Last time I promised to share more of the inspiration behind these Kaamos mittens. But I have been postponing this post because I have been tossing these words this and that way in my mind and for some strange reason, I cannot put my finger on them. Every single sentence seems a bit odd and clumsy. I could just write down that there were three reasons for knitting these mittens: Finnwool, Finnish raanus and Finnish woollen embroidery but then, would that be enough? On the other hand, to write a good, informative post on any of these would require serious reading and studying and that would then take weeks... So, this is it in its shortness and clumsiness and maybe at some point I write more. But at the moment this is blocking my mind and I need to be done with this.
stripes. And being a Finn, I love stripes. Maybe you
know Marimekko and their
sriped t-shirts that became very popular in 1960's when I was a child and that
have more or less stayed popular ever since. I had many color combinations then and have many today.
rugs are truly part of the Finnish heritage. All the old worn clothing used to
end up in these woven pieces and there are still plenty of looms in Finland and
lots of weaving knowledge.
ago I was talking to two ladies who still remember well the time when most farm
houses in the countryside kept sheep for own wool and how the sheared fleece
got sent to a spinning mill and how it then came back in hanks to be woven into
raanus or other textiles or were knitted into garments. Raanus are thick, wool
coverlets that mostly today are kept for
decoration purposes if even for that. The Samis of Lapland used only wool for
their raanus, both in warp and weft while elsewhere the warp might have been
either linen or hemp and later on cotton. The weave structure in raanus is very
simple and the surface is broken by stripes or groups of stripes. (Like this
old piece I showed you long ago.)
When I was
growing up raanus were very popular among weavers. While this popularity did
lots of good to the old textile, it also did some serious damage. Where once
raanus colorings were eye pleasing, they gradually got very garish and then lost their appeal.
I love these
old, sheep's color raanus most but I admire some of the more colorful ones too.
Elsa Montell, Finnish textile artist, wove beautiful raanus. She lived close
to Rovaniemi, my home town, and I can well remember her work being talked of
and also seeing few of her pieces (and many copies of her work too). She began
her career by dyeing her own wool with vegetable dyes but later on she used
also yarn dyed with artificial dyes. Elsa Montell respected folk art and found
inspiration in asymmetrical and freely designed Skolt Samí raanus.
carried these images of stripes in my mind for decades. I have been looking at
them, have tried to knit them a couple of times but have always disregarded the
idea. I never knew just what to do with them. These horizontal stripes are the
landscape of my mind, something I cannot get rid of. So it is no wonder that
these stripes finally crept into these mittens. I don't think I had very much
saying in the end, it was almost like they just appeared on the surface
Once I had
the stripes running through the surface like a distant horizon, I knew where I
would look for the image of the sun. Old Finnish embroidered woollen covers
were my primary source.
We had a
dusting of snow yesterday and I happened to be out right then, the experience
was once again thrilling. Most of the snow is gone, it was just a dusting but it could be any day now.