Monday, July 11, 2011

Hand Crafts of Estonia

On Friday Marc and I took the girls on a day trip to Tallinn, Estonia. We drove 2 hours south to Helsinki, and then took a 2 hour boat ride to Tallinn. 

We visited Tallinn's "Old Town" which is an walled city of colorful houses, hidden courtyards, twisting cobblestone lanes and beautiful churches.
Aerial view of the Old Town
I was thrilled to find that Tallinn was also full of incredible handcrafts, which were available for sale in many small shops and in the marketplace. (Perhaps the 5 women knitting on the boat ride over were a sign of what I would see?)
The post office
We made the 15 minute walk from the port to one of the smaller entrances of the Old Town. I loved the winding streets and how the old stone buildings contrasted with the colorful doors and walls!
Hidden courtyards & colorful doors
We wandered around and finally came to Harju street, one of the main entrances. There were lots of booths set up along the inside wall of the city and many of them were full of hand knits.
A booth in the Town Hall Square. Vendors were all dressed in medieval costumes and knitting or sewing while selling their wares.
The women were knitting away happily, and seemed to be unaware of the heat (it was in the mid 80s!) and the fact that they were wearing long, heavy medieval costumes. We were in shorts and were always searching for the shady side of the street!
A booth nestled on the inside of the city wall, on Müürivahe Street
Hand knit sweaters, hats and gloves are an Estonian specialty and we found them everywhere we turned. In stores, in booths on sidewalks, and right out in the middle of Town Hall Square.
Gorgeous hand knit socks with embroidered flowers
Traditional snowflake designs
Helen couldn't believe how many gorgeous sweaters there were
More traditional mittens and socks
Socks, socks and more socks
Miniature knitted kitties looking for a new home
There were also lots of felted items. Toys, hats, slippers, felted pieces worked into woven rugs...
Felted toys in a shop window
Felted hats of all styles sold in the Raekoja Plats (Town Hall Square)
Weaving... now this was one of my favorites. So different than anything I've ever seen.
Beautiful felted slippers
Felted finds
And more felted finds
There were lots of embroidered linens - from placements to hand towels to clothing...
A child's linen dress entices visitors into this shop
And yarn! I did find some of that too!
This yarn looked yummy!
I was so inspired by all of the knits I saw in Tallinn, that I grabbed some Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport (my long awaited yarn stash DID finally arrive!) and started something of my own. Here's a peak, but more details to follow...


Emily said...

So beautiful (both the knits and the town)!

I'm trying really hard to keep my jealousy in check, but it's not really working.

Andra said...

good to see you're getting out and about. fab knits - only a preview of what you'll see in Riga. That pink felted mouse toy sure has interesting accessories!