“Hen knitting” doesn’t have anything to do with chickens—unless you want it to, that is! The term was coined by Danish knitter and author Kirsten Hofstätter in the late 1960s, as a way to describe knitting that wasn’t following strict pattern instructions: knitting that was bright and colorful, that used up leftover yarn instead of being made with purchased kits, and that gave the knitter freedom to choose pattern bands and motifs and create a design all their own. Danish knitters embraced the concept, and hen knitting became a wildly popular and well-loved form of self-expression. It’s fun, stylish, and a perfect way to make a beautiful, wearable statement about who you are and what you love.
How do you do it?
Pick a handful of motifs to repeat around in pattern bands, one at a time, and before you know it you’ve got a personalized garment focused around any theme you want. Maybe an animal theme, for the kid who can’t get enough of four-legged friends from the barnyard—or safari! Or perhaps a lovely flower sweater in full bloom, for a gardener? Whatever you can imagine, you can do it with hen knitting; anything and everything that interests you can be combined to form a pattern that’s the perfect fit in every way.
And it doesn’t stop at patterns—or at sweaters, for that matter. Knit in abstract designs, symbols, or even words or a name. Work the ultimate personalized pair of socks or mittens, a skirt, a cowl, or a pillow or two (and you can visit our website to try out a free pillow pattern with its own set of reusable, rearrangeable motifs—CLICK HERE). Anything you can fit a repeating pattern band around can be hen-knit; all it takes is a few designs you like and some yarn in your favorite colors.
Hen knitting can even tell a story, or express the treasured personal memories you hold dear. One of the authors of KNIT YOURSELF IN, Linn Bryhn Jacobsen, designed a hen-knit sweater for her father, who comes from Stokmarknes—very far in the north of Norway. She decided she wanted to capture the beauty and the spirit of his native landscape: the clarity and intensity of the Arctic sunset, the wildlife, the high gray mountains and grassy hills, the seaside cliffs teeming with birds and the whales often spotted in the wild along the coast …
Whether your style is fun or funky, sweet and colorful or bright and adventuresome, the perfect hen knitting pattern is waiting for you to invent it. There’s no better way to make your knitting inimitably, incomparably, uniquely you.
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