|Old Town gate (Suur Rannavärav), Tallinn|
|Wool and knitted items for sale|
A vast amount of knitter´s around the world have read books about the Estonian knitting traditions and have perhaps also knitted socks, mittens and sweaters using traditional Estonian patterns. We had been told that there were a lot of knitted garments for sale in Tallinn. We had also been warned that not all of them were of high quality. We had even heard that it could be a bit hard to find real Estonian sweaters, mittens and so on.
|Eesti Käsitöö on Pikk|
This is Eesti Käsitöö (Estonian Handicraft) run by Estonian Folk Art and Craft Union. There are three of these shops in Tallin and here you will be pretty sure to encounter only Estonian design. If you want more information about Eesti Käsitöö you can visit their website: http://www.folkart.ee/eng/about-us. The first information reads: "Established 1929 (abolished during the Soviet occupation). Re-established in 1992". The Estonians are very proud of their traditions and I think that in a historic perspective that is very understandable.
|Woven fabrics for women´s skirts|
|New uses for skirt fabrics in traditional striping (pillow-case and tie)|
|Design Riina Tomberg|
|The "wool wall" at Müürivahe|
|Out-door market, Uus|
|Stall at Viru Turg, Mere Pst|
Socks and mittens are mostly machine-knitted. In the shop Eesti Käsitöö, though, you can find beautiful hand-knitted mittens. If you are unsure (hand-made contra hand-knitted) the price is likely to tell you which it is: hand-knitted mittens cost as much as a machine-knitted sweater (and is worth it).
|Family store in Tallinn on Voorimehe|
|Sweater from Kihnu|
|Hand-woven belts from Juuru and Viru-Nigula|
These were the last belts that an old woman sold to the shop - she told them that she would no longer do band-weaving because she found it to hard work. Even if I know that it is not likely I do hope that she had some-one to pass her patterns and traditions on to. There seems to be so many important things getting lost nowadays.
|Museum Shop sign|
|Estonian knitted cap|
Tallinn is definitely worth a visit. Just be observant and look closely at the knitting before you buy anything. Consider the finish. Study the seams. Does the gauge seem to be right? (Some sweaters are a bit "sloppy", try to avoid them!) Do you want traditional Estonian? Then stick to the traditional patterned items. I do not mean that there is anything wrong with the other items. If you have longed for a sweater with the Moomins on - buy it. If you want an example of Estonian knitting to bring home with you - stick to the traditional.
Do not forget to enjoy the Old Town itself. The houses are worth looking at.
Tallinn handicraft map 2013.
Tallinn handicraft map 2013.
Read about visits to:
Riga, Latvia (2015)
Vilnius, Lithuania (2016)