Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Estonian Mitts

Our friend I. is Estonian... her parents came to Canada from Estonia in the 1950s, and although she was born and bred in Canada, I. is in many ways a true Estonian.

She and her partner made a trip to Estonia this summer, to tour the homeland together.

Naturally, as knitter, I asked them to bring me something back - something knitted.  I told them I didn't care what it was, or how much it cost, as long as it was handknit and local in origin.

Check out the thumb - the colorwork lines up perfectly.
And boy did they come through: they brought me back this tremendous pair of Estonian mitts.  They are the classic shape and style, with fabulous colorwork.  Although neither I. or her partner E. are knitters, they managed to ask a few key questions to get some info for me about the mitts they'd chosen.  They were definitely hand-knit (by someone's grandmother, naturally!), and the stitch pattern is apparently regional, associated with Tallinn, the city in which they were bought.

They bought the mitts at the city's Knit Market - known as the 'sweater wall'.  Fab picture here, on Flickr.

Let me say that again: In Tallinn, Estonia, there is a market area that specializes in hand knits. More info and droolworthy pictures here. Many of the vendors are locals, selling their own work and work of other locals.

The work of Ms. Viira.
In addition, they came upon and fell in love with the store NAiiV, run by the very talented knitwear designer Liina Viira.  Ms. Viira is of Estonian background, but was born and raised in Stockholm.  Her work combines both Scandinavian and Estonian techniques and patterns, but with a modern spin.  Beautiful, beautiful stuff.

Next time I'm going to give them a blank cheque and a empty suitcase so that they can bring me everything back.


MadamePapillon said...

Love this information - I'm going to Tallinn in July so I'll definitely look for the knits at the market.

Randi said...

It took me a solid 30 seconds of staring to even see the thumb. Impressive.

Maureen said...

The work of Liina Viira is astounding. Thanks for sharing.