I am often asked about my design process, and I always give the same answer: I have a story to tell, and my job is to figure out how to tell this story through the stitches on my needles. Designing Vinterskov (rav link) was a very different experience. For the first time in years, I designed something because it was gosh oh so pretty and I wanted to wear this pullover.
Like all the best knitting adventures, it all started with the yarn. The pullover is knitted in the glorious Hjelholts Håndværksgarn, a Gotland/Merino blend spun from a small-batch Danish yarn company and spinning mill dating back to 1878. The yarn can be a bit difficult to buy (unless you are in Denmark and know some great yarn shops), so I’ve made a list of some suitable substitutions which you will find at the end of this post.
The days are drawing close in the Northern Hemisphere and the weather calls for a very snuggly pullover. I knew I wanted my precious yarn to be this pullover. Vinterskov has extra-long sleeves for that irresistible sweater-paw look, seamless construction, a casual fit, and an easy colourwork yoke. Adding to the yarn’s Nordic roots, I opted to include Nordic knitting traditions: the yoke construction is a standard Icelandic yoke, the colourwork design mixes the Norwegian lusekofte tradition with a motif borrowed by another Norwegian knitting tradition, the Selbu mitten.
And Vinterskov means “winter forest” in Danish.
I’ve spent the last week in Denmark, (primarily working at Knitwork.dk) and I’ve been wearing Vinterskov everywhere. It is slouchy, relaxed, and the perfect go-to pullover as I’m travelling around.
A few notes on fit:
Vinterskov has a much more relaxed fit than my other garments. It is designed to have approximately 7 cm/2.75” of ease. I’m full-busted for my dress size, so have opted to wear my Vinterskov with 4 cm/1.5” of ease, so the yoke fits my shoulders.
Choose the size based upon your bust size, but if you are a D-cup (or above) look at the size below your full bust size. You don’t want to drown the rest of your frame with a lot of fabric. Your fit across the bust will be neater, but because the pullover has a relatively generous amount of ease, your Vinterskov might still be relaxed and comfortable.
If you prefer a neat fit, select your size based on the finished measurement numbers on page 3 of the pattern. Go for the measurement closest to your actual bust measurement.
Several people have remarked that Vinterskov would make a great festive pullover. I can totally see it as a modern, understated holiday knit — imagine it knitted up in a rich red with white snow — but it can easily be re-worked into telling stories about rainy weather or maybe you wanted scattered rainbow rays over a forest?
Finally, some words about yarn substitution.
Hjelholts Håndværksgarn is a GLORIOUS woollen-spun yarn which is perfect for colourwork. I knitted the yarn at 19 sts/26 rows over 10 x 10 cm of stocking stitch. That makes it a slightly heavy worsted-weight or light aran-weight yarn. If you want to find a suitable substitute, look for a lofty yarn with a “sticky” handle (which makes it ideal for colourwork).
Alafoss Lett-Lopi would make a very good substitute, but as it has a slightly lighter handle than the Danish yarn, Vinterskov would feel airier. I have my eye on Harrisville Designs Highland as great US-friendly substitute and the UK’s Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Aran Worsted would look equally lovely. Classic worsted-weight yarns like Cascade 220 and Brooklyn Tweed Shelter should also be considered, but make sure to swatch to make sure you like the fabric. You should always swatch, anyway!
I hope you like Vinterskov as much as me. Really, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of wearing this pullover.