Bergere de France

I have received yet another shade card with tiny yarn cuttings to study and admire! This time it is from the French yarn company Bergere, soon available in Norway. I have been translating a number of their patterns into Norwegian, from English, and am still busy working on more so I knew Bergere would have a stand at last week’s “Gave og Interiør Messe”/”Gift and Interior Trade Fair” at Lillestrøm, just outside of Oslo. For me, their stand was one of the highlights of the fair, titled “New Autumn”, just as the Trend Zone with its extensive book shop was! I was able to see the knitted up garments of the patterns I had translated. The fair is also the place to meet fellow designers, yarn producers, publishers and to make new acquaintances.

Bergere’s pattern designs are trendy and fashionably photographed, see bergeredefrance. A selection of their yarns and patterns will shortly be available at the yarn shop Nøstet Mitt in Oslo, among other shops, see In the mean time I need to translate more patterns, I am pleased to say that I have absorbed a few new techniques I would like to develop further into my own patterns.


Parallel Practises in Fashion and Architecture

Skin & Bones, was the name of a captivating exhibition I went to at Somerset House in London in 2008, marking the launch of the Embankment Galleries with their barrel vaulted space, which was extremely inspiring but equally thought provoking. It was a travelling exhibition from MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles) but even if you missed it – do not despair – there is a magnificent catalogue, see, and here is the: skinbones_exhibition_guide and the moca.galleryguide. The differences between the disciplines, traditionally remaining quite distinct, are obvious but the parallels are less visible until recent years. Curator Brooke Hodge express it better than I can: “Regardsless of scale, however, the point of origin for both practices is the body. Both protect and shelter, while providing a means to express identity – whether personal, political, religious, or cultural.”

Photograph: Kim Müller

“While the fashion designer and architect create objects that differ in size and materials, their creative processes can be strikingly similar. Both begin with a flat two-demensional medium, transforming it to create complex three-dimensional forms. The same prevailing aesthetic tendencies, ideological and theoretical foundations, and technological innovations have influenced each, resulting in garments and buildings that share stylistic or structural qualities or derive from common creative impulses. And, over time, designers in both fields have drawn from each other for inspiration as well as certain technical strategies. Vocabulary derived from architecture has been applied to garments “architectonic”, “constructed”, “sculptural” etc. And architects have also borrowed and adapted sartorial strategies and vocabulary from the fashion world, draping, wrapping, weaving, folding, printing and pleating surfaces and materials. The significant and manifold parallels manifested in the skin and bones of both garments and buildings are the subject of this exhibition and catalogue.” explains curator Brooke Hodge in the introduction to the extensive catalogue.

The interweaving of fashion and architecture continues at an ever increasing speed. At the exhibition 50 World leading designers and architect were presented, including their experiments with unusual materials, such as Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Future Systems, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid. The catalogue is a visual treat, presenting architects and designers side by side.

A pure geometrical shape inspires both architects and designers alike at a conceptual stage of a design. Creating a sculptural design that play with dimensions is one of my aims together with an equally attractive reversible wrong side. I chose the “Cloister Walk”, at the Architectural Museum in Oslo, concrete walls placed next to each other leaving triangular glass openings as a back drop for selected patterns with similar openings in my knitting book. Above is a photo of dancer Francesca Golfetto from the National Ballet wearing Jacket in Cross. So unless you already study buildings around you, I suggest you do and ask yourself what inspired it? What geometrical shape formed this? How would it look in fabric? Or, indeed, knitted?


Arne & Carlos Exhibition at Doga

Just like the British artist couple Gilbert & George, Arne & Carlos has become a conceptual art piece in themselves. They are multi talented and have an impressive ability to adapt into different directions from fashion to book production to knitting patterns. Every workshop or talk they give, is like a critical review of their experiences and life expressed in a very playful way just like their designs: A traditional Norwegian sweater knitting pattern is transformed by space invaders. See the photo below and enjoy their classroom presentation called: “Crawlers, country and Space Invaders” where they are both wearing one. The video is in Norwegian but you will enjoy the visuality of  their scrap books and designs here at: doga

Arne & Carlos’s aim with the exhibition was to give an insight into the design process, how they work together, their use of inspirational sources as well as encouraging you to design. You will find fancy paper dolls to dress as you like and a selection of traditional knitting pattern borders for you to play around with then you can photograph the result and send it to the National museum. The exhibition is on until 26. August, so you still have a chance to see it if you are in Oslo. Do look at this video – with English subtitles – and you will see their amazing house, a former train station located in the mountains, and a presentation of their Christmas Decorations to Knit: youtube.  That trend of knitting Christmas Decorations is still ongoing, by the way, just as the other one they started with knitting dolls …


Whole Wood

Or rather “Hel Ved” in Norwegian is the title of an unlikely bestseller written by author Lars Mytting published by Kagge, last year, which is still close to the top of the list nearly a year later! Initially 4000 copies were printed but 129 000 copies later gives you a good idea of the fairytale it has been. All the practicalities on how to make firewood and its cultural history have captivated thousands of readers and it was the book my husband asked for when he started to cut down the trees behind our house because he needed to know how short to cut the firewood for our fireplace. I am pleased to tell you that all the talk about buying a chain saw stopped since a manual one did the job! Here is our firewood neatly stacked on the terrace under the roof, next to our living room, drying.

“There is no fuss with a stack of firewood. It does not loose its value on the stock market. It does not rust. It does not take out a divorce.” Firewood is a science and a passion according to Mytting.  It is burning love when you take out the wood you cut half a year earlier then left to dry, since it still smells nice and is dry and willing in the fireplace, he claims. Do take a look at his pictures and send him your firewood tips on: larsmytting. I have missed the smell and sight of a proper fireplace for years and one of those DVD films you can buy has been the closest I have come to one. So I do, very much, look forward to that burning love…


Pom Pom Magazine

The second issue of Pom Pom quarterly is out and I have chosen to subscribe to this charming craftsy knitting- and crocheting magazine, established in London 2012, printed on recycled paper of good quality. This is the second issue edited by british designer Lydia Gluck and american designer Meghan Fernandes – yes, she is a friend and did test knit for my book, if you recognize the name. Issue 2 on colour, light & autumn brights contains 5 patterns – 4 knitting and 1 crochet – two articles to read on up-and-coming designer Anna Wilkinson and on life on master-dyer Ce Persiano as well as how to make Chilli Chocolate Mocha Cake which looks divine and an awesome Day of Dead embroidery tutorial by Lydia inspired by her stay in Mexico. The resident receipt-maven is Rebecca Litchfield – another friend and test knitter of mine – of fame. You can sign up to their newsletter, subscribe and order through their website pompommag and take part in their KAL – knit along – in their group on


Wollmeise – One of My Favourite Yarns

Yes, it is one of my favourite yarns too! The number of fans the German Wollmeise yarn has, seems to be increasing all the time. It is one of those discoveries you hear about through other knitters and whose reputation is going sky high. How did you get hold of yours? Is a common question among Wollmeise fans since the demand is so much larger than the supply from indie dyer Claudia Höll-Wellman of Wollmeise.

What makes it so special, you ask. It is the vibrantly intense colours that knock you sideways as well as the stunning stitch definition it gives. The number of colours is, just as the fanbase never ending, well above 150 solid, semi-solid and the multi-coloured combinations you could only dream about. Claudia never found the excact colour she wanted hence she started dying by hand herself: “…for a long time I experimented in getting for instance the velvet bluish lilac of violets and not only the ordinary lilac. Sometimes this just happens, like Rhubarb. I see the colour and remember the juicy leaves and shafts of rhubarb.”

Photograph: Kim Müller

I am one of nearly 5600 members of Wollmeiseholics Anonymous on Ravelry – a group for the seriously addicted. It comes in 2 thicknesses: sock and lace in generous hanks. Where can you buy it, you ask and here is the catch: you can only buy it directly from the shop in Germany – you need to follow their updates on whats available – or by visiting or telephoning Loop in London who receives a monthly supply – for updates see their group on Ravelry. Here are the links: rohrspatzundwollmeise and loopknitting.

I felt the urge to use 1 hank of Lace in shade “Petit Poison” to make the “Milanese Lace Shawl” in my book – still only available in Norwegian – that can be buttoned into a shrug. Above are two photos of Anna Pfeifer wearing it, photographed by Kim Müller. I do not need to stash dive – I love that idea – to know that my Wollmeise stash could be larger and contains only enough yarn for 2 projects. Below is a photo of a hank of 100% in Magnolia. I have seen photos from the summer sale at the shop in Germany – yes, on Ravelry – and would love to go to admire each colour and bringing an empty suitcase…


Reunited with My Belongings

Removals was Saturday of June from our old flat in Brentford Dock in Greater London and estimated arrival in Oslo was the beginning of week comencing 23.rd of July. As you might have guessed that did not happen instead the truck arrived last Saturday, thanks to two ingenious drivers who found a solution to driving a large two part trailer down a very steep and narrow road. Otherwise we would have had to wait another 2 days. After numerous attempts of trying to rent a van early Saturday morning they ended up parking near by our flat (read: house – see below) and using oldfashioned manpower. They demonstrated that some jobs require so much physical strength that no gym membership is necessary.

116 boxes in total, a large number of them containing heavy books – yes: knitting, fashion, art and architecture mainly. Out of all our china only 1 wine glass was broken and no other items were damaged. Quite incredible, I think. So I have been reunited with my belongings to my utter delight! Because we starting missing some items rather badly the unpacking has been done with astonishing speed and much anticipation. Where was the remote to the Bang & Olufson radio? That was one of many questions hanging in the air until it was found in a box marked clothes. The last box was unpacked yesterday but there is still quite a bit of tidying to be done, obviously!

Yesterday, Mustafa Can – a Kurdish-Swedish author, journalist and essayist – wrote in Aftenposten (Norway’s largest paper) about how all of us are possessed  by identity to a small or larger extent. Furniture, food, and what we surround ourselves with. Is it just because I like it I do it or is it because it is expected of me, he asks. I do not know, he says, because how free can a person be? Maybe will I, as most others, assume that I am more free than I really am? Reading articles and essays by Can is challenging and thought provocing. If you read Norwegian or Swedish do not miss his book: “Tett inntil dagene” where his upbringing and his mother’s astonishing story is emotionally told. It moved me to tears and is one of those books I will remeber as long as I live…


Shibui Knits Geometry

Geometry is the name of the latest collection of patterns from Shibui. It is hard not to be captivated by it. Geometry is “An ode to angles, simple shapes, and the art of mathematics, Shibui Geometry is a modern collection of uniquely constructed garments and accessories. Designs by Kirsten Johnstone, Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Lidia Tsymbal,  Kristin Ford, and Jenny Trygg come together to form an edgy fall collection. Plush merino, alpaca, and silk make these designs cozy, layerable, and utterly wearable”.

Shibui Knits is based in Portland, Oregon in the US. If you are wondering, like I did what ‘Shibui’ means here is the answer: “elegant with a touch of bitterness” in Japanese. Their 8 yarns are chosen for their unique finer and texture combinations and dyed in their special palette. Unfortunately, I have yet to try it out since it has not been available anywhere near me. I have only been watching in admiration so far and checking out their 2 free patterns to download. All their patterns are only available as individual prints through online retailers or in selected shops, see their website for retailers, shibuiknits.

I recognised Olga’s name from her first inspirational book called “Ori Ami Knits” encouraged by the Japanese yarn company Habu featuring a selection of their yarns. It is on my bookshelf and I would describe it as capturing modern geometric creativity, see oriamiknits. Check out Olga’s blog on olgajazzzy. Also collaborating on OAK was Kristin, see kirstenjohnstone. I was astonished to find out that she is an architect – hence the architectural style of her garments. Yet another designer who has found the parallel practices between fashion and architecture. A topic close to my heart I will come back to.


A Stitch in Time Vol 2. Vintage Knitting Patterns 1930 – 1959

This marvellous book came out last autumn but it has taken me awhile to get my hands on it. Susan Crawford & Jane Waller has collected, re-written, updated and re-sized 80 stunning classic patterns for women. Both the original and an authentically styled new pattern and photos are included in a hardback consisting of more than 400 pages. See more details and how to buy it here: susancrawfordvintage.

It is a treasure trove I never stop looking at nor take inspiration from. 10 photo shoot were needed to cover all garments and from just being an organiser and stylist of one over 4 days, I can barely imagine the amount of work needed. The one for my book took months to organise especially the practicalities of applying for a photo permit for the Architectural Museum required a lot of work. On Susan Crawford’s blog: “Just call me Ruby” you can see a lovely film of the photo shoot – that sets you back into the time covered. Do watch: stitch-in-time-photoshoot.

Here is a photo of one of my favourite cardigans from the book and you will find a large number of knitters who has made this and other projects from volume 2 and from volume 1, which has 60 patterns from 1920 to 1949, in the Ravelry group: “A Stitch in Time. Susan Crawford vintage designs”. On her profile page on Ravelry – the community for Knitters & Crocheters – she writes: “Vintage fashion and collecting vintage fashion and craft magazines from the 1930s to the 1950s has long been an obsession and this fascination is very clear in my designs. I am currently working on several other titles including, Vintage Shetland, in collaboration with the Shetland Museum Archives looks at knitwear made by Shetlanders during the 1920s to 1950s and donated to the museum’s archives and Coronation Knits.” Coronation Knits is a Hand Knitted Celebration for the Diamond Jubilee and also now available for more information and even more essential a link for the project photos: Coronation_Knits. Look at the beautiful photos, be inspired and enjoy!