Haapsalu Lace is World Famous, Come Learn with the Best

Haapsalu Lace Knitting Tour started with four wonderful eager ladies, who all are very fond of lace knitting.
After checking in Fra Mare Spa Hotel and dinner we had a visit planned. And not an ordinary visit, but we were invited to lace knitting master Helin Põldve’s home.
It was like entering a lace paradise. She had set up a huge scarf on the stretching rack for us to see. Then she started pulling different color shawls and scarves out of a box like a magician. All the patterns are original designs by herself. She had swans and doves and lily of the valley. Some were inspired from nature, some again from the traditional heritage. She is deeply touched by the situation in Ukraine, so designing and knitting peace doves was her salvation.
Thank you so much, Helin, for showing us your wonder world.

This morning we went to Haapsalu Lace Centre to start learning how to knit like local masters. Siiri Reimann, who is a great knitting teacher and designer, was going to guide us through this process of Haapsalu lace shawl making.
The shawl consists of two parts, the centerpiece and the edging, which is later sewn onto the center piece. Then we’re going to block it and it’s done! We are, of course making a tiny sample, size of a sheet of paper. But regardless, it’s a lot of work and many hours.
The Lace center itself is a very inspiring place because its museum room displays just grand items and the shop side is full of elegant, fine lace work.
Our group is very advanced, so everybody is progressing quite rapidly. We were given a homework today to finish the edging. So tomorrow after a nice city tour we might start the sewing-on process.
And of course, I have to mention that the lunch at Dietrich was delicious. I recommend that place when you are in a vicinity.

When I met our participants over the breakfast table I heard that most of them had a very long night. They finished the homework and got the edging done. Congratulations! Our teacher Siiri will be really pleased.
For the Haapsalu town tour by Helin Põldve we gathered at the train station to learn that the beautiful building was finished in 1905 and in order to celebrate Russian czar visit they built a magnificent 260 m roofed platform, which is still the longest one in Europe.
Then we strolled on chocolate promenade and admired the waterfront and luxury homes. Out tour ended in the museum, where we got lucky to see some old and some new festive gowns.
A Greece Restaurant served us some taste food. Although yesterdays cakes were so unforgettable, we had to go back to Dietrich for some more.
During the afternoon knitting class we learned how to sew the edging to the centerpiece. We used a lot of stitch markers, counting, and some logic, also a really long needle and plenty of yarn to make a VERY stretchy seam. Once that was done, the samples went into a wash. Then we pinned them to a cushion to dry.

It is the tradition of a local knitting club to organize a sit together event called Midnight Knitting on Friday before the Lace Festival. People gather, all dressed in white to do handicraft, which mostly is of course, a lace knitting.
As they start quite late 10 PM, it’s dark outside already. The lights are on, the windows are open and people sitting inside a cheering everybody who’s passing by and people walking by curiously look inside and wave! Such a joyful atmosphere, we were so glad to be part of it.

This morning we had our last session with Siiri. We unpinned our samples and the result made us smile. Just pure pleasure and joy to admire what they have accomplished!
Now we needed to do one last step and pick all the outer loops on a wooden knitting needle again, wet it slightly and set aside for couple of hours.
Meanwhile, we had a stack of pattern books to browse through. Everybody needed to find a favorite pattern for the centerpiece and a matching pattern for the edging in order to get started with the actual full size Haapsalu shawl. Siiri helped us to calculate the correct number of stitches for both pieces. The count reached 1,000 ( for the edging 🙂 )
Lunch took us to a veggie restaurant Beguta. Another treasure of Haapsalu dining scene. Most of the dishes were vegan, nice clean and healthy tastes. On the afternoon we strolled via an handicraft market and reached the Haapsalu Castle. It was recently renovated and has an exciting new inside. We got lucky with a very funny guide Jaak, who turned out to be the director himself.
Before diving into spa pleasures we got a chance to listen to some nice organ and handbell music in the castle’s cathedral.

What a wonderful day it was today full of great people, a lot of knitting, amazing lace works and a lot of laughing. We gathered in the Lace Center to open the festival. The guests to the event were mostly dressed in lace. What a lovely sight it was!
On midday a new lace knitting pattern-book presentation took place. Helga-Miralda Rüütel is a 93-years old knitting master, who’s 54 lace shawls knitted during the last 10 years are now in a book (and at the exhibition at the center). The fashion show presented us some of the latest works of Haapsalu lace masters.
At 1 o’clock started the lace knitting competition. There were two category: advanced and the highest-level. The later is meant for those knitters who have previously won the advanced level competition. Needles, yarn and charts were given out, and the race started. There was two hours to complete the work, stretch it and pin it to the board. This year they had a record number of participants: 36 knitters, eight of which were at the highest level.
What a great experience! Thank you so much, dear Lace Center knitters.

Hiiumaa is the second largest island in Estonia. It has probably more sheep living there than people. Therefore local wool yarn is used and sold in many places and you can find lots of beautiful
products made out of it.
First, we visited an old wool mill Hiiu Villavabrik. Unfortunately, they had a maintenance day so we couldn’t observe them working. Then we continued to an organic farm Lepaniidi Mahetalu, growing goats and sheep and vegetables. As it was raining, the goats prefer to stay inside and we had a great opportunity to pet them. We left that place with loads of local yarn.
Kärdla is the capital town of the islands where we found many wonderful handicraft stores. Also visited the Long House Museum (Pikk Maja), which used to be the director’s living quarters and offices during the great wool fabric manufacture time.
The weather outside got fiercer and windier. During our lunch hour, we ate in the Roograhu harbor, watching waves crash the piers.
Afternoon brought us a workshop by Heli in her farm house Pähkli talu in the middle of the woods, where we mixed together a body scrub. This is the place where Hiiu Ihuhooldus products are all made: soaps and shower gels, moisturizers, lip balms, etc.
Ferry ride back was again peaceful, sun was setting, and we were tired but happy of the long day on this beautiful island.

It was great to see blue sky and sun as we were getting ready to drive to Lihula to meet local embroidery masters. We got very lucky, the embroidered blankets exhibition was still open for last few days. And that was absolutely amazing. New and old blankets were on the display, as well as some designed clothes and home textiles.
The exhibit and our workshop took place in a 18th century manor house, where they have newly renovated some rooms. This magnificent building is a weekly gathering spot for many clubs and social activities, including Lihula embroiderers and history society.
The manor house itself is located in an ancient 13th century stronghold. There is some history-mystery hidden in Lihula.
We had three teachers who showed us some basic stitches and few tricks. Then we traced the pattern twice on the nice, thick woolen fabric and were ready to choose some colored yarns. We were also taught how to choose colors and compare them against the background.
Thank you, Lihula ladies, we had a fun day with you!

Please let us know of you would like to be part of this celebration: info@nordicknitters.com
Also check out our page https://www.facebook.com/EstonianMittens/

By |2023-09-12T15:54:28+00:00September 12th, 2023|Nordic Knitters|0 Comments

Amazing Seto Culture and Handicraft – See the Local Life

This year’s Seto handicraft tour started on August 1st, 2023. We had 12 wonderful people all over the world coming to learn some very special Seto traditional craft techniques. I am so happy to welcome Australian Estonians, and Estonian lady from the United States, we have people from Austria, Finland, Lithuania, Netherlands.
On the first day we visited the Estonia National Museum in Tartu. It is an amazing high-tech, modern museum, one-of-a-kind, showing and preserving the every day lives of Estonian people.
We also had a nice lunch in their restaurant.
On the second day we started with the workshops. In the morning singing mother, handicraft master and school teacher Maret Vabarna walked us through the slightly complicated process of setting up tablets for weaving. Belts woven with tablets are quite common in Seto clothing. Once we got it all set up it was pure joy to weave and see the belts growing.
Afternoon brought us some embroidering excitement. Seto kingdom master Marje Linnus showed us how to embroider traditional Seto square stitch. It is very important that it’s done in one long stretch without covering anything double, and that the work will look the same beautiful on both sides.
I was happy to hear that our participants rented bicycles last night and checked out the vicinity. Also, the spa was very popular.

Buss took us to Saatserinna corner of Setomaa in the morning. There is a beautiful handicraft farmhouse in Litvina village called Kriisa talo whose owner is Kala Ingrit.
We spent the whole day there, doing crafts, and enjoying gourmet food picked fresh from the garden.
Our first workshop was learning the seto colorful, crocheted lace. Our teacher Vabarna Jane first showed us all these beautiful works she has done over the years. She started crocheting when she was 16 years old and since then she’s been crocheting master and contest winner for many years.
In order to get a fine result, you need to use a really thin yarn and tiny needle size one.
My students were all really eager. I’m so proud of them that they did not switch to an easier bigger needle size and thicker yarn.
Before lunch our hostess Ingrit showed us how to make local cheese called sõir. This was our appetizer followed by delicious dish she made.
Afternoon workshop was about doll making. In order to understand all the different pieces and details on seto woman’s traditional clothing we made a doll fully equipped with all these important things, instructed by Ingrit.
Dinner was served by the local gourmet restaurant Maagõkõnõ. Once again, vegetables from their own garden and fresh pike from nearby lake Peipus.

Today we learned how to make a sprang belt. Our teacher Marit Külv is very skillful and knowledgeable, she has done her university thesis on the topic.
In the beginning, we got the historic overview of this really ancient technique. Then we started warping – it is the trickiest part of the process. The twisting afterwards is very enjoyable.
For lunch, Seto Museum’s Tsäimaja served us some delicious slow oven-cook lamb.
We spent the afternoon inspecting and researching the old textiles what they keep at the museum, and then we had a guided tour at the old farmhouse complex.
A nice walk to the holy spring finished our day.

It was a glorious day, full of joy, singing, dancing, beautiful traditional clothing, good food, and great company.
Here is a gallery of some moments I captured with my camera. As the village is located on the water, you could come here and leave with the boat – that was just so very cool. There were a lot of contests on different foods and drinks, handicrafts, singing, and dancing.
New queen for Seto was elected and the military parade celebrated this event.

Please let us know of you would like to be part of this celebration: info@nordicknitters.com

Also check out our page https://www.facebook.com/EstonianMittens/

By |2023-09-12T15:28:49+00:00September 12th, 2023|Nordic Knitters|0 Comments

Learning Old Võru County Handicraft: Linen Work and Spinning in Southern ESTONIA

DAY1: today started the Handicraft Tour to Old Võru County in Estonia. What a pleasure to see old friends again and make some new friends. We stopped for lunch in Tartu and I had a little walking tour there. Then we continued to Võru Kubija Hotel and Nature Spa. Had our first handicraft workshop on honey comb knitting. The evening most probably brings more knitting and a lot of joy in a good company of similar minded cool people. Not to forget the dinner and some spa treatments.

DAY2: our handicraft tour took us to Rõuge today. But first we stopped at the local museum and heard about Võru history, language and textiles of course. Then we had a hike in the woods which took us to the only canyon in Estonian in Hinni. The spring water was really tasty and refreshing but the mosquitoes were vicious. In Rõuge we got lucky and we were the first visitors of the season in the local handicraft store. Before lunch we also visited Ööbikuorg and we’re fascinated by the perpetum mobile water pumps vesioinas. The lunch at Ööbikuoru villa was delicious and their premises so very beautiful located between three lakes. The afternoon brought us the workshop of sprang belt weaving. Marit Kylv is a great teacher and everybody ended up liking the difficult technique.

DAY3: today we visited the Estonian national museum in Tartu. It really is an amazing museum and every time I go there is something new. I like that it really focuses on every day life of simple men and women, today and yesterday and hundred years ago.

DAY4: today was flax to linen day. Thanks to Margit Pensa and Marit Külv as our wonderful knowledgeable skillful teachers we learned all the tricks how to turn a stiff dried flex stem into silky material. We used all the old tools from beautiful Karilatsi Põlva Talurahva Muuseum, also drop spindles and spinning wheels to create linen yarn. We also toured on the museum premises and were served tasty lunch by Taevaskoja caterers. To finish the day we took a nice hike to see natural wonders in Taevaskoja.

DAY5: today we had two workshops and therefore had no time to drive around, stayed put at the Kubija hotel. Our main topic of the day was the inlay knitting. It is called Roosimine in Estonian and is very widely used in Tõstamaa area in Western Estonia. We also had a workshop on cyanotype printing. As the hotel is located in the middle of the woods it was great source of plant material to be used. We each arranged a beautiful setting, placed it on the prepared textile, put a glass sheet on top of it and let it sit in the sun for 10 minutes. The UV rays reacted with a chemical leaving beautiful prints on the textile.
Thank you, Lüüli Kiik for teaching us all the tricks.

THE LAST DAY: our final workshop was on ancient copper spiral decoration. We have seen these findings of Kukruse lady at the national Museum, now we had an opportunity to make one of our own. But at first we strolled through Kreutzwald’s homestead, which is now a museum in Võru, and our teacher of the day Marika Sepp showed us all the fine handicraft items in their household. The workshop was fun: required some logical thinking and a lot of patients but we all succeeded. The next stop is Riga and the annual grand handicraft market at the ethnographic museum!
Bon voyage my friends!
See you next year!

Please read more about the tours here https://nordicknitters.com/handicraft-tours/
Welcome to Estonia! More info at info@nordicknitters.com

By |2023-07-10T10:19:57+00:00July 10th, 2023|Nordic Knitters|0 Comments

Sock Knitting Festival in Kihnu Island

I’m so happy to be on Kihnu island again, because tomorrow will start the three day knitting festival.
We will be knitting authentic Kihnu women’s socks. Kihnu island is one of the few places in Estonia where women still wear daily their traditional skirts.

DAY 1: In the morning we were welcomed by the organizers with some local smoked fish sandwiches and beautiful handmade knitting bags. They divided us into two groups, we had total of four teachers and the Kihnu sock knitting could begin. The motif repeat was really wide – 50 stitches and the needles were really thin 1.75 mm.  So it took a lot of unraveling to do it right. I finished the color work part and couple inches of white travel stitch part. So much fun and it will continue tomorrow.

DAY 2: so much knitting was done during this sunny but windy day on Kihnu island. In order to save us from back pain and arm pain and neck pain the organizers invited a Shindo therapist to instruct a group exercise session. We also had a really fun excursion around the island in the special lorry. A marvelous dinner was followed by a smoke sauna which by the way is in a UNESCO intangible heritage list as a tradition in Estonia.

What a great day!

Book your on tour or find out what we offer for coming summer here: https://nordicknitters.com/handicraft-tours/

More info at info@nordicknitters.com

By |2023-07-10T09:37:46+00:00July 10th, 2023|Nordic Knitters|0 Comments

Bringing Vintage Knitting Style to Muhu Island

Sydney Crabaugh, a vintage knitting designer and the head mistress at the Squid’s School of Vintage Knitting visited me in April, 2023 and together we visited the Estonian National Museum. It is amazing – I haven’t been here a while and forgot that the level of interaction and technology and diversity is really astonishing.
The second day we had a great opportunity to discover Seto treasures both in Värska and Obinitsa. Delicious meals and fine handicraft pleased our souls.
Our first day on Muhu island was breathtakingly beautiful. We met different handicraft masters and had a chance to admire their work at their workshops. We were staying in the historic Vanatoa Farm Hotel and dined at Tõnise.
Our second day on Muhu island took us to the color paradise. This was the place where brightness and joy lives. We visited Velli Saabas, well respected local woolen skirt fabric weaver at her workshop. We saw many beautiful old items at a local museum.
Please contact us infonordicknitters.com for your custom made tour in Estonia.
Bon voyage!


By |2023-07-10T08:09:57+00:00July 10th, 2023|Nordic Knitters|0 Comments

Southern Võro Handicraft Tour, ESTONIA

Welcome to Old-Võro County with lots of guided handicrafts in beautiful venues!

May 29 – June 3, 2022 – Southern Võro Tour (Tallinn – Tartu – Võru – Riga)

June 6 – 11, 2022 – Southern Võro II Tour (Riga – Võru – Tartu – Tallinn)

Ruins of Vastseliina Episcopal Castle

Nordic Knitters are organizing Handicraft Tours to Southern Old-Võro County, ESTONIA. Old-Võro is part of a historic Livonia, which is a region on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It is named after the Livonians, who lived on the shores of present-day Latvia. As a consequence of the Livonian War in the 16th century, the territory of Livonia was reduced to the southern half of Estonia and the northern half of Latvia.

The ruins of Vastseliina Castle were and is a very desirable destination for pilgrims. It was a castle of the Livonian Order, Bishopric of Dorpat. It was constructed by 1342 by the Landmeister Burkhard von Dreileben as part of the border fortifications of Old Livonia against Novgorod, Pskov and later Moscow. We will visit the ruins and the Pilgrims’ House at the castle.

During the tour you will relax in Kubija SPA Hotel, enjoy guided handicrafts and great local food in Old-Võro County.

The price includes:
• 7 workshops in different Southern Võro location by the best handicraft masters, includes all materials and tools (for example, knitting, lace crocheting, embroidery, different belt making, wood stamping, cheese making,  etc);
• 5 nights in Kubija SPA Hotel double-room with breakfasts and dinners;
• 5 lunches in local gourmet restaurants in Võro County;
• Visiting the ruins of Vastseliina Episcopal Castle;
• 2 SPA treatment in Kubija SPA;
• Unlimited usage of saunas and spa during opening hours;
• Visiting Estonian National Museum (ERM) in Tartu;
• Bus transportation between Tallinn and Riga.

There might be a grand Craft Fair hold in Riga on June 4-5, 2022.

PayPal payments will have an extra EUR 80 charge. A single room available for EUR 200 extra for the entire tour.


Info and reservations:
Külli Jacobson
+ 372 50 343 86

info@nordicknitters.com or kyllikoppo@protonmail.com



By |2022-09-12T12:23:50+00:00September 10th, 2019|Nordic Knitters|0 Comments

Handicraft Trip to Setoland ESTONIA

Nordic Knitters are organizing Handicraft Tours to Setoland ESTONIA. Handicraft lovers from all over the world are gathering to Setoland, which is famous for its beautiful nature, unique culture and extraordinary hospitality. Seto peoples’ handicraft is quite distinct compared to the rest of Estonia, but also different from the neighbor Russia.

Next handicraft tour to Setoland will take place in

July 28 – August 2, 2020

During the tour you will relax in Värska SPA, enjoy guided handicrafting and great local food in Setoland.

The price is EUR 900 and it includes:
• 6 workshops in different Setoland location by the best handicraft masters, includes all materials and tools (for example, knitting, lace crocheting, embroidery, different belt making, wood stamping, cheese making,  etc);
• 5 nights in Värska SPA Hotel double-room with breakfasts and dinners;
• 4 lunches in local gourmet restaurants in Setoland and 1 lunch at the fair;
• Visiting Seto Farm Museum and Litvina Handicraft Farm;
• 1 SPA treatment in Värska SPA (Mineralwater Bath or Mud Bath);
• Ticket and transport to Seto Kingdom Day;
• Unlimited usage of waterpark, saunas and gym during opening hours;
• Bus transportation Tallinn – Setoland – Tallinn.

PayPal payments will have an extra EUR 50 charge. A single room available for EUR 100 extra.

Info and reservations:
Külli Jacobson
+ 372 50 343 86 kulli.jacobson@gmail.com


By |2019-11-28T11:42:03+00:00January 10th, 2019|Nordic Knitters|0 Comments

Finnish TAITO Handicraft Magazine Featured Nordic Knitters in their December Issue

The journalist Sonja Karlsson visited us in October and investigated how Nordic Knitters are doing and how the founder Külli Jacobson started her company. The author gives us a quick glance into the past and some in depth thoughts about the symbols on mittens and meaning behind them. Beautiful pictures accompany the article and it fits right into the arriving holiday season. Thank you and Merry Chistmas to all!

More info about the publication – https://taitolehti.fi/

By |2018-12-17T11:26:06+00:00December 17th, 2018|Nordic Knitters|0 Comments

TIMELESSNESS Exhibition is Now In Estonian National Museum in Tartu, ESTONIA

The grand exhibition, consisting of 32 huge balls covered with different handicraft techniques, has traveled to Tartu, to the Estonian National Museum. The museum building itself is a magnificent statue of modern art. It has already collected awards internationally.

Nordic Knitters has also decorated one ball. We have used color-work technique, the exact same method how we knit our mittens and gloves. Knitted with thin needles and thin yarn, we have created 100 little castles. The motifs and symbols are so strong and protective that they can be use as a “weapon” or shield against the evil and harm we are surrounded in nowadays world.

They are also soft and warm like our family and friends giving us the extra power and embracing us in the goodness of everyday life.

The intro by curators Mae Kiviloo and Kaarel Kuusk at the hall says:

“Wait. Stop. Take a moment. You, who you rush through the reality anonymously among thousands of others; the reality where the environment is built in a moment, quickly, effectively and cheaply. Swoosh-woosh ready, bang-bang ready, click-clack ready …

Leave it all behind. You have reached TIMELESSNESS. You are surrounded by the planetarium of handicraft techniques, where each millimeter has been wor ked over. Yarn flowing through fingers, wood bending in hands – these thinking hands belong to 32 masters who have gathered from places all over Estonia. In their works they use hundreds of years old knowledge and skills. This is how the works of this exhibition were made. These works continue the trail of our ancestors’ thoughts using materials that have grown with us. From day to day, from time to time, preserving our personality and identity, ready to meet the ones who come after us.”

Open until January 19, 2019 at ENM (www.erm.ee)

By |2018-12-17T11:28:56+00:00December 13th, 2018|Nordic Knitters|0 Comments

WELT Newspaper from Germany Featured Nordic Knitters’ Beautiful Gloves

“Estonia is one of the big knitting centers in the world. Especially the mittens are a cultural-historical heritage. Their patterns have meanings. While it makes no sense to warm hands in the summer months, now is the time to dig into the drawers for some pairs of gloves. Probably people, who have spent their summer vacation in the Baltic States are stocked with mittens and gloves very typical to this region.

Today, knitting is much closer to the people. In Tallinn , you will encounter masses of knitwear, most of them made by machine. On the wool bazaar in the Müürivahe street you can get such gloves made of synthetic yarn from just ten euros. You can find the largest selection of authentic handicrafts at Eesti Käsitöö (Estonian Handicrafts) on 22 Pikk Street, Tallinn, Estonia.

Fll text here – https://www.welt.de/reise/nah/article184909228/Estland-Wollhandschuhe-schuetzen-gegen-den-Teufel.html

By |2018-12-05T12:24:51+00:00December 5th, 2018|Nordic Knitters|0 Comments
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