Oslo Fylkeshusflidslag Course Catalogue

The new spring course catalogue from Oslo Fylkeshusflidslag/County craft association is out, available to members and at Husfliden – the craft store in Oslo, see dennorskehusfliden. I am in it, since I am offering a weekend workshop Saturday 9. and Sunday 10. of February in Fairisle and Finishing Technique – for the first time in Norwegian and not English – at Slemdal School, organised by Vestre Aker Husflidslag, see husflid. It will not come as a surprise to you that the request came from the Study Leader herself, Marthe Sveen Edvardsen, whom I met at the knit cafe at Gyldendal, see marveng-puckett. She is also offering a course in Knitting & Creative Redesign and suggested the striking cover with yarn bombing, or the more popular term guerrilla knitting. If you are local and interested I suggest you get hold of a catalogue with 42 different courses to chose from, in addition to listing all the different events available completely in line with the cover text: More than you think!

The agenda for my workshop is as follows: Day 1: Fairisle:  You will learn how to knit in the round, how to work with several colours simultaneously using both the English and the Continental way of knitting, what steeking is; and why you would want to cut into your knitting. To summarise the techniques you will learn are:

  • Long tail Cast on
  • Continental or German Method of Knitting
  • Circular Knitting on circular needles, double pointed needles and the Magic Loop.
  • Fair Isle: working with two colours simultaneously.
  • Stranding and Weaving of yarn
  • Reading Graphs
  • Swiss Darning: how to add further colours or correct mistakes.
  • Adapting patterns to circular knitting
  • Norwegian Steeking Technique: cutting armholes and necklines.

Day 2: Finishing: The most difficult part of knitting a garment is generally agreed to be the finishing. Professional Finishing will teach you to block, sew up neatly, how to make buttonholes, sew in zippers and lining plus give you shortcuts and tips. After a short introduction, you will also learn:

  • How to Sew in Ends.
  • Adjusting and easing in sleeves.
  • Picking up stitches.
  • Shortcuts such as: Weaving in Ends, Sewing up in parts and knitting sleeves simultaneously.
  • Do Short Row Shaping
  • 3 Needle Cast Off
  • Lightly felt your wool garment.
  • Shape and sew up using a Sewing Machine.

The workshop is available both to members and non-members and you sign on by contacting Oslo Husflidslag or fill in the form in the catalogue, more details in Norwegian here: husflid. There are 10 spaces available and I am excited to see how they fill. I will also be offering this workshop in Larvik, organised by Larvik Husflidslag, see larvikhusflidslag, in April in addition to a weekend workshop in Lace Knitting in February. I will keep you posted.


Art, Handcraft and Design Fair

It is about time to learn how to make a nisse/elf with Christmas coming up, really. But this was just one of many activities I could join at this weekend’s fair called Art, Handcraft and Design Fair at Njårdhallen in Oslo. I must admit that both the yarn shop Projo’s stand and their knit cafe, see projo was a lot more tempting than the nisse workshop. I was pleased to meet the owner May-Liss who informed me that they gave up offering an evening knit café and now organise one that runs all day from 11 to 17 on selected Saturdays and include a meal as well as coffee and cakes. I was happy to find out that Projo sells American Cascade Yarns and are on the waiting list for Madeline Tosh Yarns.

Yesterday, the acknowledged haute couture designer Tine Solheim, tinesolheim presented her new sewing book: Magisk Søm/Magical Seam at the knit café. Above she is demonstrating how the sewing patterns are printed and inserted into the book in a neat pocket, for more info, see cappelendamm.

I also discovered some indie yarn dyers like The Textile Studio, see textilstudio-nt, and tempting yarns (read: expensive silk mixtures!) on cones produced for machine knitting but equally easy to hand knit with, from Anne-Lises Strikkestudio, strikkedesign. In addition, I was drawn to the series of cute crochet animals made by Ingrid Skuggedal Nilsen, partly because how they were grouped together below. What a party, they seem to be having!

The fair is organised by Fager Design, womens clothing in fabric, leather and fur, fager-design. I was intrigued by their website photos, their originality and historic references and enjoyed my day at the fair. If you are in Oslo today, it is on until 17.00. Enjoy!


Accompanying My Knitting

At the moment it is podcasts from BBC Radio 4, which is one of the few things I miss from the UK, I listen to when I knit. I had forgotten or possibly erased from memory how few programs on NRK, the Norwegian Television Broadcaster I enjoy watching. My British husband finds Norwegian television rubbish most of the time and we are grateful for Itunes so that we can rent movies, television series from the BBC and easily listen to podcasts. Anyway, listening to a podcast is so much easier when you knit and need to keep checking your pattern and your calculations. My favourite, at the moment – actually for the last year or so – is Saturday Live with Rev Richard Coles and broadcaster Sian Williams.

“Real life but not as you know it. Radio 4’s Saturday morning show is full of the stuff that matters, extraordinary stories, inheritance tracks, guerrilla reports, secret lives, poetry and more.” The friendly, chatty and charming presenters and guests in the studio brightens and enlightens you. It even includes one time Lebanon hostage, now acknowledge travel journalist John McCarthy’s program Excess Baggage that take you to foreign and less traveled places. Listen and enjoy: bbc.


Knit Café at Gyldendal Publishing House

I have been to two knit cafés this week, the first one on Thursday in Halden where I successfully presented my book to the charming local husflidslag and the second one at Gyldendal – the publisher, but not mine – where I  just attended for a change. I did wonder how many would attend and where exactly the knit cafe would be in their award winning building by Sverre Fehn – yes, he did also build the Fehn pavilion at the Architectural Museum chosen as location for my book photography –  close to the National Gallery in Oslo, see more photos here: gyldendalhuset. It is old fashioned on the outside but modern on the inside and has a small open house inside its central atrium with several small living rooms inside ideal for cosy meetings. I have been lucky enough to have a friend – thank you, Mette Børja! – who worked there for years to take me and my husband on a tour and ending up on the sofa inside the house!

The invitation to the knit café was posted on the Norwegian Strikkesida/The Knitting Page group on Facebook, which currently has 23 000 members and increasing rapidly, as well as sent to individuals. A free event with expert help in the shape of authors of craft books published by gyldendal will be available in addition to a few selected yarn producers – raumaull and garnstudio; who is offering 25% off their alpaca yarn – and as if that was not enough to tempt us knitters they also offered free coffee and cakes. How could I refuse such an invitation? Well, I could not. I was smart and quickly signed on when editor Ann Kristin Nås Gjerde asked if I was coming.

I quickly spotted one of my Facebook friends Marthe Sveen Edvardsen – the Study Leader for Vestre Aker Husflidslag, see husflid – which I was ever so pleased to meet in real life, present in the background above. We were seated in the canteen and quickly the space filled with knitters. The authors were presented along with their book on special offer, before they were called upon as experts. Some went shopping for yarn and books while others were happy to knit, exchange ideas, chat and eat cake!


Cables Galore

I seem to be into a period of cabling at the moment. These periods do last a long time for me and I am starting to believe I am coming out of a lace period entering cabling, again. Yes, I have been there before several years back. There are two designers that reign supreme – to me at least – Elsebeth Lavold and Norah Gaughan. Strikk i Vikingmønster/Viking Patterns for Knitting by Elsebeth Lavold is close to my heart with cables inspired by Scandinavian archeology richly illustrated with photographs and drawings. Here is my version of Lavold’s design Ragna, fitted, shortened without the splits and knitted in double stranded Thin Alpaca by Norwegian yarn company Du Store Alpakka using 4 mm/US 6, see dustorealpakka. Since it was made decades ago – another knitting era – I even inserted shoulder pads!

The book was published in 1998 but it still one of the best books available on imaginative cables. I am not the only one with that view. Do read Karen Berthine’s blogpost and look at the photos of the vest she has designed for her husband using – guess which Lavold sweater? Yes, Ragna – sweatyknitter. Have you knitted one or used it as inspiration? There are hundreds of versions of it here on ravelry. I would like to end with a Lavold quote from her preface: “Knitting keeps your hands moving, but free your thoughts. To knit is a necessity.”


Reversible Knitting by Lynne Barr

50 brand new groundbreaking stitch patterns. This is not a new book, but a very cherished one in my knitting library. First, because I am fascinated by any reversible stitch pattern – you can choose your preferred front – and second, because it contains so many wonderful, previously unseen, ingenious stitch combinations. Third, because some of those have become favourites already: like the grey on the front cover. Some of you will recognise it because I used it in my book. And I am certain I will keep choosing more of those challenging stitch patterns, all thoroughly explained! Fourth, because I adore several of the 20 patterns by acknowledged designers – among my favourites are: Norah Gaughan, Teva Durham and Véronik Avery just to mention a few. Plenty of reasons for me to place it on my favourite shelf.

If you do not already own it or know about it, there is an entertaining book review by Jimmy Beans Wool, do look at youtube and enjoy. You will find several more photos of the stitch patterns here at the publishers website: melaniefalickbooks. The dropped stitch pattern, photographed above in grey, I used for the Japanese Vest below.

“This vest is inspired by Japan, with only one large armhole, knitted in Hifa’s beautiful Huldra kamgarn in a pattern by Lynne Barr. You can easily close and fold it as you like using a shawl pin.” Translated from the introduction to the pattern, knitted in a stunning sea green Huldra – for more vibrant colours see ull.no  on a 3mm/US 2.5. Here beautifully worn by Kari Anne Næssø and photographed by Kim Müller. So I do give Reversible Knitting my warmest recommendation: it inspires!


More on My Newest Favourite Yarn – Pelsullgarn

Another post on Pelsullgarn just to let you know how serious this addiction has become! And yet I am still knitting on my first design project in it which I have already showed you a photo of (see norwegian-pelsullgarnfurwoolyarn) but what I have not showed you is the Aran Mansjetter/Cuffs from my book “To Rette En Vrang. Designstrikk” knitted in Pelsullgarn by Anette Toft. The yarn is an excellent substitute for Mostly Merino Light Sportweight, used when I knitted the first pair because it has the same feel – without containing mohair – and even more lustre. Here is Anette’s fabulous result and photo.

So that you can compare I wanted to show you the photograph from the book. Dancer Cristiane Sa is modelling the large cuffs, inspired by Yamamoto’s even larger cuffs, see below. I am afraid there is a mistake in pattern and I apologise; do check my Norwegian book page; the chart shows only the beginning of the round and not the repeat. Mostly Merino Light-Sport is made of 77% merino/fine wool and 23% mohair, 55g/2 oz, 228m/250 yds while Pelsullgarn/Furwoolyarn is 100% Norwegian Furwool, 100 g/3.5 oz, 260m/284 yds both  use a 3mm/US 2.5 or 3.5mm/US 4 knitting needle. Even though the yarn is heavier – it does not contain mohair even though it feels and looks like it does – Pelsullgarn actually knits to the same tension/guage so it can used as a replacement even though you need a larger amount of it.

Photograph: Kim Müller

I know it has been a long wait for some of you, but it is now available online from Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk, here is the link ull.no. I have more in my stash and I think you are beginning to understand how excited I am to design a garment in this magnificent colour – not an easy choice since I loved all 12 colours! I will keep you posted on my progress!


Mathallen/The Foodhall in Oslo

My husband and I have been visiting the new foodhall in Oslo. Its aim is to offer knowledge, inspiration and experiences. What is in there? A food market, a cooking school, specialist shops, coffee shops and restaurants – there were space for several more upstairs. Mathallen is surrounded by new hotels, yet to open, and is already attracting tourists.

The photos I have seen so far makes it look huge but it is not exactly London size, but it does offer a selection of temptations. We tested out the popular bakery which display window I could not resist, see above. A nice place to have lunch and when the nearby hotels open the surrounding streets will offer an even better attraction. It is located at Grünerløkka, in walking distance from the city centre. Do not take the shortcut through the muddy carpark but cross the river and walk past Dansens Hus/House of Dance then you will enter the magnificent entrance.

It is not many weeks since it opened and there is still building work going on upstairs, so I believe there are more restaurants to come! One of Mathallen’s secrets is Melkerampa/The Milk Ramp promoting dairy products, which did feel like entering someone’s posh kitchen! Go explore if you can, or just check it out here: mathallenoslo