I've just returned from a Baltic cruise, lucky me. When we set sail, I was very excited about visiting Tallinn Estonia, where I knew beautiful knitting was to be found. Alas, Tallinn, lovely as a fairy tale town, managed to conceal its knitting from me. Sigh. However, when we arrived in Riga, Latvia, which also pursues the fairy tale theme, one of the first things I spotted was a little shop with windows full of gorgeous mittens and cute t-shirts illustrated with mitten-y motifs and a polite request to "Knit Like a Latvian." Inside were shelves full of tidy charcoal gray (and handmade!) cardboard boxes, each containing a mitten kit (yarn and pattern) and illustrated with a sticker showing a completed mitten. Also very compelling was a book, Mittens of Latvia, which contains general outlines of mitten patterns and dozens of illustrations of and charts for glorious, multi-color Latvian mittens. The store also sells lots of lovely yarn and displays inspiring finished garments like a so-easy garter stitch shrug-ish cardigan and a spectacular chartreuse and purple wrap coat.
When I gasped at the stacks of kits, the nice salesgirl said, "Oh, do you know someone who can knit for you?" People! We have got to represent at a higher level! She told me that Americans (at least that's what she meant) often admire the kits but then sigh that, too bad, they don't know how to knit. Let's rectify this. Everybody hop a plane for Latvia. Bring your needles.
I had stupidly packed my suitcase so close to bursting for our 3-week adventure that there wasn't even room for one kit. But the shop is online: hobbywool.com , and is also on Etsy. Gosh, I wish I had bought a t-shirt, because they don't seem to be selling them online.