Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Overture to Estonian Lace - Squeee!

Okay, so this week's Just Knitting post is very, very cool. On Sunday, I got to take an all-day workshop with Nancy Bush (!!). This was "Overture to Estonian Lace". Goes nicely with her book, Knitted Lace of Estonia. (Do a Google search for ["Nancy Bush" knit*] and be in awe at the number of lovely things she's designed, and that thousands of people have knit.) It was *really* interesting!

I can now find Estonia on a map, and Haapsalu, where the commercial lace venture all began, thanks to some high-born Russian tourists back in the annals of history:

All the cool stuff started in Haapsalu

I can now talk a bit about the lace tradition there (not actually as "traditonal" as you'd think!), properly pronounce "nupp" (rhymes with "soup"), and I have a lovely little sampler thing as a result of the class:

I also have a real appreciation for Estonian lace. Oh, I wish I could show you the pretties, but Nancy asked that no close-up photos go on blogs, so, here is a distance shot. It's an entire table full of soft, delicate shawls and scarves. And there were more than just that! A Google search of 'Haapsalu Ratikud' (umlat over the "a" of Ratik) brought up some lovely examples, if you're curious, but honest - if you can see some of The Real Stuff it it person, do so! There's also a wonderful book, Haapsalu Sall, presently in Estonian, but soon to be available in English. This book is BEYOND beautiful - (writeup here) enough so that I was trying to locate it (FOUND IT - here! Now I just have to figure out my US Dollar to Euro conversion... While doing that, I found a link to the museum that has some lovely examples of Estonian lace. Yay!

OMG pretty stuff!!!

Now, imagine that each of those little blobs of color is an amazingly lightweight, intricate, lovely bit of wool, knitted into lace, using lovely patterns. Some, like the Crown Prince motif shawl, were really big; some were smaller, like the Money motif scarf, made out of gold-colored quivit (approrpriate, no?). Some were knitted by Nancy, other by her friends in Estonia. Pictures of much of it are in Knitted Lace of Estonia, along with a lot of the history she gave us, but it was truly wonderful to be able to see (and touch!) the actual knitted articles. The Greta Garbo shawl (or was it a scarf? Scarves are square, shawls are rectangular) kit is available from The Wooly West, Nancy's online site. I am saving up for it, and for Folk Knitting in Estonia.

I wish I could've found my other books (Knitting on the Road, Lace Style, just to have her sign that pattern, Knitting Vintage Socks, Folk Socks), as Nancy kindly signed books after the workshop had ended:

I don't know why my phonecam decided to focus on the CHAIR at the back of the room!

Now, I was all excited about this from the get-go, since the first shawl I ever finished was her Lilly of the Valley from Lace Style. It was the infamous Cup-o-Shawl from my photo with The Yarn Harlot in 2007:

Really, the lavender blob Stephanie is holding is Estonian style lace.

Having blocked out the little piece from the workshop, which is really just a much-scaled-down version of the Lilly-of-the-Valley shawl, I will now, finally, have the confidence to block it (photos next week, probably). I love the way the little pointy bits stay pointy, just like they're supposed to!

So, in closing, the workshop was both fun and educational, which is my favorite kind!

1 comment:

  1. Wow you certainly are lucky to have so many LYS near you. I am jealous. Guess I didn't appreciate it when I did.
    Thanks for commenting and yes I have kept in contact with some of my kids friends (I actually felt like I had 10 kids) as they were always at our home back in the day.



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