Aleks herself grew up in the US but has spent much time visiting her mother’s family in Estonia. She learnt to knit from a young age and began to explore Estonian techniques as an ode to her heritage. Her mother also learnt to knit when young, and became a keen knitter more recently so, with the ageing of her grandmother and a renewed interest in the craft, Aleks and her mother endeavoured to teach themselves Estonian knitting. They bought countless books on the skill, with their oldest dating from the 1920s, and taught themselves everything they could. Now Aleks is sharing that wealth of knowledge with the world.
The author tells the story of these ‘deceptively easy’ braiding and fringing techniques as a bridge between Estonian knitting and more Western knitting styles. The book is for everyone. As someone who started to learn Estonian knitting from a book, with her first creation being a colourwork braid creature, Aleks has made her own book as accessible as possible. She leads her readers through the stories of the techniques, and the ways that different colours or techniques equate to different geographical areas of Estonia, followed by detailed instructions, so that her readers can learn of Estonian culture through Aleks’s own experiences.
Aleks chose to use Garthenor Organic Preseli for her Tiivad shawl. ‘Tiivad’ translates to ‘wings’ which she feels describe the shawl. It’s lightweight and fluttery, with elements of fringing offering the texture of wings. This knitted fringing would have been used traditionally on cuffs but Aleks has reimagined it into a decorative element for her triangle shawl. She chose Preseli for its drape and exceptional stitch definition. The yarn is a 4ply blend of Polwarth, Romney and Hebridean fibres, making it one of our softest bases. 4-fold construction gives Preseli its excellent stitch definition, and at 200m per 50g, it's also super flexible as a sweater and shawl yarn.
A Yarn Story is hosting a book launch party for Aleks in Bath on Saturday the 28th of May where you can chat to the author herself and get your copy of Traditions Revisited signed. We look forward to seeing your Estonian knits!
We've also chosen a stunning selection of yarn kits in Preseli, one from each of us here at Garthenor. Discover our choices here.