Bergen – The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum

I was so delighted when I was invited to give a presentation at Norsk Trikotasjemuseum/The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum at their knit night on Tuesday 28th. November, since it took me to Bergen on the west coast and close to Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk, which I had the opportunity to visit for the first time. Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, is known as the Gateway to the Fjords of Norway and a UNESCO World Heritage City – yes, it is stunning! The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum is located at Salhus, while Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk is at Hjelmås, both about 20 minutes outside of Bergen.  This first post is about Bergen and the Knitting Industry Museum, while the second one is about Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk – a Econo Musee – with their more than 100 year old machinery still in use.

Above are the views from my loft room at the Klosterhagen Hotel at Nordnes, in a lovely and quiet part of the city.

I arrived on a sunny day and Bergen is known for its heavy rain, so I had to take the opportunity to take the Fløibanen, the only funicular railway (read: incline railway) in Norway, that whisks visitors to the top of Fløyen, one of the seven mountains encircling Bergen, 320 meters above sea level. The ride is best described best by Matt Hickman: “Despite the relatively short 8-minute trip to the top, with three local stops on the way, this is one funicular ride many visitors wish would last forever. The views from the railway’s two panorama-windowed, glass-ceilinged cars, Rødhette (the red one) and Blåmann (the blue one), simply defy description. And once you reach the top, you may never want to come down”.

The view from the top of Mount Fløy late in the afternoon with the strong sunlight making dark shadows. This is just the view in one direction, it was impressive in the other directions too. There were a number of paths to go hiking and a large restaurant that is only open at weekends.

Bryggen, the old wharf, which you see in the background is the main attraction in Bergen. “In 1360, the German Hanseatic League set up one of its import and export offices at Bryggen, dominating trade for almost 400 years”. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I went down to the new wharf to check out the ferries to Knarvik, which I took on Wednesday morning, when I went to Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk. Managing Director Øyvind Myhr met me at Knarvik harbour and drove me the last bit to the factory. There are a large number of ferries going from Bergen, so I had to make sure I knew where it departed from. Luckily it was a short walk from my hotel.

This is the late afternoon view from my room.

The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum is located by the fjord, but there were no ferries going there, only a bus. I was fortunate enough to be able to take a taxi (read: the museum covered the cost) with my heavy suitcase filled with samples. Inside the old factory in a large open room with high ceilings and a view towards the fjord, is where I held my presentation. Unfortunately, I did not have time to join a tour of the museum, but you can see it on Kristy Glass Knits’ podcast here: YouTube.

 The museum is the former textile mill Salhus Tricotagefabrik (1859–1989), that mainly produced underwear. Today, they produce a small quantity of yarn and machine knitted garments for sale in their beautiful shop. This museum is also the venue for the Bergen Strikkefestival/Knitting Festival.

Yes, the shop was open during the knit night. Bring what you want to purchase to the coffee and cake till was the order of the evening. But most of the knitters attending seemed to be regulars and was at the museum frequently. I cannot blame them. It is such a lovely venue!

It was really the perfect gift shop with yarn, knitting magazines, books, knitted goods and some toys. As you can probably see from this photos it is a popular venue for photoshoots.

Present at my presentation was Berit who works at Hillesvåg and she had brought the samples from the factory in addition to yarn kits and brochures. I was very pleased to meet Berit again and I also spoke to a number of knitters present. I had a lovely evening. Thank you to The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum!


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