Ok, I’m very prone to speaking in general terms like “making beautiful things” and lofty phrases like “journey to the handcrafts world”, I admit it. I love looong sentences, brackets (very very much! There will be a lot of them and I don’t intend to change in this respect), generalisations, exaggerations and sometimes my writings might get a tad bit pretentious (I hope that its only a “tad bit”, anyway!). But please don’t be put out by that – I’ll really try to write something more “down-to-earth” and straightforward at least sometimes. Today is one of those times, and I intend to tell you what my main idea for “journeying to the handcrafts world” is (really, I understood how comic this phrase might sound only a good deal of time after publishing it). And first of all I’ll give you a kind of lecture – or info-article – on a thing that I (please note this) will call wrister (it will be short, promise!).
Now let’s make one thing straight from the start: most of these items that I found on the World Wide Web are called “wrist warmers” and basically that is one of their functions. But “wrist warmers” is such a broad category: it includes both articles like fingerless gloves (of various length, materials and patterns) and articles like wristers that are essentially kind of band (also of various length/width, materials and patterns) that covers only the wrist. Here’s what Merriam-Webster online dictionary says about wristers (actually, there’s no such term as “wrist warmer” in this dictionary or definition of it anywhere on the Web, really! Try “define: wrist warmers” in Google, you’ll find lots of items themselves but not the definition. But maybe I’m just splitting hairs here? ):
“wrister (noun): a warm knitted covering for the wrist.”
And what I am interested in is an even smaller category – beaded wristers, where the small seed beads are knit into the wrister making a beautiful pattern. Here are a few pictures from the only book about exactly this kind of wristers that I know of (of course, there might be other such books somewhere out there in the world that I don’t know of) – Irena Filomena Juškienė’s “Riešinės” (surprise surprise, its in Lithuanian! – my native language – and if you’re interested, the word between the quotation-marks in Lithuanian means exactly that – “wristers” ).
It seems these kinds of wristers were part of a national costume in many Northern European countries in the XIXth century. They were usually made from wool and served both a practical function of warming the wrists (and sometimes holding very wide sleeves in place so the wind wouldn’t blow into them or they wouldn’t get in the way while doing some work) and decorative function of embellishing the costume. Usually the beaded wristers were worn only with the best/”Sunday” clothes and mainly for the decorative purposes (for everyday uses people wore much simpler wristers without beads, made from thicker yarn). And, by the way, these nice things were worn both by women and men.
Well, and that’s it for the historical excursion. I don’t know how you found the examples in the photos but for me – although the idea of the knitted-in beads is great – the wristers themselves look a bit dull (or maybe just the photos aren’t so good? But it is a rather old book)… I actually made quite a few pairs of them exactly like that – using traditional patterns but choosing more colorful, brighter yarns – and gave all of them away to friends. Some of these wristers even turned out quite nice and not so very boring (how can aquamarine colour be boring, huh?!). But my idea behind “making beautiful things” is to make the beaded wristers even more decorative and much more original. I’m planning on using a bit different technique from the traditional one (traditionally wristers were knit using two needles and then the ends were sewn together; I’m going to knit with five needles so there is no seem to mar the beauty of the pattern and there’s no “wrong side” of the wrister) and develop my own – original – designs/patterns for them.
Now you are (hopefully!) keen on seeing what my wristers would look like. Unfortunately, you’ll have to have a bit of patience. I will make my first original pair very very soon: the idea already lives in my head, all it needs is the execution – the transformation of my image into an actual working-pattern and knitting it (and then taking pictures). And as soon as it comes to being it will be displayed here for everyone to see and comment. But right now I must finish one of my current projects (it’s not related to the wristers and not yet related to the “potential items for sale” list in my head, but the list is still in the phase of development, so who knows); and maybe I’ll drop in some pictures of it (when finished) in the mean time, so you won’t get very bored waiting for my first “masterpiece” 🙂 But the “masterpiece” will follow very shortly.
And – just for the record – wristers are my main idea for “sell-able” items, but not the only one. But let’s not get ahead of things 🙂