I’ve been blogging for a long time. I started in 2003 but I didn’t blog about Lithuania or start working on Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions until 2007. Here’s another of my early posts. It’s about two knitting books I purchased and what they made me think about when I was looking at these books. I learned so much more after this! But it’s fascinating to me to see how this project started out. Remember, the pre-sales start on April 15 on Pubslush. That’s only 9 days. I’m so nervous and excited! So go to that page and become a fan so you get a notice when the launch begins and be one of the first people to receive a copy of Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions. Lithuanian Knitting Books Posted on 7 Apr 2007 by Donna
I recently purchased 2 Lithuanian knitting books, Mezgimo Menas (The Art of Knitting) by Rasa Praninskienė (editor) and Mezgimo Poezija (The Poetry of Knitting) by Matilda Miglė Nainienė. I’m just learning to read Lithuanian, so it’s a challenge to figure these books out, but since I’m quite fluent in knitting and they both have lots of charts and diagrams, it’s a good way to learn the parts of the language related to knitting. The first book, Mezgimo Menas, is like Vogue Knitting in Lithuanian. It is an encyclopedia of knitting and crochet, and includes chapters on the history of knitting, basic stitches, lace, cables, modular knitting, crochet, and hairpin lace, as well as in depth descriptions of the constructions of gloves, mittens, hats, socks, and sweaters. There are also designs by many Lithuanian designers, but they do not include line-by-line instructions. Instead there are photos, schematics, diagrams of unusual construction techniques, charts, and brief text. Here are some sample pages showing a cardigan design that includes ideas for customizing and embellishing the front opening, an overview of sweater shapes, and some sketches of design ideas for knitters to branch out on their own.
The second book, Mezgimo Poezija, is all about modular knitting. I guess this is a hot style in Lithuania! Many of the designs are knitted at least partially in fur yarn, as are several designs in Mezgimo Menas. It looks like real fur to me, not faux fur, which makes sense stylistically since Lithuania was a part of Russia (okay, the USSR) for half of the 20th century, and the climate has historically been quite cold. This book also has detailed diagrams of each construction technique, and text about knitting each project, but it does not seem to have line-by-line instructions or even schematics, as are quite common in US, European, and Japanese books. But I guess with modular knitting, you just build up the pattern until the piece is the size you want, so having preset sizes is sort of besides the point, isn’t it?
This all makes me wonder a few things. First, I wonder how many knitting books in Lithuanian are in print. Second, I wonder if they are all like this, where the knitter is in charge of creating and adapting her own patterns, rather than following line-by-line instructions. This is something I plan to learn more about on my trip, when I will visit several knitting shops. I’m still not sure if my book on Lithuanian knitting will focus entirely on historical knitting techniques and designs, or if I’ll also be featuring contemporary knitting in Lithuania. Maybe those should be two separate books? Nothing I need to decide today!
(If you’re going to do a search for Lithuanian knitting books, mezgimas is the acutal noun for the craft of knitting. Mezgimo is in the genetive case, and it actually means “of knitting.” Knygos means book, and perku means buy.)