Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Estonia—Part 1

When Cathy was planning her trip to Europe, Estonia was the second country she decided to visit. She loves the Haapsalu style of knitted lace. (Haapsalu is an old seaside resort town in Estonia.) Even though she knew nothing else about the country, that was reason enough to add it to the itinerary. So even though it was her second choice of countries, it is the last country in Europe we would visit. 

On Monday, June 25 we boarded a train to the outskirts of Stockholm, then a bus into the city, then a tram out to the ferry dock, and finally an overnight ferry for Tallinn, Estonia. The crossing of the Baltic Sea was smooth and full of light. We were very close to the solstice and very far north. Even though we were not inside the Arctic circle, the sky never got completely dark. 

Our Tallink ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn

We had a nice little private cabin with a wee porthole. Cathy, stick-in-the-mud she is, spent much of the crossing in the cabin. 

Visiting the upper decks is like walking through a mini-mall, complete with several bars, a couple night clubs, and children'
s play areas. This does not appeal to Cathy, so she decided to take advantage of the time to catch up on planning our trip to Estonia. I kinda’ wanted to go to the disco upstairs—we could hear the party in our cabin and I wondered how the revelers would have liked dancing with me! I bet it would have been fun—oh well… 

Arriving in Tallinn

After a good night’s sleep, we arrived at the port of Tallinn, Estonia. Cathy reports:
Upon arriving in Tallinn, Estonia, I again experienced one of my  pinch-myself moments.” Sometimes I get overwhelmed with emotion and a few tears when I realize what I am doing, where I am, and where I have been in the past year. (Yes, it was a year ago on June 22nd that Hamish and I left the United States.) I thought we would be finished with this journey last December, and yet here we are, still wandering around...

Gifts from Cassie
After a few days in Tallinn, we made our way to Parnu where we met Cassie Rosse, a young designer who designs shawls in the Haapsalu style. She publishes a new shawl design every week—can you believe that? We met her for coffee on Sunday morning and ended up visiting for FIVE hours! 

When they met, Cassie gifted Cathy with a bag of special items: two of her shawl patterns, Butterflies on Flowers and Butterflies of Spring; two balls of her own merino yarn (1500 meters each!) and a bar of chocolate! 

Cassie loved Cathy’s 
Autumn poncho and 
made a lovely model for it.
Cassie also gave Cathy a lesson in how to make the best kind of nuups, so they stand out clearly on the fabric. I will write more about nuups in my next blog post.  

Cassie was my first contributor in Estonia and what an introduction to Estonia! She used the fine merino lace yarn that Cathy had purchased at Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh to make this lovely motif full of nuups.

"Nuups" are a special technique for making the bobbles that are the earmark of Haapsalu style lace.

While in Parnu, we discovered, right next door to the hostel where we were staying, the Magdalena Guild, a cooperative of craftspeople with shops and studios and even a little café. Cathy entered, hoping to find some spinners, but she found knitters, instead! That was good news for me: the knitters there just loved me! They just kept arranging and re-arranging me on the floor and taking lots of photos!

Mare (right) looks at my first few rows, while Ene
finishes up a section that includes an Estonian
flag and her name! (below)

We returned to Tallinn on Friday, July 6 to be there to meet Conny Wolthuis on the following Monday. Yes! Conny would be accompanying us to Haapsalu! Can you believe it?! (More about that in my next post.)

This paper yarn is called Gampi Surabu
and is made in Japan. 34% “gampi” paper
and 66% rayon.
Cassie had recommended that we visit the Wool and Woolen yarn shop near the bus station when we returned to Tallinn. One day, Cathy was out walking without me and she decided to go look for the shop. So she was the first to meet Eve, the owner—and delightful new friend! Eve also owns a knitwear design company and says that Wool and Woolen is her “hobby business.” Hobby or not, it is a very well-organized shop with some unusual yarns, including some made with paper!

Wool and Woolen Yarn Shop in Tallinn

Cathy would return with me to Wool and Woolen three more times before we left Estonia!

While at Wool and Woolen the first time, Cathy met Pia and Felicia, a mother and her daughter from Sweden. They had taken the ferry over from Stockholm the night before to shop—especially to stock up on wool for knitting through the winter. She told the Swedish pair about me and Felicia’s eyes got really wide. So, she agreed to meet them in a park near our hostel the next day so I could get a chance to meet them. Here we are on a nice sunny Estonian summer day.

Felicia wrote in my journal: “Hope you like my Swedish colors so you remember where the knitter is from.”

What a great start in Estonia...We would be here for three more weeks!

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