Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz and Sarah Jessica Parker do it ... other celebrities and Americans in general are now doing it, too; they’ve been taking notice of a trend that’s really never gone out of style in Scandinavia: knitting.

On the subway, at the playground, even at church and in meetings, knitting increased 150% among women aged 25-35 in the early 21st century. For the first 400 years of knitting’s history, the most common knitting materials were cotton and silk, not wool, and it was a male dominated industry. In fact, when the very first knitting union was established in Paris in 1527, no women were allowed. There are many theories on where knitting actually started, but Sweden is one of the few places where the introduction of knitting as we know it today can be dated (before that, there were techniques with needles and weaving, of course) – the Dutch wife of the governor of Sweden’s Halland province brought the craft to Sweden in the mid-17th century. She introduced knitting with needles, and people of all ages learned to knit. It was eventually so valued in Sweden that it was accepted as payment for taxes in the 19th century. Sweden is also the birthplace of tvåändsstickning (“two-end knitting”), also known in the U.S. as twined knitting.


Now as a new generation of Americans is learning a skill dominated for a while by our grandmothers, and appreciation for knitting’s Nordic roots is also gaining vitality. The 2017 Nordic Knitting Conference in Seattle is bringing back favorite instructors Arne & Carlos from Norway for this year’s event for passionate knitters, spinners, designers, and textile artists of all kinds on October 6-8 at the Nordic Heritage Museum. These experts provide a diverse range of classes exploring the rich tradition of Nordic crochet, knitting, and spinning. If you're in the area and aren’t already signed up, do so here: www.nordicmuseum.org/knitting (Registration is open until Friday, September 29.