My Sock Moment N°9
"To simultaneously have a pair of socks on my feet and on my needles, in Finland - that's my perfect sock moment!"
learned to knit socks from her Finnish grandmother
lives in Stuttgart, Germany, when she isn’t in her second home in Finland
Dear Eeva, can you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is Eeva and I am half Finnish and half German. I grew up in many countries but we always spent our vacations in Finland and when I was 12, we lived for one year in Finland, with my grandparents. During that time, my Finnish grandmother taught me how to knit socks. For a long time, I only knit occasionally, but in 2012, during a summer vacation in Finland, I bought a couple of balls of yarn, found instructions on the Internet, and knit a tunic for the child of my best friend. That was the beginning of my new love of knitting and in 2013 I started my own blog Oh, wie nordisch! (Oh, how Nordic!), where I write about knitting, life as a half-Finn, and Finnish recipes.
Do you think that your preference for wool socks also has a cultural basis? What role do wool socks play in Finland and what do they mean to you, personally?
Wool socks rank highly in Finland. Everyone wears them, everyone knows them, everyone loves them, and so many people knit socks that you can really say that wool socks belong to the Finnish culture. For me, wool socks are also a tie to my roots and that is certainly one of the reasons why I like to knit socks so much.
Although you do have many other projects on your needles, I have the feeling that you most often knit socks. What is your favorite way to knit socks?
Actually, I like best to knit traditional Finnish socks – socks knit with 8-ply yarn, using 3.5 mm double pointed needles, and worked from the top down. I frequently try new patterns – including those with thinner yarn – to keep things from getting boring and to learn new techniques. But there are a few traditional patterns, like the Olga-Socks, which are knit with solid color yarn in the same manner all over Finland and I just love knitting them. In the last years I also participated in Finnish KAL’s, during which one section of a pattern was revealed at a time, in regular intervals, until a patterned sock had been created. That’s how I taught myself pattern knitting and came to really enjoy this technique. I don’t always have the right color of 8-ply yarn available but I might have it in 4-ply, so I use two strands of yarn and can then knit 8-ply – just a little tip on the side.
That’s fascinating. It’s true that 8-ply yarn is not as common around here, but REGIA repeatedly offers a beautiful worsted weight sock yarn selection.
Do you have a favorite place to knit?
I knit wherever it’s possible – mostly on the sofa, in the evening, but I also like to knit when I’m on the move, as a passenger in the car, in a train, in an airplane, in a rapid transit train or in a rowboat, accompanying someone who is fishing. I always have a small bag with yarn and a pair of baby socks on the needles to take along to fill the time when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office or for a friend at a café. I don’t like to knit while I’m talking to someone because I feel that it is unfair to not give the other person my undivided attention. My absolutely favorite place to knit is in Finland, at the vacation cottage on Saimaa-Lake, and even on the pier there.
And speaking of baby socks…. Recently, your followers on Instagram and your blog have seen lots of blue and white baby socks – what is that all about?
It has always been a tradition in Finland that women knit baby socks for hospitals so that every new born baby in the maternity ward receives a pair of hand-knit socks. This year Finland is celebrating 100 years of independence so this year the baby socks are all knit in blue and white. I thought this activity was so fantastic that I just had to participate and at the beginning of the year I sent a small package of blue and white baby socks to Finland. With so many enthusiastic knitters in Finland, the need for blue and white baby socks was quickly met and then I found a group of Finnish women in Germany who are also knitting blue and white baby socks – for all the babies with Finnish roots who are born in Germany. And now I’m participating in that also. This year Finland has the motto “Together” and there are so many activities and events during this centenary year. For example, there was an initiative for veterans, during which each veteran received a pair of gray wool socks with blue and white stripes around the tops. I participated in this also – in January, during a vacation in Finland, I was at a knitting get-together and in March I sent a package to Finland with four pairs of these socks. Here also, the need was quickly met – at the end of five months, 21,218 pairs of wool socks had been knit!
That’s amazing! I take my hat off to all the sock knitters and to so much commitment.
In addition to activities in relation to Finland you also knit for other social purposes. Which projects do you support, what got you started, and what is your motivation?
For years I have been knitting baby socks as the first gift for the newborns in my family and circle of friends. These are always Finnish ‘train socks’. But in general, I just love to give hand-knit socks as gifts. At some point, the need of family and friends for socks is met – but I love to knit socks! By accident, I stumbled onto various initiatives which collect socks or other knit items. In Finland, every hospital accepts knit and sewn items – baby blankets, crocheted octopus toys, clothing and caps for preemies, or wool socks and caps for cancer patients. Here in Germany, there are also initiatives in which everyone can participate. For example, there are many “Christmas in a Shoe Box” activities, or the #helfenwollenspendenaktion2017 on Instagram, which collects things for the homeless in Berlin. So it can happen that I knit a pair of socks without knowing who they will be for. When they are finished, they get put in a box, where they wait until I come across the next initiative, and then I send them there.
My motivation is my love of knitting – and that I can use my hobby to do good deeds.
Those are all fantastic initiatives! And when you can combine your hobby with social engagement, that makes it even better!
In addition to all the socks you knit for other people, do you also knit for yourself? And what projects are on your needles at the moment?
At the moment I am working on wool baby pants, a cap, a pair of socks, and, of course, baby socks. I don’t knit much for myself but a couple of weeks ago I was working on a pair of socks which weren’t turning out as I had hoped. I didn’t frog them – which is totally untypical for me – but instead finished knitting them and now they are my new bed socks. I also like to have warm feet in bed!
Indeed, very important. And the socks turned out beautifully!
And now at the end, I’d like to ask the big question: What is your perfect sock moment?
There is a quick answer to that – to simultaneously have a pair of socks on my feet and on my needles, in Finland, of course ☺
Dear Eeva, thank you so much for the interesting interview! All the best for you and happy sockknitting!
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