Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer Squares Take Seven: Finishing the Quartet and A Survey of Estonian Books.

We are still moving along, over at The Summer Squares Group. Today I am posting the last chart for The Blue Quartet squares, plus the Blue Quartet border chart. I have more info on that to follow...but I thought I would add a small book review to my post today. Not a review, really, but more or a survey. I am now the lucky owner of three knitting books that came from Estonian. How cool is that! Thanks to Malle, I am lucky enough to have a copy of this amazing new lace book from Estonia. First, I want to say that this book is a hardcover, large format book with very high quality photography. My pictures of the book are pretty bad, because I turned my flash off to avoid glare. The book, on the other hand, has wonderful, clear pictures and equally good charts.
There is a large section on the history of this knitting style which I only wish I could read. It looks wonderful, but the pictures tell a great tale, even without the words. There is a brief English introduction and an English chart key.
There are photos of classic knitted pieces, and patterns and charts for all the components of each piece. There are also great technique photographs. This is not a pattern book for projects, as much as a history and technique book. Included is a very good collection of traditional Estonian lace stitches in photographs along with clear charts. Using the information they provide, you can knit yourself any of the classic pieces shown in the book, but you will have to do some figuring for yourself.
This is a gorgeous book, and if you are lucky enough to get yourself a copy you will enjoy it!

I have another lovely Estonian book, which was given to me by my daughter's friend. She picked it out for me while visiting relatives in Estonia! How nice is that? Very...
This is a book on knitting mittens and gloves. This one is actually a project book. Again, I can't read the content, but I think these are modern patterns based on traditional mittens and gloves. The technique photographs and the charts are excellent. I have not made any of these yet, but I won't have any trouble following the charts. These gloves are especially nice.
Finally, I do own a copy of this book, which is an amazing collection of Estonian stitches, with black and white photographs and charts that are very usable. The charts have some errors and are sometimes hard to read. This book has become hard to find, and when you can find it it costs too much. I hope the publisher see the overwhelming response to the new Estonian lace book, and considers re-printing this classic. It would be wonderful to see it re-done with better photos and charts, but honestly it is worth having it just as it is, so I vote that they re-print it however they can!
There is a section in the back of the book with photographs of finished garments that use the stitch patterns. The pictures are fun.
Along with "basic" stitch motifs, there are a few centers and edgings. Many wonderful things!
If I have another opportunity to get a knitting book from Estonia I will say yes without seeing the book. They know how to knit, they use good charts and I love the traditional work. There you have my opinion!
Now, back to the task at hand, today we have The Cello square and the Blue Quartet border, already posted at our Summer Squares Group.
Nice picture above and bad picture below!
I have no video for you today, but maybe we can block something for next week. Let's see how much knitting I get done. Just to remind you, next week I will have the Blue Quartet Edging and the 8th square posted at The Summer Squares Group. The 8th square is the first square in our third project! I better get back to my knitting...


  1. Oh, if it was a fun read. Who knows, all of a sudden you can get more of a book owned by Estonian ....

  2. I love those books. I got the first and third and theyare wonderful! I loved that old/young photo the best. It made me laugh for 20 minutes..

    Pretty square, too!

  3. I too have the first and the third books - and absolutely treasure them. The Pitsilised that I have must be older than yours - 1978 - so finished project pictures in the back - but very useful none the less. Can you believe I recently traded a pair of Addi turbos for the book? How cool is that? The Haapsalu Sall is VERY well done!

  4. Dear Cat,
    your review of Estonian knitting books is fantastic.

    I just want to clarify the situation with Pitsilised Koekirjad.

    I am the person behind widely known, but not the first one, attempt to have American edition of Pitsilised Koekirjad published.

    I organized a community effort to have all the swatches from the book to be re-knitted, in the same yarn, to the same gauge, several stitch and row repeats, etc. to have new photography done. I actually started to re-chart patterns in Interweave symbol system, and had Meg Swansen agree to publish the book. Unfortunately, there is one problem nobody managed to overcome - copy roght. The published of the book holds rights to the charts only and did not mind our publication of the book on the condition that we do not reuse their charts. But either I, nor Meg never get any written confirmation of this publisher position. They just plain do not answer e-mails. I learned it through the people I asked for the favor to visit the publisher in Tallinn.

    For the rest of the book the copy right belongs to the author of Pitsilised Koekirjad, Leili Reimann. Merike Saarniit contacted Leili Reiman on my behalf without any visible success. Unfortunately, I can't go to Estonia myself for family reasons. Later I met on the Internet a wonderful textile desiger and knitter from Estonia. I asked her to contact Leili about the book. And I had e-mail exchange with Leili Riemann. Unfortunately all communication stopped abrabtly after I described at Leili's request how I would like the book to be published - all new swatches in the same yarn and to the same gauge; all new photography; addition of more detailed technique chapter; addition of short DVD with demonstration of techniques done by Continental and English knitters; removing of outdated garmets ad addition of ew garment projects; in short - I wanted to bring the book to the contemporary American publishing stadards. After this Leili just stopped aswering my e-mail without any explanations. At first, I worried about her health, but my friend in Tallinn conatated her ans Leili is doing well. She just doesn't want to negotiate any chages in the contents and appearence of her book.

    After agonizing over this issue, two months ago I decided to put this project in the cold projects file. I did not know at the time about upcoming Haapsalu Sall book. I notified the people who helped me with the project about developments and my decision. I still keep all the swatches (I do not consider these swatches my personal property) just in case someone will be able to overcome the difficulties and publish Pitsilised Koekirjad. Then the collection of swatches and notes is readily available.

    I am sorry, but this is how the Pitsilised Koekirjad project stays right now.

    I was very exited when I got my copy of Haapsalu Sall. The book is fantastic! And such book on Estonian lace knitting is long overdue! The appearence of this book made me very happy!I can't help but think that all my efforts in having Pitsilised Koekirjad translation published played some invisible role in the appearence of Haapsalu Sall book. Who knows...

    Faina Letoutchaia

  5. I have a question - where did you order Eeesti Kirdakirjad book? I tried Rahva Raamat, but it looks to me they ship only in Estonia.
    Thank you!
    PS My e-mail:

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. To vereteno:
    Apollo Raamatud is Estonian bookseller who is dealing with international shipping. Please look

    Regards from Estonia