Linda’s September 1981 Haapsalu Scarf

The pattern for this square scarf comes from Linda Elgas’s book Haapsalu rätikud [Haapsalu Scarves] published in 2001 with support from the Haapsalu Handicraft Society in Haapsalu, Estonia. This publication contains twenty unique patterns that Linda designed for square scarves. The introduction includes some history of knitting in Haapsalu, as well as general information about making Haapsalu scarves. The patterns are titled with the month and year that Linda finished each one. In Estonia’s “lace” language, a square or a triangle is called a “scarf”; a rectangle is called a “shawl.”

The book devotes two pages to each pattern. The first page presents a chart of one quarter of the whole design—the lower right corner. The second page has an image of the completed scarf and a chart of the outer edge. Because there are no other instructions, the knitter has to work out the number of stitches to be cast on for the main scarf as well as the number needed for the outer edge. The book also assumes that the knitter knows the techniques for finishing the scarf.


This tour de force is certain to become a family heirloom. Wrap yourself or someone you love in this stunning traditional Estonian square scarf. Here, the square scarf was folded into a triangle. Photo by Joe Coca.

I chose this pattern to accompany the article about Linda that follows [both of which are featured in the May/June 2016 issue of PieceWork] for several reasons: I was intrigued by the interesting use of rows and columns of nupps (“nupp” is Estonian for “button,” “bud,” or “knob”) in the wide border, which creates a stylized eight-pointed star. I was also drawn to the way the ornate border contrasts with the center. Finally, I liked the pattern for the outer edge, which also includes nupps and seems to “frame” the lovely center perfectly.

Knitting as well as writing this pattern in a more formal way gave me great pleasure, because I consider Linda a friend and have admired her work for many years. I am honored to tell her story.

—Nancy Bush

Nancy Bush, a member of PieceWork’s editorial advisory panel and a frequent PieceWork contributor, writes books on knitting and teaches knitting workshops in the United States and abroad. She owns The Wooly West, an online source for knitters; visit

To knit Nancy’s lacy Estonian square scarf, “Linda’s September 1981 Haapsalu Scarf to Knit,” and read her article, “Linda Elgas: Master of Haapsalu Lace,” download a copy of the May/June 2016 issue of PieceWork. For more lace knitting, check out our free pattern “Knit Hilton Lace Edging for Pillowcases.”

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