estonian traditional knitting

Knitting in Estonia: A Cultural Tradition

Estonian traditional knitting is a centuries-old craft that has been passed down from generation to generation. Knitting has always been an essential part of Estonian culture, with the country having a long history of wool production and textile crafts. Estonian traditional knitting has a unique style that is known for its intricate lace patterns, bold colours, and geometric designs.


estonian traditional mittens

Estonian traditional knitting

The origins of Estonian knitting can be traced back to the 13th century when the Livonian Crusaders brought sheep to Estonia. This led to the establishment of the wool industry in the country, and knitting became a way for people to make clothing for themselves and their families. Knitting was not just a practical skill, however, but also a way to express creativity and artistry.


Estonian traditional knitting includes several different styles and techniques. One of the most famous styles is Haapsalu shawl knitting, which originated in the town of Haapsalu in the 19th century. Haapsalu shawls are known for their delicate lace patterns and are still popular today. Other styles of Estonian knitting include Kihnu mittens, Saaremaa shawls, and Setu skirts, each with their own unique patterns and designs.

haapsalu shawl

Haapsalu shawl

One of the distinctive features of Estonian traditional knitting is the use of "nupp" stitches, which are small bumps that add texture and interest to the knitting. Nupps are created by knitting multiple stitches into a single stitch and then purling them together on the following row. The result is a small raised bump that adds dimension to the knitting.


Another important aspect of Estonian traditional knitting is the use of colour. Estonian knitters often use bold and bright colours in their designs, with red, blue, and green being popular choices. The colours are often combined in intricate geometric patterns, creating stunning visual effects.


estonian traditional knitting

"Nupp" stitches

Estonian traditional knitting is a beautiful and intricate craft that has been an essential part of Estonian culture for centuries.The use of intricate lace patterns, bold colours, and geometric designs make Estonian knitting unique and recognisable. With its rich history and cultural significance, Estonian traditional knitting is a craft that is sure to continue to captivate and inspire knitters around the world for generations to come.