Aleks Byrd Designs

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Knitwork18 Festival

I had the pleasure to teach two workshops at the Knitwork18 festival in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was a fantastic experience to meet and learn from some extremely talented Danish knitters. Knitwork18 is a wonderful festival bringing the Danish knitting and crochet community together. It is organized by Kristina Jensen and Carsten Hansen of the knitting shop Knitwork. I met Kristina through my book "Color & Knit Mittens" as she was one of the wonderful test knitters for the mitten patterns. I was so excited at the opportunity to come to the festival and meet Kristina in person. Kristina and Carsten have done a magnificent job of organizing and running such a large undertaking so successfully.

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I taught two workshops based on my book "Color & Knit Mittens". Each participant started to color and knit one mitten using yarn they brought with them as well as from an assortment colorful and variegated minis I brought.

 An assortment of minis including some nice variegated ones from  Mothy & the Squid  .

An assortment of minis including some nice variegated ones from Mothy & the Squid .

It was fun to work with knitters who love color and are excited to try something different and learn new things. Learning how to knit Estonian braids was very popular. Each student created a nice 1 or 2 color Kihnu “vits”. The strong desire to learn the braids has inspired me to do some more designing and creating new workshops around braids and other Estonian knitting techniques… ( more on that topic to come!). Even though I was the one there teaching you can always learn something new from other knitters. That is the joy of knitting! There is always some tip or bit of knowledge to share that creates wonderful relationships. Like any festival I’ve been to as a visitor, student, designer or instructor I find myself making new connections with other knitters. I met some interesting knitters from Sweden and Denmark who shared with me some wonderful yarn shops, books, yarn to look out for and they shared their stories on nordic knitting. I learnt about some really interesting books on Norwegian knitting history and techniques- I feel like I now need to learn Norwegian or Swedish! What intrigued me about this group of knitters is that they are really excited about techniques much like myself. They want to know about different stitch patterns like braids and creating textures. They are also adventurous with their colors!

 Students from my morning workshop session.

Students from my morning workshop session.


Along with teaching, is the joy of getting access to the marketplace and also all the amazing food! It was a small and well curated marketplace that featured yarn for everyone.

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I went in looking for Danish yarn- yarn dyed by Danish dyers and yarn from Danish sheep. I had been given some excellent suggestions by my students and fellow instructors. The colours I gravitated toward were inspired by the colours and architecture I saw around Copenhagen when wandering around in my free time.


This is what I came back with:

Hammershusgarn

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This yarn comes from a single flock of sheep, on the island of Borholm where it is shorn, spun, and dyed. It is a lovely and relatively soft wool that comes in two different weights. It’s nice to see the trend that is becoming popular in the UK of farm to skein popping up in other countries. The 4ply weight is the Hammershus1 which is 80% local single flock sheep wool with a 20% merino blended in. I selected 3 shades in grey and blues that reminded me of Copenhagen. The bright blue reminds me of the sky and some beautiful buildings I saw wandering around.

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The heavier weight, a DK weight, is called Hammershus3 which has the same fiber content as its 4ply relative. I purchased a skein in a gorgeous moss green. I think that green is a beautiful colour and one that is hard to find done well in hand dyed yarns. This one is a rich color that could be seen as a neutral.


Knit by Trine P.

I purchased 4 skeins of hand dyed yarn from Knit by Trine P., a dyer and knitwear designer. They are 100% organic non-superwash merino wool dyed in a DK weight and in colours that again reminded me of Copenhagen. I’m thinking that these will be turned into a nice colourwork pattern inspired by some architecture photos I took on small side streets.

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I spent some time at this stand chatting with Louise Klindt about her yarn and some of her samples. All of the yarn is spun at the oldest mill in Denmark. I purchased yarns in all the various natural colours that highlight the variety in sheep fleece colours but there were also some nice tempting colours. I purchased two skeins or cakes of Håndvoeksgarn under Louise Klindt’s brand which is a nice DK weight yarn and 3 skeins of Hjelholts Uldspinderi mohair blend 4 ply. This mohair blend is a 70% kidmohair and 30% Falkland merino. I am not a huge fan of mohair which seems to be having a real resurgence, however this mohair blend I like because it has more body to it with the merino and isn’t so hairy- a nice balance. Louise had a beautiful colourwork skirt sample knitted out of this yarn featuring lots of lovely nordic patterns.

I’m looking forward to using this yarn stash and the many inspiration photos I took to create some new pattern ideas!

Knitwork18 was a wonderful festival and reason to visit lovely Copenhagen again. Thank you Kristina & Carsten for inviting me! I hope to go back again!