Discover Sami Knitting: Jouni and His Mittens

In PieceWork‘s eBook, Discover the Wonderful World of Sami Knitting: 5 Mitten Patterns from Finland, Norway & Sweden to Knit, you will learn about Jouni and his mittens, as well as Maria Kristina and her mittens.

You’ll also learn about traditional Sami knitting from Laura Ricketts, who has devoted so much to learning about the Sami, the indigenous people of Scandinavia, and their knitting traditions.

Laura Ricketts re-created the mittens that originally belonged to Jouni Aikio (1875 –1956), a North Sámi man from near Inari, Finland. Photos by Ann Swanson.

Laura, in her introduction to the eBook, explains the different spellings for the name “Sami.” As for the mittens themselves, she says: “These five pairs of knitted mittens come from different areas of Sámi traditional homeland, called Sápmi in the North Sami language. I used different yarns for the projects based on each set of mittens as a way to introduce knitters to the wide range of yarns with which one can knit these traditional mittens. Do not be afraid to use a “sticky” wool to do the colorwork; in fact, a softer, puffier yarn will not work well. With “woolly” or “sticky” yarn, each strand will tend to grip the strand next to it. As a result, the stranded interior self-felts and becomes a cohesive fabric. The wearer’s fingers are much less likely to snag and pull the fabric out of shape. Stranded mittens are also thicker and trap more air, so they are inherently warmer than mittens made from one layer of yarn, even if that yarn is thick. One exception might be a single layer of Swedish tvåändsstickning (two-end knitting).”

Laura Ricketts re-created mittens that are patterned on the cuff only, traditionally intended for a man.

Laura re-created each of the mittens from ones now in the collections of various museums in Scandinavia: Jouni’s Red Mittens, Inari Saami Mittens, and Skolt Saami Mittens, the Sami Museum Siida, Inari, Finland; North Sámi Mittens, University of Tromsø, in Tromsø, Norway; Ájtte Treasure Mittens, Ájtte-Swedish Mountain and Sami Museum in Jokkmokk, Sweden.

Discover the Wonderful World of Sami Knitting: 5 Mitten Patterns from Finland, Norway & Sweden to Knit. This was definitely a labor of love for Laura Ricketts. We are so grateful that she shares that love with us.

Enjoy your discovery of Sami knitting and have so much fun with the five beautiful patterns. You’ll find instructions for working cupped mitten tips, braids, tassels, colorwork, and so much more.

—Jeane Hutchins

Learn more about Sami knitting in PieceWork!

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