Estonian Lace Scarf

Designer: Nancy Bush
Published: November 12, 2008
Technique: Knitted Lace
Skill Level: Experienced

Download Estonian Lace Scarf

This lacy scarf follows the design of the beautiful Haapsalu ratik or Haapsalu shawls from Estonia. Haapsalu, a resort town on the west coast of Estonia, was a popular vacation spot during the nineteenth century, where tourists could purchase knitted lace shawls from the local women. These wool shawls are still available in Estonia and can be square, rectangular, or triangular. The unique feature of this special type of Estonian lace is the small nupp—a “button” used to decorate openwork or outline special patterns. The body of the scarf shown here is knitted to the desired dimensions, then stitches are picked up from all edges and the decorative edging is worked in the round.

Finished Size: About 10″ (25.5 cm) wide and 46″ (117 cm) long, blocked.

Yarn: Jamieson and Smith Lace Weight (100% wool; 252 yd [230 m]/1 oz): #L1A natural white, 2 skeins.

Needles: Size 4 (3.5 mm): Straight and 32″ (80-cm) circular (cir). Size 6 (4 mm): One straight for binding off. Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

Notions: Markers (m); size G/6 (4.25 mm) crochet hook; several yd sportweight cotton yarn in contrasting color.

Gauge: 33 sts and 16 rows of center patt = 6″ (15 cm) wide and 23⁄4″ (7 cm) tall, on smaller needles, after blocking; 20 sts and 24 rows = 3″ (7.5 cm) in St st on smaller needles.

Skill level: Experienced

pdf Download Estonian Lace Scarf


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59 thoughts on “Estonian Lace Scarf

  1. Help! Please pardon my ignorance, but i am self-taught, and still new to knitting. The pattern has an abbreviation with which I am not familiar. What is “kl tbl”, or am I just reading it wrong and it means “knit one through back loop”. Thank you.

  2. To Dawn D, yes k1 tbl mean “knit 1 through back fo loop”. I am fairly new to knitting as well. Have you started the estonian lace scarf? How difficult is it? I have always wanted to knit lace but frankly find this and other patterns like it intimidating.

  3. Hi Chatty, Hope this helps: the link for downloading the pdf is above the ad asking you to subscribe and get a free trial issue of Interweave Knits. It has a adobe logo next to where it says Estonian Lace Scarf.

  4. I am from Malta and have been knitting since I was about six years old. I really look forward to start knitting the Estonian Lace Shawl as it looks very challenging. I have knitted about 6 circular Baby shawls. Please let me know how to forward the pattern as I would like to share it with your readers. Thanks you and enjoy Knitting!!!!

  5. I was really excited about this, until I looked at the pattern and saw that it is solely in chart form. I wouldn’t even begin to try following a chart as I knitted, and I don’t trust myself to get it right to sit down and write the chart out in “K1, p7” form. The time investment in knitting something like this (especially if you work full time) is so huge, that the thought of getting a pattern translation wrong and only finding out half way through is too much to be borne. So, sad as I am, I won’t be knitting this.
    Sorry to look a gift horse in the mouth.

  6. eunny jann, nancy bush, and Interweave Knits THank you, thank you, thank you for the great video on estonia lace. I look forward to purchasing the book.
    Dallas, GA 🙂

  7. Charts are utlimately faster and more accurate for reading and knitting. Though it is familiar, written directions are really less helpful for lace; I suggest the person unfamiliar with charting really give it a go. The human brain is a marvelous pattern-recognizer and it is actually easier for the brain to recognize symbols (why we use stop signs in red and octagon.) If you give it a try, in 2 weeks you will be gnashing your teeth if a lace pattern ISN”T charted. I promise!

  8. I am also new to lace but this is so beautiful I’ve just got to try it. I watched the u tube video available on how to knit the nupps and it looks fairly easy. I’m going to give it a try and I’ll let you all know.

  9. I’m finding it’s not downloading the scarf pattern. I’m logged in, and what it’s downloading for me is the holiday crochet pattern booklet. Can someone at Interweave please look into this.


  10. Hi! I love this scarf, but when I try to download the pattern, I get an error message that says “Acrobat could not open Estonian_5F00_Lace_5F00_li.pdf’ because it is either not a supported file type or because the file has been damaged (for example, it was sent as an email attachment and wasn’t correctly decoded). To create an Adobe PDF document, go to the source application. Then print the document to Adobe PDF.”

    Can someone help me – or if you could download the pattern, can you email it to me at

    Thanks!!!! Laurie

  11. lkbender, I’m having the same problem as you. So if someone can figure out what’s wrong, I’d appreciate it to. Or send me a copy at mickeyisagyrlATgmailDOTcom. Thanks!

  12. Thanks, Elizabeth, for the pattern!!! My friend, whose family were refugees from Estonia in WW II, will LOVE to get this for Christmas! Now I just have to get going…

  13. RobynE and Ikbender, I’m having the same issue! I get the same error and don’t know why.

    Can anyone help? I’d really like to try my hand at this beautiful lace!

    If you have a copy and don’t mind emailing it, you can send it to valeriana AT g m a i l DOT com:) Thank you!

  14. Same problem as lkbender, RobynE and HollieJ. I’ve also had this problem on several other patterns in the past few weeks, since the last Vista update, I think. Hello, Knitting Daily, could somebody please fix this!!!!!!! Don’t tell me to update Adobe, I already tried that.

  15. First of all, THANK YOU for the pattern. My grandmother came to the United States from the Ukraine and was very patient in teaching me to knit and I have been trying to accomplish a small part of her artistry over the past 50 years. I am using a Mac laptop and did not have any problem downloading, opening and printing the file. I can’t wait to get started on the project.

  16. I can not open the file either have tried downloading and saving to a folder but both ways the message is the same that the file is corrupted or damaged. Could you look into this please as I would love to make this scarf. Thanks

  17. I can not open the file either have tried downloading and saving to a folder but both ways the message is the same that the file is corrupted or damaged. Could you look into this please as I would love to make this scarf. Thanks

  18. I have taken at least 3 classes from Nancy, and she has visited out guild in St. Louis. I have always been SO impressed at her passion for Estonia and her high standards of passing along their craft. Do the Estonians know what a treasure you are to their culture? And I have often wondered if you ever got to spend Christmas there – you said you wanted to. I’m thrilled with the book. Once I get my current project off the needles I’m starting some scarves for good friends for the holidays. I did find with the nupps keeping a sharp smaller gauge DPN at my side helps me knit them off if I have a problem here and there. I did a Fiber Trends Estonian scarf and those lillies of the valley are just so beautiful. Every one who sees it knows that’s what they are too. You really wonder at the creativity of our ‘fore’ knitters when you see these things that were created before written directions and graph paper.

  19. Thank you for this pattern. I have the book in my cart to buy from a Canadian source, but it has not yet been released. It will be in my hands as soon as I can. I’d love to buy it from Knitting Daily but with our dollar at 75 cents, it’s a bit too much for me.
    Love anyway, love the website, keep up the wonderful work.
    Susan from BC

  20. Circular or Straight needles or Double-pointed needles may be used for any project we like!

    WE are the ones who determine what hardware is most comfortable for each of us to use. The only reason Knitting designers specify Circulars over straights is when the number of sts become more than can comfortably crowded onto one straight needle… and still be able to slide them apart and along to re-count them occasionally..

    I switched all of my knitting that can possibly be switched, even 8 st width pieces onto circular, even if I used 2 very short circulars in place of 2 straights, when my 3 children were in their pre-school wiggly stage and everyone wanted to sit next to Mom, who of course had only 2 sides next to her!
    The needle ends were constantly being bumped and rather than become upset, I just switched to needles whose ends curled around into my lap.

    This scarf is perfect for Gifting – Myself! We’re forever making for others. I’ve lost some of my extra weight, am purchasing a new winter coat and this will be MY present to myself, a ‘dress’ scarf for it. Thank you!

  21. Woah, a beautiful scarf pattern, a video tutorial and a YouTube tutorial on making the nupps! (what a good title for a book “Making the Nupps”) Thank you IK for once again making my day. Oh. I need to thank you for the Origami Cardi which I just finished and am getting complimented on every time I wear it. IK rocks!

  22. I think this is such a lovely scarf! I doubt I’ll knit it soon, it’s a bit too advanced for me still, but I’ll save the pattern for a rainy day. 🙂 Thank you!

  23. the reason for the error message your seeing – for some reason beyond me – this site does not work with firefox… i have tried firefox on pc and mac – up to v 3 for firefox.. always the same error… for PC i simply installed the extension IE Tab — works like a CHARM for this site… still looking for a work around for mac os x

  24. Cool ! The email with the pattern link was in the inbox this morning. As it turns out, I ordered the book yesterday. It’s nice to get this pattern as a little something to take the anticipatory edge off while I wait for delivery. Thanks!


  25. Thank you for this beautiful lace pattern. I have done some lace knitting over the years and I am always facinated by the intricasies of lace knitting. Can’t wait to start knitting this scarf.


  26. I love this pattern. Although I’ve been knitting since I was a child, I’ve only knitted simple things, sweaters, socks and such. There are so many terms that I’m not familiar with. I would be grateful if someone could help me find a place that explains how to read these more challenging patterns. Thanks

  27. Hi everyone, I have been trying to knit the beautiful Estonian shawl that was recently in Peicework magazine that uses this same pattern but find the wool so thin that it slides around. Does anyone know a trick to keep the wool from sliding? I don’t want to start the scarf until I can work this out.

  28. For anyone having trouble keeping track of where you are should get a magnetic board. A lot of craft stores have them. It comes with magnetic strips that you keep under the row you are working on. Just make a check next to the row when you are finished with it. If it is a real big pattern you can use the strips on the back of a cookie sheet.


  29. i  have  been  reading   quite  a  bit  about  estonian  lace  work  and  i am  glad    to  have  found    such a  beautiful   shawl  to  knit  .                                                                                          

  30. I found the nupp to be easier when I went back to an old thought of casting on (use to needles for loosening the cast on) I used a crochet hook, because of it length, held together with my circular… 

  31. I don’t understand the sl 1 pwise wyf and the next row sl 1 pwise wyb. For me it keeps slipping the same stich with out stiching it, carring a dead stitch on the end. Does something happen to it? I tried looking ahead to see but didn’t find anything and I have been trying for 8 hours. Thanks for any help.

  32. I would like to make this wider but i donthave a clue how the pattern repeats. Ist there anyone that can help me out with that. It’s the center pattern.

    It is a beautiful shawl like all of it that comes from Nancy Bush 🙂

  33. I have reworked this pattern over 10 times this weekend and can not get it to right.  I think I have it –then came the NUPP.  I give up for now.  It must be above my level of ablility.  only the second lace pattern I have tried.    seems like I could never figure out when to knit or when to purl, or maybe I just vouole not figure out the right side or the wrong side.  


    I will try it again later after I have someone to ask in person.