturday Night Fashion Show. Ready to rock the runway? Register for the Saturday Night Fashion Show today! Fashion Show includes a selection of desserts, coffee and tea.
In addition to admiring your fellow participants' gorgeous work, this year you can enjoy a special treat during the Fashion Show: an up-close encounter with some extraordinary mittens of Latvia presented by Yarn Fest instructor Jeanne Giberson. Jeanne fell in love with these exquisite and expressive knitted works during several trips to Latvia, and she has helped bring the extraordinary book Mittens of Latvia
to an English-speaking audience. Throughout the evening, you will have an opportunity to look at (and even try on!) mittens and learn about their history, construction, and significance.
Latvian Mitten Exhibit
From the personal collection of Jeannie Giberson
Mittens hold a special place in Latvian culture. For over a hundred years, young girls knitted mittens for their wedding to be given away to the family of the bridegroom, wedding guests and to bestow blessings on the bride’s new home: mittens were left on the horns of the cow, at the well, even at the gate to the farm. Before the wedding, a pair mittens that had been knit by the prospective bride and accepted by the prospective bridegroom indicated the engagement. Later in life and as a woman aged, she prepared for her passing by knitting funeral mittens to be given to the priest, pall bearers and grave diggers. The main color for these mittens is typically black. Even today, mittens are given to mark special occasions.
In the past, one could tell where another person was from by their mittens and their dress. Today we would call their dress their “National Costume”. There are distinctions between nearby villages or parishes - sometimes significant differences. These manifest in the colors of yarn used and the organization of the mitten design.
In this exhibit, you will see ethnographic mittens from the Districts of Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale, Zemgale and Augšzeme. The display is organized to showcase the mittens by District. All mittens carry a description including notes on sources. You will find information to cross reference mittens that may be found in the seminal work Mittens of Latvia (Grasmane, 2015) and books by other ethnographers including Mirdza Slava and Aija Jansone. A number of the mittens are museum replica quality, the vast majority were knitted by master knitters, a portion are knit by “Latvian grandmothers” for everyday use, and a few mittens knit by Giberson over the years. Old mittens as those found in museums were knitted at a fine gauge of 12 to 16 stitches per inch. In regional cultural centers today, examples of old mittens along with handwritten charts are used to teach. Mittens today tend to be knit at a gauge of 8 to 12 stitches per inch. The mittens in this exhibit represent a range of skills.
Giberson edited the English translation of Latvieša Cimdi (Grasmane, 2012) and is the primary moderator of the Ravelry group Knit Like a Latvian. She has traveled to Latvia twice to visit museums and learn from master knitters in Kurzeme and about the culture, food and customs.