The world blanketed in a fresh blanket of frozen white, the
way the sunlight sparkles like off each unique crystal, and the crispness of
the air: these are the reason why I love winter sports. In truth I participate
more in snowshoeing and sledding than speed skating or ski jumping, but I love
watching snowboarding and figure skating. And the 2014 Winter Games are an
amazing opportunity to witness some of the best winter sport athletes in the
world. It's also a fabulous chance to fit in a little extra handwork time, maybe some crocheted mittens.
|Handknitted mittens in the collection of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum in Ishpeming, Michigan. (1993.9.1).
Photograph by the author and courtesy of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum.
More importantly this is an chance to create your own
history. What story will your projects tell? In the Winter Games eBook, Susan Strawn tells the story of one pair of
knitted mittens. Here is a brief excerpt.
1940 Suomi Olympic Mittens
Handknitting seems a fine fit with the "skisport," as
Scandinavian immigrants called moving over snow on two planks when they first
introduced skiing to America. So I was not surprised to see handknitted mittens
exhibited at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum in Ishpeming, a
small city in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The mittens captured my
attention, their handknitted presence a quiet interlude among dynamic displays
of historic ski costume and technical gear and within a gallery of superstars
who have skied, ski-jumped, and snowboarded their way into posterity.
The beautifully knitted mittens feature structured bands of
geometric motifs in white and red on a deep blue background, and a
Norwegian-style thumb gore incorporates patterns well coordinated with the body
of the mittens. The museum label reads, "Sample Woolen Mittens proposed for
Winter Olympic Games 1940 - Finland (GAMES NOT HELD)." The Olympic rings logo,
Suomi (Finland in the Finnish language), and 1940 are knitted into the mitten
tops. The national flag of Finland since 1918 has a blue Nordic cross on a
white background, and variant State flags are blue and white with a small red
coat of arms, so perhaps these represent patriotic colors of Finland.
||Mittens Based on a Finnish-American Design: Adapted from Mittens in the Collection of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum by Susan Strawn
The mittens proved most curious. Who was the knitter? What
are the Finnish and Finnish-American connections with the Olympiads? Why would
mittens dedicated to Finland and Olympic Games be found in the Upper Peninsula
of Michigan? Even more puzzling, the 1940 Helsinki Olympics would have been held
in summer, not winter, so why would a (presumably) Finnish-American knitter
invest time and wool in mittens for a summer athletic event? And why is the
name for Finland knitted in the Finnish language, not in English?
Challenge yourself this year and knit your own Winter Games
2014 accessories. Download the Winter Games eBook today.
P. S. Are you a winter sports enthusiast? What is your