Saturday, January 14, 2012

Growing Up Norwegian

Today I was cold. Ben thought that opening all the windows downstairs would help warm it up, but once I started complaining that it was cold, and went to get a sweater, he realized that I get cold easily and closed all the windows.

This is actually a common occurrence in our home and somewhat of a joke as my genome is one that is firmly planted in Scandinavia and I was raised in a Norwegian family. Alas however, I am always cold.

It got me thinking, my family has only been in the country for 3 generations and I have family photos of my great grandmother swathed in knit wear. Really it was not that long ago that I would have been really screwed if I did not know how to knit.

When I mean screwed I mean that today Oslo reached a peak temperature of 27°F and it snowed. 27°F is below freezing and from my time living in Colorado I can tell you that if you had sneezed while outside today in Oslo your snot would have frozen in your nose.

This proves to me that the fact that at 5 years old, when I was given my first knitting and crochet lesson from my grandma, that knitting was not only tradition, but might have been mandatory for my grandmother. The love of fiber crafts completely skipped my mother though.

Not only was fiber arts a tradition in the family, but I also was part of the Santa Lucia celebrations at my local Viking Hall till the age of 13:

I'm left center. My aunt is top right and
mostly cut off
Every year my family went to the Santa Lucia festival and everyone bought loads of raffle tickets, because the ladies of the hall would all donate something handmade, or a tradition Scandinavian item for the raffle. We all hoped for quilts, sweaters, food, or anything else that was beyond my mother's skill. One year I even won the Christmas Tree (imagine my mother's surprise when I came home with a tree).

I think this was where my desire to learn to knit fair isle comes from. I remember looking at the sweaters and mittens and knowing that someone had made them, but not believing it as it seemed impossible that someone could make these things without computers or machines.

Now that I'm much older, and have tons of research on my side, I'm beginning to dive into traditional fair isle.

Most knitters might knit a coffee cozy to test stranded knitting but I decided that if I'm going to master this then I might as well dive into the deep end and start knitting a sweater that includes steeking and learn some Norwegian so that I can start to read Norwegian patterns.

The goal this year is to master fair isle knitting and to order the Gold Bohus kit from the Bohsläns Museum:

That sweater will be mine and just to show dedication to it I've started to translate the Babyhue og sokker as my first step in learning Norwegian/Danish.

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