On my first trip to Europe, I went to England and Lithuania. This post is about how those two places connected for me. I had a fabulous time in England, but Lithuania had a much bigger impact on me. All of these trips have fed into the depth of Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions, even though not all of these photos or blog posts are included in the book.
Fiber in England & Lithuania
Originally posted 15 Jul, 2007
This is really about Lithuania, but I saw it at the Woolfest in England, so I’m posting it here. June Hall, one of the organizers of Woolfest, has been researching knitting traditions in Lithuania for several years. She’s put together a wonderful exhibit showcasing her discoveries, and she gave a talk about her research at Woolfest as well. Here are some photos we took of the exhibit. I hope you can read the text on the posters. I want to collaborate with June on a book about traditional Lithuanian knitting, and I hope we can travel together in Lithuania sometime soon to continue with the research and to take photos for the book.
Click on each image to enlarge.
June also had some related info about Cumbria, England, where she lives.
As we walked around the streets of Vilnius, we discovered four yarn shops. I noted the locations of the last three, but could not relocate the first shop we found when we tried to visit them all again on our shopping day. As with other businesses, some of the yarn shops are well hidden. If you’re looking for big doors and lots of windows, you won’t find most businesses in old-town Vilnius. Many shops are in old buildings with small windows and wooden doors. It looks like there will be nothing but tiny rooms inside, but once you go through the door, you will be amazed by the big spaces hidden inside. In some areas outside of the old town, shops with bigger windows and glass doors are prevalent, and the look is more like what you’d expect in a U.S. shopping center.
Geros Akys Yarn Shop is one of the hidden treasures:
The shops are mostly full of imported Italian yarns, and some German and Russian knitting magazines. I only saw domestic linen thread on cones, but nothing that could be used as knitting yarn, except for a scratchy linen-acrylic blend at the first shop that I could not find again when looking for it. I did find some laceweight mohair from one shop, with a shop label on it, but I suspect that the yarn is also imported and just labeled for the shop. I bought it anyway.
In the market, we saw hand knitted mittens and socks at almost every vendor booth. These items are so popular, that my Lithuanian language book includes a photo of the hand-made mittens in the chapter called “Šandien tu puikiai atrodai!” (“You look really fine today!”)