Kids, I made a boo boo in my last post. Annette Petavy had actually emailed me with the info about the designer of the Swedish Olympic team's hats a couple of days before I saw Bernadette@Finally Teatime's comment. In my headless-chicken state these days, I totally lost track of it. I'm sorry, Annette!
In her email, Annette told me about a radio program she heard with Eva Christensson, the designer of the entire line of Olympics clothing for the Swedish team. The line consists of over 60 items, and team members choose among them. (You'll have to run that interview through Google Translate to get the gist of what she said.)
But wait, there's more! This morning I received an email from Eva Christensson herself. Seems the publicists at the Swedish Olympic Committee passed my email inquiry on to the designer, and she was kind enough to reply in English directly to me.
Upon returning to Sweden after spending twenty days in Vancouver and Whistler (had I known she was in town, I would have asked for an in-person interview!), Eva told me she was surprised to discover so much interest in the hat – "even more than in the Olympic games." Because the hats aren't for sale in stores, a crochet frenzy has taken over Sweden. Yellow and blue yarn and large crochet hooks are sold out all over the country and she's aware of all the homemade patterns popping up on Swedish websites. She added that, "a lot of people who never made crochet before are now trying....it feels like the story is never ending."
I asked her why she chose crochet for the hats, when knitting can be done much more easily by machine. You're going to love her response: "Why we wanted a crochet hat is because the look of crochet is much cooler than a knitted version. Knitted caps have a totally different look. In Sweden these kind of crochet hats have been popular over the past winter seasons, especially among the younger generations."
The original team hats were made by Chinese company Li Ning Sport Goods Ltd, which is the clothing sponsor for the Swedish Olympic team. Eva indicated the sponsorship relationship when I asked why the hats were made in China rather than by Swedish crocheters.
So there we have it. A worldwide crochet fad is well underway, thanks to a friendly sportswear designer who knows how cool crochet is, a hat that isn't available in stores, and a community of enthusiastic crocheters who won't stop till they have a hat of their own.