karen – the story of a hap shawl

Once a upon a time there were two friends. Both of them mad about all things woolly but separated by much land and water. After a lot of thought they decided to start working together and so they set up a co-operation giving it the very befitting name of WoolyLoops. Here they can live the dream of offering magical yarny trips to foreign lands, exciting knitalongs for like minded souls and beautiful pattern and yarn kits for other yarn enthusiasts.

Karen Hap Collage 1

yarn and swatch – heike’s mood board – inspirational photo from www.design-seeds.com

So it was that one day not so long ago one friend received a parcel from her partner containing some lovely yarn in beautiful natural colours. Immediately lots of ideas started going around her head and it wasn’t long before she started winding and swatching and putting a mood board of ideas together. One big idea kept coming back initiated by her love (some might say obsession) of the author Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen). You see, this friend has long been collecting and reading books about colonial East Africa and developed a special interest for above named Danish author and her life, even paying a visit last year to author’s former home Rungstedlund, in Denmark.

Karen Hap Collage 2

favourite book – karen Blixen at home – part of africa book shelves – rungstedlund

The yarn colours received in the parcel not only reminded her of Africa, but also of Shetland, and the idea of designing a Hap shawl was born. It became obvious very quickly that a traditional square Hap shawl wouldn’t be very user friendly for today’s purpose. In the old days Hap’s would be folded in half, wrapped around the front, crossed over to the back and then knotted into place to keep the wearer warm living in the cold and wet climate of the Shetland Isles. Much too hot today, so a half Hap it would be.

Karen Hap 3

finished hap blocking

After many hours of knitting, ripping back and more knitting, the shawl was finished, and after another fair good time spent pinning it out for blocking, finally it was done.

Karen Hap Collage 4

the karen hap

To the great delight of both said friends the story has a very happy ending as the shawl turned out as beautiful as they had imagined, and today they are pleased to offer you the opportunity to make one of these beauties for yourself.

The Karen Hap Shawl will be launched this weekend during one of Germany’s most famous Wool Festival’s in Backnang. It is available to order via the Wollsinn website here as a kit from today, with shipment of orders starting from 15 April. The kit contains 5 hanks of beautiful Isager Alpaca 2 in either the above colours, or choose your own from the extensive colour palette and the pattern (available in English or German).

This beautiful large shawl will keep you snug and warm, becoming a firm friend in no time.

Do I sound just a little proud? I hope you don’t mind…I am, and so hope you like it just a wee bit too?

Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you.


new design – teaser

Hap Teaser 1

Mood Board photos found in travel brochures and at www.design-seeds.com


This week I will be launching a brand new shawl design. A co-production with my friend Claudia of Wollsinn in Germany and part of our WoolyLoops partnership.

What is the connection between Shetland and the author Karen Blixen you ask?

All will be revealed over the next couple of days.

Stay tuned!


Postcards from Rungstedlund







me at kb house


I finally made it to Rungstedlund! I waited many years to visit the home of one of my heroines, Karen Blixen, and finally I was there. There in the house where she lived most of her life, I walked the same wooden floors that she would have walked and sat on the same benches in her beautiful gardens that she would have sat on, enjoying the tranquility and listening to bird songs.

Karen Blixen (1885-1962) is one of Denmark’s major literary figures and her fame as a storyteller spread throughout the world. Karen was born at Rungstedlund, a former inn, purchased by her father in 1879. For 17 years she lived on a coffee farm in Kenya, running it with her husband, Bror von Blixen-Finecke. Following their separation, she took over responsibility for running the business and during that time she met the love of her life, the British safari leader Denys Finch-Hatton. In 1931, after the coffee farm was sold and Denys Finch-Hatton had tragically died in a plane crash, Karen Blixen returned to Denmark and moved in with her mother at Rungstedlund.

It was here that she wrote her most famous stories like Out of Africa and Babette’s Feast.


Karen Blixen died in 1962 and is buried in the large gardens under an impressive beech tree. Before her death she set up the Rungstedlund Foundation who look after the house and gardens. The museum is a great experience, with original furniture and everything set exactly as Karen Blixen left it. There are freshly cut flowers in vases throughout the rooms, just like she would have had to welcome her many guests that came to stay with her during her life.

I had the most wonderful day visiting Karen Blixen’s former home, feeling her presence almost everywhere I went. There is a small movie being shown in one of the museums rooms, featuring her voice. At times it felt as if she was talking to me about her times on the farm in Africa, the people she met there and how hard it was to never be able to return to see it.



An awe-inspiring day…

Enjoy! X.