An Homage to Scandinavia

Desk copies of Knitscene Winter just arrived this week and we're all pretty excited. It's always so satisfying to look through a completed issue, to think about the projects we want to make, the products we fell in love with, to remember all the behind the scenes antics at photo shoots. Today I wanted to take a closer look at our Vinter Stickning (Winter Knitting) story. We shot this at Devil's Backbone (here are some fun shots from that day), where it was crazy windy, brilliantly sunny, and then moodily cloudy. It was a great shoot and it perfectly captured the feelings we wanted to evoke.

Ever since the sub call went out I've been excited about this story. These projects reminded me of my time spent in Scandinavia; I lived outside of Stockholm in college, placed with an amazing host family and with them explored parts of Sweden and Denmark. I also went to Norway and subsequently went back to Sweden after graduation…and continued having great adventures. I wanted to share with you some of my photos and some of the memories of my time in the Nordic countries brought to my mind by these fantastic knitting patterns. 

Thyri Pullover The great ship Frida

HIlary Smith Callis' Thyri Pullover made me think of the great ship Frida immediately because they are the same lovely shade of blue. Beyond that though, they are both stylish and comfortable. The Thyri is a go to sweater with extra-long sleeves and thumbholes, ideal to give you some extra warmth. The patterning at the yoke is subtle, with enough interest to make you look twice, but not be flashy. My host family's ship Frida (heaven help you if you call her a boat), is a classy lady, understated and elegant at the same time. Times spent with Frida, with my host family, are some of my favorite memories of Sweden.

Knitted bows in Dalarna Kelda Socks

The Kelda Socks feature beautiful Scandinavian colorwork at the cuffs and eye-catching stripes at the toes and heels. Alexis Di Gregorio designed these to appeal to those who are new to colorwork, not too complicated, but a good challenge in a new medium. The red tights in this sock photo made me think of the fence in the photo on the left. I went with my host family to the Dalarna region of Sweden for my birthday, where we saw beautiful art and ate delicious ice cream. There were knitted bows along a fence, and, though I did not think it was possible to do so, I loved the Swedes even more.

 



Hanne Sweater A bridge house in Copenhagen

Joann Rogers' Hanne Sweater features garter-stitch wedges which add subtle class to a cozy sweater. Knit with yarn held double, this top-down raglan knits up quickly, creating a warm and infinitely wearable finished piece. Amy named this sweater and did not know that my host mom's name is Hanne! While she now lives in Sweden, Hanne is Danish by birth, and I visited with some of her lovely family in Denmark. To give a nod to her home country, here's one of my favorite pictures from Denmark, a bridge house in Copenhagen glowing in the setting sun. I also thought that the yarn and bridge house were both really rich colors, something you find all over the Scandinavian countries (I think to help cut through the long and dark winters!).



A Swedish flag in Gamla Stan (the Old City) Ilsa Cardigan

This pairing almost needs no explanation! Sarah Hurwitz used the colors of the Swedish flag in her Ilsa Cardigan, and I was in love. Something about that rich yellow and deep blue, mmm, makes me happy. The Ilsa is made with intarsia, a super fun colorwork technique that I became obsessed with last fall. Whether you're new to intarsia or a seasoned pro, the simply elegant patterning in this sweater is sure to please. Also, Sarah's use of yellow buttons adds a flash of fun, and really, what's the point if it's not fun?! 

Sanna Shawl Strandvägen, Stockholm

OK, Strandvägen. This is one of the most beautiful places in Stockholm and also one of the most expensive (Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo buys an apartment on this street). The people and shops on Strandvägen are beautiful and classy, everything is well coordinated and super upscale. Megi Burcl's Sanna Shawl fits this description as well, a beautiful play of colors and textures working together to create a piece of wearable art. This shawl is made with intarsia, featuring blocks of color as well as stripes, two motifs that would fit right in on the classiest street in Stockholm.

On the Sognefjord in Norway Lene Vest

Truth be told, I put these two photos together because their compositions mirror each other nicely and I could totally see our model walking through Norway. We shot in Colorado, but we worked really hard to channel the Nordic countries! The Lene Vest, by Elizabeth Smith, is beautifully asymmetrical and has easy colorwork. The bright colors Elizabeth chose are perfect for cutting through the cold and dark of winter as well, and the combinations you can choose are infinite! The caption I came up with for this photo from Norway is "where I would go if someone told me to go live on a fjord in Norway." I was on a boat, wrapped in knitwear of my own, and once again fell in love with Scandinavia.

Rebecca Sweater The Stockholm archipelago

Biggan Ryd-Dups, a Swede who now lives in Australia, designed the Rebecca Sweater for her niece. The colors she chose come from traditional Swedish folk costumes, and show how much value the Swedes place on bright and rich colors (I know I keep mentioning the winters…they really are very long and very dark, and bright colors help take the edge off!). I really like the shawl collar of this sweater, especially that you can wear it up or down, for more or less warmth. The rock in the photo reminded me of the rocks/colors in this picture I took in the archipelago outside of Stockholm.

Lise Hat and Armwarmers Painting postcards of Dala Horses

It's hard to go to Sweden and not be inundated with Dala Horses. These carved wooden statues originated in Dalarna (the region of the knitted bows on fences!) and have become, I think, the universal symbol of Sweden. My host sister Linnea and I painted some post cards of Dala Horses that belong to her family, some of which I sent to friends and family, and some of which I kept for myself! The painted colors and patterns on the horses are bright and bold, eye-catching and cohesive. Wendy Bernard's Lise Hat and Armwarmers embody these same characteristics. They are cheerful and fun, a perfect project for a first time colorwork knitter. 

The sea from Gotland Meko Pullover

Gotland is Sweden's largest island, and I was lucky enough to go there on a trip with my school program. It was pretty amazing to be able to see water from pretty much everywhere. The red, black, and white in Laura Hulslander's Meko Pullover reminded me of the main colors on Gotland. Both also have solid swaths of color interspersed with amazing patterning. Laura's inspiration came from Marimekko, a Finnish company, but hopefully no one will be offended by me drawing a comparison to Gotland's beautiful skyline.

Just for fun, here's a photo of me in some knitwear on a ferry to the Bygdøy Peninsula in Oslo. A friend and I met up in Oslo to check out the museums and generally raise mischief, and this was one of our better adventures. My mom made me this hat and it followed me all throughout college and beyond.

I hope that you find inspiration in these projects. The Nordic countries are beautiful, full of so many joyful colors and views and truly amazing people. I am so grateful to have had the experiences I had adventuring around Scandinavia and I am always looking forward to being able to go back some day. Until then, I'll just be over here happily knitting my way through this story!

Knit happy,

 

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