July 10, 2014

This is the Greta Garbo Shawl by Leili Reimannand knit by Konrad Seibenhuter of the KnittingKonrad blog.  Made with 4 skeins of Rowan Fine Lace, a blend of 80% baby alpaca and 20% fine merino wool.  This was gifted to me by Konrad during our recent visit to Holmfirth in Yorkshire, the home of Rowan Yarn.  Konrad and I became friends over the last year, and most especially as we knit 3 garments together for our he knits/she knits KAL.  To say I was astonished and pleased is the biggest understatement I could ever utter.  I was completely bowled over and honestly have never in my life received such a beautiful and thoughtful gift.

Garbo is an exquisite example of Estonian knitted lace, a popular lace style that originated in Estonia and is still popular today with experienced hand knitters around the world.  It is distinctive  for the nupp stitch, a kind of refined tiny bobble, also the scalloped lace edging.   Estonian lace's most popular design is the Lily of the Valley pattern which has been popularized in not only shawls, but hats and sweaters and everything else that can be knitted.  Garbo uses the same stitches and techniques that are so popular in that pattern.  The last pictures you can see the openwork diamonds with nupp hearts creating a flower in each diamond center and the complicated scalloped edging.

It's light as a feather, soft as a down and the prettiest thing I own.  As you can imagine it takes amazing knitting skills to knit this, skills that I don't possess, and I am so honored that Konrad made it for me.   I'll wear it with pride.

The story behind the design:  In 1936, a big commercial fair was held in New York, where Estonia was represented by Haapsalu scarves. This offered a good opportunity to fulfill the dream of Haapsalu knitters - to give a stylish scarf to the legendary film star, Greta Garbo. With the help from the consul general of the Republic of Estonia, Karl Kuusik, a scarf with heart motifs was presented to the actress, then living in the USA. The pattern design, comprised of hearts, was thereafter named after Greta Garbo. Alas, there is no evidence whether the secret hope of the knitters, that the “devine Greta” would wear the scarf in one of her movies, ever came true.

Konrad's blog, knitting konrad, a fine knitting blog
Rowan Fine Lace at Black Sheep, Webs, Jannette's

Tomorrow I'll show you around Holmfirth and Rowan HQ.
Next week, the last FO of our he knits/she knits KAL.

Thank you for stopping by. xo


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  1. All great: the shawl you the pics and the very interesting text!

  2. That looks so beautiful on you, Kristen. Love the photos. :)

  3. It's stunning and looks gorgeous on you! :)

  4. What an exquisite shawl. I'm sure Konrad knew that only a knitter such as you would be able to appreciate such a virtuoso example of his knitting expertise. He looks like such a fun person. Chloe

  5. Kristen, what a fabulous present, beautifully knitted. It looks absolutely goegeous on you. And the photos.... priceless!

  6. Wow how lucky are you, the shawl looks sensational Konrad is certainly an excellent knitter with fabulous choice of pattern it really is stunning. He must have known how beautiful it would look on you. Cilla Rule

  7. Wow! What an astonishing gift! Perfect for you, and a treasure. What a generous, talented friend you have!

  8. I want to be Konrad's friend. What a beautiful shawl.


  9. Wow, what a fabulous gift! No one can appreciate such a gift, like a fellow knitter. You are a lucky girl. Conrad is such a talented knitter, and quite funny when posing for pictures. It was so interesting to learn the history of the Garbo Scarf. I just love your blog!

  10. I've seen you wear it in real life, but seeing it again on your blog just makes me smile so much! It's such a gorgeous knit and suits you so well. Konrad's knitting skillz are truly special :)

  11. What a lovely and STUNNING gift from Konrad! The designer Nancy Bush is local to me and I've seen some the lace shawls she brings back from Estonia - they're mindblowing. It would take me 5 years to knit one!

  12. This is one of the most fun posts ever!!! And geez, that dude can KNIT!!! What a beautiful piece! I'm sure you speak from the heart when you say it is one of the most thoughtful and beautiful gifts you've ever received. It looks to me like it would have taken much time and care to create something so pretty. I'm glad you and Konrad have forged such a wonderful friendship! He looks like he's a hoot-and-a-half!!!

  13. Wow very beautiful, Konrad. An amazing gift.


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