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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colourwork Komi Mittens.

I received a fabulous book for my birthday last month that I had been wanting for a long time. It's Mostly Mittens by Charlene Schurch. I was not disappointed by it. There are so many patterns inside for the most lovely mittens I have seen. I have chosen pattern number 27 to start with. This is the first pair of colourwork mittens I have ever knit.

The book tells the fascinating history of the Komi People from Russia. The Komi were in Russia by 1000 to 1200 AD. They were migratory deer herding people and established a life dependent on farming, fishing and hunting reindeer around 1700. As late as the mid 1950's the Komi were still living in village type communities. Today there are only around 285,000 Komi speakers. Russia considers the Komi as one of the 26 recognised ethnic minorities and they form an independent republic.

The chapter I found most intriguing was on Komi dress. The women would spin flax, hemp and wool from plants and animals they had raised. The men would carve spindles from wood for the women to spin. Before they could marry Komi girls were expected to weave at least 2 dozen towels and 100 yards of cloth as well as make 3 dozen pairs of stockings, the same amount of mittens and 1 or 2 dozen shirts! In order to fill this order the girls began these preparations at the age of 10. All these goods were presented to the family of the bridegroom at the wedding. 

I cast on last night and completed my first 2 colour rib, I used 2 half skeins of my hand dyed sock yarn that I had left over from recent projects in Jet and Pacific Blue, I love this effect:

I put it on my Ravelry project page and I don't know why but the mittens I am knitting are not the No 27 mittens on Ravelry, the ones shown are different, they are No 26 in the book I have.

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