Book Launch: Poncho by Denise Samson

12924560_10153870714624504_6049135262072545522_nLast Wednesday my husband and I went to the launch of Denise Samson’s second book: Poncho at Cappelen Damm. This launch was held in the book shop which is long and narrow hence well suited for a catwalk. We found our seats next to designers; Ellen Andresen (photographer); Kristin Wiola Ødegård (with glasses on her head) and May Britt Bjella Zamori (in a beige poncho – not hand knitted) as well as knitters; Grete Nymoen (in burgundy) and Cathrine Lovord (in grey). Denise made this book with 50 patterns, not all ponchos but accessories to go with them, as well as shawls in an unprecedented 2 months period. No, Denise did not design all 50 in two months but she did design more than 30 of those. In case you did not know, Denise is a turbo knitter but this time she needed help knitting for once. She did find it, together with a selection of ponchos from other designers  to make this tempting book. Above is the tempting invitation to the launch. Yes, “vinn” does means “win”.

12140733_10156695428805361_3941559106259158816_nHere is our table, as we are listening and knitting to Denise telling the story behind the book before the catwalk started. This photo is taken by Ellen. Denise told us she wanted to make not only those traditional triangular ponchos and not only those used for outerwear. Below is Denise presenting her favorite poncho with a Keltic Knot Cable here worn by Linda Aagnes, the sales manager at Cappelen Damm, photographed by Michael Marveng-Puckett. The cable can be worn at the centre front as below or with the cable across one shoulder.

XT1A9024My favorite is the delicate lace poncho with wrist warmers brilliantly photographed in the book by Guri Pfeifer and modeled by her daughter Anna Pfeifer. You might recognize Anna from my book too. This poncho and mittens set has been published in the Norwegian magazine Made by Me previously.

DS PonchoWe were all given a raffle ticket when we arrived to we could take part in the draw for a number of incredibly prizes: 3 different yarn kits, 1 shrug designed & knitted by Denise, 1 pair of wrist warmers also designed & knitted by Denise. There were some very happy knitters who walked away with those prizes. Below you see one of them with Denise handing over a kit from A Knit Story, again captured by my husband Michael Marveng-Puckett.

XT1A9098lt was a great opportunity for us designers to meet up and have a chat. Yes, Kristin Wiola is working on her fourth book, May Britt is busy tech editing and translating as well as making crochet designs, Ellen has just sent off another design submission and so have I. Nina Granlund Sæther is back from her trip to Peru with so many stories to tell.

XT1A9127Finally I wanted to show you this photo off the organizers including, photographer Guri Pfeifer and Anna, photographed by Michael Marveng-Puckett. I first met Denise at Cappelen Damm, since she made the charts for my book. I convinced her to contact the handcraft editor Åse Myhrvold Egeland at Familien who bought everything she had designed up to then. Denise has since delivered designs to Familien at an impressive speed! You can find Denise’s book at, and you can join her group on Facebook to see all the knit cafes she will be visiting next!


Book Launch: Votter by Nina Granlund Sæther

12487065_10156367055735361_2225260334015340371_oLast Wednesday I went to the book launch of Votter/Mittens by editor, journalist, hand craft teacher and acknowledged author Nina Granlund Sæther and Sitteunderlag/Mat Seat by first time author Ann-Heidrun Skår. Above you see Nina, photographed by Ellen T. Andresen aka Siso Designs, reading from her book like authors usually do but it was hilarious since she was reading from one of the 43 knitting patterns in her book. Everyone present knew knitspeak so we understood. Nina told us about her hunt for the mittens, and her visits to museums in 10 of Norway’s counties, as well as her online search. A total of 30 of the patterns are reconstructed based on historic materials while the remaining ones are her own designs. The history to the different mittens is beautifully presented in the book with brilliant photos by Guri Pfeifer. No wonder that the book is on the best seller list really. 17 500 copies are sold so far, hence the 3rd edition has just gone to print. I predict that it will be translated into English just like two of Nina’s previous books: Putefest/Cushion Party published as: Making Cushions and Pillows: 60 Cushions and Pillows to Sew, Stitch, Knit and Crochet as well as Raske Sting/Quick Stitches published as The Joy of Stitching. See The publisher Cappelen Damm predicted that the knitting wave would wane, but it does not show any signs of it here in Norway.

12615366_10156367027470361_8858140010843196765_oAnn-Heidrun Skår’s book about how to needle felt and crochet then felt Sitteunderlag/Mat Seat has just hit the book stores. Editor Kaja Marie Lereng Kvernbakken asked her about her inspiration and she told us how her family had assisted in the drawing process. A number of knitters, we were told did not want to use the mats as mat seats but used them instead as table mats. In the photo above, also photographed by Ellen T. Andresen, you see a large selection of her mat seats. Do read, with or without the aid of Google translate, Kaja Marie’s reply to what a knitter is at

MMP-8408There were a number of us fellow designers that wanted to attend Nina’s launch and many of us queued up so that Nina could sign our newly bought copies. We were chatting away at the end of the queue. Some had to leave to prepare their own upcoming book launch like: Vanja Blix Langsrud, see the cover on her & Tone Loeng’s book Koftefest. Vanja is also selling her own knitting calendar here: From left in the photo above, taken by my husband, is designer and translator Denise Samson and her friend & knitter Mona Helén Rønningsen, designer Ellen T. Andresen in a bought kofte and me wearing Sarya. Denise was just telling us about her hectic period before Christmas and her new book coming in April. The knitting wave definitely continues here in Norway.


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.


Strikketreff/Knitting Gathering

Exactly two years and one day after Aase Lynne (pictured right below) started the Facebook group: Strikkesida/Knitting page, 70 out of more than 29 000 members, met in Oslo for a knitting gathering on Sunday 16. July. Designer Denise Samson (pictured left below) convinced Aase that Frognerparken, a public park, might not be the best place due to the unreliable Norwegian summer weather, and hence found a great location for our gathering, next to the police HQ in Oslo. A small fee, paid for lunch: a delicious wrap and free supply of drinks, fruit as well as biscuits during the day. We received raffle tickets at the door, a small gift for all of us from the Hobbyklubben/Hobby Book Club which contained three handy small knitting zipped bags, needle gauge and a bracelet. I grabbed a chair, took out my knitting and chatted just like everyone else did! For once we did not have to ask if we could knit!

Denise welcomed us and introduced Aase who started this extremely popular Knitting group, with approximately 3 postings a minute! We had lunch before Denise gave a short talk about her entry into designing, how she turned her hobby into her living. I love the story about her company name Andre Boller/Other Buns a term which means: this is something else. The post box signs in her block of flats says Baker Samson and above it Andre Boller.

Stella Marie Tveter aka Stella Charming gave her presentation in auditorium, showed us a few of her designs available as kits at Strikkenett, an online shop, as well as how to adjust a garment to fit you perfectly. Based on the number of knitters photographing the screen at regular intervals I would say it was a very successful presentation! And, yes she is charming!

I on the other hand, showed a small selection of garments from my book and how you can wear them in different ways even upside down. I talked about my change of career and how my book came into being, before I demonstrated how to make hems and tucks with 2 sets of circular needles. If you missed it, see my video here: knitting-techniques-videos.

Raffle excitement grew, as Denise with the assistance of the youngest member present, aged 7, drew the winners. There were numerous books to be won, several translated into Norwegian by Denise, latest issue of the magazine MbyM and most popular of all: 6 yarn kits from Rowan Yarns, Bergere de France, Sandnes Garn, Viking Garn and Du Store Alpakka. Above are all the happy winners! One of the kits is for Denise’s latest design and available in this week’s issue (no 13) of Familen/The Family in Norwegian – the pink pullover you can glimpse in the photo to the left. We had a fabulous day! Thank you Aase and Denise for organizing, and to everyone who came!