Scandinavian knitting conference: Rovaniemi

So yesterday I spent learning the techniques used on mittens from Rovaniemi, taught by Susanna Hansson. The group in the workshop was told that as we completed the day there are now 63 people in North America who know these techniques. There’s hope for others, though, because an article on the techniques is scheduled for the January/February 2008 issue of PieceWork. The article is being written by Susanna’s collaborator in recording and teaching this knitting tradition, Lene Kariniemi-Alve.

Here’s Susanna pointing out the location of Rovaniemi, in Finland:


Rovaniemi is above the Arctic Circle, in a cultural area often called Lapland that includes parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and a bit of Russia.

The primary knitting technique under study is a type of intarsia worked in the round. It’s unusual in execution and result. A corollary technique keeps the pattern yarns in order and prevents them from tangling.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s description of this class impelled me to cancel my second-ever trip to the Taos Wool Festival (a serious decision) and register for the Scandinavian knitting conference on the first day of sign-ups. Other compelling factors: my mother lives near the conference site, and I’m told I have Saami (Laplander) ancestors.

Here are some mittens in colors characteristic of the region:


Here are some mittens that build on tradition while straying a bit farther from it:


Here’s what the workshop group accomplished in the course of the day (after our first "get the idea" samplers):


We all worked with a white background but the colors we chose for our patterning were different. That was fun.

And here’s my sample, possibly a future wrist-warmer or bag, depending on how my schedule works out:


We worked with good quality wool, but the whole time I was longing for well-made handspun yarn: worsted-spun from wool grown by a breed of sheep that produces sturdy-but-soft fiber, with a fair amount of twist in both singles and plying. It’s so easy to get spoiled by having worked a lot with handspun.


The blog tour for Donna Druchunas’ Ethnic Knitting Discovery is rollicking along. I’m enjoying seeing all the different perspectives on the book.


1 thought on “Scandinavian knitting conference: Rovaniemi”

  1. Great to hear about the forthcoming article! Although I’m worried about the “dumbing” down . . . I find that stuff in Piecework sometimes tend to get to be dumbed down – I want to make items just like the original and not the easy samples for which directions are given. I don’t mind at all knitting at a fine gauge – that’s what really gets me excited.

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