NSF Annual Knitting Weekend in Tromsø

NSF/Norwegian Knitting Association celebrates 10 years this year so this time the annual knitting weekend was in Tromsø and I was invited to join as the editorial team for the digital membership magazine “På pinnen”, working with editor Tove Fevang. As soon as I heard that Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett would come from the UK to hold a workshop and a talk, I decided to book a ticket for the workshop! Brandon’s full day workshop was called “Magic Colours, Magic Stitches” and was held on Friday 1st of March. Above you see me wearing my Khayam  photographed together with Brandon and Kaffe, taken on the Sunday after Kaffe’s talk.

Brandon was teaching and assisting us in making magic balls, that is combining colours from the 20 mini balls we had brought, then taking about 1 meter of each colour and knotting them together. When we had wound the resulting yarn into a ball we started our colour experimentation and knitted the chart he had given us. The workshop was a revelation and we had so much fun. All 20 of us would have been happy just to watch Brandon combining colours all day! Sitting next to me was my former sample knitter Grete Jenssen wearing her Patent Poncho, but present was also two other knitters wearing my designs: Balika and Kathe Cardigan.

Photographer Geir Arnesen, Tove Fevang’s husband, was present and he took this photo of us. From left to right: Grete in her Patent Poncho (modified with clever pockets), me in Fulla Cardigan, Bente Østevik Ivarson in her Balika and Gunnhild Marie Hagen in her Kathe Cardigan.

I have never been to Tromsø in the winter before and was amazed at all the snow on the mountains, as well as the beautiful light.

We were staying at Thon Hotel Polar as it had a conference center at the back of it, big enough to house all 80 of us attending. The only Polar Bear I saw was on the wall in my room, see above, and not in the streets. I had a view of the town, but must admit that I missed the view of the fjord that Michael and I had at the Scandic Ishavshotel.

The weekend was kicked off with a talk by Christina Gjertsen, aka Sisu Knitwear, who made sure we were enjoying ourselves as she was describing her knitting journey. Christina bases her designs on old traditions, nature and culture in Northern Norway. We ended Friday evening with a round of hilarious knitting bingo. The program for Saturday was jam-packed and began with the annual meeting itself introduced by our popular leader Terje Tjelle, aka Strikke Terje.

The following captivation talk was by Kirsti-Synnøve Suongir called “Sámi Mittens from Tanadalen”, based on her work with collecting, remapping and updating the patterns resulting in a book published in both Norwegian and Sámi. Above you can see part of her collection. Next was Anders Løvli talking about Ullkarderiet in Kåfjord, and unspun & unwashed wool. Yet another fascinating talk.

Above is a blurry photo of Tromsø by night, notice the lights at the top of the majestic mountain – the end of the cable car – see fjellheisen (and the view from there during the summer here: Postcard from Northern Norway).

The first surprise in the program, just before our small break before dinner on the Saturday was Malangsrevyen (you can see the award winning knitting sketch on Facebook) – unfiltered humour – that showed us three sketches. The last one was called “Manic Knitting” – do notice the facial expressions in the photo above. Again, I am sorry for the grainy quality, as I was zooming in on my mobile phone. We were knitting most of the weekend, but at this point we had given up and were laughing out loud!

You will never guess what the second surprise was. The legend Elizabeth Johnston from Shetland, who had brought some of her stunning handspun Shetland yarn, and gave a talk Saturday night.

No other than the inspiring Kaffe Fassett held the talk on Sunday morning about Glorious Color and his life. We were stunned into silence after his talk showing one impressive design after the other, as well as the cover of some his numerous books. As if this was not enough there was a raffle with more than 50 prizes and only 80 of us attending, so some knitters won more than one prize! Even I won a beautiful skein of hand dyed sock yarn. We ended Sunday with a workshop in Latvian Braid, before Terje announced that next year’s location will be Gardermoen the location of Oslo Airport.

In the short breaks between the talks, during breakfast, lunch and dinner we had the opportunity to talk to each other too! Above is a view from the popular library from one of my walks.

Even my flight back to Oslo was an event, as we had to re-fuel in Bodø and flew above the Lofoten islands during the sunset. Even Brandon would have approved of these colours! The annual meeting was a blast and I had a wonderful knitting weekend in Tromsø! I want to thank NSF and everyone I met! I hope to see you all at the next annual event at Gardermoen in March 2025!