My Favourite Lunch Place in Oslo

Åpent Bakeri/Open Bakery is the place for me to meet friends for lunch. There are now 4 bakeries in Oslo but the first one is still my favourite, it was established by Øyvind Lofthus and Emmanuel Rang in 1998 in Inkognito Terrasse, behind the palace close to the French School. Three years later they bought the old Plaza Bakery at Damplassen in Ullevål Garden City, close to the university. If you have been watching the British television series “The Hairy Bakers” – two charming men with long hair who love their bikes as much as baking – you have seen Åpent Bakeri’s second premises and their passion for bread. If you have missed it you can see the video clip on their website: hairy-bikers-apent-bakeri. The photo exhibition on the walls, for sale, keeps changing and is always worth studying, see below.

My lunch choice will be a müesli roll with butter or their homemade jam together with a cup of tea, see the photo below. Åpent Bakeri has a burning interest in baking, hence encourage their bakers to take part in the Norwegian National Baking Team and has for the last two years been taking part in establishing a bakery at Haiti to be run by Haitian women themselves. They are incredibly busy and have published two books in Norwegian: one on bread simply called “Brød og Surdeigsbaking” and one on pizza. I was very happy to buy their first book for my husband who is into baking, to my utter delight! When in Oslo do visit one of their bakeries, taste and enjoy – just as I do!


Thousands of Tons of Buttons and Beads

That is the amount Perlehuset/The Beading House bought from a bankrupt French producer which fills their warehouse to the brim. I have been there – feeling like a gold digger – and was absolutely gobsmacked! Despite the fact that the shop itself is small, located in Grønnegate off Hedgehaugsveien in Oslo, its warehouse size will fit the space of the shop several times over, see perlehuset. Why was I there? It started with a lunch invitation from Thomas Kvist in Drøbak – an idyllic small town located one hour by road or ferry from Oslo by the fjord at its narrowest – to the house where he grew up. His mother Aneta Kvist is the proprietor of Perlehuset so Thomas’ textile interest is in his genes and I could hardly keep my hands from trembling watching his selection of shade cards covering the dining room floor – yes, it was staggering! Since Thomas Kvist Yarns is no longer in business, Thomas offered me to select what yarn and buttons I wanted as payment for my designs.

No further encouragement was needed, as I am sure you understand. The simple question was how to select and in which room to start. If somebody had filmed me they would have seen the total lack of coherence in my movements as one button or yarn after another caught my attention. The mere number of buttons made it close to impossible to select anything and I ended up with only a few leather buttons. Yes, I did look for the natural buttons straight away, I must admit. Above is my favorite set of buttons from Perlehuset, all made of natural materials. Yarn was a lot easier to pick. I went straight for the ones I love:

Amoretto – the alpaca and cotton mixture in beautiful colours – in a soft melange pink. See photo above and see photo of Japanese Lace Jacket from my book knitted in cream using a 3mm/US 2.5 shown in my post: sneak-peak-2.

Colina – the slubby linen and cotton mixture that have no replacements in my opinion – in mustard, black (see photo below) and beige. The last one I also chose for the Lacy Rib Shawl, Cowl and Wrist warmers knitted using a 4mm/US 6, see photo in my post: sneak-peak-1.

Merci – a perfect cotton, silk and merino mixture I wanted to use in my book but it was discontinued quickly due to lack of demand, unfortunately – in orange and purple, see below. Merci has a fabulous stitch definition and knits on a 4mm/US 6.

Linen 2.0 – yet to be tested but I liked the look of it straight away and love wearing the shrug I knitted in Rauma Linen. It is made of pure linen and knits on my favourite needle size 3mm/US 2.5. I found a rich brown with a dark olive undertone.

There is no need to feel that you missed the opportunity to test out Thomas Kvist Yarns, since all the yarns are still available online from perlehuset and if you are in Oslo you will find Amoretto and Colina together with my book at nostetmitt at Lambertseter. I recommend you try them out while you have the chance!

Thomas will continue to be an agent for the following yarns: Manos, Artesano, Viking Garn and Grignasco. I, for one, will be excited to see what he does next…


New Design Soon Finished

I am currently working on Check Cable Cardigan and have been doing so for a long time now. The move has upset my knitting routine and I have done a lot less than I usually do. Now that the majority of paperwork is done and while I am waiting for my stash to arrive in Oslo – the latest news is that the trailer will arrive on the 3. August, not exactly the beginning of the week starting 23. July as stated in our offer but still… – I have started knitting again. The cardigan is knitted in Dale Yarns’ Lerke which is  52% fine merino, 48% Egyptian cotton, 50g/1.7oz, 115m/125yds and knits on a 4mm/US 6 For more colours see dalegarn. I have designed a straight summer cardigan ideal for the cooler summer evenings with a reversible cable pattern for the collar and a curvy check stitch for the remainder of it. Here is the swatch photographed from the right side.

The wrong side is equally nice, I believe and could easily have been chosen as the right side instead since both patterns are reversible. See the photo below. I still have to calculate the sleeve top shaping and plan to knit a cable belt with belt loops before it is complete as well as knitting the back collar and sewing it together. A moment of excitement to see how it comes together and reveals whether it came out like I want it to! The combination of wool and cotton gives the best stitch definition and it is why Jean Moss has it as her favourite yarn she pointed out on my Facebook page when I posted about my one of my favourite yarns, see mostly-merino-one-of-my-favourite-yarns. I find her blog a source of inspiration as well, see jeanmosshandknits and scroll down to read her brilliant post on York  Grand Tour.

Why did I not chose Thomas Kvist Yarns Amoretto? You ask if you know me well and the reply is that he has unfortunately closed down his company. So do buy it while you still can from Norwegian online shop: perlehuset or if in Oslo visit yarn shop: nostetmitt. But Thomas has an ever increasing number of knitting shops, customers and designers in his contacts and will come back stronger in the future.  I met him for lunch last Friday and will reveal more in the next post.


Ask Hadley – a fashion column in The Guardian

I knew I would miss being able to buy The Guardian, the English version, in print and will have to resort to reading it online from now on. One of the columns I always enjoy is American journalist Hadley Freeman’s: Ask Hadley. Read her previous: “Are George Osborne’s deathly pallor and Christine Lagarde’s permatan the new index for fashion and the economy?” and you will understand why, see ask-hadley. I loved reading her book: “The Meaning of Sunglasses: A Guide to (Almost) All Things Fashionable” which clearly demonstrates her refreshing sharp tongue published in 2008 and her articles in the British Vogue.

One of my first tasks after moving in was to order subscription to my favourite newspapers: Aftenposten and Morgenbladet. I believe you have to have lived abroad for more than a decade to appreciate the ability to easily obtain Norwegian newspapers. It was incredibly easy and Aftenposten was delivered the very next day – what a treat! Ordering a Norwegian mobile phone and broadband is a lot harder and turned out to be impossible since neither my name nor my personal number, my birthday and -year followed by 5 digits, existed according to telephone provider despite my endeavours at the National Register to report myself immigrated back to Oslo the day I arrived more than two weeks ago. The mistake has now been discovered and – yes, it was technical! I am hoping to receive a modem and a Norwegian mobile phone shortly. In the mean time I have been frequenting coffee shops with internet access together with numerous Oslo tourists. Great for feeling like I am on holiday! Except this time, I am not.


Mostly Merino – one of my favourite yarns

What are my favourite yarns? What are yours? Why is it a favourite and how did you discover it? Most knitters will agree that stunning colours is a key ingridient. Equally important to me is the stitch definition the yarn gives, in other words how visible or clear any stitch pattern is when you knit with it. Some yarn finds are my own, while others are through recommendations by designers, knitting shops, friends on or off any social media. Mostly Merino was a recommendation by American designer Teva Durham who uses it for the design “Riding Jacket” from her first book “Loop-d-loop”. Here is a detail of my version of it knitted in Worsted Mostly Merino in the colour Stone.

I was captivated by the travelling cables on this excellently fitted jacket and how well the stand out (read: pop out) of the reverse stocking stitch background. Mostly Merino is just that with 77 % merino/fine wool and 23% mohair  “from my sheep flock and other New England small farm flocks, and fine Western US wool. These exceptional raw materials are custom spun at the Green Mountain Spinnery to create a natural light gray color yarn in both light-sport and worsted weights.” writes Margaret Wilson on her website mostlymerino. I do love light weight garments because then I can wear several layers and because they take less space in my wardrobe. Even Mostly Merino Worsted feels lightweight due to its generous 114m/125 yds per 55g/2 oz and knits on a 5.5mm/US 9. During my stash dive I found these spare balls in Cinnabar, orange, and Pansy. I started knitting the Riding Jacket sleeves in Light sport weight but realised I did not have enough yarn and made them into long wrist warmers.

Photograph: Kim Müller

Photograph: Kim Müller

“My color palette is of my own design, inspired both by nature, the Vermont landscape and memory. Each dye lot is individually blended, each yarn order hand-dyed” writes Margaret Wilson about her 29 different colours. I chose October, red, for the “Aran Bolero” on the front cover of my book, Granite, grey, for the “Cropped Folded Cardigan” at the back cover and Pansy, mustard, for the “Aran Cuffs” pictured above. All in the Light Sportweight which is 228m/250 yds per 55g/2 oz and knits on a 3mm/US 2.5. It is my favourite yarn especially for knitting cables and one that I always will save up for so I can order more directly from Margaret by e-mailing her. What is your favourite yarn? More of my favourites will follow when my stash and all our other belongings reach us by the end of the month.


Moving In

We are moving in on Tuesday. In the glorious summer weather, before the rain came last weekend, we have been assembling furniture and planning the interior design. I am so thrilled with the view, it is such a treat to see the horizon after so many years in London without it. Here are my photos taken on Thursday. Below is the view from the terrace, the garden we share with the family living in the flat upstairs.

The kitchen, main bedroom and living room are all facing the same fabulous view. I have invested in a new waffle maker – not a huge surprise really, I know – but it is a double one and you can see it in the corner of the photo below.

The original maid’s room, according to the architect Arne Korsmo’s original drawings accessed at the Agency for Planning and Building Services see my post we-are-moving, will be our office since the second bedroom has a heater strategically placed under the window. I also love this scenic view which makes me feel I am in the countryside and not in the capital of Norway. Not that Oslo is a large capital with its 610 000 inhabitants but it is spacious and the city centre itself is easily accessed within walking distance.

If you are wondering whether all these islands I can see are part of the city, here is the answer from Wikipedia: “Oslo occupies an arc of land at the northernmost end of the Oslo fjord. The fjord, which is nearly bisected by the Nesodden peninsula opposite Oslo, lies to the south; in all other directions Oslo is surrounded by green hills and mountains. There are 40 islands within the city limits, the largest being Malmøya (0.56 km2/0.22 sq mi), and scores more around the Oslo fjord.” Continues on wiki/Oslo.

The delivery van driver actually believed our address was located on Malmøya and not on Bekkelaget and luckily I was able to rectify it. Both my husband and I were extremely impressed that the delivery van driver used the very narrow drive-way, built for the smaller cars made in the 1940’s without wrecking the fence! We both believed only a tiny electric car could make it and dared my brother to try it since he drives a wide Mercedes estate and could not resist this challenge but he is on holiday at the moment so we have to wait for his assessment. In the mean time we are parking near by afraid to damage a borrowed car. It means a bit of extra exercise for us both and do us no harm!


Mystery KAL Complete

Or in knitspeak FO – finished object. I and several other knitters in SunFunLiving’s group on Ravelry have completed our Mystery KAL and supported the micro business project in Haiti called Fanm Pou Fanm (Women For Women). Read more on thehaiticrochetproject.

First clue was the yoke and very much a mystery to me since I only had 2 stitches for each front and had never knitted a top-down project. After several rows with increasing on the front it dawned on me that it would actually fit me and not just a micro alien as I initially imagined! Relief!


Second clue was stitch pattern on the body, knitted in stocking stitch and with 3 options for shaping: Regular T-shirt, Vintage Style Top or A-Line Tunic. I chose Vintage: featuring a generous 2 by 2 rib shaping the waist giving a sexy vintage look that accentuates the waist. After finishing a specified number of rows for the shoulder and finished neck shaping I joined all stitches for knitting in the round. Before sleeves were separated and body joined to make space for arms!

Third clue was the sleeve and we could customise it to the length we wanted, whether we wanted a capped -, short -, 3/4 -, long – or somewhere in between. My choice was easy, I went for long sleeves and was for once not ready for the fourth – and last – clue. If you are a knitter you will have a guessed it by now – the neckline. I decided to match the 2 by 2 ribbing on the body.

I had 2 balls left and thought a cowl with the lace pattern used in the sleeves would look good and keep me warm on a cooler summer evening. After only a few pattern repeats I discovered that I needed more yarn to make it the size I wanted it – yes, generous! Not that I really needed any excuse to browse at Liberty in London’s Regent Street. I am pleased to say that only the intended 2 balls accompanied me home.

Finally I could complete the cowl – not even using all of the yarn! Last challenge was to convince my husband to take photos of my Mystery KAL in between all paperwork, tidying, flat viewings and packing. Success as you can see! It has also been a pleasure to see all the different versions of the KAL – why did I not chose white? It looks great in black! The 3/4 sleeve is fab! I do like the A-line Tunic with capped sleeve! Maybe I should have tried another yarn instead of Rowan All Seasons? So many options, colours and knitters sharing knowledge and skills – pure bliss really!



Yesterday was Removals day, most of our possessions were professionally packed – we had realised there was no way we would be able to manage organising the move, the sale of our Brentford Dock property – 7 viewings in 3 days and still counting – going through all our items and packing ourselves. For a reasonable fee we did not have to pack only prepare by unplugging electronic equipment and making piles. It took 3 professional packers – all less than half my age – 6.5 hours to pack and load everything! Here is a photo from the kitchen box hub. The clock – here still unpacked – is a mini replica of the Bluewater shopping centre’s giant one which shows the date, time and the star constellations designed by Eric Kuhne, concept architect of the centre in Kent.

Removals is defined as the business of transporting furniture and other possessions when people move to a new home. Yet is sounds so ominous like everything, including us, would be forcefully moved even though there is nothing forcefully about our move at all. Not only do we volunteer, we actually want to move to Oslo, Norway and leave behind a very crowded London but a landscaped and well maintained dock. The photo below is from the car park flower bed.

The Arctic trailer – yes, that is what it is called – will not hit Oslo until the week commencing 23. July because we have to wait for another couple or family also moving north (read: towards the Arctic) to fill up the whole trailer. We did check the extra cost of having our own and was astonished to find out it varied between 11 000 and 13 000 GBP. Moving countries without that extra cost is expensive enough as you probably figured out. So we do plan to camp out (read: stuffing our suitcases with all essentials for) the next 3 weeks. My mum is ever so pleased since we will be staying with her part of the time while we furnish our new flat at Bekkelaget.