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Estonian Lace (Pitsilised Koekirjad)

  Can you tell I am being consumed by everything lace? Somehow I don't seem able to knit or think about anything else lately.

The book on Estonian lace I ordered from Martinas Bastel & Hobbykiste arrived yesterday. I was immediately worried by the lack of even the most basic English translation; I had expected that there would be a leaflet with at least a translation of the symbols, but no such luck. At 11:30 pm I posted a request for help on two Ravelry boards and this morning voilĂ , automagically a link was waiting for me with exactly what I needed: the English translation of the three symbol legend pages. It took less than two hours for a good soul to find my cry for help and help me. Thanks, Kate! Of course, I could have run a search on Google, but late at night I'm not always that alert.

Pitsilised Koekirjad
by Leili Raimann
ISBN 9985-54-016-6

These spreads show what most of the book looks like. In total, there are more than 300 patterns, many of which I haven't seen anywhere else. Be prepared for lots of nupps in the more interesting ones.

The print quality is not the best (these seem very old photos), but you get a good idea of the various patterns. A feature I particularly like is that for border patterns, the charts include a corner.

Two minor issues with the book. Everything is charted, but the more complex charts are printed at such a small scale, that anybody over 40 (or less) will need to photocopy and enlarge the charts significantly. Also, the pages are glued to the spine, not bound, and they'll start detaching from it quickly. Two pages are already half detached from my book.

I am so glad someone took the time to translate the symbols because some are definitely confusing for those of us used to the symbols commonly seen in US books and magazines.
As an example, the symbol typically used in the US for a right-slanting decrease, in this book means "slip the stitch without working it". I am sure it would have taken me a while to figure that one out. A big thank you to Shelda Eggers and Merike Saarniit of Liisu Yarns for figuring it all out and making it available to the rest of us.

If these images have wetted your appetite for Estonian lace, take a look at Knitting Beyond the Hebrides for an article on the subject, illustrated with several swatches of patterns from Pitsilised Koekirjad.

And for an excellent blog entry on how to reverse-engineer a lace pattern, check out Twosheep. The blog author went to great length to figure out one of the patterns in Pitsilised Koekirjad and explain how she did it. Ironically, she did that while waiting for the book to arrive in the mail. :)

More swatches of Estonian lace patterns at another blog, entirely dedicated to Estonian Lace: Estonian Lace Study.

Happy lace knitting!


Thanks-- Great info! Looks like gorgeous patterns. I'll keep it on the radar for later.

Looks amazing. Wish I knew Estonian so that I could wish you "happy Estonian lace knitting". Ravelry seems to be the answer to a knitters prayer, I'm only (only!) about 2000 places away from Nirvana.

This is tempting, but I will not succumb!

Thank you thank you thank you.
I have the book.
I once had the symbols translation page. I lost that page and where to find it.
I'm so psyched to have it back again!

Estonian Lace WAHOOOO

yipes! I think you could retranslated and rechart that entire tome, and I would be happy to purchase your efforts! what will you make first?

It's quite chocking, opening the book, isn't it? I bought it a couple of years ago, but haven't yet done anything from it. My local library has it in an older print (looks like she married, she was named Lehtimes or something like that in the older print) and it makes the one you (and I) have look like a perfect print, with clear pictures.
Thank you for the Estonian lace blog links!


If you're really into Estonian patterns, you should check out the book "Silmuskudumine". It's not just lace, but to me, knitted lace is somewhat subjective: if you knit anything in a lacy gauge, it can be like lace. I think you can purchase it through Estonian online auctions, since it's out of print. I got my copy (I don't know whether it's complete) by copying the volume at the Boston Public Library in the second half of the 1980's. By the way, regarding sleuthing (knitted) lace patterns, I have found that making a xerox of the piece of lace really helps. It really beats the old-fashioned way that I used as a teenager: making rubbings using number 2 pencil and paper.

Have fun! (and have fun in Portugal) -- Dan Schultz

I got my copy in the mail yesterday. :) Can't wait to play around with those motifs!

Some of the modeled sweater pictures are hilarious, don't you think? :)

Oh My..... You are such a book enabler!! I must have this book now. :) Wow... that is about all that I can say.

Thanks for all the links.

That book looks amazing. I just love Estonian lace.

Oh my... what a fabulous book that must be! Just the little glimpse you've given is breathtaking. The Yarn Harlot once wrote something about Estonian knitters, along the lines of "they are doing something completely, astoundingly, brain-bendingly different over there" (that's a paraphrase, not a quote) and she's absolutely right--they take knitting to a whole other level.

Nancy Bush is working on a book about Estonian lace, or so I hear. I hope it will be something like this one, but with more familiar chart symbols. ;-)

Ok, I think I need to buy this book. I have a thing for stitch pattern books. And since my new lace project is going so well.....
Small world story, my son has an Estonian friend at college. Turns out this kid is more than just an Estonian, he's the son of the president. But something tells me a 20 year old guy probably knows nothing from knitting.

EEK! that books looks amazing... WOW