Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Baltic Christmas Day 12 - Mini Lapel Mittens

Welcome to Day 12 of 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas! Today as we celebrate the halfway point of the series we are joined by Rachel Russ, designer and knitter. Here is Rachel’s post entitled Latvian Mitten Mania Alternative: Mini Lapel Mittens.

If you are a Latvian, you know a good Latvian mitten when you see one. If you AREN’T of Latvian or of Baltic descent, you may STILL know a good Latvian mitten when you see it!

Latvian mittens require a lot of patience, expertise and practice. Many in the knitting world aspire to make a good Latvian mitten. Yarn Harlot (famous knitting blog writer Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) had a foray into the world of the Latvian mitten; her wonderful journey was chronicled here. A non-Latvian knitter proved it can be done, and done well!

This mitten bug: when it bites, it bites HARD… Lizbeth Upitis wrote a book back in the 1980’s that sparked a mitten craze of knitting where non-Latvians could knit (and try to figure out how) like-a-Latvian. Upītis’ book Latvian Mittens: Traditional Designs & Techniques was my first adventure figuring out the puzzle of making a REAL Latvian mitten. After trial and error and much yarn tangling, a nice mitten emerged that was not the size of an oven mitt, nor as small as a 6 year old child’s hand.

Through the years, as one who has followed the Latvian mitten trail all over the internet and blog spheres, one thing is clear; they are not for every knitter to make. It isn’t an easy knit. Much frustration and angst awaits many a knitter who will bravely pull out their tiny size metal knitting needles and pretty balls of woolen yarns with the big dream of a patterned hand warmer to woo recipients.

Much time is spent poring over patterns and colors, reading about techniques for cuffs, and then trying to meet gauge (the stitches per inch measurement) in order to produce a pair worthy of gifting to a loved one, or to wear in public.

The alternative?
Mini Lapel Mittens.

What? You’ve never heard of these clever little creations?

Let me enlighten you, and they may knock you over with their teeny tiny charm, enough to make you cast around for your own little pair to wear and display this holiday season!

Miniature Lapel Mittens are made with the purpose to wear not on your hands, but on your person…

Some have made them exclusively for wreaths or other holiday decoration, and some wear them all through winter on their jackets. They are a small, fiddly project with little time commitment. Dexterity is a plus when making these.

WARNING: be prepared for many compliments and or possible requests!

Resources for patterns to make your own pair of miniature mittens, Latvian-style or otherwise:
Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski
Mini-Mitts by Carolyn Vance for Cast On magazine
Mini-Mitts Ornaments by Spilly Jane for Knit Picks Yarn
Half-Pint Mittens by Susan B. Anderson

May this season bring you joy and warmth as you fondly make your own pair of Miniature Latvian Lapel Mittens.

Rachel Russ is a 1st generation Latvian-American living the mitten lover’s dream in her Minnesota yarn insulated home with her hubby and 4 kiddos. She designs knitwear in her spare time, and writes a little too. You can find her on Ravelry, Facebook page Baltic Stitches LLC, Instagram and her blog. Her dream is to spread Latvian knitting to every yarn store across the USA.

(Confession: I have worn out many a pair of Latvian mittens… if only I was capable of knitting myself more – what a talent!) Thanks to Rachel for joining us today on 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas, we look forward to seeing more of your fantastic creations!

Stay tuned for Day 13 of 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas, featuring a staple of the Latvian sweets table!

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