Taasloovast kudumisest Muhu sõrmkinnaste näitel / Reconstruction knitting of a pair of Muhu gloves
In the article, renowned artisan knitter Kristi Jõeste with 20 years of experience, provides a detailed description of the process of the reconstructional knitting of a pair of Muhu traditional gloves. Using the widespread reconstruction method in combination with an autoethnographic approach enables the practitioner’s personal bodily/tacit knowledge to be made explicit. Making Muhu traditional gloves is one of the most complicated tasks facing Estonian knitters, due to the use of fine threads and knitting needles, as well as the demanding techniques the work requires. Describing the key moments in the process of reconstructional glove-knitting enables her to share useful information with other reconstructional knitters.
The object of this descriptive research experiment is a pair of Muhu gloves VM VM 9168:56 E 535 held by Viljandi Museum. This pair represents the tradition of women’s gloves with colourful horizontal patterns that was practiced in Muhu at the beginning of the 20th century. The gloves were made with a crocheted cuff to which the hand was later seamed or knitted. While the author provides an overview and explains the problems she encountered and the solutions she found, the purpose of the article is not, however, to compile a standard pattern and instruction, such as can be found in knitting manuals.
Due to the global Covid19 pandemic, the museum was closed at the time of the knitting experiment. While the author was able to use high-resolution museum photographs of the gloves, she had no access to the gloves themselves, which meant that she had to draw upon her own experience, rather than being able to gain detailed information about the length of floats and some other technical details directly from the gloves themselves.
The author did not dye the threads to match the exact colour of the original as that would have taken too much time. She bought 12/2 Danish carded woollen threads with similar colours from the Saara web shop, and used no 1 and 1.25 knitting needles and a no 1.5 crochet hook. The wrist part was crocheted with 92 crochet stitches and seamed with hands knitted with 100 to 120 stitches. In order to achieve symmetry under the thumbs, the stitches were increased at the sides where the next row started; this same technique has been used on the original gloves.
For knitting the monochrome fingers, the spiral decrease method was used for the fingertips, just as it had been on the original pair. The reconstructed pair of gloves is the same size as the original, it fits well, and was knitted in 38 hours and 40 minutes.
Keywords: reconstruction, autoethnography, traditional knitting, hand knitting, Muhu gloves