Scandinavia. . . . I’ve got a crush on you!

When I was a child I discovered that all children in Copenhagen learned to knit in school. Time was set aside each day and all the children got out their knitting. This seemed so right to me and I longed to move. I was one of the lucky ones though. Both of my parents knit and so I got what I longed for at home. As an adult, almost grown-up, I have introduced knitting to every class that I have taught over A LOT of years, and organized knitting clubs that happen at lunch and after school. There are so many positives that come from this activity, and more and more, children are choosing knitting as a way to find the calm in their bodies.

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When I learned to spin, I couldn’t get enough of the Norwegian yoked designs, and knit my way through every one I could find, many knit in my handspun.  It is the reason I began to knit on circular needles.  I was working at Manning Park Lodge, and riding the Pacific Stage Lines’ bus to work every week.  When we reached Hope the driver always turned off the inside lights, because of the hazardous road conditions, especially in the winter.  Any knitting I was doing from that point on had to be done without looking, and so I began working in the round, where creating stocking stitch means only working the knit stitch – super easy to do without looking.  Many Norwegian style sweaters were knit on those long rides.

I became interested in Dale Garn yarns through my love of all that was Norwegian.  This is the yarn I now use to knit my yearly addition to a collection of Norwegian Designers: Arne and Carlos‘ ornaments.  Their recommended yarn is Dale Garn’s Heilo.  It is a heavenly sport weight, 100% Norwegian wool.  In these ornaments it steams perfectly during the finishing process.  I buy it here.

Arne and Carlos Christmas Balls

Another favourite Norwegian yarn is Peer Gynt, by the Sandnes yarn company.  This yarn was used to knit all the sweaters for the Norwegian Olympic team when the Winter Olympics were held in Norway in 1994.  It was the 56th Anniversary of Peer Gynt, established in 1938.  Years later, while I was completing my textile arts diploma at Capilano University, one of my classmates,   pre-med student, Elena from Norway, taking textiles as an elective, sat beside me in class, knitting telemark ski socks in Peer Gynt.  She and her boyfriend spent the weekends telemark skiing at Whistler, sleeping in their car, dressed in their Peer Gynt woolies.  Now that is a testimonial!  Another Sandnes yarn I have used over and over again is their mohair wool blend called Alfa.  I have knit three long skirts, one that completes a wool suit, and have the yarn for two more!  I cast on at the waist, working in the round, working a rib, then increasing at the hips and knitting straight down to the hem – a great knit for long car or plane trips.  ‘not finished with Sandes yet!  There is another yarn I have used for finer colour work projects and more delicate pullovers.  This yarn, Sisu, is a finer combed wool blend that is soft, but durable with added nylon.  It comes in many beautiful colours.

For years, I have knit Fair Isle projects changing colours frequently, knowing that at the end I would be spending hours darning in the ends.  I’m okay with that, most of the time.  When Kate Davies’ Shetland Colours book was published, I knew that I would be knitting an Ursula cardigan.  A yarn that I had been intrigued by for a while was Kauni Effectgarn from Denmark.  It is a yarn that is dyed in long gradient intervals, and I chose a blues combination as the contrast for my Ursula.  It’s brilliant – no ends!  It is as sticky as Shetland wools, so works well for steeked projects, when it comes to the cutting.  Kauni also comes in solids.  This is a shot of my Ursula.

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This summer one of The Firsties flew home to Sweden for a month. While she was there she visited Klippan, and picked out four large hanks of yarn as a gift for me! This yarn is the wooly wool that I love to knit with – some call it itchy scratchy – I call it wonderful! It is woolen spun, so has a slightly fuzzy finish to it. Yarn spun in this way will later bloom and create a halo on the finished fabric. This is the perfect look for one of my favourite techniques, stranded colour work and Fair Isle.  It is not the yarn for knitting texture or fabric with a lot of stitch definition.  This is my version of Kate Davies’ Paper Dolls, with an Ann Fietelson yoke.  Over time it has become more difficult to see the knitted stitches.  It has a slightly felted surface.

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Around the same time that the Klippan yarn came to live with me, a Swedish designer I follow, Pia Kammeborn, released her first pattern, Longing for Gotland, colour work socks. It seemed meant to be. I have used the Swedish yarn for the colour work, combining it with Lang Jawoll for the rest of the sock.  It’s the one that comes with an adorable spool of reinforcing thread tucked into the centre of the ball.  These socks are perfect with giant shoes!  The Firsties gave them a thumbs up!

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This week a Finnish yarn company Tukuwool released a fingering weight yarn, in natural, solid, and heathered colours.  This yarn has the appeal of handspun.  I have ordered some, and will write more about it when it arrives.  Another discovery about Finland recently came about thanks to Michael Moore’s video about the Finnish education system.  Our staff viewed it and made some important changes regarding homework at our school.

Scandi-Fan girl is going to stop writing now and go and knit with Swedish yarn for the evening with The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  If you would like any help finding these glorious yarns, please feel free to get in touch.  I would be happy to plan a field trip!  Hejda for now.