Raise your hand if your travel itineraries start with stops that involve yarn, fabric, thread, or anything tangentially related to crafting? Oh man, me too! Last summer my husband and I traveled to both the island of Bornholm and Copenhagen for ten days. Before I penciled in any castles, gardens or museums, I had a map of every craft-adjacent institution in both places first. Tag along for my list of places I recommend stopping and the places I wish we’d been able to see!
Unfortunately, I left my knitting bag on the first 2-hour leg of our extensive flight time to Europe. This meant that I not only left behind my activity for the next ten hours, but I’d also lost my carefully curated set of projects (yes, plural). I always pack a fiddly project and a mindless project to switch between, depending on what I have planned that day. Jetlagged? Easy project, here I come! On a lengthy train ride through a rainy countryside? Intricate cables forever! Anyway, I started this trip with a totally (unexpectedly) open knitting queue!
Our first five days were spent on the absolutely stunning island of Bornholm, a short ferry ride from Copenhagen. All three of the cute knitting shops on the island were closed for the season during our trip but I stumbled on two unexpected alternative yarn sources! The first was Melstedgard Agricultural Museum located on the northeastern side of the island. We made a special trip by bus to see the museum and hike along the coast but wound up spending most of the day poking around the fascinating museum all day instead.
Melstedgard Agricultural Museum is a working 17th century family farm restored to working order with draft horses, heritage pigs, rabbits, barn cats, geese, orchards and farm buildings. I loved seeing the livestock in situ but my favorite part was the working farmhouse. The staff were cooking lunch in on the old wood ranges and the whole building smelled so homey!
Imagine my surprise when I stumbled on the dining room featuring a massive loom. Far bigger than the communal table right next to it, this loom has pride-of-place in this rambling farmhouse. I’d hoped to see some form of handwork around the museum but I wasn’t expecting to see it on such a scale and in pristine condition. I really felt that this is how the home would have been set up in the 17oo’s and it felt so welcoming.
In the same room as the large floor loom was a small rigid heddle loom next to a daybed, complete with a basket of knitting close by. I can imagine spending time in this room throughout the day between bigger chores and also most evenings because this room was right off the kitchen with the big cooking ranges.
You could see right into the pantry from the loom seat and I can imagine how lovely it would be to spend time weaving with the smell of fresh pretzels and jams so close by.
I ducked into the farm museum store and found locally spun yarn from the museum’s resident flock of sheep! I wasn’t able to find out what breed of sheep was at the museum, I think I love the wool all the more for the air of mystery around the fiber type. Unfortunately, I had to settle for needles I found in a local supermarket. I really missed my interchangeables by the end of this trip! Straights are just too hard to knit within confined spaces like planes. Maybe next time I’ll pack an emergency set in the bottom of my bag where I’m sure I won’t leave them behind!
After Bornholm, we spent three days exploring Copenhagen! We visited some super fun shops including:
A.C. Perch’s famous teahouse (highly recommended) where I filled any room left in my luggage with huge parcels of tea.
Marimekko’s Copenhagen store! Her prints and textiles are amazing.
I was so sad that the Stoff & Stil craft store was closed all three days we were in the city. Next time!
My favorite part of our trip in town (besides the delightful pastries!) was the Design Museum of Denmark. Chock full of examples from every time period, there’s something for every craft enthusiast here.
The hall of Danish chair design was beautifully displayed. All of them are perfect for knitting!
The museum does an excellent job curating clothing collections from the last 200 years or so with embroidery examples going back further. This quilted bedjacket was stunning in the level of skilled embroidery but also the incredibly delicate areas that have been hand mended by the owner over the years.
Lastly, this oh-so-delicate embroidered portrait was an incredible example of craftsmanship. I almost missed it the first time around but it caught my eye when I got lost in the museum’s wonky maze of rooms the second time. I can’t image the time dedicated to this portrait, I’m so glad it survived long enough to wind up in this museum.
I appreciate that each place we visited in Copenhagen dedicated space and time to displaying examples of various handcrafts with equal weight to paintings, statues and other more “traditionally celebrated” artworks. Whole rooms at the Design Museum were dedicated to embroidered samplers! I came home with so many new ideas and inspiration photos on my phone for future projects!
Have any of you traveled around Denmark? What were your favorite stops? A few of my other Denmark recomendations are listed below. Happy travels and happy knitting!
The Round Tower (so picturesque!)
Papiroen (island of food carts!)