Copenhagen Dreaming

DSC00801 I moved to Copenhagen in 1995 to start university. It was a hot July day, but my student hall kitchen had a fire escape from which you could watch the Tivoli Garden fireworks and the Vor Frelsers Kirke spire. I listened a lot to the Danish band Love Shop while I biked around town. I sat in cemeteries/parks reading the massive Victorian novels required for my coursework and met some of the best people I know in small cafes. Copenhagen remained my base as I travelled a lot from Norway, Sweden and Scotland to New Zealand. I always returned home to the fire escape and the best view in town. I graduated and bought a flat on the other side of town. I spent most of my time with friends in the Nørrebro and Vesterbro districts - and occasionally biked across my beloved Langebro (obligatory Love Shop link). I left Copenhagen for Glasgow in 2006, but Copenhagen is still home. DSC00820

On Saturday night one of my oldest and dearest friends ran for his life in Inner Copenhagen. Without going into details, I am so very grateful that he is still alive and well. I have very mixed feelings about how the media narrative surrounding the incidents was set up from the get-go, how things were interpreted on the ground, the extent of the media coverage and what the probable aftermath in Danish politics will be. But, I don't write about politics on this blog and I have no intention of starting. I just feel very far away from a city I love so much and my friends who are all so very dear to me.

So, I'm (yet again) restarting my project of sharing beautiful things and celebrating all the things in life that matter to me.

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This is my first "selfish" project in a very, very long time. I'm knitting the Hetty cardigan by Andi Satterlund in Cascade 220 (shade "Birch Heather"). I am hoping to complete it in time for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I chose Hetty because I love the silhouette but also because I wanted to learn more about a structured top-down construction. The pattern is fun to knit (though I freely admit rewriting it so it suits my brain) and the construction is interesting. I have four skeins of the yarn and I've opted for the L size (though it does look tiny and I should maybe have gone for the size up, but I trust Andi's sizing comments).

In other news, I released the second instalment of the Old Maiden Aunt/Karie Westermann 2015 Sock Club on Friday. The pattern is called Mad Larks and it is knitted in a gorgeous, rich and layered brown shade. The Byatt KAL is going great over in my group - please do join in! We are having great fun discussing colour options, how to customise Byatt and if anybody would freely admit to being a Hufflepuff!

Finally, I am exceptionally honoured to announce that The Island Wool Company has set up a Designer Collective and that I am one of the six designers involved. We are all very passionate about North Atlantic knitting traditions and we are huge fans of the yarns that the Island Wool Company works so hard to bring to a larger audience. I look forward to reinterpreting and communicating a very strong knitting heritage - one in which I am lucky to have a very small stake.

Beauty exists and I'll do my very best to keep bringing more beauty into this world.


On Beauty

When I was at university back in Denmark, I'd walk across the Amager Common from my student halls to the faculty. I'd pass by a huge rose bush with beautiful yellow roses, D.H. Lawrence's Gloire de Dijon echoing through my head. The roses have long gone, thanks to urban development, but the memory of their beauty remain. Beauty continues to matter to me. Throughout my life I have discovered beauty and savoured it. Poetry, art, rock formations, landscape, things people have said, music, colours and textures. I mentioned poetry first, not only because it epitomises and distils beauty and I experience the world through words, but also because the etymological root of 'poetry' is the Greek ποιητης - poïêtes which means 'artisan, creator, maker' (you still find that in the Scottish term 'makar'). Beauty is poetry is creation. And this brings me to a new way of experiencing beauty that I have only recently discovered.

I am currently finishing a lovely red cardigan and I find myself getting lost in its beauty. The stitches are slightly uneven and the buttons are a touch wonky, but it is beautiful. I work with wool which is clearly the product of a sheep's fleece, the colour is stunning and I already have beautiful memories* tied to making the cardigan.

And then I happened across this blog entry which says it so much better than I ever could:

People talk about friendship and community and getting back to the roots of handcraft when they reference [craft] blogging as a movement, but there's something else about this craft movement that I think is really special and I haven't seen folks talking about, and that's beauty. Redefining beauty. Taking beauty BACK from the magazines and the movies and the Botox parties and the red carpet. Taking it back into our own hands.

I have always seemed able to capture beauty, but I had no idea that I could get caught up in its creation too. It is a wonderful, empowering sensation.

* Mags, a good friend now living in London, unexpectedly showed up in Glasgow yesterday whilst I was finishing one sleeve. I will think of her every time I wear this cardigan.

PS. This all links back to ideas I have about feminism, craft and knitting groups, of course.