Lithuanian Socks: Spinning and Knitting (slide show & lecture)



Unlimited participants

No materials needed

All skill levels welcome


Spinning was an integral part of daily life for rural villagers in Lithuania. Long after people in Western Europe and America were wearing mass-produced clothing and using commercially made linens, Lithuanians were still making most of their yarn and fabric from scratch. Small farms were self-sufficient; little or no money was needed to supplement the household’s home production. All the women and girls in a family spun, and the mother managed and assigned all of the spinning tasks. Many old women, especially widows, sold handspun yarn and fabric because they had no other way to make a living. Fine linen threads were spun for weaving a muslin-type fabric and sewing thread, and skeins were tested for quality by drawing them through a wedding ring. Linen (and later cotton) was also used for knitting summer gloves and socks. Coarse Lithuanian wool was spun into stiff and heavy yarns to knit winter mittens and socks and to weave fabrics that would be for heavy, fulled and sewn into heavy overcoats. In this lecture, we will look at a slide show of knitting exhibitions in Lithuanian museums, as well as photos from my travels around the country over the past four summers. We will learn about the materials and techniques used for spinning yarn and knitting socks (and other accessories) in Lithuania and talk about the most popular techniques for constructing sock heels and toes.

Shop owners? Guilds? Please contact me to find out prices and schedule.