Nancy Bush Handicraft Workshop at VEMU in Toronto

May 3, 2016

Nancy Bush is a well-known and highly respected American handicraft artist with a special interest in Estonian knitting traditions. As a knitting specialist, she has owned a craft shop in Utah, and has written at least five books about knitting. She continues to contribute articles to craft magazines such as Piecework. She conducts workshops all over the world. In April, Nancy was invited to visit the Museum of Estonians Abroad (VEMU) in Toronto.

Her interest in Estonian folk knitting began when she was preparing a book about general folk knitting and went to Estonia to continue her research. Since then she has visited Estonia many times.

Nancy has become particularly interested in the history and technique behind Haapsalu shawls. She has a large collection both bought by her and given to her. There is currently a group of about 50 people who knit and sell shawls there. Nancy is now leading tours to Haapsalu.

The focus of Nancy Bush’s workshop at Tartu College on 3 April 2016 was to introduce the technique of knitting a three sided miniature Haapsalu shawl. Each of the 20 participants received several pages of instructions and a small ball of lace yarn. The knitters had varying levels of experience, but Nancy was very kind and patient with everyone. I think just one experienced, dedicated knitter finished her shawl during the afternoon.

A delicious light lunch of soup, meat pies and bread was also included. Of course there was kringel to have with coffee.

I have been a fan of Nancy Bush for many years and was delighted to meet her. We have two important things in common. Although neither of us is Estonian, we have a deep love and respect for Estonian crafts, and we are both passionate knitters. It was a wonderful day.

On 6 April, Nancy Bush gave the lecture “How I Found Estonia Through Knitting”.

Jane Olvet