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A Bit of Tryghed – the Last of the Hygge Patterns

October 2015 045-horz

The Tryghed hat was released today – the hat’s the last HYGGE pattern and it’s rather sad to say goodbye to a project that’s been really close to my heart. All good things come to an end, though, and Tryghed is a really nice way to finish. I’ll write more about the hat itself in a second, but first I want to go a bit Scandinavian on you.

Hygge is really hard to define because it encompasses so many things. We’ve talked about how it means to be warm, cosy, spending time with good friends, taking your time over coffee, and just kicking back with a good book and candlelight. The feeling of tryghed is really key to hygge, actually. Tryghed can be translated as ‘feeling safe and sound’ but it is also a really tactile thing. I feel it when I’m wrapped in my favourite quilt or when I walk hand in hand with my partner. I feel it when I’m sitting inside on a rainy night and I am warm. Without tryghed, you can have as much coffee or as warm a quilt as you like – but you won’t have hygge.

So, I wanted to translate that feeling of cosy tactile feeling of security into both a hat and the knitting experience.

Tryghed is a fully written pattern which can be knitted by most people. If you can knit in the round, knit & purl, and do basic decreases, then you can knit Tryghed. I have included some sneaky details like the crown shaping and one clever lace round, but this is a hat for most abilities. The yarn is Thick Pirkkalanka, a worsted-weight yarn from Midwinter Yarns and the hat takes just one skein. It is warm, squishy and everything I love in a yarn – again, the idea of tactile tryghed came into play! It goes without saying that I chose to knit the hat in my favourite colour in the entire world..

October 2015 073-horz

I’ll spare you the photos of me eating a cinnamon bun (we shot these photos on National Cinnamon Bun Day!) but I’ll link you to a few Scandinavian recipes for you to try out!

+ Swedish Cinnamon Buns (kanelbullar)

+ Danish Dream Cake (drømmekage)

+ Elderberry cordial syrup – for more Danish flavours, leave out the cloves and substitute with some lemon peel.

+ Gløgg, obviously! I really like this white wine version too.

It’s been such a joy to see all the beautiful things you’ve made. Keep sharing those photos with me and thank you for going me on this little adventure into my traditions and homelands.

 

Yarndale, pt 2: Yarns & Friends & HYGGE

At the moment I am on a self-imposed mini-break, so I am a bit late talking about the things I saw at Yarndale. Still, it means I can look back and write about the things that really made an impact.

Firstly, Yarndale turned out to be one of my favourite yarn shows so far. The venue was decked out with crochet bunting, crochet mandelas and a lot of handmade signage. It felt very cheering and welcoming – in other words, very Yorkshire! The vendors were a good mix of perennial favourites, old friends, and small vendors who rarely do shows. I managed to get lost a few times and I know I missed a couple of vendors I wanted to see, but here are some of the vendors that stood out for me:

I completely missed her at the EYF marketplace, so I was determined to seek out Laura’s Loom – both her hand-woven fabrics and her yarns are gorgeous. Her materials are sourced from the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria – and the colours are both rich and subtle. Blacker Yarns was another must-visit. I loved being able to browse their breed-specific yarns and work out future colour combinations in my head. I had lucky enough to previously receive a pre-release sample of their birthday yarn – the gorgeous Cornish Tin – and I tried to ferret out whether Cornish Tin was to remain limited edition or not. The fabulous Sonja said that when it is gone, it is gone. So get your mitts on it now!

The Island Wool Company and I go way back. They backed and supported me when I did Doggerland and we have another collaboration in the works. However, I had actually never met them in person – just a lot of long phone conversations! – so it was a huge thrill to finally meet one half of the team at Yarndale. Many hugs were exchanged and hopefully you’ll like what we have in store. Other friends with stalls included Sarah Alderson (who launched her book An Elven Reckoning at Yarndale – my personal favourites are the Norui jumper and the Rhien shawl), Ripples Crafts, The Crochet Project, Joeli’s Kitchen, my style crush Jess with her Ginger Twist Studio, Tilly Flop Designs with Julie’s amazing knitting postcards and tea towels (I lost track of where you were!), and the ever lovely Ann Kingstone. I also happened upon my old boss from my years with Rowan Yarns – it was so nice to catch up with Jem and see her designs. We both agreed that the past fourteen months or so have been such a whirlwind!

My purchases were modest. I have a lot of things on my plate over the next few months, so I wasn’t looking to spend a lot. However, I felt inspired by the Knit British single breed swatch-along, so I went looking for yarn that fit the bill. As Louise pointed out afterwards, I was meant to look for undyed wool but I crave COLOUR at the moment.

Yarndale purchases. Carefully plotted over the course of the day. #yarndale2015 #knitlocal #planning #singlebreedyarn

A photo posted by Karie Westermann (@kariebookish) on


I was quite taken with the Exmoor Horn Wool – the colour range was really, really nice and the yardage is good – and I am looking forward to seeing how it works up. According to the lovely people on the stall, the yarn is a recently off-shoot from the Exmoor Horn Breeders’ Society’s work on preserving one of Britain’s native sheep breeds. I am weak in the presence of a good story – especially one which involves heritage and landscape – and so two balls came home with me. I do have plans for them that involves more than just swatching, but I am not giving myself a deadline! I also bought one of the Wovember badges from Laura’s Loom – it matches my winter coat perfectly!

But Yarndale was also the book-end of two very, very stressful months. I spent my last reserves of energy that fabulous Saturday and I have been exhausted as a result. So, I had a very strongly-worded conversation with my boss (i.e. me), and she allowed me to take most of this week off. She should probably allow me to do this more often! However, the final HYGGE pattern will be a few days delayed, emails have remained unanswered, admin has been pushed to one side, and I’ve not done any design work. I am sure the world will not end.

PS. The BBC has a really nice article about the concept of HYGGE today. Thank you to everyone who passed me the link xx

Yarndale, Hygge & Drift..

This is the week of everything.

My best friend is turning mumble, mumble – but she is in Sweden and I am in Scotland. I cannot celebrate with her and though it hurts every year, this year it feels worse than ever. So happy birthday to Christina, the light of my life. I miss you so much.

This is also the week in which I release three patterns (stay with me) and I’m going to a woolly event in North Yorkshire. It is the week where many other special people celebrate big events. It’s the week where I look at my to-do list and wonder what has happened to my sanity.

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This is Top Hygge – I was feeling very whimsical when I named it! It is the hat that spawned the entire HYGGE collection and the name is Danish slang for ‘peak hygge‘ -when things just cannot get any more chilled or happier. We shot the pattern photos during a picnic on Glasgow Green. It was a slightly damp day, but we had a picnic blanket and food with us plus the most amazing garden surrounding us.

The hat uses exactly one skein of Thick Pirkkalanka from Midwinter Yarns (worsted weight, it runs 170m/186 yrds per skein). It is a slouchy, relaxed hat with easy lace columns and a big pompom on top of the crown. The pompom eats up a lot of yarn, but thankfully the pattern is written so you just keep making the pompom until you run out of yarn!

I’ve been chatting to Estelle of Midwinter Yarns about Thick Pirkkalanka. It is a great woolly yarn with a lot of bounce and I found myself wondering what ‘100% wool’ covered. According to Estelle, the yarn hails from Norway before it is processed in Finland (I believe) and the wool comes from Dala and Rygja sheep. For some reason I thought there was a bit of Spæl sheep involved, but I cannot find any trace of that in our correspondence. I do love a bit of added Nordic-ness.

The next pattern from the HYGGE collection will be released this Friday. Dave and I went north this past weekend and somehow landed probably the best photos we’ve ever shot. It helps the yarn and the pattern are ridiculously photogenic, but I’m still really pleased!

bryggasmThe next pattern is called Brygga. It is a squishy, chunky cowl knitted in two hanks of Ullcentrum Lovikka (again from Midwinter Yarns). I rarely knitted with very chunky yarns, but I really enjoyed working with Lovikka which felt crisp and had great stitch definition. It is a Swedish yarn which is normally used for making mittens in Lapland and neighbouring regions, so I felt taking it out of that mitt-making context would be a lot of fun.. and it was!

Like all HYGGE patterns, I wanted the knit to be cosy and relaxed. I also wanted it to be really wearable and practical. In Scandinavia you are never far from the sea (we are the Viking nations, after all) and everybody spend so much time either on boats or watching the sea from the shore.

Brygga means jetty in Swedish – the quintessential place to watch life go by during the summer (either hurling yourself into the water or dangling your feet) and a fabulous place to rest during a chilly autumnal walk. We shot the photos in a small Scottish fishing village overlooking the North Sea – thoughts turned both to the lost landscape of Doggerland underneath the calm surface, but also of Scandinavia just beyond the horizon.

And then, finally, I am thrilled to say that I am one of the designers behind the brand-new Drift collection from Eden Cottage Yarns. I am honoured to be included with international names such as Thea Colman, Åsa Tricosa, and Justyna Lorkowska as well as homegrown talent such as Louise Zass-Bangham and Clare Devine (among many others).

I was asked by Eden Cottage if I wanted to design a shawl in the most soft, delicious alpaca you can imagine. I accepted the challenge and played with the traditional hap construction to come up with the Swale shawl.

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(photo by Eden Cottage Yarns)

Like so many of my patterns, I tried to keep it simple but effective. If you have never knitted a hap before, this would make a great introduction to the construction. Swale is knitted almost entirely in soothing garter stitch with just the edging providing a little bit of space. The shawl is quite large – but I find that I often prefer large shawls these days and Swale is relatively to knit because ECY Whitfell is a DK yarn. The alpaca also allows for fantastic drape.

You can see all the other Drift patterns at the Eden Cottage Yarns stand at Yarndale this forthcoming weekend. I’ll be at Yarndale on Saturday (catching the dawn train from Glasgow!). I’ll be bringing the HYGGE samples to the Midwinter Yarns stand (meet me there at 12.30!), hopefully get together with the Scollay-alongers at 2pm (check out the Brityarn group on Ravelry for more info), and then see you at the ECY stand at 3pm! Hopefully I’ll also get a chance to browse stalls as a regular person as I missed out on the marketplace at Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Wowza, what a long post but so much is happening at the moment! I’m off to have lunch and will then attack my inbox with gusto. Wish me luck – and if you are going to Yarndale, make sure to say hello!

Introducing: The Hygge Collection & Fika

August 2015 752aYesterday was a bit of a hectic day. We walked all over Glasgow trying to get good photos of the first pattern in the Hygge collection. After having posed in three different locations, David said to me: “I never asked. What’s the shawl’s name?” – I replied: “Fika. Fee-ka. It’s a Swedish word for a coffee-break where you spend quality time sorting out the world with your loved ones.”

Silence.

And then he marched me to a coffee shop and we snapped a handful of photos there between sips of coffee.

In many ways, the Hygge collection feels different to the other things I’ve designed. I think that is why I struggled to understand what Dave knew instinctively: I should not be posing somewhere – I should just relax with a cup of coffee. This thing is more personal and very down-to-earth. Maybe this seems odd coming from a designer, but I am slightly shocked that I’ve allowed myself the freedom to be relaxed about designing. The stitch palette was fun: textures that let the yarns shine and some easy lace motifs. The colour palette was even better (I’ll show you more later but how good is that orange Pirkkalanka?).

I have worked on some very conceptual things in the past (and will again in the future) but Hygge is just about the little joyful things I find in my everyday life. While the collection is very much about my Scandinavian heritage, I think you can find your own pockets of hygge no matter who you are or where you live. 

Fika will be released as a stand-alone pattern on August 31, but you can pre-order the Hygge: Knit the Things You Love to Wear collection now. It’ll cost slightly different things depending upon where you live, but it is 25% off from now until August 31. The collection contains five small projects (Fika is by far the more time-consuming!) – all accessories and all items you’ll keep reaching for again and again.

I am now going to sit in the back yard with a cup of coffee, my pile of books, and I’ll get back to my research. August is a crazily busy month for me, but I do need to make time for myself. Sitting in the sunshine seems like a good start.

Announcement: The Hygge Collection

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For the past five months I have been working on a mini-collection together with Estelle Faust of Midwinter Yarns. It is our first collaboration, but it has felt very fruitful. Not only do Estelle and I have a shared Scandinavian heritage, but we are also passionate about celebrating beautiful, natural yarns.

And now it is time to talk a bit about what we’ve created.

Hygge (Knit Yourself the Things You Love to Wear) is a mini-collection celebrating a truly Scandinavian concept. It is a concept that can be difficult to translate, but essentially it means “a feeling of comfort, cosiness, and happiness”. Estelle calls it mys because she is Swedish and I call it hygge as I am from Denmark. The mini-collection contains five small projects all relating to aspects of hygge – from spending time with good friends to drinking a mug of hot chocolate after a long, cold day. We have made sure to include authentic Scandinavian tips on how to enjoy hygge. I’ll also share a couple of Scandinavian recipes on this blog.

The knitting patterns are all small accessories knitted from a selection of Midwinter Yarns‘ favourite yarns. All patterns use between one or two skeins of yarns. With hygge being the overall concept, I wanted the patterns to give joy and comfort – both in the process of making and in wearing. The projects are also designed to make great little gifts for people you love. Spread the joy, the warmth and the happiness.

The yarns have been especially selected by Estelle to reflect the landscapes and traditions of Scandinavia. She chose a stunning colour palette that I cannot wait to share with you. It was important to us both that the yarns also reflected our shared sense of hygge – so you’ll find an array of yarn thicknesses and textures within the mini-collection too. Estelle is currently enjoying a holiday, so we’ll share more details about the yarns later!

What is next? The five patterns will be released over the next month and you’ll be able to see more at the Midwinter Yarns stall at the Yarndale wool festival in Skipton this September.

I am going to start pre-orders for Hygge (Knit Yourself the Things You Love to Wear) this Thursday. The eBook will only be available via Ravelry but the patterns will be available as individual downloads from both Ravelry and Love Knitting. Pre-orders get the mini-collection at a discounted price, naturally.

And here’s a little video about hygge from Copenhagen (sorry about the squirrel!)