Meeting Nancy Bush
For Want of A YO...

Estonian Knits

In this post there is a picture of my sock drawer. Julia spied what she thought was a non-hand knit sock and accused queried by saying it looked 'suspiciously commercial'. There are several socks in the drawer that were not knit by me, but ALL of the socks were hand knit. The purple socks with red stripes were knit by Susan and two pair were knit by my Sockapal’s.  There are also two white socks, and it was the one with red stripes that raised Julia's suspicions. (It is beautifully knit, afterall.)

While traveling and researching the book Folk Socks, Nancy Bush made her first trip to Estonia.  It was then that she fell in love with the country, the knitters and the knitting.  She knew this would be a great place to study the history and techniques of their ethnic knitting. Her next book was Folk Knitting in Estonia.  This is a fabulous book which details many of the unique knitting techniques Nancy found in this small Baltic country. It hasn’t sold as well as her other books because of some of the hard to find yarns, but most pattern use fingering weight yarn. Nancy has been instrumental in reviving hand knitting in Estonia by sharing the unique ideas found there with knitters around the world. You can find Estonian techniques in most of her sock patterns.

Estonlcesckfrmnnbsh_2 The white socks in my drawer are very special socks that were knit by women Nancy met while traveling in Estonia. They send socks, gloves and mittens to Nancy which she then sells to help supplement their meager incomes.  I have two pair and I love to wear them on cold days.  Both have a small design on the cuff in a technique called Rosetud, which looks like embroidery, but it is actually worked while knitting.  Each pair has a very different lace pattern down the front of the foot. The sock trimmed with gray has a lace design very similar to the French Child’s Sock from Vintage Knitting. The red trimmed sock has a mock cable pattern which runs along the side calf and heel. Smith also has a pair of Estonian socks which has a bit of Rosetud and an interesting cable design down the front. The Estonian wool is a little scratchy but very, very warm.  We wear the socks with boots during the coldest winter months.


MyfancyestonianglovesClassygrayglvoesfromesto I also have two pair of gloves from Estonia.  The pair in two color knitting has been worn for several winters.  They are warm and tough, but because they have been worn so much I have had to replace several finger tips and the thumbs.  I will continue to do repairs, as long as the gloves hold up, as I enjoy wearing them. (This is the only knit item I have bothered to repair, ever.)   The gray pair is new and rather elegant with the lace pattern on the hand and fingers.

Thanks Julia for asking about the socks and spurring me on to explain.


What goregous stuff, and it's great you support such fantastic knitting.

Wow, what a great collection. I love Nancy's Estonian book - I knit a pair of lace socks from it for my grandmother last year.

Fabulous...I used to love to look at and read the Estonian knitting books in my moms collection. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you for the explaination and the show. They are gorgeous. I want to learn more about Rosetud now.

Those are gorgeous socks, and the gloves are simply fabulous. I love the colorwork on the first pair, but the grey ones just look too beautiful not to covet.

Thanks for sharing!

How fun!! The socks are lovely and I just LOVE those grey gloves!!

Not handknit! In Margene's drawer? The blasphemy of it all.... ;-) Great stuff - thanks for sharing.

I love that book, going to cast on today for MEIDA's mittens, I need to knit the 2nd MAIMV's mitten, I tried to the other day, can't remember how to do the braid stitch, I read instructins, it's like I never did it before, getting old ain't easy.
Your socks & gloves from Estonia are wonderful.

I love the first pair of socks you show. How pretty, and the provenance is great.

I have a pair of mittens from Vilnas Lithuania that were given to me by a friend at a time when I had no outdoor clothing four years ago. I love them. The womyn who presented them to me has fixed the thumbs multiple times over these years, and when I brought one to hir on Sunday, shi was more astonished that I still had them than that they needed repair.

I love them.

When I get the pair back, you have inspired me to post a photograph!

You are surrounded by beauty, from your sock drawer to the snow capped mountains. Lucky you!

BTW-Thanks so much, I'll get the cash to you asap.

I love the display, and educational session. Repair?? Oooooh. I'm impressed. I'm winding up to repair a DH sweater knit by my dead mother...that is a humbling thought. I am not worthy.

You are one lucky sock lady, Lady. Just gorgeous, and very special, items. We'll raise a glass to you this weekend, Dearie.

Oooooh, those socks are just gorgeous. They look so warm and wooly.

Real Estonian knitting! Wow! I'm so glad you shared them with us. It's one thing to see a sample in a book, but quite another to see a 'real' sock in action. And the gloves... now I want to knit Nancy's gloves in GOL and pretend that they came directly from Estonia too. :-)

Wow, I never would have guessed the embellishment was worked during knitting and not added later. Fascinating. I'm definitely looking into it further.

Oh my goodness, I love the cozy feet photo! You could be sitting in front of a fireplace with steaming hot toddies nearby and it would be the perfect photo for a ski lodge promo!

Thanks so much for sharing the stories of your socks and gloves. I think I'd be fixin' those gloves, too. ; )

Sweet Pea, I am about to leave for Finland and hope to make a day trip over to Talinn, Estonia during the two weeks I'm over there. Do Nancy's knitting women happen to live in Talinn? For I'd love to contact them and purchase some socks and/or mittens if I'm able to make it there.
Let me know when you can. I'm leaving for Finland on Friday morning but will be able to check my email while I'm over there.
Btw, I promised you some knitted goodie if I make it there, so let me know what you'd like or at least what color(s) appeal.

I loved reading about your socks, and adding to Nancy's estonian knitting. I love her estonian book and have knit several of the socks. I think she does still carry some of the yarn through her mail order, doesn't she?

Wish I could have met up with you other "Utah" girls on Saturday. It looks like you had a lot of fun!

I'm having some knee surgery tomorrow and will be down for several weeks, so I'm looking forward to lots of knitting time, for socks -- of course!

My brain must be about fried because I kept reading Rosetud with an R in there and giggling like a maniac.

I love your Estonian socks and gloves.

Matching socks, hmmm? Very nice.

What lovely comments about some lovely knit items.

I am WEAK by the beauty of it all. Your hands and feet are lucky indeed!

I worship everthing about Nancy Bush.


It was her socks....not a sleigh!


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