Pitsilised Koekirjad

Pitsilised KoekirjadHaving got a copy of the new Estonian lace book, I wanted the old one.  Thanks to Monica, an Estonian lady on the Lace Knitters Yahoo list I now have it!  And what a treasure it is!!

It’s title is Pitsilised Koekirjad by Leilli Reimann.  This is the Second edition – expanded from the first – and published in 1986.  Unlike Haapsula Saal, this is not just patterns from Haapsula, but from all over Estonia, and it includes photos of other items as well as shawls.

Unlike the new book, there is not a word of English in it – this was written for the Estonian market, not for anywhere else.  Fortunately the chart symbols seem to be the same as those in the new book as far as I can see so far.  With a little bit of thought you can work them out, anyway!

There are far more patterns in this one, but they are not as well set out as in the new one.  After all, this was published before the days of easy type-setting of charts!    But a little patience gives you the understanding of all of them.

In this book, the photos of each of the stitches is at the beginning of the book, with each stitch taking half a page.  Later in the book are the charts, numbered from the photos. If the pattern is simple there are several charts on the page; if it is complex there may only be one.

pages 1

pages 2

As the charts are not actual ‘graphs’, but individual symbols, you do have to watch the spaces between the symbols.  Many Estonian lace patterns change the number of stitches in a row, and I would want to chart a pattern before I actually knit it.  But having said that, the symbols are distinct and the photos clear, and my fingers are itching…..

I had had several emails to and fro with Monica before she sent the book, and I mentioned I was interested in Shetland lace.  She very kindly put in an actual sample of  Estonian lace for me to touch and see!!  It is about 7 ins across:

Estonian sample

The wool is fascinating – very creamy white, worsted spun 2 ply, about a 2/28 at a guess.  It is, of course, stocking stitched based, but the needles are relatively large compared with the wool, so it is difficult to see which is the right and wrong side unless you look very closely.  The nupps form very solid spots on a light and airy background, counter balancing the holes.  Looking at the sample you think it is going to be a bit stiff, but it is very soft – and practically weightless!!

Monica is in the process of building a website – I will let you know when it is up!

Isn’t the internet wonderful? !  I ‘meet’ so many kind and interesting people on line, and am able to learn about knitting traditions previously impossible to explore….


15 thoughts on “Pitsilised Koekirjad

  1. Oh, I wish I had seen that link from Monika long ago. I have a copy of the first edition – it is falling to pieces because the binding was rather fragile. It was worth the effort of learning to use the book – and the price I paid for it! Just remember you do need to sleep occasionally too – there is a temptation to remain awake and try ‘just one more pattern’!

  2. That’s for sure – there are so many things I can explore now just by a determined search that I couldn’t have laid hands on by any means.

    I can’t wait to hear what you make of it.

  3. “Unlike Haapsula Saal, this is not just patterns from Haapsula, but from all over Estonia, […]”

    Although in English the name is Estonian lace the tradition of knitted lace shawls comes from one region of Estonia – a little seaside resort Haapsalu and Läänemaa county (Haapsalu is its capital). In Estonian these shawls are called after the town – Haapsalu shawl (as is the new book). The knitting of fine lace shawls started in the 19. century when mud cure establishments were built and the town became resort. The patterns became more complex over time and knitters thought out new ones. The patterns in “Pitsilised koekirjad” also come from Haapsalu knitters as do the ones in “Haapsalu Sall”.

    Ruth from Haapsalu

      1. Hi Anya,

        It is very difficult – you have to look at the right place at the right time… I finally got lucky after quite a while… I got mine from an ad on the Lace Knitters Yahoo list….

        Sorry I can’tbe of more help.


  4. there is also a blog online where different knitters tested single patterns and put them online – I stumbled across the link when I found the laminaria pattern on knitty.com! the photos in the book aren’t of a sensational quality, the ones on the blog are much clearer I find!

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