We continue the Wovember Words EU sheep and wool tour in Latvia where the word for sheep is aita, and the word for wool is vilna.
The only breed of sheep that we could find with origins in Latvia is the Skudde which is listed on Wikipedia as being a breed from Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and Switzerland.
However, the Latvian Sheep Breeders Association list many other breeds that are kept in this country, including several that we have discussed elsewhere during this series of Wovember Words:
Ile de France
In terms of what happens with the wool from these animals, as far as we can tell, there is one factory that offers a total service for transforming raw wool into finished products: Pāces vilnas fabrika which translates as Pace wool factory. You can see the factory in the video clip below.
Collaboration between Klippan Textil Group and SIA Klippan Saule began in 1992, just after Latvia gained its independence. In fact, Klippan Saule was one of the first Latvian companies to partner with a western firm. Klippan Saule successfully started exporting throws and blankets to Sweden in 1994. In 1997, SIA Klippan Saule became a subsidiary of Klippan Textil Group. Today the group sells its products throughout the Baltics, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Iceland, Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, etc.
The website shows that both carded wool and spun yarn can be purchased on site, as well as a range of throws and blankets, but there is no description of the origins of the wool that is processed there; does anyone reading this know? The colours are amazing, and put us in mind of the extraordinary stranded colourwork folk knitting traditions and world-famous mittens with which Latvia is associated.
We recommend this amazing book – documented in the video footage below – as an introduction to the joyous tradition of Latvian knitting, and there are loads of amazing knitters and glorious Latvian designs in the wonderful Ravelry group: knit like a Latvian.
We hope you have enjoyed this brief stop in Latvia – as ever, please notify us if we have made any errors, and if you feel that there is an element of the sheep and wool scene in Latvia that you feel we have overlooked, please share your wisdom in the comments.