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December 14, 2007


Jordans 2

What a pity I miss seeing all those gorgeous knits! Thanks for sharing the photos.


I just came across your blog, and had to say that I too discovered the photos of Latavian mittens last year and have been using them for my screen saver ever since.
Looking at them makes me feel wonderful. Mary

Cindy D

What a delightful post. I,too, am in love with Latvian designs as well as Finnish, Norwegian and Egyptian.
I assume you saw these patterns in Ravelry. I have to make some:


Love your mittens :)
Agree, the mitten archive is just a treasure. I keep finding new ones to download, make a diagram from and knit.
And, the stamps are beautiful as well, I even liked the stamps from US :)


Thanks for your post! I just couldn't purchase the knitted stamps, even though I've knitted for years. Your words expressed my feelings (or lack of positive feelings) about them.


Looks like knitting by committee.

Diane H K


Further research indicates the stamps were machine-knitted...

Diane H K

This is very interesting.

After reading Kristin's comments, I wrote to Nancy. We are acquaintances from years back when we both worked on a particular computer graphics book.

Here is Nancy's reply when I asked if the stamp images were actually knitted and why upside down:

"Yes, these are knitted images. I knit some of the images upside down because of clarity. Also they thought the teddy bear's eyes looked too sad the first go round, but liked them when I flipped them. You wouldn't believe what goes on to get a stamp approved.

I have enough rejected knits to make a living room rug, if I stitched them all together."

Soooo, I guess Nancy is a knitter afterall.

Kristin Nicholas

p.s. Yes, those Latvian stamps are so amazing.

Kristin Nicholas

Ugly or not, I think it is great that knitting is still so out there in the mainstream. I think this vindicates it as a craft and let's hope the stamps add to the popularity and make more people want to knit.

Here's Nancy Stahl's portfolio link.


She's an illustrator, not a knitter and everything was drawn on a computer. Hence the look of the stamps. She did a bunch of illustrations for the NYTimes Book Review last year (2006) that are similar looking- knit sweaters, knit hats. Must be her thing!


The U.S. stamps are bland and stupid. But they aren't knitted upside down. They are knitted from the top down, which I and Barbara Walker and numerous other people can attest is a perfectly legitimate way to knit. :-)


I haven't liked the U.S. knitting stamps enough to buy them, and I LOVE knitting. Sigh. But the Latvian ones? They're art, pure and simple.

Beth S.

I didn't buy the US knitting stamps the last time I was at the post office. I only really liked the reindeer. ;-)

But the Latvian ones I'd frame and hang on the wall, if I had some. Beautiful.

the farmer's wife

The Latvian stamps are wonderful. I bought a set of the U.S. stamps but I wasn't impressed. They seem kind of dull and flat. I didn't notice the upside down knitting but believe me my first attempts at knitting were worse than upside down!


Day-um. Any idea if we can get some of those gorgeous stamps. The Latvian ones, of course.


yeah-i thought the U.S. stamps were pretty ugly. i love the latvian ones though-i collected stamps as a kid-wish i'd had those!!! i like what a previous poster said about using the northern lights stamps for holiday cards.

dale-harriet in WI

Aw, gee, I guess I'm sort of naive--I got a kick out of the knitted US stamps. I didn't realize they were upside down, but I don't know how to do stranding and colorwork. My opinion is that OUR knitted stamps are pretty cute (and the Latvian knitting....on stamps, in mittens, even on needles where I've seen them with my very own eyeballs - are magical and mystical and eye-wateringly beautiful. I admire them to my very pores. (OH - and as an erstwhile teddy bear collector, I like the knitted bear stamps!) Should I feel guilty for admiring and liking them?


How funny! I've been excited about the fact that at least the post office was kind of honoring knitting that I hadn't looked at them that closely. They do look a little "white bread-ish," but infortunately that's how many Americans view everything.


I thought the U.S. "knitting" stamps were some of the ugliest I had ever seen. I used the Northern & Southern lights stamps on my holiday cards instead of those monochromatic monstrosities.

Oh, I'm a stamp collector in addition to a knitter. Love those Latvian mitten stamps!


I thought the U.S. "knitting" stamps were some of the ugliest I had ever seen. I used the Northern & Southern lights stamps on my holiday cards instead of those monochromatic monstrosities.

Oh, I'm a stamp collector in addition to a knitter. Love those Latvian mitten stamps!


I could look at those mittens all day. Great idea to use the images as a screen saver!

Gail M

Those Latvian stamps should be posters, no? Such beauty


I wouldn't be surprised if the US stamps weren't designed by a knitter. It's like watching people "knit" on TV or in the movies - what ARE they doing? It's also an interesting observation that a country built on the ingenuity and talents of craftsmen/women does not value these skills more highly. Our ancestors and/or forepeople needed these skills to survive, and still do in some cases. PS - I just read some of the responses already posted, and one mentions that these were designed for a knitting machine. I ask you. A machine over hand-knitting...! We just can't get no respect.

Deborah Robson

It's definitely not just you. I got some of the US stamps and noticed immediately that the knitting was upside down and laughed.

The Latvian stamps are exquisite. I want them as posters!


Thanks Marcy! Love that inspiration :)


Hey! Ugly gaudy upside-down intarsia =IS= a USA handcraft tradition. I still have a motheaten sweater my mom knit me with reindeer just like those stamp ones.


The Latvian mittens and stamps are all fabulous.

Thought I enjoy that the U.S. has knitting featured in stamps, I read that the designer knit the models on her knitting machine. Perhaps that's why they're upside down? I certainly can't imagine a hand-knitter knitting them that way. I did have to buy some, though. ;-)


I don't have a lot of experience knitting colorwork, so I thought maybe I was mixed up in thinking they looked upside-down....


Those Latvian stamps are really great (just like the mittens!) I also now want a coat just like in stamp #4!

The US stamp thing will now bug me -- I hadn't noticed it before, but you are right, they are 'upside down'.


The Latvian mittens are absolutely beautiful. And inspirational.

Teresa C

Yeah, the knitting upside down thing is irritating, but I'd still use them.


Those Latvian stamps are incredible. They are all so richly detailed but my favorite is the bottom right.
As for the US stamps, well, what else do you expect? Sigh.

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