Stockholm Yarn Crawl

For our holiday in Stockholm, we found the most adorable apartment through Airbnb. Monica’s apartment had everything we could possibly need – a comfy living room, narrow but incredibly well-organized and stocked kitchen, and a fold-down bed that didn’t take up much space. The lift to the third floor was one of those old-fashioned ones that just fit two people and had a metal accordion door. The apartment was located only one long block from the metro. The SoFo (South of Folkungagatan) neighborhood was very eclectic and bohemian with antique stores and fab pubs nearby. My husband and I wanted to just take up residence in Monica’s apartment forever, but we figured she needed it back eventually.

It’s impossible to visit Sweden and not run across yarn shops. Yet another reason why I ❤️ Sweden. I had a list on the ready for our forays around town. Our first stop was Stick it Up, located in SoFo only a brisk 15 minute walk from Monica’s apartment.

Stick It Up - Exterior

Stick it Up is a small shop with a nice selection of yarn in natural and man-made fibers. The owner was kind and friendly and explained the sources of the various yarns. I narrowed my selection to these 100% wool skeins intended for Lovikka mittens, which the owner explained were traditional in Sweden. Once home, I looked up the history and found a nice summary about the origin of the mittens on the Heart of Lovikka website. I brought home two skeins of a lovely green (not pictured here). Stick it Up is located at Ringvägen 64, 118 61 Stockholm, tel. 08-642 00 13.

Stick It Up - Yarn

Content with my purchases, we headed over to Gamla Stan to explore the old town center. As we meandered through the cobblestone streets, I spotted this in a dark window – yarn!

Makeri 14 - Window Shopping

Alas, as I got closer, the shop was closed. All I could do was cup my hands against the window and look longingly at the baskets full of yarn. The shop was tiny, meant only to walk in, buy and leave. Makeri 14 is located at Köpmangatan 14, 111 31 Stockholm.

Makeri 14 - Exterior

The next yarn shop was located near a statue of St. George slaying the dragon. I easily spotted it because this was hanging outside the door.

Anntorps Väv on Österlånggatan 11

Anntorps Väv was also somewhat small but had a luscious collection of yarn in natural fibers. Just look at these 100% silk beauties in the window! The proprietress spoke a little bit of English and I spoke not a bit of Swedish but we managed to point and understand each other perfectly. The silk is spun for the store and she hand dyes it in these jewel-tones.

Anntorps Väv - Window Shopping

The other reason the shop is small is because this large loom takes up most of the space. When we walked in, the proprietress was weaving on it. In the store were large fluffy blankets she had woven on the loom. Anntorps Väv is located at Österlånggatan 11, 111 31 Stockholm, tel. 0046(0)8 676 00 23. It’s a few doors down from Stockholms Gästabud Bar and Bistro where we had those fabulous Swedish meatballs (pictured in previous post).

Anntorps Väv - Loom

Window shopping in Gamla Stan is heavenly when you spot things like these skeins.

Galleri Yamanashi - Window Shopping

Galleri Yamanashi is located in a largish space in a busy corner with large windows facing the street. The gallery is very nicely laid out inside with plenty of room to look around. Throughout the space, there are examples of tools used in the spinning of yarn.

Galleri Yamanashi at 1 Köpmantorget

Their selection of yarns was nicely curated and presented. There were natural skeins of wool in burlap sacks and dyed skeins in large baskets. A large wall cubby housed skeins in various weights and colors.

Galleri Yamanashi - Yarn Bag
Galleri Yamanashi - Yarn Basket
Galleri Yamanashi - Yarn Cubbies

During my visit, the shop had a special exhibition showcasing entries from the 2015 Wålstedts Textile Art Contest. The contest is a knitting and weaving competition between Sweden and Japan using Wålstedts yarns. To see the other winning entries in both weaving and knitting categories, go to galleri-yamanashi.se.

Wålstedts Textile Art Contest 2015 - 2
Left: Wålstedts Textile Art banner. Right: The chapell Notre-du-Haut by Ayako Murota.
Wålstedts Textile Art Contest 2015 - 1
Top Left: Weaver-Jyuri Nagayo. Top Right: Praying reconstruction and rebirth of eastern Japan by Mieko Sano. Bottom Left: Received Excellence Award, tomato by Weaver-Kaoru Yoneda. Bottom Right: Weaver-Maki Kimimori.

I was curious about Wålstedts yarns. According to the gallery’s website, the Wålstedts spinneri is one of the oldest spinning mills in Sweden dating back to 1934. Their fibers are sourced from Swedish sheep and have been cleaned, spun and dyed by four generations of the Wålstedts family. The following video from the Wålstedts Textilverkstad website depicts gorgeous Swedish country landscapes and the process the family uses to make this beautiful yarn.

There were several bags full of wool fibers from the Wålstedts factory dyed in rich colors around the gallery. Galleri Yamanashi is located at Köpmantorget 1, 111 31 Stockholm.

Galleri Yamanashi - Pink Fleece

Galleri Yamanashi - Blue Fleece

The final yarn shop I visited was Sticka, also located in Gamla Stan. At the entry, I was greeted by this ferocious ceramic bulldog – too cute!

Sticka at 37 Österlånggatan

The interior of Sticka looks more like a clothing shop than a yarn store. Displayed on racks throughout the space were beautiful, airy knitted items for purchase, such as shawls and sweaters. They had a small but nice selection of yarns from various countries but not too many local yarns. Sticka is located at Österlånggatan 37, 111 31 Stockholm, tel. +46 8 23 37 37. For some reason, the website will not display but here is a link to their Facebook page.

That concludes my Swedish yarn crawl. I know there were many more yarn shops that I could not possibly visit during my stay. Good enough reason to return one day!

Roskilde in Pictures

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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 Ice Princess

Of late, I have been captivated by Scandinavian literature. I love the sense of place, the cold, the darkness of the settings. While I had read some Scandinavian authors years ago, it was the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson that brought me back. I discovered the series by watching the first movie in an old theatre with sticky floors that shows mostly independent films. It was the original Swedish version with Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth. The sense of place of the Swedish landscape and the complexity of the characters were so palpable I could almost touch them. I immediately found all the books and devoured them. I’ve been on a Scandinavian literature kick since.

I had not heard of Camilla Läckberg but thought I would give her a try. The Ice Princess is Camilla Läckberg’s first novel – her first four novels have been bestsellers in Sweden. I like that the novel plunges you right into the thick of things in the opening pages. A man checking on a neighbor’s house during a cold winter finds a dead woman sitting in a frozen tub, with icicles hanging from her hair, and one of her arms dangling over the edge with frozen blood pooled on the floor.

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The rest of the story unwinds to reveal characters that seem real with human foibles and redeeming qualities. You meet Erica, whose parents have just died and who is in town to pack up their home. There’s a sibling rivalry between Erica and her little sister, Anna, who seems to tense up around her husband. There’s Superintendent Mellberg, the incompetent bureaucrat and chief of police; and Patrick Hedström, the detective who just wants to solve the crime. There’s a murderer. And there’s Alex, the ice princess, who happened to be one of Erica’s childhood friends.

One of my favorite parts of this novel is the setting. All of Läckberg’s novels take place in the remote fishing village of Fjällbacka on Sweden’s west coast. Fjällbacka is the author’s birthplace and she seems to know the town’s roads with all its twists and turns very well. As I read the novel, phrases like “15 degrees below zero” stayed with me. This is Fjällbacka in winter.

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I highly recommend reading The Ice Princess. It will draw you in immediately with solid character development, an element of mystery, and a chilly setting to get you through these hot summer months.

My Review ★★★★☆