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Nordic and Latvian Mittens

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

Siwd Mae! Today we are talking about one of my favourite inspirations, Mittens!

Nordic and Latvian mittens have a rich history, steeped in tradition and symbolism. They are a staple of traditional folk clothing in both regions, and are known for their unique shapes and styles.

The history of Nordic mittens can be traced back to the Viking age, where they were worn by both men and women as a practical form of hand protection. They were typically made from natural materials such as wool or reindeer hide, and were often decorated with intricate patterns and symbols. In Latvian culture, mittens have been worn for centuries as a symbol of warmth and protection. They were also traditionally worn as part of traditional folk clothing, and were often decorated with symbols and patterns that held special


The shape and style of Nordic and Latvian mittens can vary greatly. Traditional Nordic mittens are often fingerless, with a long cuff that extends up the arm. They are often decorated with geometric patterns, such as the traditional Scandinavian "eight-pointed star" pattern. Selbuvott mittens are traditional knit gloves originating from the small Norwegian village of Selbu. They are known for their intricate and decorative designs, typically featuring traditional Nordic motifs such as stars, flowers, and hearts and commonly made in monochrome colours.

Selbuvott Mittens-Norway Credit; Kjersti Lie

Latvian mittens, on the other hand, are typically fingerless and have a shorter cuff and pointed tip. They often feature more detailed and intricate patterns, such as Latvian folk motifs like stars, flowers, and trees, as well as historical figures and legends. The colours used in Latvian mittens are thought to have symbolic meaning, representing elements of nature such as the sky, sun, and snow. Popular hues include red, green, blue, and yellow, which are often used to create bold, geometric designs. The use of multiple colours in one mitten allows for a wide range of patterns and designs, making each pair unique.

Credit; Riga, Latvia

One of the most important elements of these mittens is the use of high-quality, natural fibres such as wool. This is because wool is an excellent insulator and is able to keep hands warm even in extremely cold temperatures. Additionally, wool is a renewable and sustainable resource, making it an eco-friendly choice for mittens.

At Elin Manon, we take great inspiration from Nordic mittens, adding our own signature twist to the style. This can be seen here in our Merino fair-isle mittens. This year, we are adding more designs! Keep an eye on our website for updates.

Hwyl Fawr


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