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July 10, 2011


Dagmara Bastiks

Thanks so much for your beautiful commentary and lovely photos of scenes, Latvian costumes, embroidery, and weaving.It brought back so many fond memories of visiting Riga in July 1991 & March 1992 ( just before and soon after independence was declared). My parents both immigrated from Latvia so I am very familiar with the culture and folk art. I really enjoyed hearing your perspective as an American tourist. Amazon sells a paperback pattern book by Upitis with instructions for knitting Latvian mittens. http://www.amazon.com/Latvian-Mittens-Traditional-Designs-Techniques/dp/0942018141/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339960551&sr=8-1&keywords=latvian+mittens

The Stitch Up

Dagmara - I'm glad you liked the post. Thank you for the Amazon link - I'll check that book out. I could not believe the amazing designs the women in Latvia created with their knitting - and so effortlessly too! Thanks for checking out the blog - come back any time!

Dagmara Bastiks

Here is a very interesting link you might enjoy - about Latvia's mitten project in preparation for the NATO Summit a few yrs ago. There are links showing an enormous number of varied ethnographic patterns from all over Latvia. The woolen mittens-were all knit in Latvia and given to each summit participant as a gift-done by participants from all over the country. ( I would guess the summit occurred at a suitable time of year to use them and they probably were especially appreciated by those coming from warm climates!) http://www.rigasummit.lv/en/id/cats/nid/698/


Hi I have just seen this site and think you might be able to help me. I am looking for patterns, art work for a craft class for children at a primary school. We are having 4 weeks on latvian knitting and Raksts. Would you be willing to help me find some information on this subject? Thank you in advance. Helen (cloudgazer) on twitter. I am also dkhlucy42 on flickr. Many thanks.

The Stitch Up

Thanks a bunch Dagmara - I was amazed by all the different patterns I saw being sold in markets in Riga - I don't think I saw the same pattern twice!

Cloudgazer - I found a few books on Latvian knitting on Amazon, so you might try there. There is also the link I included in the post above to "Knit Like a Latvian" as well as the links provided by Dagmara. Good luck - I'd love to see what your class creates!


Gorgeous photos! I appreciate that you show the intricacy of Latvian design.

Also, I encourage folks to check on ebay for books about Latvian crafts and culture. I have found several there :)

Lovely posting. Thanks for sharing!

Dagmar Bastiks

Link to a Latvian blog page created by a Facebook friend. The site includes scanned ethnographic designs from a 1930s book called ABCs of Ethnographic Patterns. It was published during the first period of Latvian independence as a modern state between World War 1 and II. If you click on the link, go to the page numbers at the bottom or click" next to see about 25- 30 pages of traditional
designs. The first 4-5 are just text. Some include a grid.http://latvians.com/index.php?en/CFBH/LatRakstuABC/raksti-010-intro-LV.ssi


I know it's been some time since your post, but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the pictures. I have lived in Latvia the better part of 19 years and will now only be going back occasionally. We got involved in collecting Latvian pottery as well as examples of belts, knits, etc. i put together my own costume some time ago. But my favorite is the doll collection I have. I probably have 35 dolls or more all made by Ilga Madra before she passed away in about 2005. The clothing is true to region and all handmade - knitted skirts and shawls, tiny saktas, belts, etc. At my request she started making boy dolls so I have a few of those as well. I know you'd love them. She is gone now and I can't find any more of her dolls in Latvia. It's sad because I know there were more and I doubt anyone will appreciate them quite the way I do, having known her. Ilga won the highest award given in Latvia for keeping alive the traditional Latvian crafts. She did many beautiful weavings and wall hanging as well as lacework and other crafts. She actually wrote a book, of which I have a copy, showing some of the Latvian crafts. While the Latvians have done embroidery, I think I was the first to introduce them to cross stitch when I first went there. I would collect up kits in the States and give them as gifts to my students or Pastor's wives (we were missionaries there), and I was asked on more than one occasion to teach a class on it! I never got to do that as I was too busy with my regular work, but I've had the joy of sharing the craft with the ladies I know there. If you ever get the chance to take in a Latvian ethic fest of some kind, do it. There are usually markets, and there are Christmas markets, where many handcrafts are sold. They like to do things in beeswax as well as wood, leather and yarn. So glad you got to enjoy the traditional garb. I don't know if you are aware that not only is it regional, but each larger town had patterns, and then there are clues to married and unmarried women, as well as seasonal outfits. It's quite complicated!

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