THE KNITTER

Snuggled into her 100 year old Turkish couch, she is calm and composed. There she sits and twitches her knitting needles like magic wands. The room smells of apples and wax candles, but the sea of stiches grows in her lap. Waves of wool. Piles of yarn.

While her hands are busy, she drifts off into memories of her childhood home. Sunlight in the window, a radio play crackling from the old receiver and grandma in a knitted vest. Her own knit, of course. Each of our lives is knit together differently: for some it’s as smooth as a horse’s back, for others, full of knots like stones in an unploughed field. For someone else, fine as a spider’s web – don’t touch it or you’ll destroy it.

The sea of stiches in the knitter’s lap starts to swell. Unstoppable, never-ending, warm and loving. Soon it will be a warm cardigan, a new best friend to someone in the cold winter months. It will whisper a story about a faraway land where girls used to take knitting to while away the hours whilst shepherding sheep. Then, that was the way to get 500 pairs of mittens for your wedding trousseau. Meanwhile today, clever scientists develop a unique silver thread, which, worked into clothing, will relieve the symptoms of wearer’s illness.

THE WOOLLEN BLANKET WEAVER

A kilogram of wool, four days at the loom, and it’s ready! The blanket. A pure wool blanket that acquired its beautiful brown hue from the aromatic yellow bedstraw flowers in the meadow. Latvians believe that you must start a blanket on a Saturday, and under no circumstances, on a Monday.

Each blanket has its own aroma. The smell of visitors. The smell of children, the smell of a quiet summer evening. The smell of hay. The smell of midsummer’s night. The smell of forgiveness. The smell of love. Regardless of how deep in the city you live or which prestige university you attend, in the summer, Latvians return to the countryside and find their true place – in the warmth of that woollen blanket and in the calmness of one’s heart.

Click, clack, click, clack. After a working day with the rhythm of the loom, at home the weaver’s solace is quiet. Only her daughter is allowed to intrude on the silence practising a Moonlight Sonata on the piano. The moment she longs for,

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coming home from work in the late autumn and winter evenings? That minute she sees that wisp of smoke curling from the chimney. The sign that someone is waiting for her at home.