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The Haapsalu Scarf

We are going to talk about the Haapsalu Scarf. Haapsalu is a small town in West  Estonia. Haapsalu has become widely known all over the world for its hand-knit lacy scarves. The lace knitting is a very old tradition. It almost two hundred years old.

Through its history, Haapsalu scarves were usually knitted of natural white wool yarn, natural black and grey yarn have also been used. Later, fine, high-quality yarn began to be imported from abroad. Even today the lace knitters of Haapsalu still use imported yarn for knitting scarves.

Depending of the size, pattern, thickness of yarn and tension of knitting, about 200-300 g of yarn should be calculated for a square  scarf. A large scarf needs up to 400 g of yarn. For a triangular scarf about 70-150 g  of the finest yarn.

Haapsalu master knitters work with short wood needles. Traditionally, the knitters used strong and smooth needles hand-carved from apple or lilac wood. If short wood needles can`t be easily found, they can be made at home.

A Haapsalu scarf is begun by working the center section.The lace edge is knitted separately and late sewn onto the completed centre section. The final task is blocking the scarf.

The Haapsalu scarf became a valuable souvenir and gift. The Crown Prince and later King of Sweden, Gustav Adolf, was given a scarf when he stopped in Haapsalu during his visit to Estonia in 1932.

Many currently active master knitters have formed the Haapsalu Handicraft Society  where handicraft traditions are pursued. The members of the society knit scarves, teach courses of knitting to the younger generation as well as share and promote their knitwear.

Since 1997 the Handicraft Society organizes the  Days of  the Haapsalu scarf, which includes a scarf-knitting competition and exhibits.

If you want to be sure, is it a real Haapsalu scarf or not, take a ring. If the scarf goes through the ring – it is the real Haapsalu scarf!

We have many books about how to knit Haapsalu scarf. One of them is“The Haapsalu Scarf“ by Siiri Reimann and Aime Edasi (Saara Kirjastus, 2011).