Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kiri Kari



A few years ago I heard of Anu Raud, the Grand Old Lady of Estonian handicraft,  a cultural anthropologist, who undertook to preserve traditional Estonian knitting patterns, in the form of stuffed  animals.  This book, Kiri Kari, is a collection of them.  I can't read Estonian, and I'm not much of a knitter, but these patterns and creatures make me excited. The pigs, cats and foxes are charmers,  but also the handpuppets, which mimic traditional painted designs.

Knitters tell me they're based on traditional glove and sock forms. The animals she and others knitted were placed in museums and schools for children to play with, to keep the traditional patterns alive in their imaginations, and alive in the culture. 

Anu Raud is elderly now, and a tapestry weaver.  Her tapestry is brilliant, contemporary, and large scale. The book Kiri Kari has endpapers (above) with drawings (I assume) by Anu Raud, and there is one page of photos of knitting as it progresses  in the making of  a pig, but otherwise, it is not meant as an instruction book. I use it for inspiration. I have yards of woven rag and linen rosepath fabric now, which could become a set of animals.  The anticipation of this potential is a luxurious state of mind for me, when my imagination has been stirred,  and I'm relishing it.  I purchased my book online from an Estonian bookstore.  What a world we live in! It was in my mailbox in Avalanche two weeks later.  Look Anu Raud up in Google images and treat yourself.

5 comments:

k said...

Love this! Did you see Needled today?
http://textisles.com/ on Estonian textiles, odd coincidence, eh?

Susan said...

k,
Must be something Estonian in the air. Thanks for the link--I never saw Needled before.
Those Estonian women certainly set the bar high.

barbindell said...

went to the needled link-very cool--am making a rooster-he just needs to come out of my head!

Susan said...

Oh, can't wait to see this rooster hatch

Anonymous said...

Hi there!
I just love these patterns, and I have been searching and searching but I can't order the book, nor find the patters. If there is any chance you would share the piglet and fox patterns with me, I would be in heaven. I am dying to knot them. I wish you all the best, and thanks for the beautiful pics!
xxx Isis
(isisgermano@hotmail.com, in case you would be inclined to make my day and send my photografs of the pattern for me to knit them...)