The night before we left for Tallinn I was speaking to my mom and asked her if there was anything in particular that she would like from Estonia. Her response? What do they have in Estonia?!
Good question, Mom. I’m really not sure!
Following our ridiculously early start (we left the house at 4am and still had to run through the airport to catch our flight) we dropped our bags off at the hotel and took to the streets of Tallinn. We pointed ourselves in the direction of the Old Town and set off walking to see what we could see. It didn’t take long to discover the answer to my mother’s earlier question.
Just through the Viru Gates, along the old City Walls, it became clear that what Estonia does is knit….and crochet. They knit and crochet quite a lot if you’re judging based on the amount of socks, mittens, scarves, sweaters, and slightly ridiculously designed hat/scarf combos that are sold throughout Tallinn.
Textile crafts have a long history in Estonia, with knitting, crochet, embroidery, and weaving serving as important markers of regional and national identity throughout the nineteenth century. The knitw wear found at the Knit Market along Müürivahe St. is eclectic in its colours and designs and the visitors experience is made all the better when you can watch the stall holders knitting away while chatting to passersby. It’s a delight to see that all of these old-fashioned hand crafts aren’t dying out and Estonia is doing its best to hold onto traditions.
As a keen textile crafter myself, I was in wool heaven at this market. It took all of my will power to not buy one of everything to cuddle up with on the cold English winters. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, we were travelling with only hand luggage and so had limited space for knitted handicrafts. I came home with a lovely pair of tights and some local wool to make into something delightful though! I, however, don’t have anywhere near the talent or skill of the women at the Knit Market, but I’ll give it a go nonetheless.
So there you go, we’ve all learned something new. Estonia is the place to go if you’re looking for some cuddly winter sweaters and slippers.