Report from Knit Café at Kaffistova

Thursday evening I was back in the basement at Kaffistova, it is a quiet small room ideal for meetings and gatherings, where I used to meet a few fellow students for group discussions during my days at the University of Oslo but this time I was invited to give a presentation of my book by Oslo Fylkeshusflidslag/ Oslo County Handicraft association. There were approximately 40 women present when I arrived after a book signing event at Husfliden, see next 2 photos below, some had already been knitting for a couple of hours. I was way too busy to take any photos as you probably have realised…

This time, I had no beautiful young women to model my knitted garments on and used myself before I sent them around so everyone had the chance of touching the selected yarn and studying each detail. My seams where checked and several were stunned to find them made by hand, unusual in Norway where a sewing machine is often used for finishing. Here you will find my tips: Finishing Techniques. At least two of the women present had seen several of the garments before at my book launch at Cappelen Damm in February, but came to see a larger selection.

‘You have been talking for such a long time!’ said the only little girl present, aged 6 + 1/2 today, afterwards and I felt the need to apologise. Even though I knew she had been smart enough to realise it would not entertain her and wore large headphones looking content during my presentation. I am pleased to report that several women used the opportunity to try on the Mohair Poncho, see photo below. Oslo Fylkeshusflidslag must have enjoyed my presentation because I have been invited back. Thank you, Hilde from Husfliden, Maibritt from Oslo Fylkeshusflidslag and to everyone present! For other events see

Photograph: Kim Müller


The Court Case in Oslo

The innumerable articles and extensive press coverage of the court case in Oslo of Anders Behring Breivik is hard to avoid these days, especially in Norway. Despite online newspapers, like Aftenposten offering a button to remove any pictures and articles, there are some of us who want to know why and if he can be considered sane, we keep watching and reading, despite the unbearable pain and grief. The front cover of Morgenbladet, this week, reads ‘Look at Me!’. Does Behring Breivik introduce a new chapter in the ideology of terrorism? Gudmud Skjeldal asks and according to Bruce Hoffman, author of ‘Inside Terrorism’, he does; by wanting global, not only local, influence unavoidable after such horrible and tragic actions.

The Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard wrote that despite all the images he had already seen of him, he still wanted to see him in motion to get an impression of the nature of his personality in the article “First the Nightmare, Then the News” in New York Times of 22.nd April. If you read only one newspaper article about the terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, I suggest you read Knausgaard’s, see

“His testimony, his ideas, his conception of the world will turn to nothing. Possibly, he will be able to resist even that, but the trial is for us, not for him. We shall see him as he is, a human being like you and me, and we shall see what he has done. And we shall try to understand. The dangerous thing is the distance, the confusing of the picture of the world with the real world, the turning away from the other person. And it is this that the court case, with its emphasis on formalities and its equality of treatment, confronts. Our task is to witness it, to allow the weight of reality to break through the picture and correct it. And never, never the reverse.”


Book Signing at Husfliden in Oslo

I have been invited to sign my book ‘To rett en vrang. Designstrikk’, answer questions and display garments at Husfliden, an handicraft association shop, in Oslo on Thursday 26th of April from 2pm to 6.30pm. It does feel like coming home to me, since I worked at Heimen, another handicraft store that has merged with Husfliden, for a couple of years before I moved back to London. Here is a photo of Kristin Støe Winge and me taken in 2000 wearing our uniforms. Kristin was responsible for textiles while I was responsible for knitwear under the guidance of the shop manager. Here I met my influential mentor, Iselin Hafseld, designer of Tinde, see

Husfliden used to be the yarn store you went to, and still is to many people, since it had the largest selection of Norwegian produced yarn in hundreds of colours. I visit just to enjoy watching all the neatly stacked shelves following the colours of the rainbow. Tussah Silk, on a 100 g small spool, is one of my recent yarn discoveries and a favourite, from the Swedish yarn company Borgs Vävgarner, distributed by Rauma, sold at Husfliden, see Below is the Shawl with Variations from my book, worn by Anna Pfeifer. The popular shawl, here buttoned up as a shrug, is knitted with 2 strands of the lace weight yarn, while the cowl is knitted with a single strand.

If you are nearby on Thursday please drop by and say hello. Maybe you want to come along to the knit café, organised by Oslo Fylkeshusflidslag, at Kaffistova (downstairs) see, Rosenkrantz’ gate 8, opposite corner of Heimen, afterwards at 7pm where I will talk about my inspiration and show an even larger selection of garments from my book. Welcome!

Photograph: Kim Müller


Knitting with Suede

I felt inspired when I saw this stunning jacket and scarf , hand knitted in suede cord, featuring in the window display at Zenit in Oslo. In my hands the suede felt utterly soft and wonderful to the skin. The only reason it did not accompany me home was the price tag of £ 500 for the generous scarf in a faboulous white colour with a grey tone. But since I can knit so there is no need for despair on my part and my next mission would be to find a suitable suede ribbon to knit with.

Yesterday, I visited MacCulloch & Wallis, London’s most acknowledged haberdashery store established 1902 as a supplier to the fashion trade. The store looks very much the same as it did then with a few modifications, and is well worth a visit. It is always busy, even more so with a film crew that entertained us while we were queuing at the till. The website is actually a lot easier to navigate, than the shop itself. See

My mission was successful, even though it is yet not completed since there are numerous suede cords to be found online in different width, colour and price range. I also discovered that in my love for small knitting needles, I have only a limited number of larger ones and need to buy a chunky size to continue on my mission. The plan is to design a knitting pattern for a hugging scarf that you would not want to take off…


Monies Jewellry

Photograph: Kim Müller

Monies Jewellry is founded by Danes Gerda and Nikolai Monies, both trained goldsmiths with international experience, and acknowledged for its elegance and avant-gardism as well as its use of exciting natural materials from all over the world. I absolutely love the chic boldness the statement jewellery gives and chose to use it when styling my first knitting book ‘To rett en vrang. Designstrikk’ to give my garments an edge.

Photograph: Monies

Luckily enough, I was able to loan a number of pieces from Zenit in Oslo. Afterwards, as you can imagine, there where a couple of pieces I could not release from my care and simply had to buy. Not that my styling budget really allowed it and the necklace with a price tag of nearly £ 2 000 was definitely out of my reach, see above. The pure weight of the natural stones used in it, amethyst and crystals, explains it. If you are wondering what the ballerina Francesca Golfetto is wearing, it is the Jacket in Cross knitted in Tencel held double.

Photograph: Monies

“We produce two handcrafted jewellery collections. A seasonal collection of multiples called Production and a collection of one of a kinds called Unique. We mainly work in materials such as petrified wood, fossils, precious stones, mammoth, shells, coconut, amber, coral, cowbone, cowhorn, copper, all kinds of wood, seeds, stones from Danish beaches and 24 karat gold from Greenland.”

Monies jewellery is  designed and produced in Copenhagen. Over the years they used to produce unique collections for the large fashion houses, such as Donna Karan and Chanel,  but are now focusing on the Monies brand. I can report that wearing one makes one feel like an art installation, a live sculpture which makes a natural sound. For more info see


Check Your Tension/Guage

I wanted to show you what a huge difference a wrong tension/guage can make to a garment. Here is a good example: a body of a sweater knitted in BC Garn’s Semilla Fino, 100% ecological wool, (50g/1.7 oz, 240 m/262 yds) tension according to the pattern, double moss/seed, is 20 sts to 10cm/4” knitted on a 3mm/ US 2-3. The body on the bottom is knitted to the right tension while the one on top is knitted with a tension of 24 sts to 10cm/4”, both are worked using the same needle size but made by two different knitters. You will find the yarn for sale online at or list of dealers at

The body is at the widest 90cm/35.5″ circumstance: 90 x 2.4 (tension per cm) =  216 while the intention was 90 x 2.0 = 180 sts. 216 – 180 sts = 36 sts : 2.0 = 18 cm/7″ too small. The easiest option is to change your needle size to a larger one, probably a size 4mm/US 6 to loosen the tension, or change the yarn but you can also add 36 sts to the pattern and adjust it, a time consuming choice recommended only for the experienced knitter.

The sweater is approximately 4 clothes sizes smaller than intended and it makes a huge difference to the fit of the garment. Make sure you check the tension before you start knitting and adjust the needle size accordingly. You can also try, not only knitting using a larger needle, as in this case, but working with a needle made of a different material. My tension is loser using a bamboo needle rather than a metal one. If you do not want to keep all the swatches you make, unravel them, use them in a blanket or as a pocket on a child’s garment, or file them neatly in a shoe box for later reference. But do take the time to knit a swatch and check your tension. You do want that garment to fit you.



Easter All Year Around

‘Easter All Year Around’ is the title of Arne & Carlos’ new book, out in Norwegian, published by Cappelen Damm in March, in good time for Easter. Who are they, you will ask if you are not Norwegian. A designer duo and trend setters, living in closed down railway station building in a stunning mountain setting in Valdres, whose collections of dolls and traditional knitting patterns among other items have served as a magic background in their 3 knitting books.

Are they for real? A viewer of a Christmas entertainment program on the national broadcasting channel, NRK, tweeted last year after watching them knitting Christmas Decorations. Indeed they are with their feet solidly on the ground – they love gardening – Arne & Carlos design clothes, and now also knitting patterns, with a traditional retro yet contemporary look. They chose the Marius pattern and added space invaders instead of the usual borders taken from traditional Setesdal’s patterns. It is not all branding though, since Arne & Carlos have designed clothes for Comme des Garcons and sell well in Japan.

Egg cosies, table runners, Easter decorations (Christmas decorations re-invented), Easter bunnies and hares are all found in their latest book. It is still on the Bestseller list and the number of Easter bunnies knitted on the Norwegian knitting pages & blogs are overwhelming and tell their own story. A fitting story on Easter Sunday – Happy Easter everyone!

Their books have been sold to numerous countries and I am impatiently hoping for the same to happen to mine even though I know my market is smaller. So far it has been sold to Finland, where it will be published in January 2013. But I will say to all of you that have bought it, I hope you enjoy it and thank you! Happy Knitting!


Brentford Dock

This is were I live together with my British husband Michael in Brentford Dock, Middlesex. We have lived here since 2002 but have recently started planning our move to Oslo, Norway. The dock is opposite Kew Gardens, London’s botanical Gardens, and next to Syon Park into which we have our own gate.

Brentford Dock Marina is situated on the tidal River Thames at the mouth of the Grand Union Canal, between Kew Bridge and Isleworth, in the southern part of Brentford, Middlesex.

It is said that it is where the Brent joined the Thames that the armies of Julius Caesar and other invaders crossed the Thames in 54 BC. In 1016 there was the Battle of Brentford between the invading Canute and Edmund Ironside.

“Brentford Dock began construction in 1855 to a plan by Brunel as a freight link between river-borne traffic and the Great Western Railway’s (GWR) rail network to the West Country and other parts of the United Kingdom. It was opened in 1859. It is interesting to note also that whilst under construction, stone, bronze and iron weapons along with roman coins were discovered in the dock basin, giving an indication as to how long there had been settlements in the area.” Continues on

Syon House and its surrounding Park (200 acre), including the Great Conservatory (pictured above), is owned by the 12th Duke of Northumberland and is his family’s London residence as well as being a major visiting attraction often used for lavish entertainment.

The Great Conservatory in the gardens, designed by Charles Fowler in 1828 and completed in 1830, was the first conservatory to be built from metal and glass on a large scale. It is a landmark that is easily visible from air when flying into Heathrow, which fly path cross the area.

Syon House derives it name from Syon Abbey a medieval monastery founded in 1415.  In 1539, the abbey was closed by royal agents. After the closure of the abbey, Syon become property of the Crown for a short time before coming into the possession of the 1st Duke of Somerset. He then had Syon built in the Italian Renaissance style before his death in 1552. In 1557 was meant to return to it’s original purpose of an abbey but this idea was short lived. Syon then was acquired by Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, in 1594 and has remained in his family ever since. It opened to the public in 1951  for the first time under the 10th Duke and Duchess. For more details and how to find it, see


Japanese Knitting Magazines

I love Japanese knitting magazines and books. The stitch patterns are intricate, delicate, elegant and a challenge to knit. Luckily for me, Japanese designers use charts with international symbols to explain the stitches and schematics, read garment outline, with sets of numbers to indicate the stitch numbers to cast on, to increase and decrease as well as to cast off so no Japanese language classes are needed. I order my magazines and books from Yes Asia who offers free shipping to a large selection of countries as long as you spend more than 39 USD and that is extremely easy, believe me!

When you order, chose Japanese books and write knitting or Let’s Knit in the search window on My favourite is the Let’s Knit series and the knitting patterns books so-called stitch bibles, both tend to include a few crochet patterns, equally stunning, as well. Estimated delivery time is usually 4 weeks but I have never waited more than 2 weeks, ever…

Another good online shop is the Canadian Needle Arts Bookshop where you can have a look at the latest magazines, both the cover and some of the designs inside. Incredibly useful is the free pdf on interpreting Japanese Knitting Patterns by Marsha White, see

‘How to Read Japanese Graphical Knitting Charts’ is an useful article you will find among other helpful tips such as knitting graph paper on In addition you will also find numerous tips and Japanese translations as a member of the Japanese Knitting and Crochet group on Ravelry, see Learn & Enjoy!