Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Festival of Light: Banish the Blues with Scan Design

I am not one to easily swallow the latest hyped up medical advice presented by the media as gospel truth.  The other afternoon, however, when I was home sick, I happened upon a Dr. Oz segment related to the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  I sometimes think I could be the poster child for this disorder, as every year from November to March, I am moody, lethargic, and down carbs and sugary foods like the worst foodaholic who falls off the wagon at a holiday smorgasbord.


 I listened to a practitioner of natural medicine on the show discuss some supplements such as Sami and St. John’s Wort, but also heard some other tips.  One of these bits of advice stood out to me, and I instantly connected it to my own life and my love affair with yarn and fiber.  Oz encouraged a guest on the show (who suffers from seasonal depression) to dress in bright, light colors, such as yellow, and also suggested that she wear white.  As I watched the program, I thought not only about my gray and black winter wardrobe and how my mood lifts when I spice it up with one my colorful knitted creations, but also about the bag of black and gray wool, sitting waiting for me to begin knitting a sweater decorated with squirrels using a pattern in last month’s Vogue Knitting (a project so quirky, I couldn’t resist). 


Heeding Oz’s advice, instead, I began to knit a blue-and-white snowflake hat.  As I knit this piece, I do find that the soft colors are calming and mood elevating.  This experience has me thinking about traditional Scandinavian design, especially its love affair with blue and white.  In a country such as Sweden, with dark winter nights and a lowest January temperature of -17 and a high for the same month at only 50, it seems natural that the winter blues would be fairly common, although Scandinavian tourism literature suggests that it is an unfounded stereotype that winter depression (and related alcoholism and suicide rates) is fairly common in Scandinavian countries.
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Find this free pattern for a "Snowflake Hat" at the  Patons Yarns website.
You'll have to register to access it.



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Image of felted booties (not knitted, made from sheets of felt)
from book pictured below. 
Whether the myths are true or not, there is a plethora of beautiful, light bright designs to knit, embroider, felt, etc. using traditional Scandinavian design.  As I have finally learned how to chart a knitting pattern (I've only been knitting for three years, so each day is part of a learning process) and have actually created my first pattern (see “Free” tab), I now have an idea and a rough plan for a beautiful blue-and-white pillow.  My great-grandmother came to America by herself on a ship from Sweden, when she was only thirteen, so, perhaps, I have some natural, inherited cultural synchronicity for the aesthetics of Scan design, but whether this fact is true or not, I do have a need for some brightness in the midst of winter.   
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I've been coveting this book for months. 
I need to break down and buy it.  Its
designs for a variety of fiber projects
beautiful, clean, and bright.  Find it HERE. 










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