Behind the Scenes: Photo Shoot

DSCN1723I had a marvelous photo shoot on Thursday with photographer Kim Müller, dancer Francesca Golfetto, stylist Line Sekkingstad and my husband as photo assistant. The shoot was organized before I started knitting due to the tight deadline for delivery to the Norwegian magazine Familien and their special issue Strikkeboka/Knitting book due out in late August. I was fortunate to find one test knitter, Airin Hansen, and my neighbor Karin Placht to assist me in knitting samples in time for the photo shoot. There is no way I would have managed on my own otherwise. Knitting two coats (Carla and Conic) and a scarf (Scarftex) in addition to finishing another jacket (for a different magazine), as well as designing another 5 items, was more work than I ever could have imagined in a month and a half. So I had to start knitting long into the night as well, since I was working 7 days a week already. Seeing the garments stunningly worn by Francesca, with the magic touch on hair & make up by Line, fabulous shoes and boots by Monica Stålvang and beautifully captured by Kim, made it all worthwhile! Not to forget that my husband found a several remarkable spots at Tjuvholmen, the end tip of Aker Brygge/Wharf in Oslo. It was a beautiful day with strong sunshine so we had to look for backgrounds in the shadow and found numerous next to the Astrup Fearnly Museum. We broke up for a decent lunch at Olivia (read: Bølgen & Moi was closed sadly) before we continued dressing and directing Francesca around in a very different manner than she is used to as a dancer. I felt so fortunate and cannot wait to see Kim’s selection of photos! Next week I am taking part in another photo shoot, what a treat!


Ravelry Group Anniversary Draw

DSCN1380My Ravelry group is 1 year already! I feared that only a few with join, but were utterly wrong; there are now 660 members, and I am so pleased to have attracted so many knitters! It has been a thrilling year with many test knits of my English patterns, showing off of finished garments, discussions of different knitting techniques, chatting and bi-monthly free pattern draws just to mention a few of the topics in this lovely group. I am delighted to have met new knitters. So it is time to celebrate that one year has passed. How can I best do this? By organizing a draw in my group with exciting prizes like yarn kits, a copy of my printed book with additional English patterns sent by e-mail, and free pdf patterns from my Ravelry store. All you have to do is join my group if you have not already done so, and answer my question (dead easy: what is your favorite knitting magazine?) in my Ravelry group. I will use Random org to pick winners based on the number matching the response/posting on Saturday 7th. June. Here is a list of the prizes, and a good reason to join, see, in my opinion:

  1. Regal Purple Jacket COVERHifa Perle 4-ply/fingering (100% mercerized cotton, 200 g, 335m/366 yds) 5 cones in a color of your choice –  62 stunning shades to choose from, see ull together with the pdf pattern of my Regal Purple Jacket in English. The yarn has been generously sponsored by Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk.
  2. Arcade Vest COVERHifa Pelsull DK  (100% pelt wool, 100 g, 260 m/284 yds) 8 skeins in a color of your choice – 20 beautiful shades to choose from, see ull – together with the pdf pattern of my Arcade Vest in English. The yarn has been generously sponsored by Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk.
  3. Japanese Lace COVERThomas Kvist, Amoretto 5-ply/DK (45% alpaca, 50% cotton, 5% polyamide, 100 g, 250 m/273 yds), now unfortunately discontinued, 9 skeins in soft pink 3161 from my stash together with the pdf pattern of my Japanese Lace Jacket in English.DSCN1721
  4. A copy of my printed book in Norwegian with English patterns sent by e-mail.
  5. A pdf pattern of your choice from my Ravelry Store, see
  6. A pdf pattern of your choice from my Ravelry Store.
  7. A pdf pattern of your choice from my Ravelry Store

A Swan Lake by Alexander Ekman

Photo: Erik Berg

Photo: Erik Berg

Wild, wet and beautiful was the review headline in the national newspaper Aftenposten after the premiere of A Swan Lake by internationally acclaimed young Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman. Yes, it was a blast! Wet how, you ask, and the answer is a pool on stage; 16 x 16 m/17.5 x 17.5 yds with a water depth of 3-4 cm/1.1 -1.4″ filled with 5 000 litres/1320 gallons of water. The dancers were sliding gracefully – I did not know this was even possible – even using the water for sound effects by taping it, jumping and playfully dancing in the pool. The first splashes in Act 2 felt like an attack on the senses, and very surreal. Accompanied by a opera singer Elisabeth Teige, in the role as The Diva, my mind seemed to have lift off. This, you might realize was not a new version of the mythical Swan Lake with music by Tchaikovsky, but inspired by it with an additional large portion of humor and madness according to Ekman himself. How about adding a 1000 plastic ducks? Tick. Each one had its hole glued to avoid bacteria spreading. How do swans actually move in the water? A demanding task given to the dancers, who needed special ballet shoes made of rubber with a leather inside, knee pads to avoid cuts, wetsuits to keep warm, and bicycle helmets after numerous concussions when rehearsing the production, see a video here: Rehearsing.

Photo: Erik Berg

Photo: Erik Berg

Swan costumes by Danish designer Henrik Vibskov, made in neoprene used for wetsuits. Apparently the material made such a smell that it has been hanging outside since October. Does neoprene breathe, and how well does it wash? The head seamstress made her own gym outfit to test on the treadmill to make sure it would work. Suits made of especially printed fabrics had falling plastic ducks on them, and I do wish I had brought some opera binoculars. Take a look at the making of the neoprene outfits here: Costumes.

The music was by Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson performed by the orchestra together with sound effects which made my heart miss a few beats here and there. For a long time the performance was called naturally enough water; a water ballet. In the introduction before the ballet we saw Ekman’s introduction made on a New York roof terrace. I hope you will enjoy this short video presentation, as much as I did: Water Research.

The performance is sold out, but Norwegian state television, NRK, has filmed the performance so I do hope to see it again, for more details see: Operaen.


Strikk og Drikk/Knit and Drink in Stavanger

10264385_689151927786538_7555932351586898028_nThis is a large group of knitters that have a monthly knit night at a pub in Stavanger. It started with a knitter wanting some company and suggested meeting at a pub, and it did not take long before the room was packet. I have met a few of the knitters online on both Facebook and Ravelry, and has been invited to hold two workshops in September and a weekend one in November; when they are organizing their knitting weekend. The dates and information for the knit nights are on their group on Facebook, while the Knitting Weekend has its own website: StrikkehelgStavanger. A knit party, knit night, shop stands, knit exercises especially for knitters – made by Bettany Shaw; a personal trainer – and workshops, are all part of this exciting program for the weekend. The term Strikketrim/Knitting exercises needs a bit of clarification: “Encompasses a ‘sports specific’ workout to make you the strongest, most dynamic knitter you can be. All  important areas include mobility and function of the shoulders, a strong core and of course movement of the major muscle groups to prevent back pain and kick start that metabolism!”, according to Shaw herself. That sounds ever so essential to me, but I am holding a 2 day workshop in Knitting Design in Norwegian, more details in this blogpost: knitting-design-workshop.

I am very excited to visit this busy group of knitters, and wonder whether the workshop will fill as quickly as Montering/Finishing on Saturday 27. September did. In my opinion there is a lot of pleasure in finishing a garment to its uttermost perfection. There are still a few places left on Japanske Mønstre/Japanese Patterns on Sunday 28. September; where I will teach how to read patterns in schematic form and how to work complicated charts from my Japanese Book library. I cannot wait to meet my test knitters and friends I only know digitally, in real life.


Design in Progress: Carla Coat

DSCN0711My Carla Shoes in Wine by Monica Stålvang needed a coat to accompany them on an evening out, I decided. For awhile the design was a dress, but a coat is easier to wear and combine with other outfits. However, it did take me awhile to find a color and texture I loved, since I felt the shoes need quite a bit of drama to make the coat as stunning as the shoes. Norsk Pelsull/Pelt wool by Hifa in burgundy – ruby really – with its lustre was my first choice, but more volume and texture was necessary. So I tried to knit it double, which was closer to what I had in mind but still not perfect. I needed to go yarn hunting, and knew I did not have any contestants in my stash so no need for a stash dive.

The revelation dawned on me when I saw Rowan Lima  yarn in La Paz, a subtle darker plum semi-solid shade, and knew it would add the essential volume and texture to the Pelsull. Next, what needle size do I choose; I wanted it dense and tested 5 mm/US 8 which was hard to knit with, I tried 6 mm/US 10 (read: mega size for me who likes to be on a size 3 mm/US 2.5) which made the fabric too loose; finally the winner: 5.5 mm/US 9 and the recommended needle size for Rowan Lima.

The sleeve has a braid framed by reverse stocking stitch and double seed/moss stitch, then stocking stitch under the arm. I have worked the sleeves in the round but will make the A-line body flat, possibly with 3 braids on the back. The fronts on the other hand have not agreed on their pattern yet, but will very soon since the pattern will be available late August in Familiens Strikkebok in Norwegian, then in English on Ravelry. The photo shoot is currently being planned. To be continued.


Stokke Bygdetun/Museum

DSCN1711I spent last weekend at this amazing small museum consisting of historic buildings moved to this location during the last decades. Stokke Bygdetun was established in 1978  and consists of 5 buildings with the 6th currently being built. The Museum is in a beautiful forest with paths leading through it. All the buildings are currently in use, and I was fortunate enough to hold a workshop in Professional Finishing and Fairisle organized by Stokke Husflidslag/Handicraft Association in a small timber house called the Brewery House built in 1852 in Horten, rebuilt in 2003-2004. Stokke Husflidslag uses the building for their meetings, workshops, knit cafés and as a weaving studio (there is a small adjacent room with looms), while the basement has a large baker’s oven as well as a meeting room and is used by the local women’s institute. Here is the schedule for Stokke Husflidslag.

DSCN1709There were only 3 people signed on, but the workshop went ahead, so we all had an enjoyable weekend with plenty of knitting. I was fortunate to stay with Solveig Nodland, the study leader and herself a weaving teacher, on her mobile phone in the background. At her home, Solveig has a weaving studio approximately the size of our former London flat, with 3 giant looms, but no wonder since she and her husband runs Vevstol. The weather was beautiful and sunny on Saturday so we had our lunch on the benches outside, together with a group of visitors. The museum barn, the red building on the right  below, was rented for a confirmation on Sunday, so we had the chance of studying a range of local national costumes worn by the guests. Unfortunately, for the guests it was raining on Sunday, but it was perfect for knitting. I would be very happy to come back here to hold more workshops.

DSCN1713I am thrilled to take part in two knitting festivals this autumn: Strik Bornholm in Denmark  4th to 7th September and Strikkehelg in Stavanger 15th and 16th November. More details and a complete list of workshop will come later.


As it Rises Forward. Nation, Tradition, Fusion.

Invitasjon til utstillingJewelry designer and photographer Siri Berrefjord is currently showing at Bærum Kunsthåndverk, see bkh, in Sandvika, on the outskirts of Oslo. The title of the exhibition is taken from our National Anthem, and the painting shown at the bottom of the poster is from our Constitution, celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.  I have not had time to visit yet, and going away this weekend holding a workshop in Stokke, but hope to have time next week. Here is Siri’s introduction to the exhibition: “I am impressed and excited by Norway’s rich cultural inheritance. I am inspired by the many treasures made here. For a long time, I have used the farming culture with its rich decorations as a basis for my own expression. In this exhibition I wanted to take a closer look on a few selected items; their cultural expressions and interpret these in my own way. I have been inspired by distinctive folk artists and color palettes. I have also used old handicrafts recalled from bottom of chests, and a forgotten past.

In addition I wanted to express something about time. We live in a time where time itself has become scarce. When studying earlier periods, where I find my inspiration, our relation to time becomes a paradox. Two hundred years ago man worked a lot more, they used more time on daily tasks such as house work and cooking. Life was cumbersome. Yet ordinary people used an awful lot of time on decoration and handicraft.

I wanted to do something similar in this exhibition. Both the clothes and the jewelry I make, take a long time to process. I want to make this time visible, in other words the time used on the presentation of these objects. What is really time in such a context? For me, it is also an expression of care, of lasting attention and of love to the thing itself. By using time to make items, you also give them a soul. When things are properly worked and have had time to evolve slowly, but surely, becoming visible, first then can they reach their potential.

Few expensive and exclusive materials have been used in these works, a conscious decision on my part. But they are carefully chosen; right materials – which suits the nature of the things themselves. And then it is time, the duration of the presentation which gives the things their exclusivity  – where they finally rises forward.”

I am thrilled that Siri is making buttons for one of my knitted jackets, and look forward to seeing the result – I will show and tell when I can. It is one of the many special orders she receives throughout the year, in addition to her collection available from Designerkollektivet at Glasmagasinet in Oslo and online from sirisskattkammer.


Arcade Vest knitted by Marit Haugen Bergsrønning

13114343524_9debe0d387_zI am so pleased to show you Marit’s beautiful Arcade Vest, knitted in a stunning burgundy Norsk Pelsull by Hillesvåg – the original yarn, see Norsk Pelsull. The color is so vibrant is should really be called Ruby. If you are a knitter you will be drawn into the background – yes indeed, it is a yarn shop – Fortuna run by Marit’s daughter Ellen. No wonder, you can find a marvelous photo of Marit dancing around in the yarn shop on her Ravelry page. Her Ravatar is Marit, and she test knitted size 2XL. Marit has also test knitted the Tyrol Jacket for me, so I am honored. Thank you so much, Marit! Now, for the link to Fortuna, located outside of Trondheim in Norway, but with an online shop stocking Hifa yarn among others, here it is: Garnbutikken Fortuna. The Norwegian pattern for the Arcade Vest was published in Familien no 3, and the English pattern is available to download from Ravelry, see: Ravelry.


The Game of Thrones Exhibition in Oslo

DSCN1706I had the best intentions of seeing the Game of Thrones Exhibition, until I spotted the never-ending queue that went along the block and continued around the corner. The security guard confirmed my suspicions; the first part of the queue would take one hour to reach the entrance, and then another to be able to see the exhibition. I did want to see the costumes from the popular television series, even though I did not have an urgent need to sit on the Iron Throne, nor use 4-D headphones with display to ascend the massive wall of ice. The exhibition has only visited two cities in Europe: Belfast, where it is filmed, and Oslo, due to the massive number of viewers. Since I did not have enough time to spare, I gave up and will continue to study the costumes on television. Here are photos from one who queued, see blackforestmag, and here is a video showing a selection of the brilliant costumes and their designer: Game of Thrones: The Costumes. Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju – Tormund Giantsbane in the series – came to visit on the opening day, and feed a part of the queue on his way in, take a look at this video and enjoy: Kristofer Hivju meets the fans.