Sharing the Craft

For a little while now, a friend who lives nearby has been asking me to teach her some textile crafts. She first had the notion to do embroidery, which ended up not happening due to time constraints, and more recently, she decided that she would like to learn how to knit socks. She had previously…

Finger weaving sock garters (video!)

I just posted a couple of videos on YouTube showing how I make sock garters. The first one is a time lapse so that you can pause it at any time and get a clear picture, but also because no one wants to watch the extended cut of measuring threads. The second one shows the…

The delights of braiding wool

Even though I favor large, intricate projects, when I don’t know what to do with my hands, I almost always turn to some sort of braiding/plaiting or finger weaving. I love the look of little woollen braids in bright colors, and I use them everywhere — to wrap gifts, tie bundles of herbs, close open…

Back in the field on Kihnu Island

I have been itching to get back to work on my dissertation research, which was delayed not only because of the COVID-19 shutdown, which ended earlier here in Estonia than in many other places, but also because I had been working on a lot of basic craft skills that were to lead up to better…

At home in Estonia

The past couple of months have been a complicated time for most people. Here, it has been a time of stillness, anxiety, and creativity. I’m not sure how my research can happen at this point; I was supposed to be in the field (literally, with sheep!) this spring and summer, and I haven’t gotten to…

Making room for practice-led research

I think a lot about the divide between academic research and the kinds of learning and making done by regular folks without the backing of a university or other official institution to say, “Yes, we say that you are a Serious Researcher!” A lot of very fine work is done by people who have become…

Tiny stitches

One of my greatest struggles in learning Estonian crafts has been in learning how to knit in this very tiny, tight knitting style that Estonians have traditionally used to construct their extremely intricate mittens, stockings, and other knitted items. I, unfortunately, am a loose knitter. I had some nasty bouts of tendinitis some years ago,…

Native sheep of Estonia

Estonia is home to a variety of sheep breeds, but some have undergone genetic testing that has shown that they are closely related to sheep that have been in this area for up to 3000 years (Rannamäe et al, 2016). Overall, the old sheep in Estonia are referred to as maalammas, which is commonly translated…