HYGGE AND KNITTING, TWO WORDS THAT BELONG TOGETHER…

Knitting and Hygge are two words that belong together simply implying what Hygge is all about. As Meik Wiking – CEO of The Happiness Research Institute has said, “Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things.”

 

If you haven’t learnt how to knit before then now is the time to do so. Knitting is back in fashion from knitting simple tea cosies to bed throws and even recycling old sweaters into new ones.

The web has an abundance of sites with some giving tutorials on how to knit and others giving you a choice of many free patterns to start your knitting.

Once we come out of lockdown I am sure the ever popular knitting groups will thrive again. A very popular one is called Stitch and Bitch and there is also a great book from Amazon at £10.99 Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook – The Stitch ‘n Bitch Handbook by Debbie Stoller covers every aspect of knitting and the knitting-together lifestyle: the how-to, the when-to, the what-to and why-to. Writing with wit and attitude, Debbie Stoller explains why young women are taking up knitting in droves and covers everything you need to know to get your knit on – from the tools of the trade to casting on and binding off to getting fancy – all with step-by-step illustrated techniques. Then it’s time to pick up the sticks: at the heart of this book are forty stylish patterns that are as hip to wear as they are to knit, as good for beginners as they are for purly pros.

Another popular one is UK Hand Knitting where you all meet for a natter while knitting your favourite jumper. Just click on your area on their map to find your nearest group. Some great sites for knitters include The Daily Knitter where you can find lots of Free patterns and  Knitting Help which has free tutorial videos to help you knit.

According to Wikipedia, Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can be passed through them. This process eventually results in a final product, often a garment.

Knitting may be done by hand or by machine. There exist numerous styles and methods of hand knitting.

Different yarns and knitting needles may be used to achieve different end products by giving the final piece a different colour, texture, weight, and/or integrity. Using needles of varying shape and thickness as well as different varieties of yarn can also change the effect.

Yarnspirations sell Hygge yarn which is extremely soft and drapey, despite its quick-to-stitch bulky size. The base yarn is twisted with a fur end, which adds a lovely texture that is wonderful to work with, and snuggle up in! This gorgeous braided cable knit throw comes with a free knitting pattern. Just head to Yarnspirations website.

The Independant wrote that “There is an enormous amount of research showing that knitting has physical and mental health benefits, that it slows the onset of dementia, combats depression and distracts from chronic pain.” “In addition to its calming effects, knitting a quilt or a pair of mittens can distract from chronic pain – as focus is turned elsewhere. And the repetitive movements required to create a pattern release calming serotonin, which can lift moods and dull pain, according to the findings.”

A brilliant book if you are new to knitting is ‘The Complete Beginners Guide to Knitting: Everything you need to know to start to knit’, by Sian Brown, Lou Butt, and Janine le Cras on Amazon for £10 From lavish fashion trends to homemade gifts, add a hand-crafted touch to your garments, gifts and decorations. Start by choosing your yarn and needles before getting to grips with casting on, knitting, purling, ribbing and casting off again. Once you’ve mastered the essentials, you’ll put your newfound skills into practice with a range of creative project patterns that are perfect for newbie knitters. Get all the essential tools and materials before mastering simple stitches, Easy to follow patterns . Add a professional finish to your projects with pockets, hems, buttons and more. Refine your knitting skills while creating great gifts, garments and decorations. So pick up your needles today, and you’ll be an expert in no time at all!

FROM HYGGE TO ‘NIKSEN’, ANOTHER NORDIC WORD WITH A GREAT MEANING…

I have written in the past about the Swedish word ‘lagom’ which means moderation and was ‘Lagom’ going to be the new ‘Hygge’?

I wrote that according to the magazine Country & Town House, “since Vogue touted lagom as ‘the new hygge’ last year, (the Danish concept of ‘cosiness’), the word has been popping up everywhere, from lifestyle blogs to new season interiors collections. But has ‘lagom’ really overtaken hygge as the biggest lifestyle trend for this time of year? “.

So, the meaning of ‘lagom‘ is ‘Not too much, not too little. Lagom’ but the Swedish translation of lagom is “enough, sufficient, adequate, just right.” In other words, being content with what you have which might be quite apt during these trying times.

Another word ‘Niksen’ means doing nothing but not in the absolute sense of ‘nothing’, it means enjoying the moment whether your playing Lego, painting, colouring in a book, listening to music or podcast or just simply sitting quietly reading.

To completely understand this concept then you should buy the book ‘ ‘Niksen : Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing’, by Olga Mecking,

A concise and witty book, Olga Mecking will provide tips on how to niksen in the most important areas of your life: work, home and leisure. Talking to experts from around the world, she reveals how doing nothing can make you happier, more productive and creative. In addition, we are given a fun glimpse of Dutch culture to show us why the Dutch are one of the happiest people in the world and why they are so good at doing nothing every once in a while.

We all have a concept of what doing nothing means to us, but do our ideas actually correspond with the truth behind niksen? A common hurdle towards embracing idleness, for example, is that we feel the need to be productive, contributing members of society. In fact, even the Dutch tend to say, niksen is niks or, in English, doing nothing is good for nothing. That constant need to work can lead to more stress, decreased mental wellbeing and paradoxically, being less productive.

Stress and burnout are on the rise. The antidote: Niksen.

Of course, to enjoy ‘Niksen‘, it helps if you have the right atmosphere with all our homes nowadays open plan but you still create your own corner of hygge so that you can embrace ‘Niksen’. I have recently purchased this light bulb that changes colour via remote control to create my own peaceful area. It is an LED Bulb Mood Light with a 21 key remote control, which has a duel memory function and 12 colour choices for your home. I got mine from Amazon for £8.49

It is perfect for me in my kitchen, diner as I have a couple of armchairs in there but needed to do something about the light to make it feel cosy and enticing. It means I can sit in my chair with my hand knitted wrap around my shoulders and ready quietly while my other half can enjoy his sports on the tv in another room and enjoy a bit of Niksen time.

HOW TO GET THROUGH THE WINTER LIKE THE DANES DO…

How to stay happy like the Danes during winter lockdown is an article I read in The Times.

Apparently Denmark is grappled with coronavirus rates higher than most of its Nordic neighbours and is also now on the UK quarantine list and the economy is facing its biggest contraction since the Second Word War with dark and dreary winter well on its way. But this doesn’t bother the Danes, they are still happy.

Where else in the world would choose this moment to open a Happiness Museum, devoted to the subject for which the Danes are most famous? And not only that, but manage to attract up to 70 smiling visitors a day, even with the dearth of tourists on Copenhagen’s streets.

The Telegraph wrote that one study even found that the closer a country is in distance to Denmark, the happier its people are likely to be! So are Danes just born happy, or do they know something we don’t? Well, the Danes have better work-life balance than anywhere else in the world, with only 2 per cent regularly working long hours (compared to an average figure of 13 per cent for other countries). All employees are entitled to a minimum of five weeks paid holiday a year, and when Danes are at work, they often have flexible working environments.

The Danes also love their sweets, especially baking and eating cakes, cookies, and pastries. Anything home-cooked is much more hygge than something store-bought. Hygge drinks are best served warm. Tea, hot chocolate, and mulled wine all have a high hygge factor. Especially on a cold winter night.

Culture Trip wrote that from November until the end of February, Denmark’s nickname is Mordor. Yes, you got that right, J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world of Middle-earth. Truth is that some days you can’t really tell which is one is the worst but don’t despair because these tips will help you to survive the winter like a local. Getting through the Danish winter is a tough challenge even for locals. With more than four months of low temperatures often sinking below zero, sunless weeks with the morning light coming up at around 8 a.m. and lasting until 4 p.m. and heavy rain or snow, Covid-19 and lockdowns, you’ll need more than just Vitamin D to survive the wintertime.

So, don your baggy scarves, think of indoor activities and crafts you can do, bake, bake and bake some more (make sure you do the steps after baking) and get your magazines and books at the ready, and a cosy throw. Wrap yourself up into a little cocoon and enjoy winter no matter what.