A traditional Haapsalu shawl is a rectangle measuring 100x100 to 150 x150 cm square. It consists of three parts - a center section, a border and an edge, which is knit separately and sewn to the border. The shawls are knit from fine lamb's wool yarn using #3 or #4 knitting needles. The master artisans knit the shawls so fine that they can be pulled through a ladies' wedding ring.
Russian aristocrats, including the Romanov family, frequented Haapsalu to bathe in the healing mud salts. Those same spas are in operation today. Those early visitors recognized the trademarks of an artisan and bought the shawls as souvenirs and gifts. Later the Haapsalu shawl became known in Germany and Scandinavia and were sometimes displayed at exhibitions.
The Knitters Guild of Haapsalu has preserved the tradition of the knitted lace shawl. There works are available at the museum in Haapsalu, Estonia.
Examples of this art can be seen by virtual tour of the Haapsalu Shawl Museum.
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