In the Ethnic Socks workshop, two wonderful teachers, Mary Germain and Sandy deMaster, introduced us to traditions, methods and patterns of two-stranded knitting inspired by the socks made by Irma Mezeraups Ciganovich, a Latvian knitter. Irma’s socks and others knitted by our instructors practically danced through our hands as we heard about skills and beliefs of the Latvian knitters. Before we knew it, we had opened our materials, grabbed our yarn and started to make the first of many design decisions for our own stockings.
As we worked over the next two days, we learned knitted items in these villages reflected the beliefs, skill and industry of their people. How pattern covered every visible inch for fear of empty space. And colorful costly dyed yarns indicated the prosperity of the wearer and their family. Through the stories, we knit and considered our own choices of pattern and color. Making Irma proud, we hope. Ten knitters, ten stockings, ten unique creations.
For more about Ethnic Socks and Irma’s story, check out these two articles; “Messages in Mittens: The Story of a Latvian Knitter” by Sandra Messinger De Master and “Irma’s Christmas Stocking” by Mary Germain in Knitting Traditions, Fall 2011