Something is woolen in the State of Denmark

Published on Sunday October 26th, 2008

Friends, the Danes have been holding out on us. They’ve been smugly sitting on one of the nicest yarns on the planet, just hoarding it all, apparently. But the secret is out, and now that we Americans can buy Marianne Isager’s Alpaca 2 without traveling to Europe (which this American loves the excuse to do, but there’s this teensy problem with the economy just now), my life may never be the same. Sweet heavenly saints, people, I don’t know where this stuff has been all my knitting days. I saw. I touched. I read the ridiculously reasonable price tag. I bought. I knit, immediately.

As you can see, I couldn’t resist whipping some some stranded colorwork. I’d already been salivating over Kate Gagnon’s beautiful Selbu Modern beret on Ravelry for a week or so. Now, I love me a beret, but I’d just made one and didn’t think a fine, drapey, alpaca fabric would be exactly suited for the tam shape anyway. So I improvised: I started the brim like a sweater hem (with a purl turning round in the contrast color); then threw in a couple of tuck rows (so easy with a contrast color involved: work a round in it, then knit some rows – five, in my case – in the main color, then on the next round reach down the backside of the work, lift the top of the CC stitch onto the left needle tip, knit it together with the next regular stitch; repeat all the way around); worked a tier of pretty berry sprigs, a classic Selbu motif seen on mitten cuffs; added another tuck round; increased a bit to get my stitch count up to a multiple of 24; then began Kate’s colorwork chart. I omitted one repetition both horizontally and vertically to account for my desired clochey shape, but otherwise the rest of the hat is just as Kate wrote it.

I just love those tuck rows. They’re so simple, and they add a lot of shape and style, don’t you think? I may have to put them on all my hats. I’ve already worn this one five or six times. It fits under my bike helmet (which looks totally weird, but keeps my head warm), and I can wear it with my dressier jackets or, as seen here, with my dog park duds. Love the versatility. (And also the mild fall weather we’ve been having.)

Go knit one now! You won’t be sorry. And you can tell your Danish friends you’re onto them.

I’ve also been working on my Confectionary vest experiment. It may be too small. It may also be bulletproof. But the color changes are so seductive that I’m just gonna keep on knitting…

P.S. I’m naming my firstborn Marianne Isager. (Okay, maybe just Isager if it’s a boy.)

33 Comments to “Something is woolen in the State of Denmark”

  1. emily Comment Says:

    I LOVE your version of this hat. Wow! I was planning to knit mine in DROPS alpaca and am considering following your version…! also where is this place in America that one can buy Marianne Isager yarns?

  2. mamie Comment Says:

    that hat is fantastic, sarah. i am now adding yet another hat to my christmas knit list. i cannot believe how pretty it is, the tuck rows really feminize the whole piece. now, come visit my blog and enter the giveaway i just posted. 🙂

  3. Lisa Comment Says:

    Just lovely. I really like your color choice. Definitely the perfect fall hat.

  4. k Comment Says:

    I ridiculously love this hat – very inspired to make my own. I too have some Drops Alpaca, and might try that since I’ve never seen the Danish stuff, which is a little sad, with my Danish heritage. Thanks for the great idea!

  5. Erika Comment Says:

    The hat looks great! I’ll have to keep an eye out for that yarn.

  6. Christina from Denmark Comment Says:

    I’m so happy that you found Marianne Isager’s yarn! I’m from Denmark as she is big over here. Let me know if you need any help with the danish on her website. I always love the things you create :0)

  7. fleur Comment Says:


  8. merete Comment Says:

    ho ho. that is fun. my aunt who is in a knitting circle with cheryl oberle in colorado was here for a visit and was just mentioning her alpaca.

    marianne is a common enough name but isager would be really strange. her daughter has a shop here in copenhagen and makes delightful stuff. the mother has knitting retreats where she lives. knitting and yoga. i think you would like the japanese rib sweater she created. she has had a big impact on knitting here for decades and was the first to have a more crafty take on knitting.

  9. kate Comment Says:

    Your version is beautiful! I really love the mods and colors you chose. I have been drooling over the Isager yarn and patterns on the internet for a while and now I really want to try them out.

  10. merete Comment Says:

    oh i forgot to say how much i love the hat and the colours. bike helmets come here in the shape of the loveliest little hats now ( a sewn colour in workhorse cotton). it makes the bikers look awesome.

    a chullo under a bikehelmet would make one look very much like a peruvian who wears his chullo under a fedora like hat.

  11. gleek Comment Says:

    oooh, i just love the top of that hat!

  12. Angelika Comment Says:

    I just love how a pattern can be manipulated to fit our personal needs. Great job on making it a regular hat.

  13. meg Comment Says:

    So pretty and so perfect for all kinds of things. Great innovations, Sarah, as always!

  14. yoel Comment Says:

    Wow! That hat is just gorgeous, and I like the way you modified the pattern.

  15. Seanna Lea Comment Says:

    This is a really cute hat! Despite seeing instructions for picking up stitches from previous rows for a while now, I’ve never done it. Is this a fiddly step? I’m having a hard time visualizing exactly how it is done, so I probably should just pull out a swatch and try it.

  16. Heather / "Arctic Knitter" Comment Says:

    Fantastic chapeau! Thanks for the tip about the yarn! I think it might have to jump into my stash.

  17. Mandy Comment Says:

    Wow! I’ve favorited the Selbu, too, but I don’t think tams work so well on me. I’ve been favoriting cloches, too. Might just have to try it. Did you just have to increase a few to get up to a mult of 24?

  18. ann Comment Says:

    oh my gosh – love the tuck rows! they make it look totally different and really fantastic.

  19. katie Comment Says:

    Lovely! But actually, this is the best time in ages to visit Europe. Have you seen how the pound is measuring up right now against the dollar?! I’m outta here! (I wish.)

  20. whitney Comment Says:

    I absolutely adore your version of this hat, and I’m bookmarking this post so that I can refer to it when I knit my own one of these days.

  21. mia Comment Says:

    Tuck rows, eh? Me likey. Guess what??? E and I put an offer on a house and it was accepted!!! Hoorah. We will have to see what unravels, but we are excited right now. I miss you.

  22. Wendolene Comment Says:

    How very classic! I have recently tried tuck rows, and I agree–they’re fantastic.

  23. Kim D. Comment Says:

    I came across this yarn shortly after camp this year, when looking for yarn for my Ravelympics sweater. I loaded up on the Alpaca 2 and the Highland Wool, which I agree are ridiculously reasonably priced and knits beautifully. I haven’t actually used the yarn yet, except for the swatch (I always have to at least swatch with the yarn, when buying some). Love it.

    The hat is absolutley beautiful. I could see you designing a series of hats with tucks in. They’d be beautiful.

  24. Dea Comment Says:

    Another dane just dropping by to say great job on the hat! I’m not quite sure how you altered the pattern, but I’d love to know – I really like your version!

  25. Rebecca Comment Says:

    Oh you make it sound so easy!

  26. Heather Comment Says:

    This is just unbelievable! Congrats

  27. Trine Comment Says:

    Hee hee hee. 😛 You’re onto us now, huh! I actually think you got the better deal on this yarn – I have a suspicion that it is much cheaper in the US than it is in Denmark! Is it ridiculous to order Danish yarn overseas…? 😉

    But love the hat, and I’m glad you liked the Isager yarn. 🙂 Personally not a big fan of her and her patterns, but to each their own, I guess. The yarn’s not bad, just a bit on the pricey side for me. But it looks marvellous in your hat, and I agree on the tuck rows – they’re awesome!

  28. Debby Comment Says:

    I just love how the colors and patterns pick up the autumn leaves in the background! Is there a matching dog sweater for Lark in the works? 😉

  29. Nonnahs Comment Says:

    I love your version of this hat so much. Impeccable, as usual!

  30. schrodinger Comment Says:

    such a beautiful hat!

  31. lucy Comment Says:

    You just made start knitting one! It’s beautiful and love your mods.

  32. heidi Comment Says:

    very nice done! I really love your modifications:)

  33. Leslie Comment Says:

    I simply am in love with your hat! I just discovered Isager in Santa Fe at a little knit shop, and when I returned home, I realized that you used this yarn for the hat. Must. Have. Some. Isager! Thank you for sharing your modifications.