Argipäeva kirjamine – Muhu kirisukad ERMi osalussaalis / Everyday patterns – the exhibition of Muhu colourwork stockings in the participation hall of the Estonian National Museum


  • Katrin Alekand



The fashion of knitting colourwork stockings lasted in Muhu for about 30 years – from the end of the 19th century to the first decades of the 20th century. This is a relatively short period and it is astonishing that such a beautiful and unique collection of stockings has been preserved from that time.

Evidently no one expected such a lavish party of colours, abundance of patterns and beauty, to be made by a hundred knitting women. No stocking at the exhibition is the same. And the members of the Knitters’ reproduction club have made exact copies only of some selected old stockings. A row of photos of knitters on the wall look down at the visitor – the body of each knitter belongs in fact to the lady of Tüi farm in Pallasmaa village, Muhu Island, who is sitting on the doorway of the storehouse and knitting a stocking; the knitters of the Knitters’ club call her Nänn. She has a stocking in between her fingers, but the faces looking at you over the knitting needles belong to the knitters. The stockings knitted for the exhibition have added personality, creativity and uniqueness to the heritage.

Muhu colourwork stockings were knitted individually for the right and the left foot and that can be clearly seen in the part of toes. The choice of foot had to be decided upon the beginning of knitting with the first pattern rows. The next row starts inside the shin part and it is recommended to hide it away and make it least visible. The thread ends are hidden in between the rows, which mean a lot of extra work after the stocking is ready.

It is nice to think that the Knitters’ club, besides keeping alive the tradition of colourwork knitted sock, has preserved another nice tradition – co-knitting. The symbolic one-family room is in the Facebook of the Knitters’ reproduction club, so the internet and a computer help to preserve the tradition of twilight practice called “vidussepidamine”. One additional value of the exhibition is knitting live, which means that during the entire time the exhibition is open the members of the Knitters’ club go and sit and knit at the exhibition on Saturdays, busily knitting their next stockings and answering any questions visitors may have. Another value added is the catalogue of the exhibition – comprehensive in coverage and good to look at.

A practical person would like to know how much a pair of stockings costs? How much do 160 or 200 hours of your life cost?


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