Friday, July 17, 2015

It's hot and I'm not sewing but I have been traveling.

We've been having extreme, record setting heat in Europe for the last couple of weeks - we had a couple days of cooler, wet weather but now we're back to hot. And we have no a/c, just fans, like most of Europe. My great upstairs studio-with-a-view is an oven, so needless to say, sewing is on hold until cooler weather. Bummer.

But that doesn't explain all of my absence from blogging. Since I last posted in early June, we've traveled to seven countries. Whew! My niece visited from the states for two weeks, so that accounted for some of the travel.

Before the heat and my niece arrived (at the same time, just her luck!), I was working on a top. It's a simple pattern - just two pieces - but I had an idea in my head which has led to it being quite complicated. The most difficult part is done but now I have to figure out how I will do the finishing. I don't want to show it until it's done because I am a little bit excited about how it is turning out.

So the travel. In the last month we went to Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, and Luxembourg. Whew!

In this post I'll show you a bit of Riga, Latvia. First, I'll show you the fiber-y related things:

When in Latvian mitten kits. I couldn't decide between the two.
I loved the color of this wool roving and the price was right, so...
A bound book of gridded paper for weaving notes, a fun, big, wood button just cause it's a fun, big, wood button, and a tea towel that I may turn into a knitting project bag.
I couldn't resist. We went to the local market (which is huge!) and this was 15 Euros a kilo. It looks like the same yarn as in the mitten kits too. 
Knitting on "Knitting in Public Day"
Wall of Latvian mittens
...and more
Woven bands - these are used on traditional Latvian dress
Sorry, I didn't get the name of the store. I believe the mittens hanging up are part of an exhibit that is in conjunction with a book about Latvian mittens (only in Latvian). Here's the brochure (click picture to see larger):

You can get the book on Amazon for $49 but it sells for 29 Euros in Latvia ($49 is about $32 right now). I would have bought it, but how many Latvian mittens can one knit...or use?

There are many knitted items for sale in Latvia. There are many souvenir shops selling knitted items as well as vendors on the streets selling fine gauge, machine-made items (probably not made in Latvia) as well as chunkier hand-knitted things (faster to knit in larger gauge).

Of course I was interested in yarn, which you saw that I bought. I bought the mitten kits and roving from Hobbywool.
Located on a small street but you can't miss the "yarn bombing" out front!
So what about the non-fiber-y Riga? It was delightful. We had really nice weather, which helps a lot, but I was really pleasantly surprised. The Old Town is compact with a few squares where eating and drinking outside (in the summer) is the main attraction.

With only the long weekend and gorgeous blue skies most of the time, we chose not to visit museums and instead wandered the medieval streets and nearby parks stopping for a refreshment now and then. 
Every picture of Riga includes the House of Blackheads. Riga was a major trade city in the 13th-16th centuries. The House of Blackheads was built in the 14th century for unmarried German merchants.

The other often photographed building is the Cat House. It's actually a relatively new building (1909). The cat on the turret is one of two, supposedly put there by a merchant who had an argument with the guild - the cats' rear ends faced the guild building across the street. Cats figure prominently in the souvenirs sold in Riga. I did buy the t-shirt. :-)

The other notable landmark in Riga is Freedom Monument. Erected in 1938 to honor soldiers who died during the 1918-1920 Latvian War for Independence. In 1987 Latvians rallied here to commemorate victims of the Soviet regime, which led to a renewed national independence movement and three years later Latvian sovereignty.

One morning we took a walk through a neighborhood known for its incredible, well-preserved Art Nouveau buildings.


I recommend visiting Riga if you have a chance. I think many travelers include it with a visit to Estonia and Lithuania. We've been to Tallinn, Estonia, which has a nice old town also (and yarn!). Lithuania is still on our list to visit.


  1. Lori, what a fabulous post! Thanks for all the great info and photos. Sorry to hear about the heat ruining your sewing room. :-(

  2. Your pics make Latvia look like a dream destination!

  3. All of your posts are such wonderful to teases. Kathy (she is 18 now!) and I have tickets to Dublin September 9 through September 30. I haven't figured out what we're doing yet. I'm going to email you for some tips