Book Review: Knitted Lace of Estonia

Estonia’s rich lace knitting heritage includes some of the oldest pieces found in northern Europe and is the focus of this collection of patterns gleaned primarily from the author’s visits to the coastal town of Haapsalu. A brief but illuminating look at Haapsalu’s lace knitting history starts things off before getting into traditional and contemporary shawl construction techniques. Special stitches including the traditional nupps, a bobble-like design feature frequently found in Estonia lace are carefully explained before starting the projects.

The patterns, which include interesting notes on their origins, are stunning works of the lace knitter’s art. Four of the fourteen designs incorporate variations of the traditional lily of the valley motif as seen in the lovely Queen Silvia Shawl. Miralda’s Triangular Shawl uses a striking combination of stitch motifs to challenge the more advanced knitter. The real coup de grace is appropriately called the Crown Prince Square Shawl featuring large crown prince motifs worked around a lattice center panel. Each pattern includes a materials list, blocked size, construction tips and comprehensive stitch charts that are large enough to be used without a trip to the photocopier.

Readers will appreciate Bush’s explanation of different cast-ons, bind-offs, edgings, calculating stitch counts, making and using a blocking frame and more but the real treasure lies in the back. There you will find a selection of Estonian lace patterns photographed and charted for the more adventurous knitter to create their own works of art. This excellent addition to the lace knitter’s library is sure to be referenced many times as an ongoing source of inspiration.

 

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