My First Mystery KAL

Knit speak for Knit Along. I am taking part in my first KAL and knitting my first top down project. Why Mystery? Just as all knit projects are a bit of mystery at times before what feels like revelation kicks in, this is no different except that this time none of us taking part have seen a photo or drawing of what we are knitting. Designer Vera Sanon of SunFunLiving is holding all the clues, and drip feed us – we her fans, an ever increasing group of women – through her group on Ravelry. We knew it was a summer top, we knew the tension/guage of 17 sts to 10cm/4″ and that it incorporated lace knitting but the rest remained a mystery at first. Here is a link to her other designs: ravelry.

Not only do we have the thrill of seeing what we are making as we knit, we are also supporting Fanm pou Fanm (Women 4 Women) a micro-business project that serves the poorest women in Port-au-Prince, Haiti founded by Vera (an expatriate) and her friend Mary Ann. Vera designed the pattern for free but wanted to raise money for the project so the groups’ advice was to set a price for the downloadable pattern clues and let the money go to the project. The ‘fanm pom fanm’ women learn to crochet and make market bags sold to women in the U.S. and Germany. You can read more about the project on Vera’s blog: sunfunlivingknits. The market and fancy bags are available to buy through Etsy:  HaitiCrochetProject

I discovered Vera’s designs on Ravelry and befriended her. Several messages later – I was tapping into her design expertise by asking questions about sizing and top down knitting – I was challenged to take part in her Summer Top Mystery KAL. How could I resist? The advantage of top down knitting, as I am learning, is that you can try it on as you knit to check the sizing and adjust if you prefer the pattern to your own specifications. I have not come that far yet, but here is a photo of my mystery KAL – looking at the sleeve part of the yoke. The yarn I chose is Rowan All Seasons Cotton, in Strawberry, one of the alternatives suggested, which I know from my days as a Rowan Design Consultant and felt obliged to chose. My stash dive did not give any results – I do have a bit of a selection but nearly all of it is 4-ply/fingering or lace yarn – so an online shop had to be found. Not exactly a difficult task these days when all it takes is a few clicks and buying more yarn is dead easy for a yarn addict.

Now – Vera – if you are reading this, I am ready for the second clue. In fact I am very ready.


Ballgowns at the V&A

My mission at the exhibition was to make a short list of the favourite ballgowns – yes, it did include both Gareth Pugh and Alexander McQueen. I was thrilled to be able to walk around a selection of contemporary designs, studying them from every angle. The vintage collection, on the other hand, is unfortunately behind glass but you will find an excellent selection of film clips from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition is the closest I have been to ballgowns since I designed a collection for my paper doll, as a young girl.

The exquisite fabrics in all the colours of the rainbow, beaded or embroidered or printed, were a feast for the eye. As was the projection of a selection of the garments exhibited photographed by David Hughes, in the gallery alcoves. You lifted your eyes to gaze in amazement at each gowns and at the sculpture replacing the head of the mannequin for then to see it vanish replaced momentarily by shooting stars on the alcove heaven. I could have stayed there all day. Here is link to two of the photos, see

Afterwards I had the obligatory wander around in the bookshop and discovered, to my delight, that the knitting section has increased since my last visit. You will find talented designers with a focus on vintage knitting such as Susan Crawford and Claire Montgomerie on the shelf. My discovery was a new Pattern Magic book, the third in the series, called Stretch Fabrics by Tomoko Nakamichi, post will follow do not worry, and bought only that one – a new record! I can also report that not a single person was knitting in the courtyard in the sunshine and me – I was too busy munching my scone!

If you are not able to visit I recommend you to find your magnifying glass and study the main photo on V&A’s Facebook page and the articles on their website. In addition, you will also find a fascinating collection of free knitting patterns from the 1940’s, see


Knitting off the Axis

Fitting title to designer, emerging according to Interweave but I would have chosen acclaimed instead, Mathew Gnagy’s first innovative and exciting knitting book. The collection consists of 15 sweaters mainly for women but there are a few, 3 actually, for men, all designed sideways or in an unusual knitting direction. His pattern making skills are unsurpassed and my jaw dropped when he illustrates this in the digital video Sideways Knits which you can buy separately and download at

How do you adapt a woman’s sweater to a man’s if you are Mathew Gnagy? You make a paper pattern, as you would for sewing, and with an incredible precision you draw all essential lines and add measurements. So that when you have measured your swatch you can calculate and re-write your pattern. Yes, at least in theory that is easy but it would take a bit more practice in reality. Then when you start knitting you can use the paper pattern as you would a sewing pattern and make sure that it is correct. Note to me: this is an excellent challenge; a new design method I will need to learn more closely.

The favourite pattern of mine is the front cover, Becca, due to its elegance and delicate design details visible in the collar and the large bell sleeves.  A designer whose contemporary work I will follow closely as his adventure will continue. Listen to him being interview by Kathy Elkins, owner of WEBS, always worth listening to, podcast: 


Louboutin at the Design Museum in London

A perfect Sunday outing in London is a visit to a fabulous exhibition, and it was not difficult to convince my husband to come to the Design Museum. Christian Louboutin is an iconic French shoe designer who has pushed the boundaries of high fashion shoe design, creating artistic and theatre pieces not all of them made for walking…

Yes, there is a Fetish room you can visit, so no problem bringing your partner or husband! I was intrigued by what looked like a ballet shoe from the front but actually had a sky high heel, way past the walking margin and close to 15 cm/6″. Just let your partner or husband read this note from the Design Museum, and add that the hologram performance is with Dita von Teese, and you are ready to go:

“Please note: Inside the exhibition the Hologram and the Fetish room contain images of partial nudity which may be unsuitable for some visitors. The Hologram appears every fifteen minutes, and is three minutes in duration. Visitors can bypass the Fetish room by taking a corridor which leads directly into The Atelier.” For more details see

Another part of the exhibition that I found exhilirating was Louboutin’s play with materials, freeing his imagination and making boots out of Palm tree. What would I create if I let my imagination run free…

Photograph: Now Fashion

Do not miss the exhibition Designs of the Year 2012 on the top floor, when you go. If you were there last Sunday, it was me that was sucked into the screen watching a film of Gareth Pugh’s S/S 2012 collection directed by Ruth Hogben! I started questioning myself if I actually knew the concept of fashion film? I certainly do now, and I believe I have seen the future of film! Gareth Pugh, does not only work but, conquers all materials he touches, and can make any fashion victim into an invincible fashion warrior queen.

Alex Fury writes: “The Gareth greatest hits came in the theatrical show-stoppers – more of the warrior armouring, gargantuan skirts and coats filled with air like zephyr balloons, and a violent, violet finale of purple flames and models with heads clad in outlandish, face-concealing fibreglass Philip Treacy helmets.” Do see

This exhibition is also running to the beginning of July. If you are not able to visit, or merely too impatient, you will find several equally gobsmacking fashion films, directed by Ruth Hogben, on Showstudio. Try this one:

Yet another web addiction of mine!


Interview in Lev Landlig/ Country Life

My first interview has been published in the Norwegian magazine Lev Landlig/ Country Life. It is a beautiful magazine that covers topics such as lifestyle, interiors, gardening, food, travel and culture heritage. I met journalist Toril Haugen in Cappelen Damm’s, my publishers, own book store, a popular and especially fitting meeting place, where we talked for more than an hour in the morning of my book launch.

The heading on the news page reads “Makes sculptural knitted garments. Maybe not so unusual considering the fact that Linda Marveng has a Master degree in Architectural History in addition to having worked at Heimen Husflid.” What inspires you, Toril asked and I replied that international well acknowledged designers do, and that I aim to create trendy, flattering and elegant garments not merely for leisure but also for more formal occasions. When I received the interview by e-mail for quote checking, I felt a bit like a celebrity…

I knew I had to wear a garment from my book so that she would recognise me easily, instead of looking for Francesca; my cover model, and opted for one of my favourites, yes I do have several, and chose the Pleated Cropped Cardigan knitted in Mostly Merino Lightweight Sportweight, which looks felted but isn’t. I wanted the pleats to face the same direction so the cardigan is knitted in one piece and has a slightly longer scarf collar in an open cabled lace pattern, stunningly worn by dancer Cristiane Sá. So if you are Norwegian, or read the language, I can recommend Lev Landlig, the magazine is available to buy digitally at

Photograph: Kim Müller


Clotheshorse Magazine

Clotheshorse Magazine is a digital fashion magazine providing knitting and crochet patterns, launched in February, by Heather Dixon, creative designer of  Army of Knitters together with Mindy Brown, devoted knitter and law student with a Ph.D. in Microbiology. The first issue, Spring/Summer, features 26 gorgeous patterns from 12 designers and they are available to buy online as downloadable pdfs, see

“For each season we scour the runways for the upcoming trends to create mood boards that are on-trend with the fashion industry. Not only are these mood boards inspiring but they have also given way to some truly fashionable designs”. So, yes of course, I am hooked and addicted to Clotheshorse Magazine! The best way, I decided, was to join the group on Ravelry where I studied the mood boards for Winter 2012/2012 and loved the glamorous lacy look of Gothic, see above. After receiving essential encouragement from other designers on Ravelry, I submitted a design which was accepted to my utter delight! I will post about my design when it is available, in the autumn, and I am currently knitting away, in excitment…


The Aristrocrat of Knitting Books

A quote taken from an Amazon review of the knitting book I treasure the most in my substantial collection: Norsk Strikkedesign: A collection of Norway’s Foremost Knitting Designers, I totally agree with. The breathtaking book captures the beauty of each garment designed through stunning photography. A coffee table knitting book, it has been called but there are a number of us Norwegian knitters that love a challenge and have proved it is so much more than just that…

The book is edited by Margaretha Finseth who has designed the striking cover kimono inspired jacket. I dared myself and chose my own favourite colours of the two types of yarns used: 3-tråders and Finull both by Rauma, see

The charts in the book are large but in small print and I actually found it easier to copy and use the single pattern repeat instead of the whole printed graph paper. The pattern repeat is the most difficult I have ever knitted stretching over 42    stitches. It is an extremely demanding fair isle project that requires your full attention like a number of the patterns in the book which is not intended for beginners but mainly for advanced knitters. See the cover and read my post: Norsk Strikkedesign

The second colour option, I found hard to put back on the shelf the first time around, I later decided to knit a second  version of ‘The Season of Darkness and Winter Light’, as Margaretha Finseth has named it. I would not say that I knew the pattern by now, that would be a huge exaggeration, but I did find it easier the second time around and knitted it a lot quicker than the first version.

Each designer, all established and acknowledged in Norway, is well presented and there are 22 amazing patterns to knit. Norsk Strikkedesign influenced how I wanted my own first knitting book to look like.

It is an inspirational book that took both my knitting skills and ambitions to a much higher level and made me realise what I believe a knitting book should do: make you enjoy, drool, dream then plan and knit…

Share – Norwegian Knitting Blogs

I have joined, an amazing gathering of Norwegian knitting blogs with an image of the latest post on each blog – currently more than 200 and increasing – a short presentation and obviously including links to each one. It was started by a blogger, LillaManilla, who wanted to create a website with an overview of where you could easily update and navigate the latest Norwegian knitting blogs with all the latest projects, tips and inspiration because we all enjoy reading blogs and knitting.

You will find us here: Most of the bloggers write in Norwegian but even though you might not read the language, I believe you will enjoy the pictures. A number of us have chose to write in English. Who is the most popular/mest populære today/idag, this month/denne måned and totally/totalt? It is easy to find out…


Spring in Marka

Finally it is here, spring. You will still spot a few puddles of snow around hidden in the shadow. In Marka, the forest that surrounds Oslo, the trees are getting greener by the day and buds are appearing. In the bright sunshine, you can hardly believe the intensity of the colour! The skiers have been replaced by numerous bikers, joggers and nordic walkers (using sticks and hence extra energy). Here are some photos from my walk from Mortensrud to Skullerud in Øst/East Marka.

A peaceful place, ideal for contemplation. Look at the clouds, how they approach…

Newly sprung buds stretching towards the sky…