Find out about the Hygge CAL kit from Scheepjes, designed by Kirsten Ballering – and you have the chance to win the ‘Girls night in’ kit!
Can you tell us more about the Scandinavian inspiration behind your beautiful Hygge shawl for this year’s Scheepjes CAL?
Yes! I’ve spent 6 months in Stockholm, Sweden while studying. It was there that I learned how to crochet. At the time things like Netflix didn’t exist yet and I was looking for a new hobby to fill the evenings. When I read on a forum something about crochet, I was intrigued and just stepped into one of the many yarn stores in Stockholm. I told them in my best Swedish I wanted to ‘make a hat’ and I left the store with very splitty, fluffy yarn and a 8mm crochet hook. Needless to say that wasn’t the best choice for a beginner and after a very frustrating evening I threw the skein in the corner of my room and just thought ‘nevermind, not my thing’. But after a couple of weeks it sparked my interest again and I tried again. Suddenly my hands and brain just ‘clicked’ and I was able to make my first few stitches. I actually joined a craft club in my student dorm two floors above from mine. It was great to get together on Monday nights with a small international group crafters, just sit and talk and craft. In hindsight it might have been my first Scandinavian encounter with Hygge!
Every time I think back about my crochet journey up until now I end up with the fond memories I have of Sweden. While I was there, I visited a lot of artisan shops and studios in the old city center of Gamla Stan. There I saw lots of inspiring arts and crafts, in traditional form (like artists sculpting a Dala horse) or incorporating traditional designs into something totally new. It’s that traditional ambience that I wanted to capture in my design, but with my own bold colours.
What was your design process for creating the shawl?
Believe it or not, but one of the first things I did when Scheepjes and I decided on the ‘Hygge’ theme was go to IKEA. IKEA is a wonderful source of Hygge inspiration because they are so great at incorporating a Scandinavian style in an inviting yet simplified setting. I had a look at pillow cushions, throws, even plantholders and candles and I just saw so many motifs and colour combinations that worked well together. Of course, I also had a long Pinterest browse. I would be lost without Pinterest to save everything.
After seeing so many different motifs I started sketching. I made one or two sketches on graph paper but quickly switched to graphic software because it was much easier for me to capture and change more delicate shades and to see how the colours would combine in different motifs. I started out with individual cross stitch motifs and gradually adapted these into the current designs.
While designing I didn’t necessarily stick to the order the shawl has to be made in. For example, I only designed the backpiece when I finished all other parts (even the edging!) of the shawl. I can’t even remember at how many cross stitch projects I’ve looked before the idea of a big eye catching flower in the middle took form. I worked out my way in vines from there, adding flowers, butterflies and birds as I went.
Why are the Scheepjes Stonewashed and Catona yarns so perfect for this project?
Scheepjes Stonewashed is a cotton/acrylic mix with a very soft finish. For a shawl it’s perfect, because the soft finish makes the yarn nice and warm while the blend also makes it easy to care for.
For the embroidery I’ve chosen the 100% cotton Catona yarns for multiple reasons. Mercerised cotton has a glossy layer around its fibre, which contrasted against the soft and variegated Stone Washed yarn. But considering embroidery is a substantial part of this CAL, it also has the additional benefit of less chance of splitting the yarn. There are only a few things more annoying than yarn that keeps splitting when you want to thread the needle or accidentally embroider the thread on itself.
Besides this, Catona comes in these adorable 25g balls. Embroidery doesn’t use as much yarn as crochet does, so with these small balls you don’t have unneccessary leftovers!
We’re spoilt for choice with the three lovely kits for this project! How did you decide on the different colour palettes?
When I was looking for inspiration on motifs I saw a lot of colour combinations that worked well together. Based on those impressions I created digital moodboards. I printed those and with a big pile of Catona balls I just started mixing and matching colours to the moodboards. I had promised myself that if I ever made a CAL there would have to be a Rainbow in it. For the other two I’ve juggled countless balls around before deciding upon the soft and muted Pastel and a more bolder Jewel.
And which one is your favourite? We can’t decide!
You’re asking me the impossible! If I had to choose, Rainbow would be my first pick. It’s just my favourite combination of colours in such a pleasing order. But Pastel comes in a close second. Or maybe Simy’s choice does, I’m having a hard time picking between these two! I love the bright blues and greens against the darker Stonewashed. It’s a long way out of my colourful comfort zone but very stunning.
There’s so much interesting detail in this design, with textured bobbles and cross stitch. What tips do you have for crocheters giving this a go?
Don’t be afraid to try something new. I know my way around crochet, but I was a novice cross stitcher when I started designing this CAL. Was I intimidated by the idea of having to learn a new skill? Absolutely. But I felt like I at least had to try it. From an old embroidery book I grasped the basics of cross stitch and quickly realised that I could do this with a little determination and patience.
Esther from It’s all in a Nutshell has made excellent video tutorials to explain the decorative techniques in this CAL, so I’m sure crocheters who aren’t confident in their cross stitch skills will benefit from her video’s. Don’t let something you have never done before stop you from at least trying!
And finally, can you describe your dream ‘hygge’ day? What would it include?
My dream Hygge day would include Netflix, pyjamas and a cat curled up on my lap. Maybe some hot coco and marshmallows would make it even more perfect! And crochet of course, but I’m sure I don’t even have to mention that!
Win a Hygge CAL kit
And we’re giving one lucky reader the ‘Girls night in’ kit for the Hygge CAL, containing 10 balls of Scheepjes Stone Washed, 10 balls of Scheepjes Catona, plus a button, scissor charm and even a chocolate treat!