Monday, December 4, 2006

Estonian Lace and Lilies of the Valley

Of all the lace nationalities, I like Estonian the best. I think the patterns are more graceful than Shetland or Orenberg and for some reason, I find the pattern sequences much more easy to memorize.

I finished this shawl a month ago and enjoyed every minute of it. The pattern is the Estonian Garden Wrap by Evelyn A. Clark. Google for it...Lots of places sell it.

It was knit with Katsara's alpaca fingering in the Crema colorway on size 4 needles. I get bored knitting monotone yarn, and Crema's subtle colors were just perfect for this piece. ( is at the bottom). The yarn itself is quite lovely, although it's not baby or suri alpaca, so it's a bit less soft than other alpaca yarns.

Aside: Katsara Yarns is one of my all-time favorite suppliers. The colorways are exquisite, the yarns top-quality and reasonably priced. They will custom dye, too. She stocks different yarns from Lisa Souza, my other favorite supplier. Both of them offer terrific colorways and luscious fibers. Please do yourself a favor and browse them both.

One of the features of Estonian lace are nupps, which are usually created by making 5 stitches in one (k1, yo, k1, yo, k1) in a single stitch on the knit side. These stitches are purled together on the purl side.

I see some readers gagging at the thought of purling 5 stitches together, but the trick is to make those multiple stitches with lots and lots of slack. There should be so much slack that purling them together is no more difficult than purlng two stitches together. If you are having trouble working your needle through those 5 stitches, you didn't leave enough slack.

The other upside of leaving a lot of slack is that the nupp will be puffy. If you work tight little stitches on the knit side, the nupp will look anorexic. Nupps should be zaftig. Plump. Shapely.

I will post a nupp tutorial sometime this week. I took the pictures this morning, but I have to do a little editing yet.

If you like Estonian lace, you might want to order these two books.

Pitsilised Koekirjad (ISBN 9985-54-016-6) is full of spectacular Estonian lace patterns. There is some talk about translating it into English, and I hope that actually happens, because there is so little material on this subject. The patterns are all charted and you can download a symbol translation table here:

Maiglockkchen (ISBN 3-833-1337-9) means Lily of the Valley in German--this book is kinda fun--it contains a lot of sweaters and accessories with the lily of the valley motif that you can see in the Estonian shawl. This motif is sooo charming, but yes, nuppful.

I don't speak any German, but the book contains an English translation of the chart symbols so it wasn't difficult to figure out most of the material. There are some extremely clear photos showing how to make a Mobeius cowl, too.

You can get both these books from Martinas Bastel & Hobbykiste []. If you look in the left-hand column of the home page, you'll see language options so you can view the site in English. Their service is fast and excellent.


Anonymous said...

Thanks a million times for the translation of the symbols in Pitsilised Koekirjad! This makes my life much easier, though I've figured a lot of them by myself.

Both books are awesome!

Unknown said...

what is the name of the pattern for the second swatch? It is so gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the translation for the Pitsilised Koekirjad symbols. I just acquired a copy! ^_^

Anonymous said...

Do you know where to buy the pitsilised koekirjad book? You have a lovely blog! Thank you (: ~Page