Estonian Lace Knitting in a Nuppshell

Estonian Lace Knitting

In many ways, Estonian lace knitting looks like most lace but there are differences, too. The central unique feature of Estonian lace is the nupp stitch.

The Complete Guide to Lace Knitting: Table of Contents

How to Work a Nupp Stitch in Estonian Lace Knitting

In many ways, Estonian lace knitting looks like most lace but there are differences, too. The central unique feature of Estonian lace is the nupp stitch.

When working a nupp stitch knit one, but don’t slip that stitch you just worked off the left-hand needle. Instead, you work a (yo, k1). And if you want your nupp to be bigger, you do that same thing again. And yet again. All while that original first stitch you worked into is still on the left-hand needle. This is still the stitch you’re knitting into!

Then on the next row, you work all those stitches and yarn overs together, as one big nuppy stitch. A whole collection of them is shown below.

Estonian lace knitting - nupps

The star outlined with nupps is a prominent design element is Estonian lace knitting.

Unique Stitches in Estonian Lace Knitting: Stars

Estonian lace features more unique stitches than just nupps: star stitches, for instance.

Star stitches are worked by knitting a certain number of stitches into a specific number of stitches. Examples include the 3-in-1 star (knitting three stitches into one), the 9-in-3 star (knitting nine stitches out of three) and so on. The trick is to treat the stitches to work into (e.g., 3 in the 9-in-3 star) as one stitch when working the total  (nine in the 3-to-9 star) stitches.

Instructions on how to work these star stitches are given below.

1-to-3 star: (K1tbl, yo, k1tbl) in next stitch (1 st increased to 3 sts)

3-to-3 star: K3tog without dropping sts from left needle; yo, k same 3 sts together again and drop from left needle. Number of sts has not changed.

3-to-2 star: K3tog without dropping sts from left needle, p same 3 sts together and drop from left needle. 3 sts decreased to 2 sts.

3-to-9 star: K3tog without dropping sts from left needle, yo, (k same 3 sts together again without dropping from left needle, yo) 3 times, k same 3 sts together again and drop from left needle. 3 sts increased to 9 sts.

2-to-9 star: K2tog tbl without dropping sts from left needle, yo, (k same 2 sts together again without dropping from left needle, yo) 3 times, k same 2 sts together again and drop from left needle. 2 sts increased to 9 sts.

The results look like the picture shown below (featuring the 3-to-9 star). (Yes I know it’s socks not a lace shawl, I couldn’t find another picture today. Must be the weather. I’ll update this article with a more beautiful sample, promise.)

Estonian Lace Knitting Stars

The most prominent free Estonian lace shawl knitting pattern is Laminaria by Elisabeth Freeman, published in Knitty magazine spring 2008.

Have you ever tried Estonian lace knitting? If yes, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

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2 comments

  1. Lynn says:

    Thank you for this!! I love lace.
    One thing, there is a “share bar” on the left side that covers the left edge of text when viewing on an iPad. :(

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