Yearning to Knit Scandinavian Mittens

When the PieceWork January/February 2017 issue was published earlier this year, I heard one co-worker exclaim, “I’ve got a severe case of mitten lust!” Indeed, I was right there with her, bitten by the need to knit mittens. Inside this year’s annual historical knitting issue are some stunning Scandinavian-style mittens to knit, plus the inspiring histories behind the designs.

Skaite-Maria: The Red and Black Mittens

Beckoning from the issue’s striking cover is Laura Ricketts’s Skaite-Maria: The Red and Black Mittens. The pattern was created over a hundred years ago by the Sami knitter Skaite-Maria from the Jokkmokk parish of northern Sweden. Skaite-Maria’s wonderful knitting has been kept alive through the research and writing of Erika Nordvall Falck also of Jokkmokk, Sweden. What makes Skaite-Maria’s so unique? The patterning before and after the thumb were of equal proportions. Laura’s interpretation is not an exact reproduction; her thumb is a bit more streamlined.

red and black mittens and green and blue mittens

Left: Laura Ricketts’s striking Skaite-Maria: The Red and Black Mittens are the perfect take along project. Right: Mary Germain based the colors and motifs of this pair of spectacular mittens on Erna Jansons’s Design No. 51.

Erna Jansons’s Design No. 51

Latvian-born Erna Jansons is a prolific knitter and artist. Well into her eighties, she is still publishing books of her designs like Latviešu Cimdu Raksti (Latvian Mitten Designs), which contains one hundred mitten designs. Mary Germain met Erna in 2005 and based the colors and motifs of this pair of spectacular mittens on Erna Jansons’s Design No. 51. The mittens include a knitted lining, which makes them comfortable and wonderfully warm.

purple flower mittens

Donna Druchunas’s gorgeous floral mittens were inspired by the love the people of Lithuania have for flowers.

Lithuania-Inspired Floral and Entrelac Mittens

Donna Druchunas’s Lithuania-Inspired Floral and Entrelac Mittens were inspired by the love the people of Lithuania have for flowers and combine both stranded colorwork and entrelac— gorgeous! It is March; as winter’s chill passes to spring, these lovely mittens will remind you of the flowers to come. New to entrelac? They are a perfect place to learn a new technique.

Mittens are the ultimate take-along project with their small size, and they don’t require much yarn. PieceWork’s three Scandinavian-style mittens include both engaging colorwork and a tie to knitting’s past—plenty to keep any knitter amused and their needles busy. Alleviate your longing for a new knitting project and cast on a pair today!

Happy knitting!
Elizabeth

Featured Image: Inside this year’s annual historical knitting issue are some stunning mittens to knit. Photos by Joe Coca.


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2 Comments

  1. Juti W at 7:33 am March 7, 2017

    Interweave, if you’re looking for something to reprint that would get Scandinavian mitten fans excited, please consider the book “Sata Kansanomaista Kuviokudinmallia” by Eeva Haavisto. Yes, it’s in Finnish, but it’s a legend and you can find translators.

  2. Judith M at 4:12 pm March 7, 2017

    Oh my gosh…a reprint of “Sata Kansanomaista Kuviokudinmallia” by Eva Haavisto … even in Finnish would be a thrill. I’ve never heard of her or her book but am an avid knitter (over 65 years of knitting), my Dad’s parents were from Finland and the community I lived in from birth to age about 70 was mostly Finnish…. I would LOVE to see that book!,,!!!?, thanks for mentioning it….will keep my eyes open for anything associated with Eva Haavisto! Just seeing the Finn words and name brings back so many memories and pride in my heritage.

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