The Westcoaster Arctic Circle, hand knit 100% wool beanie logo

400 Years of Norwegian Heritage

It’s the way it’s made

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Knitting method

Knit the Old Fashioned Way

While the shape of the beanie is pretty unique — a double thread rough knit in 100% sheep wool — it’s not the most novel part of it. What makes it take the world by storm, is the way it’s made. Reverting to the 400 year old recipe:

  • Two knitting needles
  • Two threads of yarn
  • A simple skill honed with years of usage
  • A whole lot of patience
  • Over 1800 beanies sold

    Over 6500 knitting hours worth of beanie

  • Sold to over 40 countries

    And 41 American states

Natural material

The Wonders of Wool

Norwegians have sworn to wool from ancient times — all the way until today.

Wool is praised for

  • Its ability to draw moisture away from the skin, into the fabric, leaving you warm and nice despite the conditions
  • Nearness to nature — you can’t find a fabric more shaped by the elements
  • The way usage doesn’t harm its producer, the sheep

Knitting since 1932

In 1932 my grandma was only five years old. There stayed a widow, in her 50’s on the attic, where they were living at the time. My five year old grandma asked the widow to teach her to knit — and that was the beginning. Her first work was a scarf for her doll, and she said at the end it was to tight they could barely get the yarn off the needles.

When she was 12, World War II was raging, but grandma still had duties to attend to. She spent much of her time watching over their cows grazing, and there she spent her time out in the fields knitting. She finished her first Norwegian kofte — a knit wool sweater — at the age of 12.

The skills have passed to my mom, and knitting was a mainstay of my childhood. Hand knit wool long-johns, sweaters and socks kept us warm thought the Nordic winters.

Mom knitting. From the filming of the Westcoaster film.

This is the roots of Red Hat Factory. When in 2016 my newfound love for red beanies connected with our family tradition from 1932 — and in fact, a knitting technique that has stayed mainly the same for about 400 years — the company was born.

To honor to the roots, we knit every single piece by hand, with no tag or markings on it — pure off the needles, just like my mom and grandma knit for me as a child.

This is Red Hat Factory.

Grandma and mom knitting together in my mom's living room.

Keeping the craft genuine

So how do we hand make so many beanies, while maintaining a reasonable price for the time and material poured into each one. My mom has tapped into her network on the Norwegian South Coast, recruiting women who already spend their spare time knitting. Knitting while they watch a show, or sit around the table chatting with their family. And then we offer them a price per beanie, teach them the pattern, and provide them with both material and accounting as necessary.

All to make sure they can keep knitting the way they were already doing — and that you get the most authentic Norwegian beanie experience possible.

Each beanie comes with a certificate of authenticity, signed with the knitters’ initials.

My mom knitting, up close!