Vytis Lithuania’s Knight by Donna Druchunas

Vytis Lithuania’s Knight

April 2015
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
36 stitches and 40 rows = 4 inches
in stranded colorwork
US 0 - 2.0 mm
US 1 - 2.25 mm
400 yards (366 m)
8" (20.5 cm) palm circumference 10" (25.5 cm) hand length from bottom of cuff to tip
Flag of English English

“Gules, a knight in full armour, riding on a horse, all argent, caparisoned azure, holding in the dexter hand sword above head in fess of the second, hilted and pommelled or, and at his sinister shoulder shield of the third, a double cross of the fourth; the horseshoes and bit, stirrup, spur and metal buckles.”

—The Lithuanian State Coat of Arms, President of the Republic of Lithuania website

The charging knight, called Vytis, was first used as the state emblem of Lithuania in 1366 during the reign of Grand Duke Algirdas. At the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, where the united Polish-Lithuanian army defeated the Teutonic Knights, Lithuanian regiments flew banners with the emblem of the charging knight. Coins featuring Vytis date from the late fourteenth century, and today the emblem is featured on all current Lithuanian coins, as well as on postage stamps and official documents. First interpreted as the ruler of the country, in later times the knight came to be seen as a hero, chasing intruders out of his country. This interpretation became especially popular in the nineteenth century during periods when Lithuania was occupied by the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany.

Another popular medieval symbol that has been recreated in knitting is the Gediminas Castle Tower. Both the knight and the castle’s columns were symbols of the Lithuanian independence movement during the last years of the Soviet Union. Remembering the long history of Lithuania helped give hope for the dream of future independence once again. That independence finally came in 1991.