Maelstrom, Saltstraumen Norway
by Stephanie Stassi on January 6th, 2021
Happy New Year everyone! After all the trials, tribulations, and social awakenings of last year we have made it to 2021. As I pondered what to put in this week's newsletter I was listening to SKÁLD, a Norweigian neo-folk band that sings in a variation of Ancient Norse. I first stumbled upon their music back in 2019 and was ecstatic when they released their second album this past October. I was instantly drawn to the song Grótti as I drove down West Broad Street, returning home from a late night at work. My mind and spirit were rejuvenated from the beat as my imagination began to think of Vikings sailing on rugged seas. It wasn't until earlier this week that I looked for the translation of this song and its meaning.
The lyrics are inspired by Grottasöngr ("Song of Grótti") myth from the Poetic Edda. Grótti was the name of a magical quern (millstone) that was able to grind anything from gold to peace. The Danish king Fróði was gifted the quern, but none were strong enough to turn it. He bought the two enslaved giantesses, Fenja and Menja, and forced them to grind him gold, peace, and joy without rest. Eventually, the Sea King Mysing caught wind of the quern and killed Fróði - ending an era of Danish peace. Mysing then forced Fenja and Menja to grind epic proportions of salt without reprieve upon his ship. Eventually, Grótti broke and the ship began to sink- the magical quern sucking it into the ocean's depths - making the sea salty while creating the first maelstrom.
I feel like this song and myth are perfect analogies for something that we once again became aware of in 2020- that true happiness, peace, and joy cannot come from the oppression of others. Human beings are more than automatons whose only purpose is to generate wealth without rest. Maintaining such constructs simply creates a "maelstrom" that threatens to suck us all under if we don't do better. With the breaking news in our nation's capitol today I feel like the tale is especially apt in this tumultuous time.
Thanks for sticking around as I muse about mythology. Now it's time to pivot away for some announcements!
This week I have begun to make new strides towards launching the van this March. I plan to begin van shopping in earnest towards the end of this month so I can outfit it through February to get it ready for the Grand Opening! Since the opening seems a little far away at the moment, feel free to use the coupon code Grotti for free shipping on website orders for the rest of this month.
Of course, now that I am getting ready to open I needed to stock up beyond my Holiday Store. So far this week I have put in two large orders with Chasing Rabbits Fiber Co. and Blue Sky Fibers for the launch- and I am currently pulling together another large order from Sandes Garn.
Now, some of you may have never heard of Sandes Garn until you saw me posting about it on social media. So, this week I will be shedding some light on this fantastic brand while highlighting one of their yarns that I absolutely adore.
This week I decided to shed some more light on Sandes Garn, a Norweigian yarn brand that I became familiar with last year. I first heard of Sandes Garn when Johnna Hietalia's Varpu Sweater dropped on Ravelry in 2019. I tried looking for the required yarn, Børstet Alpakka, but couldn't find it anywhere in the US- so I gave up and worked on other projects. Last spring, on a whim, I decided to search for the yarn again and discovered Mother Knitter, a newer company that was distributing Sandes Garn in the US! I ordered the yarn to make the coveted sweater and the rest, for me, was history.
Sandes Garn has existed since 1888 and is one of the oldest mills still operating in Norway. Since 2009 they have moved from industrial production to specialize in making products for hand knitters and crocheters, with luxury yarns at affordable prices. Sandes Garn wants customers to have a boutique experience, therefore they work with small businesses rather than large online retailers. Therefore, I am quite honored that they have agreed to let my budding business carry their yarn!
The company also maintains high ethical and ecological standards. They ensure that their wool comes from sheep that have not been subjected to mulesing. Their mill is also hydro-powered and they use eco-friendly dyes to help minimize their impact on the environment. They also carry lines of vegan-friendly fibers, which I can't wait to start carrying as we approach summer.
Sandes Garn is also a design house and each year they publish numerous designs to go with their yarn bases. They also do collaborations with designers such as Petite Knits. When the van launches, I will have pattern booklets for sale to be purchased along with their corresponding yarns!
As for my featured yarn this week, I am going to focus on the aforementioned (and originally so elusive) Børstet Alpakka. Børstet Alpakka is comprised of 96% Brushed Alpaca and 4% Nylon. Each ball is 120 yards at 50 grams, and the brushed alpaca gives it a generous gauge that can be worked up at a worsted or bulky weight. I currently have Varpu Sweater Kits in the store (one comprising of 4 balls and the other has 6 balls). While I love the Varpu Sweater I feel I have waxed poetic about it plenty of times on Instagram. Therefore, I am going to highlight some other patterns this yarn can be used for to close out this week's newsletter!
1) This beautiful sweater is Elm Solo by Lene Holme Samsøe. Aren't the leaf lace details simply charming! It requires 5-8 balls of Børstet Alpakka. She also gives options to successfully adjust the gauge if you need to make the sweater larger than the initial sizes.
2) Up next is Veera Välimäki's Lempi Cardigan (which looks so cozy I may have to cast it on myself in the coming weeks). This beauty requires 8-10 balls of Børstet Alpakka and coms in a wide range of sizes.