Cross-cultural baby gifts8:45 PM
A friend of mine is expecting twins any day now. Naturally, I wanted to knit something for the babies. My friend is from India, so I decided to knit something traditional Finnish - "train socks". This pattern is really popular, as it might be the best pattern to stay on a newborn baby's feet. There's also a lovely story behind the pattern: Kerttu Latvala was fleeing before World war II battles in the winter of 1940. Bombings had destroyed parts of the rail tracks and they had to wait for the tracks to be cleared. Kerttu Latvala was travelling with her 2 month-old baby, Tuula. There was a retired handicrafts teacher sitting with them on the train, and she felt sorry for the baby. While waiting for the journey to continue, she unraveled part of her hand knitted cardigan and knitted a pair of socks for baby Tuula. Kerttu Latvala later knitted hundreds of socks with the same pattern for other babies, and Finnish knitters continue the story by knitting these socks for babies close to them.
Pattern: Junasukat by Kerttu Latvala
Yarn: Sandnes garn Lanett Babyull (Royal Blue 28 g) and Filcolana Arwetta classic (Shock Orange 19 g)
Needles: 2,5 mm
Choice of pattern was obvious, then. Now all that was left was choosing the color - and I had no idea what to choose! To start with, I didn't know if the babies are boys or girls. I don't like to dress my kids in "boy colors" or "girl colors", but I didn't know how my friend feels about colors, let alone how his wife feels about the issue. I could have gotten away with baby pastels as being the traditional choice, but that didn't work as I couldn't do the traditional gender coding. So I excused myself from pastels, and started wondering which bright colors to choose. I knew that for the Chinese red would be an obvious choice, but I didn't know if there was a similar color for Indians. I started googling, and reading about colors in India, but it seemed that pretty much every color had positive connotations. Until I reached orange, which is a holy color. And then I remembered the time when I was travelling in Tamil Nadu with my friend and in Rameswaram we saw a lot of pilgrims - all wearing orange. That would have to be a good color! Now I just needed another color. Reading on about orange, I learned that it's also the color of the Sikh flag, combined with royal blue. And I remembered that my friend's wife is Sikh, so that did it! Googling a bit with words "Sikh baby" confirmed that I wouldn't be totally wrong with these colors. At least that's my hope so far! (I'm also counting on my friend not reading my knitting blog...) If you know more about Indian culture and feel that the colors are totally wrong, please let me know asap!