When booking this trip, I learned that one of the more affordable ways to get to Estonia is by ferry from Helsinki, Finland. Reasonable Icelandair flights to Helsinki made this the best route for us and we couldn't resist spending a couple of days in a new city while we were traveling through.
Helsinki is a clean and modern port city, surrounded by water. It is known for its architecture and design and we were able to take in both of these things in our brief time.
Also, great coffee and food! We checked out many coffee shops and spent quite a bit of time knitting at these stops.
There are fantastic markets in Helsinki where one can shop for food and veggies alongside touristy items like reindeer hides and juniper wood utensils. We bought chanterelles and the most delicious strawberries!
We were thrilled to find a yarn vendor, Riihivilla, among these booths. He sold handknit items and kits for making mittens and things, as well as yarn made of local Finnsheep wool, naturally dyed in an amazing range of color. We, of course, were all swooning over this Finnsheep yarn and I'm sure we made his day!
The skeins came in both natural, un-dyed colors as well as naturally dyed colors. Again, these were dyed using the country's local dye-plants - in this case: mushrooms! Amber loves both yarn and mushrooms, so she couldn't resist these. Can you believe this amazing red comes from a mushroom?
Finnsheep come in a range of colors, like Icelandic and Shetland sheep, so of course I had to pick up some fingering weight un-dyed wool in two natural colors. Yummy!
After the markets, one more stop we had to make was at Finnish fabric designer and icon, Marimekko. Marimekko has been designing patterns since 1951.
Marimekko is responsible for many iconic pattern designs and no trip to Helsinki would be complete without a stop in one of their shops. They make and sell all sorts of goods printed with the classic designs including clothing, umbrellas, plates and wallets. What were we most excited about? The fabric!
The fabric came in various weights from home dec to woven cotton to lawn. Amber and I each bought a cut of fabric which we will covet for a while I'm sure before cutting into! I am absolutely in love with my black cat fabric since I have a kitty just like this at home.