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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lithuanian Knitting and how Knitting brings the Past into the Present

I'm very excited about the forthcoming publication from the extremely talented Donna Druchunas and equally talented co-author, June Hall.


Lithuanian Knitting Continuing Traditions promises to introduce us to Lithuanian knitting techniques and traditions as well as introduce us to the knitters, weavers, spinners and sheep of this fascinating country. To top it all there are 25 knitting patterns celebrating this rich knitting heritage. One of my favourite patterns from the book are these beautiful mittens.


Donna has kindly written a blog post for me, telling us more about this book and how you can get involved in its publication.

Donna: I'm not the kind of person who is nostalgic or dreams of the "good old days." I love living in a modern world with the internet and cars and antibiotics and so many life-improving inventions. But I do think there are some things we've lost in our frantic rush into the future in the Western world. One way I connect to the past is through knitting.


Mezgimas, the most popular vintage knitting book in Lithuanian

Boy wearing knitted outfit from the Mezgimas knitting book
Vintage knitting designs provide me a window into a life that was slower and less commercial. Where people took time to make things for themselves, and often this was less expensive than buying a similar garment in the store! On the personal side, I think about my grandmothers and their mothers sewing, knitting, crocheting and doing so many other handicrafts and with each stitch I make in my own newest knitting project, I make another stitch in my memory letting me connect with loved ones who are no longer with us.

If you're familiar with my work, you will know that in addition to having a passion for knitting, I also love history and storytelling. Most of my books are cross-genre with stories and history as well as a collection of knitting projects that are used as illustrations to the story. I'm continuing this trend with my newest book, Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions. In this book, I take my connections to the past and my family history even further back in time, to Eastern Europe, where all of my great grandparents were born.

In 2007, I made my first trip to Lithuania. I was the first one in my family to return since my ancestors came to the United States in the first years of the twentieth century. For over one hundred years, we were Americans. I'm still an American--how could I not be after living in this country for 53 years--but after visiting Lithuania, I feel a strong connection to the lands of my heritage. In Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions, I explore this heritage through knitting, along with memoir, travel essays, and lots of information about what's going on in the knitting world of Lithuania today. 

June and Donna with Marija in Lithuania
My co-author, June Hall, is also partly of Lithuanian descent. She brings an English perspective to the book. I could not have created this book without her collaboration. June's experience raising sheep, being a member the Wool Clip fiber-artist co-operative in Cumbria, organizing WoolFest, and serving on the board of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in the UK make her uniquely qualified to offer us a glimpse into the world of Lithuanian sheep breeds and their wool. June is also a fiber-artist in her own right, and has had her articles and designs published in magazines in the UK and the USA.

June with a gift of Lithuanian wool
I hope you'll join us on our adventure and check out our Pubslush campaign to raise the funds to print this book in Lithuania and give back to the local economy. We are 95% funded with about a week to go, so don't miss your chance to be one of the first people to get this book and receive some really special bonus rewards, too!

Thank you Donna, and I'm sure you'll all agree that this is going to be one heck of a book!

for now,
Susan xx


2 comments :

Josie said...

Another great post, I love those mittens!

writerdd said...

Isn't that boy's outfit just too much?