Patter Previews for Traditions Revisited by Aleks Byrd
Estonian knitting is all about techniques, embellishment and regionality. Aleks Byrd’s book Traditions Revisited – Modern Estonian Knits is an introduction to contemporary Estonian knitting. It includes 19 patterns, ranging from mittens to sweaters, that blend seamlessly with modern knitting styles. They are based on traditional Estonian techniques, but have a distinctive graphic touch by Aleks. The book makes traditional techniques accessible to everyone and builds a bridge between Estonian knitters and the international knitting community.
This roosimine pattern is one that evokes traditional patterns used in socks and gloves. It is worn proudly on the front chest like a shield (‘kilp’) of pride, identity and protection. Do it as a gradient, all in one colour or with three different colours. The set-in sleeve sweater is knit seamlessly from the top down.
Like rays of sunshine, the roosimine pattern on this cardigan spreads out in rays across the hem and cuffs. This is a twist on a classic roosimine motif found on the cuffs of gloves from Tõstamaa. Päikene is knit seamlessly. The body is knit from the hem up beginning in the round with a steek for the roosimine section at the bottom of the cardigan. The remainder of the body is knit flat once the roosimine is finished.
Kiperoosa is a simplified, modern take on a pair of heavily embellished traditional mittens. The techniques come from Tõstamaa and the colours are inspired by the bright and bold island of Muhu known for its floral embroidery. The mittens are knitted from the cuff up, and they feature knitted fringe and roosimine. There is an option to make the mittens convertible with a flip top for the fingers.
There are many cute hedgehogs (‘siil’) to be found in the great expanse of forest that make up Estonia, and these creatures are sometimes seen in the city parks too. Create stylish quills on a handy pair of mitts using a staggered knitted fringe. The Siil mitts are knitted from the cuff up.
Like the wings (‘tiivad’) of a bird, this shawl has a texture that ruffles in the breeze. The knitted fringes on the shawl are inspired by the stripes and edge trim seen on many traditional mittens. This triangular shawl is knit from the outside edge inward, starting with the largest number of stitches. Tiivad has knitted fringe stripes worked in one and two colours between sections of Stockinette stitch.
This knitted-fringe sweater has the timeless (‘ajatu’) quality of a Chanel tweed jacket. It is inspired by the blouse and jacket styles from the folk costume of Muhu, with stripes of patterning down the front hiding the closings and clasps. Ajatu is a seamless set-in sleeve sweater knit from the bottom up with knitted fringe in two contrasting colours on the hem and a checkerboard stripe up the front of the body.
A colourful modern twist on a traditional sock style from the island it is named after. These socks have colourwork detailing and sock teeth pattern (‘sukahambad’) with braids and sleek ribbing down the leg to the toes and heel, reminiscent of its intricate traditional inspiration. The Kihnu socks are knitted from the cuff to toe.
This large asymmetrical shawl can be likened to unfurling a bolt of the striped hand-woven fabric (‘kangas’) used for the skirts of national folk costumes. In Estonia, each parish has its own colours for women’s skirts to show where the wearer is from. Kangas is knitted from tip to tip with stripes of knitted braids in between sections of garter stitch.
This sweater is a twist on the classic striped sweater. The stripes on Virvendus are created using Kihnu vits. A high contrast yarn allows the small stripes to provide a flicker (‘virvendus’) of colour across the sweater. This yoke sweater is knit seamlessly from the top down.
Tuljak is a fast-paced folk dance where the women’s national costume skirts and woven belts whirl around in unison. These belts are reimagined into a beautiful colourwork and knitted braid pattern that decorates the hem and cuffs of this sweater. Tuljak is knitted seamlessly from the top down.
The troi is a traditional men’s sweater from the island of Kihnu. Troi’s are all-over colourwork sweaters brimming with embellishment, historically done in black or blue and white with the knitted braids in red. This modern troi includes useful pockets and comes in two versions, a sweater and a dress. Troi is knitted seamlessly from the bottom up with steeks used to create and shape the openings of each armhole and neck.
Inspired by vikkel stitch stockings from the island of Muhu, Maru plays with interlocking vikkel twisted stitch patterns and shapes. The name Maru means ‘storm’ in Estonian – it is the perfect hat for any wintery weather. Maru is knitted from the brim up.
Mustjala, a parish on the largest Estonian island, is known for intricate vikkel stitch patterns on white gloves, mittens and stockings. The stitch pattern for this vest is inspired by one of Mustjala’s many vikkel glove patterns. The body features a panel of vikkel twisted stitches on the front and back surrounded by 1x1 ribbing. Mustjala is knit from the bottom up, and the armholes are steeked to create the openings.
Vormsi is one of Estonia’s smaller islands and this vikkel pattern is a variation on a traditional Vormsi sock. The pattern is meant to evoke the feeling of waves in the Baltic sea. This yoke sweater is knit seamlessly from the top down. The sleeves feature a vikkel stitch pattern with ribbing that runs from about the elbow to the end of the sleeve.
Tuul is inspired by the many flowing vikkel twisted stitch patterns used on knits from Kihnu, which sweep across socks and gloves like the wind (‘tuul’). Here the twisted stitches blow across the sides and around the raglan lines of this sweater. Tuul is knitted seamlessly from the top down. It is worked flat until the end of the v-neck shaping when it is then joined in the round.
This cowl is inspired by a cornflower (‘rukkilill’) and a swallow, two national symbols of Estonia. Rukkilill has the style of a traditional Haapsalu lace shawl with a few twists – clean garter stitch edge and contrasting nuppud (bobbles) in mohair. The cowl is knit flat from the garter tab cast on tip up. Lastly, the short sides are seamed together.
‘Mulin’ refers to the babbling sound made by water flowing over rocks or when water boils in a pot. This sweater is made of nuppud (bobbles), which are traditionally done in lace shawls. Here the nuppud dance across the sweater babbling about stories of a non-lacey kind! Mulin has set-in sleeves and it is knitted from the bottom up.
Named after the region of Mulgimaa in southern Estonia, Mulgi is the region’s dialect, as well as the name of the people who come from there. Mulgimaa is known for its distinct black folk costume coats worn by men, embellished with red cording. In the spirit of this region, the Mulgi sweater is adorned with red embellishment in the form of bobbles. The saddle stitch construction is done seamlessly from the top down.