Today we have a fabulous guest post by the amazing designer and writer, Donna Druchunas about her next book, Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions. Enjoy!
People often ask me where I get ideas for knitting designs. I find this an odd question, because I find ideas and inspiration everywhere: in nature, in folk art, in antiques, in museum artifacts, in science fiction movies… it really doesn’t matter where I am, I am almost guaranteed to be inspired.
For my newest book, Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions, coming out this summer, my inspiration came from the country where my great grandparents were born: Lithuania. This small nation, about the size of West Virginia, is on the eastern edge of the Baltic Sea. To get there, you can start in Germany and head east to Poland then northeast into Lithuania, or you can start in Finland, and head south across the sea and then continue south through Estonia and Latvia.
In the past, knitters in Lithuania made small accessories to warm their hands and feet: socks, mittens, gloves, and wrist warmers. They were made with lace, colorwork, texture stitches, and beads. Simple pieces were made for everyday wear, and elaborate pieces knit at a fine gauge–sometimes as much as 20 stitches per inch–were knit for holiday wear.
Vintage mittens and socks from the Šiauliai Aušros Museum in Šiauliai, Lithuania.
If you know my work in Stories In Stitches, then you know I have strong passions for history and story telling. This new book is just the same! About half of the pages are filled with stories about Lithuania — past and present — and half of the pages are filled with knitting patterns and interesting techniques. In this cross-genre book, you’ll find memoir, travel stories, history, and more. You’ll get to travel around Lithuania with me and my co-author June Hall, and meet Lithuanian knitters, spinners, weavers, and even some sheep!
Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions was designed by a Lithuanian art director who lives in Vilnius, the capital city, and it’s being printed in Lithuania as well.
To pay for this, I’ve been holding a Pubslush crowdfunding campaign (like kickstarter but only for books) and I’m 95% funded today with 10 days left to go. I’m so excited that so many people are helping me make this dream come true in a way that will give back to the Lithuanian economy. I hope you’ll take a minute to check it out and if you like what you see, pre-order your copy through this campaign and get some special rewards as an extra bonus!
If you’re not ready to chip in, you can check out all of the patterns on Ravelry. Some of my projects are reproductions of vintage pieces I saw in Lithuania and others are more modern interpretations of traditional designs.
And you can download a preview of the introduction with 3 patterns. It will be free when you click “add to cart” or “buy now.”
Thanks for taking the time to check this out. I hope you love it as much as I do!