The Knitting Wave or Why Yarns Pill Debate

DSCN1679The topic of the debate organized by NFF, Norsk faglitterær forfatter og oversetter forening/Norwegian Non-fiction Writers And Translators Association was; What makes a knitting book successful, and what started the current knitting wave in Norway? The evening started with nearly a 100 attendees – a mixture of authors, journalists, reporters, knitters and other interested persons – facing a panel consisting of Pickles founders: Anna Enge and Heidi Grønvold, publisher MD Arve Juritzen of Marius Strikkebok (85 000 copies sold, see my post Craft Wave), author Kristin Wiola Ødegard, and chaired by Kristin Isaksen communications leader at NFF. First, the panel introduced themselves, and told us what they believed to be the future of the knitting book. The Pickles’ girls were surprised that their 3 books containing patterns, all previously published online, still sold like hotcakes and believed knitters wanted their patterns gathered in print form – a bit like the way a squirrel hoards or stash – and that the knitting wave is a revenge of the knitting nerd. You could hear the collective nod, since we all have a stash of yarns and books. In addition, knitting is now accepted in public spaces, formerly unheard of. Juritzen was taken back by the Marius book success, but believed it to be due to its storytelling ability, and told us that they now receive about 2 new knitting book proposals a week. Juritzen himself is convinced that a knitting book should be summed up in one sentence for it to have a chance of a success. Kristin’s book explains itself in the title, strikes a blow for the use of waste yarn, and was inspired by her customers’ demand at the yarn shop, Tjorven but is not published by Juritzen but by Gyldendal.

Strikkende publikum

Photo: Hilde Østby, NFF

Second, after the interval, the knitting needles were still going strong, it was our turn to join the debate and ask questions. Researcher Ingunn Grimstad Klepp from Sifo, author of Ren Ull/Pure Wool, pointed out that the Knitting Wave did not start in Norway but that we were merely on the edge of it, and that it originated in the US or the UK. The opinions varied to why it occurred, but the Financial crisis; the creative urge that has arisen; the knitting society that the social media have helped to build; knitting’s ability to remove restlessness and to reclaim time, as well as how relaxing it is were some that were mentioned.

The debate sidetracked when the questions if yarn customers ask where the yarn is produced, and how it behaves were raised. Suddenly, we reached a why yarns pill debate, where the opinions differed especially on how much the person wearing it mattered – friction – but most agreed that it is due to the mixed fiber content (usually with man-made fibres), the degree of twist, short staple fibres, and loose knitting.

What is the next knitting hit going to be, asked Juritzen. No one had a clear answer but casual top-down kofter/traditional jackets was one of the suggestions. Designer and journalist – as well as Editor-in-chief – Nina Grønlund Sæther pointed out that designer Tove Fevang with more than 400 000 sold crafts books would be the right person to ask since she was present. Tove told us that her two latest books on childrens wear based on classic patterns had been successful. As for the next hit, she believes in the necessity of adding finishing techniques to her books since we can no longer rely on the transferring of skills between the generations. Grandmother will not always be around to take over the finishing process of a garment. In the photo above is Nina in the front, next to Denise Samson – designer and translator – Tove Fevang and me at the end (read: I did not know if I would fit into the photo).

Beautiful photos are important to attract the knitters, Kristin pointed out and Juritzen agreed. He had been surprised of the casual approach to this only a few decades back. Designer, blogger and podcaster Ann Myhre – aka Pinneguri/The Needle Lady – pointed out that with Ravelry and the free access to knitters’ own photos to link to the pattern page, that photos on single patterns did not necessarily need to be stunning. Ann’s own success with the Sinnasau/Where-the-wild-sheep-roam pattern proves her point. Just take a look at all the different versions of the jacket. Here is Ann’s summing up of the evening: nuppedebatten.

A reporter from the Norwegian State Broadcaster was present and could reveal that there will be yet another slow television program – see slow-tv-norwegian-movement-nrk – related to knitting this autumn. It will focus on hobbies and craft. We are waiting in anticipation, and comments flew in the audience that the level must be higher than on the previous program. Third, there was a book draw donated by the panel, and 7 happy winners were found. One of them, believed in giving something back, and donated a knitted Marius hat to Juritzen and you can see his happy face in the top photo.

It certainly was a heated debate at times, and it took turns we had not anticipated. Several of us would have liked to have seen Cappelen Damm, the largest of the Norwegian craft book publishers present in the panel, and a stricter chairman, but what a crowd, NFF had managed to attract. Finally, we were encouraged to send book proposals to Juritzen – yes, preferably to be summed up in a sentence – and to apply for grants at NFF. Here is the review, and a recording in Norwegian, with very low sound, from NFF: Strikkedilla.


Garnglede i Rosendal

Lindeland_GarngledeIRosendal“Cosy Concept” was the working title, but “Fun with Yarn in Rosendal” is the English title of this recently launched book by Turid Lindeland published by Cappelen Damm. So far the book rights have been sold to Finland and France. “The inspiration for this book came from an old sock pattern and an old hotel in Rosendal in romantic Hardanger by one of Norway’s most well-known fjords, Hardangerfjorden. Turid Langeland has given the traditional patterns a modern twist both in terms of colour and choice of models.” The book is both beautiful and inspirational, what I found the most captivating were the photos taken from the nearby glaciers called Folgefonna, with its dramatic icy colors and shape make an outstanding backdrop for long cosy socks and cushions in the matching two coloured Fairisle patterns. See inside the book here: “Turid Lindeland’s vision is to be mindful of old handicraft techniques, here in terms of knitting and crocheting, and make durable products suitable for daily wear and tear. Here you’ll find patterns for blankets for young and old, socks for big and small, cushions with and without patterns, covers for chairs, photo albums, mobiles, computers and much more”. All stunningly laid out, intercepted with recipes for Rhubarb and Lime Sugar, Raspberry Ice cream and Apple Cream. So why Rosendal? It was in 2007 she and her husband bought an old hotel from 1887 in Rosedal, where she has been able to cultivate her many passions: interior design, reuse, redesign and handicrafts. Do not miss their website with amazing photos here: Rosendal Turisthotell. It is ever so comfy and inspiring. The Norwegian book is available in selected book stores and online here: Cappelen Damm.


Cablewing Sweater by Yelena Malcolm Dasher

IMG_3675_medium2I was thrilled to have Yelena Malcolm Dasher, aka ymalcolm on Ravelry, as a test knitter for my Cablewing Sweater, see projects/ymalcolm. She is a very popular test knitter because of her knitting skills, her sharp mind, photography and amazing knitting speed, just to mention a few of her skills. Yelena chose the marvelous LEDK (short for limited edition double knit) by Madeline Tosh in a shade called Astrid Grey and named her project Courchevel after the ski resort. Her stunning pictures attracted other test knitters to sign up to my delight. Like me, she found the stitch pattern addictive. Yelena had to adjust the row gauge to fit the pattern and chose to not fold the neckline down. Thank you, Yelena! The pattern has been released in English and Norwegian, where it first was printed in the magazine Familien, in my Ravelry Store.

IMG_3663_medium2I was very impressed with the matching nail varnish, a happy co-incidence apparently. Yelena has more photos on her project page on Ravelry. More results of brilliant test knitting will come soon.

IMG_3668_medium2A photograph from the back. Yelena was not daunted in any way by my pattern and has taken part in more of my test knits, I am pleased to say! Here is my introduction to the sweater: “Cablewings surrounded by lace gives this sweater a flowery expression. The A- line shape with lace along each side, paired with the double round neckband, is a flattering on many bodies. The pullover is knitted in the round to the armhole in a classic cream colored pure wool with bounce, Embla from Hifa. A large matching wrap gives the sweater a regal look and it is warm, practical, but also decorative”.

Cable Wing COVERIt is available in sizes S to XXL, and knitted using a 4 mm/US 6, for more information see the pattern page on Ravelry.


The Thief Spa – The Spa

THIEF SPA fasade low res

Photo: Studio Dreyer Hensley

I am back at The Thief, Oslo’s most wonderful hotel, and this time to review their new 800 square meters Spa. Thank you, Siri for inviting me back and granting my wish to return when the Spa was finished, see the post from my stay here: Inside-The-Thief. I did not need to turn up in training gear with a swimsuit beneath – thankfully – but had a full tour guided by Anette Ose, the Spa Manager, and an introduction to the latest and most indulgent treatments you could ever have imagined possible. Entering the Spa felt like entering a space age, previously unknown to man. It was me, that walked around with my jaw constantly dropping so frequently that I had to remind myself to close it. For each room and treatment a small group of us – journalists and me – saw and heard about, I added it to my birthday wish list. Actually the whole Spa menu is now on my list, and all you have to do is ask for a page of it. The posh Gym; the pool with light therapy and counter current system; Oslo’s first hamam – with handsome Daniel Mental scrubbing you with soap bobles no less; Sensor Sky Showers: performance ones with lights and scents; real diamond powder fascial massage lying on a light-therapy water bed; the sauna and the dry ice container the size of a fire place – another item I did not know existed I just felt an urge to have my own. No wonder my head was spinning, really! I could feel my list of addictions grew quite a bit longer. Check out the menu here: Thief Spa.


Photo: Studio Dreyer Hensley

First, the posh gym, with the latest series of machines from Technogym – my kind of gadgets; when talking about speed, I tend to talk about my own running speed while my husband talks about driving speed. Second, a treatment room with a comfortable chair with inbuilt basins for pedicures, again with light therapy and jacuzzi. Third, the make-up room with Philip Starck chairs, fit for a movie star. Fourth, the pool, again with light therapy and a counter current system to make you swim even harder. The Norwegian materials chosen by the Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen, in the interior with a lot of slate and light, give the Spa a masculine feel but it is softened by amazing art chosen by The Thief’s own curator, Sune Nordgren, works by the Norwegian artists: Tom Sandberg and Marit Følstad.

Oslo hamam

Photo: Studio Dreyer Hensley

Fifth, the hamam, the Turkish bath where you lie on a large marble bed surrounded by soap bubbles and receive a cleansing body scrub. It is large enough to take two people at the time and as you might have guessed, you do need to book an appointment soon since numerous hen parties have already been in touch. A magnificent idea though, I think!

Photo: Studio Dreyer Hensley

Photo: Studio Dreyer Hensley

Sixth, the Sensor Sky Showers introduced by Dornbracht’s own representative, to a price of a flashy car if you where considering acquiring your own, with a selection of programs which includes lights and scents. It does take 40 hours just to install but you do not need a remote control nor a user manual to use it, but these showers will guaranteed make you take even longer showers. For technical details, check:

Maletti behandling

Photo: Studio Dreyer Hensley

Seventh, the divine massage bench, filled with both heated water and light therapy for the ulterior comfort experience. The jacuzzi with a view towards the Oslo fjord, make the massage treatment possible for two people at the same time. Above the massage bench, in the ceiling, is a large light box with matching colors. One journalist volunteered and miraculously guessed with her eyes closed the color she was lying on. I would not mind throughly testing if I could feel, through vibrations, the right color.

We also checked out the generously sized Steam Bath, Sauna and another treatment room where the French beauty product supplier Carita offer an anti-age lift firming treatment using electricity to reduce facial lines. It was not as shocking as it sounds, but the electricity merely created a slight stinging sensation on the skin.

The Spa is open not only to hotel guests – who can enter using a lift from the hotel to the lower level of the Spa –  but to everyone else as well. All you need to do is book in advance, and plan your birthday wish list or who you want to bring.

Even the goodie bag was out of this world, one from each main beauty care product suppliers: Carita, Keune, and Babor. Each one containing full size and generous sample products. The testing commenced as soon as I got home…


Makeløs Redesign Fashion Show

_SBB3247I went to a Redesign Fashion Show by Makeløs/Remarkable – yes, it was and she is – stylist Kristin Elise Halkjelsvik organized by Ullensaker Husflidslag/Craft association at Jessheim in February, and I am finally ready to blog about it. Thankfully, jewelry designer and photographer Siri Berrefjord, see Fredenshavn, was there capturing the event and so was Made by Me editor Mary-Ann Astrup. I was not merely attending, but together with designer Kristin Wiola Ødegård and Sidsel Janne Høivik, I contributed with one knitted garment; the Aran Bolero. The intricate cables would go well together with Makeløs’ love of the Jugendstil – or Art Nouveau if you prefer – in my opinion. During the evening she shared her passion for all handicrafts and re-design. It is not essential that you know how to sew, to make an old stunning embroidered tablecloth into a poncho or a skirt, as long as you know how to use a stapler or use safety pins creativly, is Kristin’s motto. Above is a well-known, intricate outfit by Makeløs that has been the window display at the popular bead and buttonshop, Perlehuset/Beading House in Oslo. It is equally astonishing from the front with its lace decorations, belt, embroidery and colorful brooch by Siri, see below. It is the first time I am working with Makeløs, and we have planned further collaborations, I am pleased to announce.

_SBB3248In a crowd with several hundred women, the male model was incredibly popular and stayed in his position for quite awhile, to everyone’s delight. Below is one of Makeløs’ tablecloths, with a cut hole that is covered up with a flower pot when it is used on the table, otherwise worn as a poncho, with a chiffon scarf around the neck together with jeans.

_SBB3174I had no idea how she would style my Aran Bolero, but knew it would be very different from my way. A skin coloured top with a chiffon ruffle at the bottom and with short petticoat for a hot and sexy look. Our two design worlds collide in this match of styling, according to one of my test knitters, and I could not agree more. Makeløs had planned to use a vintage embroidered bell pull as a belt, but did not get as far in time for the catwalk.

_SBB3135_1Another favorite outfit is this colorful embroidered wall hanging Makeløs has used a skirt below. She calls the outfit the “housewife’s comfort”, and has literally written it on the fancy underpants which is clearly visible in the gap of the ends of the wall hanging at the back. You will find a lot more photos at her Facebook page, look for Makeløs, and from her exhibition at Bakketunet.

_SBB3233I love her vision, use of color and Jugendstil inspiration and look forward to our next co-operation…


Familien Håndarbeid

Familien HåndarbeidI am delighted to have four of my latest patterns published in the Norwegian special issue magazine called Håndarbeid/Handicraft by Familien/The Family. I designed two of them last summer; Regal Purple Jacket and Lace Ridge Top both with a cowl to complement the design, both knitted in the beautiful Perle/Pearl mercerized cotton yarn by Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk, see The Tyrol Jacket, here on the cover, was initially sent as design submission to Twist Collective but only made it as far as their short list, while the Nora Sweater was hibernating until last autumn’s photo shoot, and I was not certain whether they would be accepted by Familien. I believe Kim Müller’s brilliant photos of the stunning dancer Francesca Golfetto modeling the garments made the offer hard to resist, and I was thrilled when the editor wanted to use the photos of all four designs in a separate issue. Two of the designs; Regal Purple Jacket and Tyrol Jacket are available in English to download. The remaining two will be available after test knitting in my Ravelry group, do join if you would like to.

_DSC1390The heading “Flott med fletter” translates to “Gorgeous with Cables”. The Madeline Tosh dk yarn,  the Tyrol Jacket is knitted in, is not easily available in Norway but can be ordered online or replaced by e.g Sandnes Garn, Merinoull or Garnstudio Drops Merino Extra Fine. The BC Garn Semilla Fino 4 ply/fingering yarn the Nora Sweater is knitted in, can be replaced by Rauma, Røros Lamullgarn.


One of my favorite summer yarns is the mercerized 4-ply/fingering cotton Perle/Pearl from Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk, which comes in 62 gorgeous colors on 200 g cones, see I used it in Mørk fiolett/Dark violet in the Regal Purple Jacket and Røsslyng/Heather held double in the Lace Ridge Top. As a matter of fact I would like to knit the cable cowl in a large selection of marvelous colors for the summer!


Tyrol Jacket Pattern Released

Tyrol Jacket COVERI am delighted to release the English pdf pattern of my Tyrol Jacket in my Ravelry store after completed test knitting, see; tyrol-jacket. The Norwegian pattern is available in print on Monday in the separate magazine called “Familien Håndarbeid”/The Family Handicrafts. Inspired by the mélange soft pink color – not unlike the evening sky – and adorable Tyrol cables with their flower-bud shapes, I have designed an elegantly fitted jacket with a V-neck. The saddle sleeves allow the cables to flow all along the shoulder. A loose scarf with cables sewn into a tube works as a second shawl collar and adds textured volume. The Tyrol Jacket is knitted in the hand dyed Tosh dk using 4 mm/US 6 in two different dye lots, the darker version chosen for the sleeves, ordered from Eat.Sleep.Knit. Brilliantly photographed by Kim Müller, modeled by stunning dancer Francesca Golfetto.

Sizes: S (M, L, XL, XXL)

Finished Measurements:
Jacket: Bust: 91 (98, 106, 116, 126) cm/35.75 (38.5, 41.75, 45.75, 49.5)”
Waist: 72 (79, 87, 93, 113) cm/28.25 (31, 34.25, 36.5, 44.5)”
Hip: 91 (98, 106, 116, 126) cm/35.75 (38.5, 41.75, 45.75, 49.5)”
Length: 54 (55, 56, 57, 58) cm/21.25 (21.75, 22, 22.5, 22.75)”
Sleeve length: 42 cm/16.5″
Scarf: Circumference: 20 cm/7.75″
Length: 130 cm/51.25″

Yarn: Tosh dk (100% merino wool, 206 m/225 yds, 100 g):

Jacket: 7 (7, 8 , 9, 10) skeins in Posy: 1257 (1428, 1560, 1728, 1900) m/1373 (1562, 1706, 1890, 2078) yds.                                                                                                                                Scarf: 2 skeins in Posy: 392 m/428 yds.

Yarn alternatives: Tabby Cat Fibre Arts, Merino DK Tabby, (100% merino, 225 m/246 yds, 100 g)
Drops Merino Extra Fine (100% wool, 105 m/115 yds, 50 g)
Fyberspates, Scrumptious DK (55% merino, 45% silk, 220 m/241 yds, 100 g)
Or another DK/8 ply.

Needles: 4 mm/US 6 straight needles. 4 mm/US 6 circular needle (80 cm/32″) for button band. Or size needed for gauge.

Notions: 10 buttons (13 mm/0.5″), 8 stitch markers, stitch holders and yarn needle.

Gauge: 25 sts and 30 rows in Tyrol Cable measures 10 cm/4″ square. 19 sts and 30 rows in garter stitch measures 10 cm/4″ square.

Notes: The cables are nipped together at the bottom so they continue through the hem. Each front is 1 cm wider than 1/2 the back, to achieve symmetry, usual in typical vintage garments. The scarf is worked flat and then joined into a tube. This jacket is like the Tyrolean jacket very fitted, please compare your waist measurements to the size you need and adjust if necessary, to make sure it will fit.


Photo Shoot Pics – Last Part: Lace Ridge Top & Cowl

Francesca, Marveng PucketThe final photos from last autumn’s photo shoot by Kim Müller show stunning dancer Francesca Golfetto wearing the Lace Ridge Top/Hullkant Topp with cowl knitted in the beautiful Perle/Pearl, a 4-ply/fingering mercerized cotton held double in the shade Røsslyng/Heather using 4 mm/US 6. The cotton comes in a large selection of lovely colors delivered on a 200 gram cone with 670 m/732 yds from Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk, see The Norwegian pattern will be published on Monday in a separate magazine from Familien called Håndarbeid/Handicrafts, while the English pattern will be test knitted in my Ravelry group, set to start in April, before publishing in my Ravelry Store.

Francesca, Marveng PucketA casual, stretchy long sleeveless top in an open lace ridge pattern, with a boat neck and a high twisted rib over the hips. The top is easy to knit in the round. It is worked in a divine mercerized cotton from Hifa, called Perle/Pearl which is held double to emphasize the structure of the lace pattern. The cable cowl accentuates the design and gives the top a more dressy look.

Francesca, Marveng PucketThe top comes in size S to XXL with generous ease, and a tight twisted rib while the cowl is one size. Above you can see the top worn with the rib pulled up. The body is knitted in the round up to the armholes and then flat to shoulders. The Lace Ridge Pattern creates a ladder at the join. There is no neckband nor armhole bands which help to make this a quick knit with minimal finishing required.

Francesca, Marveng PucketThe cowl can be worn once or twice around the neck. The braid is too wide and difficult to work without a cable needle, as I would otherwise recommend. The cowl, worked in the round on a short circular needle, has a temporary cast on so that the ends can be easily grafted or sewed together.

Francesca, Marveng PucketI already long for my next photo shoot, but know I need to knit a substantial amount of garments before I am ready. But as you might have guessed, I am working on it…


Brooklyn Tweed Design Submissions

_DSC1386For the first time the submission for Wool People is open to all designers, and not only to invited guest designers, so just as I anticipated Brooklyn Tweed have received an overwhelming amount of submissions due to their popularity, and stunning tweed yarns. In their submission information they urged designers to include at least 3-4 submissions within the proposal, so I have sent off 3 submissions. If one of my designs is chosen for Wool People 8, and I am not too optimistic, I will be informed no later than 14th March. Any design submission is time consuming but rewarding since I already have another magazine who want them, despite not having seen my ideas yet. Brooklyn Tweed have two yarns; Shelter and Loft, both made of pure wool spun in historic Harrisville, New Hampshire, from the fleece of Wyoming grown Targhee-Columbia sheep; “We fleece dye our wool to achieve rich heathers that give even the simplest fabrics depth and sophistication”. Shelter is worsted/aran weight with 128 m/140 yds per 50 g and Loft is fingering/4-ply with 251 m/275 yds per 50 g, and you can see the shade card for both yarns above. The knitwear design and yarn company was founded in 2007 by designer, blogger and photographer Jared Flood. Among my favorite designs, chosen because of their beautiful texture, are Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood from BT Winter 14, see Ravelry and Kenzo by Olga Buraya-Kefelian from Wool People 4, see Ravelry. For the full collection see Brooklyn Tweed.