I would like to introduce you to Dziparu Mate, one of my very favourite Goddesses. She is one of the Latvian Mother Goddesses or Mates, and She rules over Wool, Coloured Wool and Yarn.
Knitting was very important in the life of young Latvian women. Girls were expected to knit over fifty pairs of mittens before their wedding day, and the number of pairs a girl had made was one factor in finding a husband.
That made mitten-making a very serious business. Can you imagine the pressure of knowing your prospective husband’s family would be examining your mittens in order to decide if you were worthy of marrying their son? On the wedding day, the bride would give out the mittens she had made to her new in-laws. Hopefully, the mittens (and the bride) would be a big hit.
“Dear Dziparina Mamulina, help me keep this damn yarn from tangling so I can knit another pair of damned mittens!”
Dziparu Mate was called upon by these young knitters to watch over their yarn and make sure that it had no tangles. Sometimes her name was seen as Dziparina Mamulina, which I think is the kind of name you can really call on in your time of need.
I can just imagine the frustrated young knitter saying, “Dear Dziparina Mamulina, help me keep this damn yarn from tangling so I can knit another pair of damned mittens! Help me marry the man of my dreams by blinding him with the beauty of my expertly knitted winter wear!”
If Cinderella had been a Latvian girl, Dziparu Mate would be the Fairy Godmother she’d want. Forget impractical freezing glass slippers, these mittens are way better for impressing princes with.
You want a handsome husband? You better knit, girl.
Latvians take their mittens very seriously and knitting 50 pairs is no small task, as you can see from this charming series of Latvian stamps.
See what handsome husbands these fine young knitters have won with their enticing mittens? And look how smugly pleased the young men are! They know they will be well supplied with stunning mittens for the rest of their lives.
Couldn’t we all use a bit of Dziparina Mamulina’s benign string management skills?
As a winter-hardened Winnipegger, I take my mittens, socks, scarves and hats seriously too – although my work is not anywhere near this level! Winter temperatures of -40 degrees c/f have a way of driving home the importance of good winter gear.
Sadly, crochet is just not as suited to these kinds of winter gear as knitting is. Too stiff, too many holes. I routinely marvel at the incredible pieces of functional beauty that spring from the needles of the clever knitters from my Stitch and Bitch group. Truly, my knitting buddies must be touched by a bit of divine inspiration from Dziparu Mate Herself. I just cannot warm up to knitting though. Yet. (It’s a bad case of Knitting-Related PTSD.)
Maybe if I ask dear Dziparina Mamulina very nicely and make offerings of my homespun yarn?
Personally, I call on Dziparu Mate when I am warping my floor loom. Sometimes it feels like the yarn is alive and bent on tangling up. Calling on a Higher Power to help keep the yarn untangled might not help but it certainly can’t hurt!
Lots of love,
Baba StringThings from Winnipeg
You can find Dziparu Mate and many other Goddesses of String on my Pinterest board, ‘Weaving Goddesses.’