My knowledge of Muhu was very limited before traveling to this small island. All of my information about Muhu and its culture came solely from the various Estonian knitting books Loop stocks. During down time in the shop, I've flipped through the pages and gazed over the photos of some of the most colourful and intricate patterns I've seen of traditional knitwear. So, when Eero and I talked about the possibility of traveling to Estonia, I asked about the chances of visiting Muhu. I really have him to thank for indulging my curiosity and putting this trip together and also to his family friends for lending us their summer cottage, conveniently located on Muhu!

We stayed in their restored Estonian farmhouse, the perfect place to settle in for the weekend and explore Muhu and Saaremaa. Unfortunately for us, the weather was the only thing not co-operating and it rained the whole weekend. We even lost power a few times due to the strong winds from a storm brewing over the Baltic Sea. One morning, when we thought we had regained power, we traveled to the Muhu Muuseum only to find they were without power too. We stayed to explore the dark homes and farmhouses which are a part of their open air museum. 

Since there was no power this meant their exhibition of Muhu's national textiles and costumes was completely in the dark. However, I'm still happy to have had a quick glimpse of these examples I had gotten to know through books such as Designs and Patterns from Muhu Island and Estonian Knitting. I feel very fortunate to have visited this quiet and understated place because I know many knitting enthusiasts would not have the opportunity to visit this remote island. 

The next few photos were taken at Lõngapood Kuressaare, a small craft supply shop I stumbled across on the main street in Kuressaare. A pleasant find was the DIY embroidery outlines to get you started on your own piece inspired by traditional Estonian floral motifs. I brought home a handful of colours and few outlines to try myself when I can find the time. 

Another souvenir I brought back was this knitting book, Parimusluksus: Luxury in Tradition by Estonian designer and author, Heli Väärtnõu-Järv. I admire how she's combined century old techniques and Estonian folk art as inspiration for modern day garments. I also love the addition of her paintings throughout the book. When I begin the designing process for a new piece I often start with a drawing of what I hope to create. Some of these drawings can be found in my book Take Heart. However, I would love to add a fine art element to some future designs. 


After our first afternoon in Tallinn, Eero and I left the city and drove through the Estonian countryside towards the coast. We spent the weekend on Muhu Island which I'll mention more in my next post. Saaremaa is the biggest island off of Estonia and is connected to Muhu by a causeway.

Before leaving on this trip, a colleague of mine had mentioned that visiting Estonia would be like stepping inside a fairytale. I was happy to see that Saaremaa did not disappoint. We visited the main city, Kuressaare, a handful of times to explore the local craft shops, restaurants and of course, this castle complete with moat! How much more fairytale-esque could this place be? This is Kuressaare Castle, originally built in the 14th century and  is the best surviving example of a medieval fortification amongst the Baltic countries.

We enjoyed an amazing meal at Kuressaare Kuursaal one afternoon, located just across the moat from the castle. Their Ku-Kuu Kitchen emphasizes local produce from Saarremaa and Muhu. The salad, soup and fish all had locally sources ingredients and the pike I enjoyed was caught that morning. Everything was delicious and to savour this all within view of the castle was definitely a special treat. Another memorable meal from Kuressaare was at Kohvik Retro. Located on the main street, this restaurant was also really proud of their local produce and everything on their menu was made in house. This time I was too eager to dive in before taking any photos but would highly recommend it to those in the area. 

Another favourite site we visited was the Kaali Crater Field. This natural site is composed of nine different meteorite craters from one asteroid breaking up as it entered Earth's atmosphere. The exact time of impact is unknown but scientists believe it to have happened between 1530 - 1450 BCE. These photos are from the biggest crater which formed a near perfect circular pond. I've always been curious about space exploration and our mysterious universe so I was incredibly excited to visit this place. This crater is tucked away amongst quiet farmland, just behind a local school and playground. I felt it was really special to be able to walk around an amazing example of how forces outside our power shape and effect our natural landscape. Since returning home it's been enlightening to read about the mythology and spiritual significance behind this sacred place. Throughout Estonian folklore, this places was known as "where the sun went to rest".