I've been reading - with enjoyment - Meik Wiking's The Little Book of Hygge, an entertaining look at the Danish concept which has had attracted much comment and interest furth of Denmark in recent times. One passage particularly caught my eye and I offer it here as food for thought:
Talking about the many necessities for a good Danish Christmas, the author says, "All the preparations for a hyggelig Christmas are quite often stressful and, indeed, not very hyggelige. Now, this may seem a bit contradictory, but it actually makes sense. Hygge is only possible if it stands in opposition to something which is not hygge*. It is essential for the concept of hygge that it constitutes an alternative to everything that is not hyggeligt in our everyday lives. For a brief moment, hygge protects us against that which is not hyggeligt. There must be anti-hygge for hygge to be valuable...
Remember my friend who commented that the only way our time in the cabin could be more hyggelig was if a storm broke outside? This is hygge. The more it sets the here and now apart from the tough realities of the outside world, the more valuable it becomes."
According to the catalogue of the National Museum of Scotland here in Edinburgh where the garment is on display in the Fashion & Style gallery, it dates from 1910, but Cursiter painted his picture in 1923. Did he borrow it from the collection for the purpose? I'd like to know more about the painting's backstory (and I love the blue scarf).
On the subject of Fair Isle knitting, I recommend the Fruity Knitting podcast presented by Andrew and Andrea. While Andrew is fairly new to the needles, his wife Andrea is a highly accomplished knitter, and her Alice Starmore colourwork in particular is awe-inspiring.