Since I last posted so much has happened that there needs to be several blog posts.  My Estonian Grandmother died on November the 19th, while my mother (her daughter) was in recovery from a mastectomy. My grandmother’s funeral was a simple affair, and carried on so many traditions that are part of the Estonian Australian way of life.


My grandmother was an extremely creative woman, who taught me how to knit.  She was also a writer and a fabulous story teller. After her death, my sister noticed the following paragraphs in the Estonian Australian Newspaper Meie Kodu, and it was read at my grandmother’s funeral:

“We have the Estonian spirit.  Our DNA has creativity built in.  We acquired the artistic streak with our mother’s milk.  As toddlers, playing at our mother’s knees, we saw her knitting, sewing, embroidering, crocheting.  We took it for granted that that is what mothers, and all grown ups, do.

Most of us also absorbed the traditional designs, colours and techniques of Estonia as we were growing up.  It is taken for granted that our creativity will include a touch of Estonian heritage.  We cannot escape it.  Artists will paint and sculpt with an Estonian theme, no matter how subtle.  Weavers, embroiderers and ceramicists have included Estonian colours, traditional floral motifs and linear weaving patterns into their creations.

It might be a sign of homesickness in our refugee parents.  The art that was created in the years following the escape from our homeland reflected the yearning for the fatherland.  Our new homes, in a new land, harked back to the images of the old land, the land in the North, the homes that had to be left behind.  The younger generation absorbed those images and in a subtly evolving manner, carried on those traditions.  That generation has Estonian patterns in its blood.
The surprising fact is that the generation which has been born here,  is still challenged and inspired by those traditions.  That generation may not SPEAK any Estonian – and it is a devilishly hard language to teach in a household where only one parent is Estonian – but they certainly know and accept that they have the Estonian creativity in their veins.  It is like a benign virus that erupts out every now and again, when it cannot be contained.”
The complete article is available here. Next year I hope to meet with some members of the Estonian Australian creative community outside my own family, and continue to explore this side of my heritage.

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I can be contacted at travellersyarn at yahoo.com

8 thoughts on “Update”

  1. Wow – there’s a big story in there Ingrid – I look forward to hearing more! And lovely to hear your voice again on the blog, I have been thinking of you!

  2. Such a wonderful legacy!!! I also had a grandmother just like your’s. I miss her but she lives in every stitch I knit.

    Hope you are all settled in now!!

  3. I am so sorry about your grandmother Ingrid, i hope your mother is recovering rapidly having you and your girls home must be helping alot. I have been thinking of you and wondering how you were going and hoping you have settled in again. I bet the Fireman is busy as now.

  4. My condolences on the loss of your Grandmother. So lovely that she taught you to knit, it really does make such a special bond between people. Best wishes for the swift recovery of your mother from her surgery and for any ongoing medical treatment she may require.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear that so many things have happened since last time we met. I’ll be thinking of you. We meet again in Mongkok next week, and we’re definitely going to miss you.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I’ve been concerned for you, what with the move and family illnesseses, then delighted to hear of your father’s improvement. Sending you and yours positive thoughts, especially in this season of high expectations.

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