Helgeland, Norway / Rovaniemi, Finland / Helsinki, Finland / Syktyvkar, Komi Republic, Russia
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Fishermen’s mittens have long been an important part of the work clothes of fishermen along the Norwegian coast. The mittens were made of wool and protected the hands from water, cold, fish and tools during the hard work at sea in cold and raw climates. With its special properties, wool is a unique natural material that is heat insulating and warm even when it’s wet. Wool from the Old Norwegian Short Tail Landrace breed, has good heat properties, and has been considered the best wool for the mittens. It consists of soft bottom wool and long, straight coat hair. The long, smooth cover hairs are water-repellent, and the garment is strong at the same time as it retains heat.
The women produced the mittens from scratch and knew all about the long process of how to feed the sheep and cut and sort the wool before tearing and carding. It was an art to spin the yarn correctly as it should have a long spin and at the same time it should be thick and soft. The mittens were knitted in double size and felted. The mitten makers embodied knowledge made them aware of how good the mittens should be felted to be waterproof and not too hard for proper use.