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Arctic Circle Sweater Motivation and Inspiration

The Arctic Circle Sweater was designed in the summer of 2002. Stina, a Swedish pen-pal friend since 1995, was a non-knitter when she asked me to design a sweater for her. We went back and forth via email over possible yarns and swatches, finally deciding on a zigzag pattern done in cotton. She chose Elann's Naturelle 8/8 yarn in dark linen.  Stina didn't know exactly what I was planning, but she trusted me.

As I designed and knit the sweater, I reflected on meeting Stina and her family for the first time in Skellefteå only months earlier in March.  Mormor ("grandmother") was an avid knitter who'd given me red slippers as a gift.  Stina brought me to a tiny yarn store, where I stumbled through Swedish to purchase unnamed lightweight cotton. Stina's mother, Gerd, was an English teacher, and I visited her students.  Kjell, her father, brought us all to the opera and talked politics.  Her brothers, Per and Olof, were outgoing and made me feel like another sister.  Her entire extended family threw a big party where we ate surströmming (there's nothing like it!) and Uncle Fred told me I needed to eat more fish.  It was a wonderful trip, full of beautiful sites of course, but more importantly graced by lovely hosts .

And it all took place just below the Arctic Circle.