Early this month I spent a brilliant week, one of the best weeks ever, in Estonia with The Dutch Knitters and some of their friends. Carla and Hilly, seen in the picture below, somewhere in this butch of beautiful knitterly women. Also in the picture is Eirwen, the seriously gorgeous Knitwitches handdyer and Monica, our Estonian friend and guide for the week.
I completely fell in love with Estonia. I knew a fair bit about the lace traditions of Estonia, Haapsalu in particular, as I love lace knitting but I had never really investigated the other knitting traditions of the country. The knitting traditions of Estonia are many and our trip was full of travelling and discovering and of course making new friends. I feel a little bit more in love with Hilly and Carla, which I didn't think was possible because I loved them a lot already. Their enthusiasm and energy is boundless. I fell in love with Monica, not only is she practical (in every way possible) she has a dry sense of humour and her telling me to stop being a baby when I was complaining about mosquitoes just made me wanted her to mother me a little bit more. That's not weird, hopefully! She almost fell off her dining room seat in a fit of laughter at The Rock City Hotel on Kihnu Island when I squealed and killed a mozzie that was biting my hand. Monica was splendid host and guide, practically perfect in every way.
This picture above is Leili. Leili is a native of Kihnu Island and she is dresses in tradition clothes that are almost exclusively still mad eon the isalnd. Many of the older islanders dress this way every day, it's not just for the tourists. We had a brilliant time knitting with locals outside the Kihnu museum on WWKIPD. During this time, Leili, who spoke basic English, invited me to stay with her for a week to teach her English. The invitation came late in the afternoon as not only was I the only man in the group I was in fact the first man Leili had seen knitting. Apparently, Kihnu men would rather die than knit. They are mostly fisherman, traditionally. The women do everything else. Leili eventually plucked up the courage to ask someone what I was knitting. I was making a shawl from yarn I had dyed for the sock club - I'll post about that when I find my blocking wires! She inspected my knitting and I think she approved. I gave her a present of a 100g lace yarn I had hand dyed and after a great deal of fuss and commotion I got a bit wet kiss on my cheek. The other knitters loved this but they were not quick enough to get their cameras to record it and I'm glad because I think I blushed. Leili gave me a card from the museum gift shop to make sure I never forget I was there. All the knitters were jealous.
Below is a picture taken at a mill just outside Tallinn. We visited the mill at the end of the trip and the yarns were excellent. I brought some back with me and a lot has been ordered for the shop!
Finally, Ella. In the picture below is Ella posing for us in the gallery of the Kihnu museum. The picture to the left is of her showing her hand knit socks. It was my favorite picture of the whole exhibition and I lover the smile on her face as she is posing once again.