Roskilde in Pictures

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Baskets 4 Life Exhibit

While in Copenhagen, we went to the observation deck of the Rundetaarn. The Round Tower houses one of Europe’s oldest functioning observatories. From the observation deck, we could see the spires of the churches and rooftops of buildings across the city. Rather than stairs, you walk up the winding spiral path to the top. Walking down was much more fun!

Halfway down the tower, there is a large loft space for the museum shop and which serves as a venue for exhibitions. On the day we visited, the loft space was taken over with baskets – large and small baskets woven by hand using many different materials. It was an exhibit of Baskets 4 Life, a collective of ten Danish women who weave the baskets. According to their website, the purpose of the project is to highlight the need for baskets instead of plastic bags and to “break existing norms in relation to the appearance of baskets and the use of materials in making them.” As part of their mission, the group has started producing the baskets in Africa to create a source of employment and income for women. You can read more about the project at Baskets4Life.dk.

Here is a sampling of some of the beautiful baskets on display. My favorite is the crocheted one.

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My very own Scandinavian yarn crawl

Before our trip to Copenhagen, I dreamt of yarn stores on every corner. I compiled a list of stores to visit determined to find yarn that was “Made in Denmark.” Here is a recap of my very own Scandinavian yarn crawl.

Ulstedet, Vendersgade 3: The website for this yarn store beckoned with knit and crochet shawl kits, yarn and notions. When we showed up at the address, it simply wasn’t there. Strike 1.

Strikkeboden, Krystalgade 16: We found this yarn store on a pretty corner very close to the Round Tower, a 17th century astronomical observatory. It’s quite tiny but full of yarn in cubbies on the wall, in baskets and in window displays. Unfortunately, I was greeted by a very surly woman who seemed disturbed that a customer would actually enter the store. She practically barked, “can I help you.” I scanned the store, turned around and left. Strike 2.

Sommerfuglen, Vandkunsten 3: Sommerfuglen is located close to city hall and is bursting with yarn from floor to ceiling. It was a busy morning with many customers coming and going. The sales ladies were busy but very helpful. One sales lady explained that most of the fibers are imported since Denmark does not itself have many fiber-producing animals but some yarns are either spun or dyed or both in Denmark. I picked up this nice wool/silk blend. I thought it fitting to take a photo of it in Denmark. Home run!

Design Club DK, Duo Silke/Merino, 65% Wool, 35% Silk

Bette Design, Klosterstræde 20: I read about this yarn store on several blogs and set out to find it. It was very close to the Church of the Holy Spirit off Strøget, a wide pedestrian shopping street. We found the location, it even had a pretty sign hanging over the entrance, but the store was empty. By the ladder and bare walls, it may have been unoccupied recently. Strike 3.

Our next yarn forage took us to Malmö, Sweden. We rode a train over the 10 mile Øresund bridge connecting Copenhagen to Sweden’s third largest city.

Garn David Hall, Jörgen Ankersgatan 12: We found this store tucked away on a side street near the center of Malmö. Alas, it was closed. All I could do was stare at the fluffy yarn through the window. Strike 1.

Princess Garn, Lundbergsgatan 4: We walked a long way in search of Princess Yarn but it was not to be. We found the address but there was no yarn and no store. Strike 2.

Irmas Hus, Kalendegatan 21: Third time’s the charm. Irmas Hus is not a yarn store. It seems that it used to be and also carried fine fabrics. They had a wall full of little boxes filled with buttons. They now specialize in clothes but in the middle of a sale table, sitting in a couple of bins, I spotted yarn. These giant hanks are hand-dyed by a woman who lives outside of Malmö. And to make it even sweeter, the sale was a two for one! I picked up these two hanks of hand-dyed merino wool. Another home run!

Handy-Dyed outside Malmo, Sweden

Hand-Dyed outside Malmo, Sweden

Here’s a street band in Malmö celebrating my yarn find.

Malmo Street Band

Do you know of any Scandinavian yarn stores we should have tried?

Getting Hygge With It

This year, we decided to do something different for Christmas. We wanted to experience cold weather and possibly snow in winter. While the so-called “Winter Texans” flocked south toward the border, we flew north and crossed an ocean to Denmark. We spent most of our time in Copenhagen, which consistently ranks among the top cities in the world for quality of life.

We stayed in a lovely home in the area of Ørestad. It was a short walk to the metro at Bella Center and from there about a 10-15 minute ride to the city center. There were bicycles everywhere, and babies bundled up in thick jumpsuits and wrapped in cozy strollers, renaissance castles, pickled herring, and plenty of varm chokolade. The weather ranged from 43° F during the day to 25° F at night. It was overcast and gloomy and rained half the time, with intermittent moments of sunshine. It was dark by 4 pm. We didn’t get snow. Ironically, it snowed in South Texas while we were in Denmark.

On New Year’s Eve, fireworks exploded throughout the city. They easily continued for over an hour and even lingered for days after. On the first, the streets were littered with cases of exploded fireworks. We have wonderful memories of our Christmas in Denmark.

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On a visit to the Design Museum Danmark, we had the pleasure of viewing a special exhibit commemorating the work of Danish architect Finn Juhl. The exhibit Furniture for the Senses, Finn Juhl 100 featured several chairs designed by Juhl and other Danish architects. Here are a few of my favorites.



And last but not least, here is a sampling of the delicious food we tried during our stay.

The Boy in the Suitcase

One activity that often competes with my knitting is curling up with a really good murder mystery or psychological thriller. You can do many things while knitting – listen to music, watch tv, have a conversation, sing – but you can’t hold a good book (or electronic reader) in your hands and read while knitting. I just finished The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis. It’s a #1 international best seller and won Denmark’s Best Thriller Award.

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The title piqued my curiosity. It turns out that the book does revolve around a three year old boy found curled up in a suitcase, that was stashed in a public locker, inside a busy train station. Who he is and how he got there is the crux of the story.

The opening chapter instantly drew me in. An unnamed female struggles to push a heavy suitcase to a parking lot. Before heaving it into her car, she opens it and discovers the boy inside, barely moving but alive.

The ensuing pages weave the story introducing new characters with each new chapter. I made it about halfway through when I lost interest. It was hard to keep the characters straight. I kept having to flip back to old chapters to remind me of each character’s storyline. I think the culprit was poor character development. Even when I reached the end, I found myself questioning the character’s motivations. They simply didn’t feel plausible.

The story did start to come together more meaningfully in the last few chapters. I liked that the ending left the characters with possibilities for redemption. Also, the reasons why there was a boy in a suitcase are revealed. (As you can tell, I am deliberately avoiding spoilers).

There are some interesting aspects to this book beyond the main story. It seems to contain a social criticism of the plight of refugees in Denmark, particularly the exploitation of women into prostitution and child trafficking.

Overall, I would give this book 3 stars out of 5. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the prose or left with memories of endearing, memorable characters, but it’s a good read while relaxing in my comfy chair, with my yarns and needles on the floor beside me.

My Review ★★★☆ ☆