Wednesday, September 23, 2015

nieva | timeless knitwear for children

I'm about to light to fire for the first time in six weeks, ironic considering it's the spring equinox. The windows I flung open in a spring frenzy are now tightly shut and rattling thanks to gusty sea winds and threatening skies. Those warm, airy days of the past month teased us with their sun and light - thank goodness I didn't pack away the woollens, it would have been a premature move.

Documenting the seasons is something I've always done in this space. I enjoy the new beginning that accompanies a change in weather; possibilities and opportunities abound. But I'm always aware of my followers in the North who read my words and are preparing, in their own way, for the opposite. Strange and wonderful, isn't it?!

We may be coming to the end of the cool here but I'm still harping on about socks on feet and warm lower backs. Quality knitwear has and always will be a staple in my children's wardrobe but unfortunately my knitting skills leave much to be desired. I'm grateful therefore for designers like Aino Korhonen, creator of the Finnish label, Nieva, who creates warm yet lightweight knitwear that is stylish and nostalgic.

"For me, style is about comfort, functionality and beauty - the feeling of a garment is as important as it looks," she says. "My sons (Pau, 7 and Alvar, 4) are so picky when it comes to knitwear; if a garment is too thick or the wool too tickly it's a big 'No' from them. I have taken note and tried to make products they would approve of and wear with pleasure. Naturally they have been my biggest inspiration from the most practical viewpoint."

A big believer in simple clothes that adapt to every day living (and wear and tear), Aino set about designing a collection of essential pieces with beautiful details. She admits that she prioritises simplicity and deep quality - fragile and precious aren't her thing. "In the end, clothes are to be used as much as possible and they have to be comfortable and functional. For me, it's much more interesting to upgrade the ordinary than to design extraordinary things that don't make sense," she says. Her fall/winter collection has a base of calming, natural hues with a few pops of colours - rose and navy - here and there.

Aino spent a long time searching for the finest yarns available and opted to use two different kinds: a blend of 95 per cent extra fine geelong lambswool with 5 per cent cashmere and 100 per cent alpaca. Wool clothing is essential for children in the Nordic countries and layering little ones is part and parcel of dressing for the season. "When designing it was essential that the knits were lightweight enough to fit nicely under winter jackets and outdoor pants - because of this the designs are quite refined; there's no frills or excessive adornment of any kind. Several products have generous roll down cuffs for extra growing room and we are big fans of sizing up and getting as much as possible out of a garment," she says.

Designed in Finland and manufactured in an honest and fair manner by artisans in Portugal, Bolivia and Finland, the collection is small yet utterly beautiful. I've always dressed the children in vests (they are brilliant at keeping the core warm but allowing play to go on, unencumbered) so when Aino sent Poet and Percy a Woodpecker Vest I was thrilled. I adore the fact that it's reversible, there weren't any complaints about tickling or itchiness and if my judgement is correct, they should fit next winter, too. And then, of course, there are the Cloudberry Socks, which are as delightful as the story that goes with them:

In 1940, Finland was at war with the Soviet Union. A woman called Kertuu Kylmanen was travelling by train with her two-month-old daughter, Tuula, escaping the war. The bombings had destroyed the train tracks and they had to wait several hours on the train. Sitting opposite them was a retired handicrafts teacher. She was worried about the little baby travelling without warm socks and undid some yarn from her own cardigan so she could make a pair of socks for the baby. 

Since then, these "train socks" have become a staple amongst Finnish babies. The socks stay well put on little feet and because of the ribbing structure they usually last for the whole first year.

Indeed, they are a rather sweet addition to Percy's wardrobe (and they keep his feet toasty warm).

Aino is offering free international shipping on all orders from today till September 30th (Helsinki time GMT +3). Just enter code "PS" at checkout.

This is a sponsored post. Thanks so much for supporting the small businesses and brands that sponsor me and my creative endeavours.


  1. The sweaters are lovely but the largest size is a 3-4 yrs, sob. If only I could squeeze one of my lanky boys into one.

  2. Gorgeous photos of lovely things Jodi! x

  3. these are beautiful. the wool isn't itchy??

    1. It definitely looks itchy but I promise you, it's not x

  4. 140 Euros! These are very expensive

    1. They are for us Australians, aren't they?! But I have a significant number of readers in Europe, UK, US and Canada and for them, the price point is a little easier to digest and for those in particualrly cold countries, this quality of clothing is absolutely essential in winter. And it must be said that for brands with quality and ethics as their priority, the expense is significant x

  5. I love the knitted pants they have. Might try and make a pair similar for the kids next winter.

  6. I love this brand but even as a European, the price tag is not easy to digest. I'm a mum who believes in quality, ethical and eco-conscious clothing but have to find ways of supporting this whilst keeping food on the table.

  7. I have not commented before, but feel this is a good post to do so. As a Canadian who has lived in minus 30-40 winters with two small children, (someone you are speaking for in your above reply, I believe) this would be beyond luxury.

    140 Euro infant socks equate to $210.00 Canadian dollars today, $224.00 Australian dollars, without factoring shipping.

    Please, do not go the way of so many other online writers and begin to alienate you readers by justifying this kind of expense. If your being honest, this is something only the wealthy can afford. Let's continue to speak plainly, its something may of your readership identify with most about your writing.

    Kindly, Meg

    1. Hi Meg,

      Thanks for your comment. Firstly, I didn't realise that the Canadian dollar was quite as low as it is so apologies for my ignorance.

      When working with sponsors on my blog I'm really open to supporting other mothers who have created their own businesses. Aino has been a long-time reader of my blog and whilst her products may cost more than many of us can afford, I had no qualms in working with her. Why? She ticks many of the boxes that are important to myself and my readers when they're shopping - natural fibres, timeless design, ethical manufacturing. And I'm all for supporting mothers who are attempting to make a living from their creativity (most of the sponsors featured on my sidebar right now are businesses run by mothers!).

      Also, I'm a mother and small business, too! So promoting Nieva via this space is also a means for me to make money and support my family. Sure, the brand may not tick affordability box for you and others but some readers will (and have) bought her products after seeing them in this space...the cyclical nature of support via blog sponsorship occurs.

      Alienating my readers was never my intention, working with a fellow creative mother, was.

      I hope next time your prompted to comment it's on a happier note xxx

    2. and a message from Aino:

      I wasn't sure if it was a good idea for me to open up about our pricing on the comments, so
      I didn't. I really love your space, but I do understand that many of your readers may see
      our products as an unnecessary luxury.

      My company is a tiny one and we pay full price for everything at the moment: we don't reach any
      minimums to get discounts on the yarns, for example. I understand that for a person who doesn't have to think about pricing and costs and is used to buying from bigger companies, the amounts may seem abstract.

      But as much as I would love to just give away items to people, I have a family to feed as well.

      Anyway, I do believe in everyones right to express opinions and take it as valuable feedback. We are hoping to add products with less expensive yarn for the summer season. Also, hopefully, we can order bigger amounts soon and offer variety concerning prices for the winter selection too.


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