Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sweden, the Olympics, & . . . Crochet?

You've probably already heard about this, if you follow any crochet blogs, but I want to document it on my own little blog, since it's the kind of thing that might be fun to remember in ten or twenty years (assuming I back up my entries and they even exist that far into the future). 

When we watched the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, I took a good look at the Swedish athletes marching into the stadium.  When you're married to a Swede, you're obligated to take a certain interest in these things.  ;o)  I was curious to see what they'd be wearing and whether or not I could detect a certain Scandinavian or Swedish "look" in them.  Actually one of the star athletes does remind me a little of one of my husband's cousins, but that's neither here nor there, because what immediately caught my eye was their hats.  They wore crocheted hats in stripes of turquoise/sky blue, yellow, white, and black.

Honestly, they're quite plain, these hats, but the fact that they were crochet at all was surprising.  As someone taking more and more of an interest, lately, in crochet, I find my eye drawn instantly to every stitch of it that crosses my path.  Most often, it's a crochet afghan draped over the back of a chair or sofa.  I've recently spotted them in a Miss Marple mystery, the BBC version of Wallander, and (repeatedly) in episodes of The Middle, for instance.  Apart from the ubiquitous granny square blanket in the background, though, knitting still seems to be much more common, though-- particularly when it comes to items of clothing / accessories.

So, anyway, as I say, I saw it and was amused that of all countries that might have chosen to sport crocheted hats, it turned out to be Sweden, a country I have ties to (through ancestry as well as by marriage).  (What can I say?  I'm easily amused.)  Apparently, many people-- not just in Sweden, but in the US, too-- have developed a severe case of hat envy, and they're on a mission to find a pattern and make their very own Swedish Olympic Team crochet toboggans. 

Donald, (my husband) pointed it out to me when he found a pattern (in Swedish) for the hats, on a Swedish newspaper, online.  If you can read Swedish, or feel confident in your translation skills, you can see that pattern here (or via Ravelry), if you like.  I've also read that Annette Petavy is trying to translate the pattern into English.  In the meantime, according to some sources it's not merely rows of single crochet.  Some seem to think it's half double crochet.  Here's a pattern using half double crochet...and its Ravelry page.

Finally, if you're intersted in the history behind the hats, check out this blog entry by Kim Werker. 

Here's an excerpt:
[Eva Christensson, the designer behind everything the Swedish Olympic athletes wore during the 2010 games] was surprised to discover so much interest in the hat – "even more than in the Olympic games." Because the hats aren't for sale in stores, a crochet frenzy has taken over Sweden. Yellow and blue yarn and large crochet hooks are sold out all over the country and she's aware of all the homemade patterns popping up on Swedish websites.  She added that, "a lot of people who never made crochet before are now trying....it feels like the story is never ending."


I asked her why she chose crochet for the hats, when knitting can be done much more easily by machine. You're going to love her response: "Why we wanted a crochet hat is because the look of crochet is much cooler than a knitted version. Knitted caps have a totally different look. In Sweden these kind of crochet hats have been popular over the past winter seasons, especially among the younger generations."
 Neat!