Strikkehelgen in Stavanger

dscn0626For the third time, the knitting weekend in Stavanger was organised and I was invited to hold a workshop. The organisers Strikk og Drikk/Knit and Drink (yes – it all began in a pub) wanted a knitting design workshop and I was happy to oblige. Just as last time I stayed with Anja Smith, one of the volunteers who was in charge of not only photographing but also proof reading all the patterns with projects selected after a competition was held. Above you see the calendar and some of the projects exhibited on the top floor of the Thon Hotel Maritim. You will  find more photos here: Strikkekalender-2017. I flew from Oslo to Stavanger on Friday afternoon, just in time for a dinner with Anja before she headed to a workshop in beading and I to teach at Stasjonsstrikk/Station knit, both held at the heart of Stavanger at the Library. Station knitting follows the principles of speed dating really, with 15 minutes at each station for a group of up to 4 people to learn a knitting technique. I was teaching I-cord bind-off this year, while designer & author Tove Fevang was teaching 3-needle bind-off and Danish designer & television judge Vithard Villumsen was teaching wrap and turn in addition to 2 stations manned by volunteers.

dscn0623I had spotted Vithard at Strik Bornholm but did not have the opportunity to meet him until last Friday. Just like a number of knitters, I first saw him on the television show “Den Store Strikkedyst“/The Great Knit Off, where he is a judge together with Christel Seyfarth. The series is into its third season, now. It is addictive viewing, and you will find a few episodes with English subtitles at youtube and all of them at Tv Syd. I can confirm that he is both as nice and knowledgeable as he looks on television. The first part of Friday night was spent knitting in the library. And yes, I had to confirm there was a knitting festival in the city for those sitting around me. The last part of Friday night was spent with Anja and her family in their newly refurbished house by the water in Sandnes.

dscn0625My workshop Strikkedesign/Knitting design was held at the conference center at Thon Hotel Maritim. The Stavangerfjord conference room had comfortable director chairs and a beautiful view of the lake Breiavannet in the city center of Stavanger. I had a fully booked workshop, but struggled with a cold all weekend. Thankfully, I had a wonderful group of knitters on my workshop! We had a 2 hour break for lunch so that we had enough time to visit the market hall at Folkets Hus. There I met up with Swedish designer Anita Grahn, left in the photo below looking at porcelain buttons by Birthe Sahl. I also found Danish designer Charlotte Kaae, who had signed on for the speed knitting contest and came 4th. The winner knitted more than 600 stitches in 10 minutes. Above is Charlotte’s exhibit. I would not have come that high, and was too busy eating lunch as well as chatting to Norwegian designer Helle Slente as well as friends, test knitters and Facebook friends.

dscn0613Below is a view of half the market hall. I was good this time and did not buy any yarn at all. After the workshop on Saturday, a group of us sat knitting in the reception at the hotel before we walked over to the De Røde Sjøhus/The Red Sea Houses for the  knitting party. We made a designer table and exchanged experiences while we ate tapas from the buffet. Charlotte Kaae held an brief talk on how to use Instagram and encouraged us all to photograph with the hashtag #strikkehelgstavanger.

dscn0620Below is Maskepigen Garn with stunning hand-dyed yarns. They were tempting, I must admit. During the workshop we were visited by a personal trainer Marte Haga, who helped us with tension in our shoulders and hands by giving us all exercises to do. You will find a couple of videos on Instagram, even from the pub Cardinalen (read: Strikk og Drikk’s home). They have become used to invasion by knitters by now and everything they tend to do…

dscn0617For lunch on Sunday I met editor of the largest handicraft blog in Norway,, Mary-Ann Astrup, who was house hunting in Stavanger and had flown in from Copenhagen.  It was the weekend to be in Stavanger, that is for certain!  Thank you to Strikk og Drikk, and to all the friends, designers & knitters I met!


Strikkehelgen/Knitting Weekend in Stavanger

DSCN0359Yes, I have had yet another superb weekend in Stavanger, in south west Norway. I have spent most of the time teaching two workshops; Japanese Patterns and Lace Knitting at the Stavanger Bibliotek/library – the very heart of the city. I flew in on Friday afternoon and was met by my knitting friend and host Anja Præsttun Smith – yes, her husband is English too – at the airport. After a quick sushi dinner we ran to take part in the Stasjonsstrikk/Station Knit event at the library, where seven of us taught a knitting technique to seven moving groups of four knitters. I explained and taught tucks, while Anja taught the magic loop method, designer Charlotte Kaae taught Intarsia and Tone Cecilie Nystrøm taught I-cord bind off – wearing my design the Lyre Bolero – just to mention a few. The 10 minutes at each station went quickly and left us with sweaty hands and hot knitting needles. Afterwards there were talks and I was keen to meet as well as to hear Kari-Helene Rane talk about her design background and co-ownership of Purl Alpaca Designs in the UK, where she lives. Above you see her explaining about the alpaca hairs. Next on the program was Read & Knit with author Eskil Aasmul, then the knit café where a new hat was made for the real estate developer Olav Thon well known for his orange knitted hat. Here is a link to the full program: strikkehelgstavanger.

DSCN0360You can see Anja knitting, third from the right, and be impressed by her speed if watch the brief video interview with her and Gunnhild Marie Hagen, who taught the entrelac method of knitting. See their grinning faces – so characteristic of them both – below, and watch the video here:

@ Anders Minge/Stavanger Aftenblad

@ Anders Minge/Stavanger Aftenblad

Saturday night there was a knitting party at the Røde Sjøhus/Red Seahouse. I was so happy to be seated next to the Danish designers: Charlotte Kaae, Lene Holme Samsøe, (wearing a traditional kofte), Bente Geil and the Swedish designer Anita Grahn (wearing a pink shawl). Bente has her own yarn company, Geilsk, and know a lot about our desperate need for more yarn, she revealed and gave us new ideas for how to bring it into our already well stocked yarn stash: Leave it in the car for a day, then it becomes old yarn and can easily be moved into the house. You can see her talking below. We had tapas but chatted, laughed, and knitted more than we ate. A band played while we knitted – some where even smart enough to bring their headlamps so that they could see properly! The winners of the lottery was drawn, and they were all very happy knitters indeed.

DSCN0363My lace knitting workshop, the day after, was held in the Glasshuset/Glasshouse which was more like a glass cage, since there were only 4 signed on and we could just squeeze in. The Strikk & Drikk/Knit & Drink organizer Monica Haga selected us as one the television crew from Tv Vest could film, so below you can see the top of my head in the front.

Tv Vest

@ Tv Vest

Even if you do not understand Norwegian the video from Tv Vest gives you a good impression of the event itself: If you know my designs well, you might have spotted that Bodhild Peerstøe (in white) is wearing the Jacket in Cross from my book. Instead of using the original Valley Yarns Tencel she choose a thin crochet cotton yarn and sewed on a button at the end of the tie to close it at the back instead of tying it at the front. See the photo I took of her below. I was thrilled to see it and how well it suited Bodhild! Thank you!

DSCN0366With little time not knitting nor teaching, I had a magnificent time in Stavanger just as I did last year! Thank you to all the organizers and to Anja for letting me stay with her and her lovely family again!


Strikkehelgen/Knitting Weekend in Stavanger

By AnjaI had a marvelous weekend in Stavanger, and was way too busy enjoying myself to take lots of photos, thanks to organizers Stavanger Strikk og Drikk/Knit and Drink who have done a splendid job. A  large number of the city landmarks were marked by the knitting event; at the airport was a large armchair with yarn & needles provided ready to use, the library was invaded by knitters, and had prepared by exhibiting all their knitting books; exhibitions; as well as providing yarn for charity knitting and presentations by all participating designers, the ferry terminal had first declined the offer from Strikk og Drikk but did not take long to regret their decision… A small trade hall was located at Bekkefaret Bydelshus/Community House with offerings of tempting yarns, patterns, buttons and books together with a coffee shop plus workshop premises, with more located at Eiganes Kolonihagehus/Allotment Community House; where the Saturday party was held. My weekend workshop in Knitting Design was at Gosen Skole, see above. The knitting community in Stavanger was starstruck by the famous Danish designers that participated: Lene Holme Samsøe, Bente Geil aka Geilsk and Charlotte Kaae. Taking part with their respective fans were also acknowledged Swedish designer Anita Grahn, Tove Fevang and Ann Myhre aka Pinneguri/The Needle Lady (read about her workshop here: aftenbladet). I met Bente, Charlotte and Anita at Strik Bornholm but was delighted to finally meet Lene in person as well as some of my Ravelry friends. Read in Norwegian: Se opp for strikk i rogalandsavis, Hele byen strikker i aftenbladet.

DSCN2073We were 3 Norwegian designer present at the weekend who all gave a talk on Friday evening at the Library; Tove Fevang, myself and Ann Myhre who you can see in action above. While Tove was talking about her inspiration and work, I presented my design experience and book, and Ann defended top-down knitting as well as the fact that women should celebrate the fact that we do have shapely figures. The 3 Danish designers and Anita held talks on Saturday to even larger crowds. See the complete program here: strikkehelgstavanger. After the talk both Tove and I were told to come with initiative taker Monica Haga for safe keeping until we would be collected by our hostesses who were both taking part in Charlotte’s workshop: Krydret Strik/Spicy Knitting (read: this relates to Charlotte’s bold use of vivid colors). We were duly collected a few hours later, after a delicious dinner in Bente’s & Monica’s company.

DSCN2077My friend Anja Præsttun Smith and I had to chat a bit even after we arrived at her house by the fjord in Sandnes so well into the night I crashed into bed. Do take a look at her family’s exciting Iceland expedition plans here – yes, Anja’s husband Neil is English – see: Anja was one of the many volunteers that had helped by baking cakes for the coffee shop, Tone Cecilie Nystrøm was another volunteer in charge of the premises for my weekend workshop and hence moved it to the school were she teaches; Gosen Skole, while Monica’s husband was the dedicated driver who brought us lunch, to our pleasure, with plenty of fruit, chocolate, fizzy drinks and raffle tickets. Excellent service in other words. I had an overbooked workshop but still managed to lead everyone through the planned agenda. It is ever so exciting to see what inspires others, and the abundance of creativity that exists all around us! Numerous swatches later and after the workshop on Saturday, Anja and I had a quick look in the Trade Hall before closing time. I can reveal that Anja bought several skeins of yarn, while I collected business cards, cuddled hand-dyed luxurious Lotus Yarns from Ullrommet and yarns from Nøstebarn before we headed home to change for the party at Eiganes Kolonihage. Above is a photo from the party with the Danish Designers at the front table accompanied by Monica in a sleeveless white dress.

DSCN2080Tone Cecilie dazzled in her orange skirt plus matching tie and recently finished test knitting her bright turquoise Lattice Back Jacket which is much brighter in real life than in the poor quality photo above.  Anyway, I so wanted to show you her fabulous outfit! Instead of the planned zip, Tone Cecilie’s jacket had three small coin buttons attached with snap fasteners. You can read more about her difficult zip search in the test knit thread in my group on Ravelry. We had delicious food, music, cakes & coffee and chatted while we all knitted. The sound level, as you can imagine, was out of this world. I flew back to Oslo on Sunday evening after my workshop and managed a quick goodbye to Charlotte and Lene Holme at the airport before my departure. It was wonderful to meet so many knitters and designers at Strikkehelgen in Stavanger, a big thank you to all volunteers and Strikk og Drikk for a magnificent event!