30 Nov

There are destinations you travel to and wouldn’t even think of looking for a place to buy wool because it might not be famous for knitting. You are secretly hoping that a surprising shop will appear on your way, but you then quickly dismiss the thought as ridiculous and focus on your reading instead. To me knitting is more like an obsession, passion is to light a term to describe my love for all that revolves around this activity. 

Back in June we packed our car and set on a 3 week road trip adventure from Berlin to Scandinavia. We went through Poland, the Baltic states, Finland and Sweden. Since we do this every year for some time now we even know some people worth a visit on the way. 


We crossed the Baltic by ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki. I was very impressed by the fact that as soon as we parked the car at the harbour we could easily walk to the city centre. I found the city of Helsinki normal and pleasant to be in, it has a rather friendly vibe (unlike Berlin, this city is rude and makes this a local "charming" feature). The central market in Helsinki is a nice option to have some finger food and buy thick sweaters made of Icelandic yarn - Ístex Álafosslopi - for about 220€-260€. I must say I was surprised they didn't use Finnish wool for their garments but then again a warm garment has nothing to do with patriotism. The ladies made their choice and I fully support it. 

I was so excited to see among other fantastic designs the Riddari sweater in all sorts of colour combinations. This is probably the most famous Icelandic sweater pattern and I knit it back in 2018 using Ístex Léttlopi, the aran version of the previously mentioned bulky Álafos. Had I known that I could buy the bulky yarn somewhere I would have done it, because though I used 5.5 mm needles and knit the biggest size of the pattern, it still ended up too small for my partner. It is my winter jacket for a few years now, I even mended it this year and it still looks amazing. This is definitely one of the best yarns for winter sweaters, but not the softest - do not order Icelandic wool if you know you have low tolerance to itchy wool.

Please try the fish at the market, any fish would do


Suomenlinna is a world heritage island close to Helsinki, reachable by boat from the harbour at the central market. You get your ticket on the boat and it can drop you off in 2 locations. You can even get coffee on the boat and it is part of the public transportation system. Now that's a system I agree with.

Since we were there with Frøya we could not visit the museum, instead we just took a walking tour and checked the gift shop where you can even buy hand knit socks made by local residents. The post cards are also very nicely made, the kind that instantly puts a smile on your face. Aside from wool I got lots of postcards from Finland. I would gave gotten more of both but we had limited space in the car for everything I wanted to take back with me, plus I keep all the postcards, I have no clue where I will put them all because I still want to look at them - maybe that future dreamy workshop will welcome them on a wall dedicated to the North.


This was where we stayed while in the Helsinki area. When we asked a Finnish friend what we can see in Järvenpää he promptly directed us to their railway station which has connections to very nice spots actually worth seeing. Left to my own devices, I looked up a yarn shop with great reviews and went there on a day when it was raining and all we would have done was round after round of the lovely sauna in our small flat. Did you know that it is uncommon for an apartment NOT to have a sauna in Finland? We were really surprised to see one in this tiny flat.
This little wool paradise I discovered is called Lentävä Lapanen and it has everything your knitter heart desires  - a huge variety of good quality yarns and knitting accessories, books and magazines - you know Laine magazine is a Finnish magazine, right? - little islands of chairs, sofas and tables where you can enjoy your coffee and cake and do some individual or social knitting. This place is a blessing both for the introvert and the extrovert, it made me want to move to Järvenpää. The fact that locals are so sweet and they have a dog ice cream variety at the ice cream parlour near the lake is a big bonus. Whoever thinks the Finns are not friendly might be crossing some boundaries.

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