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Lust auf Farben

Topic: Textiles

Traditional Danish Shawls

Denkmal und Fischverkäuferin in Kopenhagen

Lotte’s father took this picture in Copenhagen, more than 60 years ago. It shows a female fishmonger who is in the process of serving a customer; a stone-monument of her trade provides the background. Both women wear traditional shawls which are perfect for work: not only are they warm, they are also tied in the back to leave arms free for movement.
Women still sell fish on the “Gammel Strand" (the old pier) which is a famous tourist attraction in the center of Copenhagen, about 2 minutes from “Foketinget” (the Danish Parliament). This is also the point of departure for popular Harbour tours.

My Danish friend Lotte came to visit in the Fall of 2006. She brought along her latest knitting projects and I was immediately captivated by her shawls. They are based on traditional Danish patterns. Lotte kindly agreed to knit two different versions, using my hand-dyed yarns. She also provided me with a pattern, which I adapted and modified. This pattern is now available for purchase.
First of all, some historical background: for practical purposes, women wore these shawls mainly while working. Similar shawls were once also popular in Germany, but I am not aware of examples or patterns still in existence.

Junge Frau mit Bindetuch Museum 2006

Den Gamle By (The old town) is the largest museum in Denmark. Its “open-air” exhibits document the cultural development of towns over the past 500 years. Lotte took the picture above as well as the 4 photos below during her visit there in 2006.

Junge Frau mit Bindetuch Museum 2006
Junge Frau mit Bindetuch Museum 2006
In the museum “Den Gamle By”
(The Old Town) in 2006
Junge Frau mit Bindetuch Museum 2006
Junge Frau mit Bindetuch Museum 2006

In 2006, Lotte also visited the “Museum of Nursing” in Kolding. She took pictures of a mannequin wearing a variation of the traditional Danish Shawl.

Puppe mit Bindetuch im Museum
Puppe mit Bindetuch im Museum
Front view of shawl
         back view of shawl.

Here are photos of the shawls which Lotte and I have re-worked. There are 2 different versions and therefore two different knitting instructions. One is called a “Bindetuch” because of the ease with which it can be tied from the back to the front. The other is a “Heidetuch”, so named for its origin in the Danish heather region.

Lottes Bindetuch und Heidetuch
Lottes Bindetuch hinten

Lotte created both versions
(featured on the left) and entrusted me with the instructions. I have adapted and modified them;
the patterns are now for sale
(3 pages of instructions and illustrations each).
Please contact me via e-mail.

STR 01


Dorotheas oranges Bindetuch
Here are the shawls created by Dorothea: the orange version on the left, the dark red one on the right.
Dorotheas Bindetuch Dunkelrot

On the right: the “Heidetuch” with a scalloped edge. Back, shoulders and kidneys are kept warm while the hands are free to work!

Das Heidetuch von vorn
Heidetuch hinten
STR 02
Heidetuch mit Bordüre
The heart shape of the “Heidetuch” is the result of an increase in stitches.
This large shawl is made from a blend of wool and silk. Because of its heart-shape, it too is a “Heidetuch”.

Instructions are available for individual (non-commercial) use only.

Knitting Instructions/Patterns

New: please pay with PayPal - - unless you order from within Germany.

You may pay on my account. Please contact me via e-mail and I will send you the necessary details..
Other countries: please inquire about shipping charges.


If you live in Canada or the US and are interested in purchasing any of the patterns,
please contact Friedl Ballaban (friedl.ballaban@cogeco.ca).

The patterns are also available in Danish and German.

The translation into Danish and the addition of relevant photos was the result of Lotte’s visit in April 2007.

Dorothea am Computer mit Heidetuch
April 7, 2007: Dorothea busy at work on her homepage.

German version:

Patterns - diese und weitere Strickanleitungen finden Sie hier:

Lotte mit Bindetuch
Lotte Wackerhagen came to visit at Easter 2007. She brought along a shawl (Bindetuch version) which she had made with wool from my stash. You can see the result for yourself!
  Lotte mit Bindetuch
Lotte even designed and knitted
a shawl using the
Lily-of-the Valley- pattern!
  Lotte mit Maiglöckchen Bindetuch   Lotte mit Maiglöckchen Bindetuch
Dorothea mit Heidetuch
Here you see Dorothea at home on her balcony. She is wearing a small version of the “Heidetuch”.

Time to say “good bye”! Dorothea stands in front of Lotte’s Danish car, wearing a larger version of the “Heidetuch”.
Dorothea mit Heidetuch

Click HERE to see a variety of other shawls. Though they are based on common instructions (either for the “Heidetuch” or the “Bindetuch”), they are as different as the people who created them!

English Translation provided by Friedl Ballaban.

In der Frühjahrsausgabe des amerikanischen Magazins Spin Off ist am 1. April 2008 mein Artikel über die dänischen Bindetücher erschienen, verbunden mit einer Strickanleitung. Der Artikel entstand in Zusammenarbeit mit Lotte Wackerhagen, Friedl Ballaban und Mechthild Fischer.