Colorful Estonian Gloves to Knit from Nancy Bush

Estonia’s knitwear and textile history is fascinating, not only because of the many types of garments and textiles that bear unique regional traits but because of Estonia’s relative obscurity to many in the Americas. Expert knitter and designer Nancy Bush has been a student and teacher of Estonian textile traditions for many years.

Nancy Bush’s well-known book, Knitted Lace of Estonia (Interweave, 2010), includes stunning lace shawl patterns alongside an instructional video companion to aid knitters in learning new Estonian lace techniques such as nupps (Estonian for “button,” “bud,” or “knob”). An earlier book of hers, Folk Knitting in Estonia (Interweave, 1999), explored other garments such as mittens and socks as rich in color and detail as in cultural significance.


Detail of the “Aire’s Gloves to Knit.”

Today, we come full circle to take a look at Nancy’s pattern featured in the July/August 2017 issue of Piecework magazine, “Aire’s Gloves to Knit.” Nancy designed these gloves to honor her friend Aire Salmre, who has supported her work with Estonian textiles for many years. The gloves were inspired by the roositud kindad (rose-patterned gloves) found in the Estonian National Museum in Tartu.

The “Aire’s Gloves to Knit” feature a color inlay technique unfamiliar to many North American knitters. Roositud allows a color to be worked in specific places on the fabric without carrying the contrasting colors around the circumference of the whole piece, as one would do in stranded knitting. Similar to stranded knitting, the technique is worked following a charted pattern, but the yarn appears as a small loop on the front of the work instead of a knitted stitch. This technique results in colorful horizontal strands that resemble embroidery on the public side of the piece. What would otherwise be a pretty, but fairly plain, pair of gloves is made extraordinary.


The kit includes all of the Elemental Affects North American Shetland fingering-weight yarn needed to make a pair of these stunning gloves.

For a project such as the “Aire’s Gloves to Knit,” small amounts of several colors of yarn are used. It can be inefficient and costly to buy many full skeins of special yarn for one project. For this reason, we’ve assembled the Colorful Estonian Gloves to Knit Kit with mini skeins of the accent colors and plenty of yarn to complete the gloves in the main color. Whether these gloves are the first stop on your Estonian knitting journey or the pursuit of a long-time passion, we wish you warm hands covered in exquisite handknitted gloves this fall and winter season.

Happy Estonian folk knitting,

Featured Image: These gorgeous gloves designed by Nancy Bush honor her friend Aire Salmre and introduce readers to the brilliant Estonian technique of roosimine, which means “to decorate with roses.”Photos by George Boe.

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