Norske Strikketradisjoner/Norwegian Knitting Traditions

Norske strikketradisjoner” is the title of Nina Granlund Sæther’s astonishing book, published by Gyldendal last autumn. Nina has dived down into history hunting for traces on how the knitting technique came to Norway, spread and became part of our national history and identity. She documents with text, numerous photos and textiles how Norwegians have dressed with layers of knitted garments from underwear to outerwear. Even back in 1865 the theologist and sociologist Eilert Sundt pointed out that the technique was useful for the poor and comfortable for the nobles, as well as equally relevant for young and old people.

Photo: Moment Studio

From the foreword, I have chosen three paragraphs that I have translated into English: “Textiles have always fascinated me. I learnt to knit before the age of five, and every since I have embraced everything related to knitting – whether it was new patterns and colourful yarns, or the story about a mitten or a pair of kneelength stockings for men with holes. When I at the beginning of 2016 said yes to writing this book, I had no idea what I let me self in for. I thought it would take me one year or so. Well, it was not that easy! The more I discovered, the more sources I found, the more I learnt hence I became even more eager to find more, diving even deeper into the material. This takes time. But oh my, how educational and fun it has been!”

“Many believes that the vikings could knit, but they could only do needle-binding. When you work needle-binding, you sew loops into each other. Hence you have to piece together lengths of yarn instead of using a continuous strand of yarn and that takes a lot more time.  The knitting history is surprisingly short. In our own country [Norway] the technique has been known for barely 400 years”.

“I have looked for traces in literature – in everything from large acknowledged printed matters to less known, local historical articles.  I have searched for dissertations from universities and colleges, and I have googled for church books and census online. I have flickered through hundreds of index cards and studied thousands of photos, both paintings and photographs. I have also visited museums and exhibitions all over Norway. Sometimes I have even been treasure hunting in museum storages. Hence even the garments themselves have been able to tell their story. Last, but not least, I have met a number of people who have had histories to tell or garments to show off.”

Photo: Knud Knudsen / Universitetsbiblioteket i Bergen

Here is one example; it shows stripy sweaters. You can see eight other photos from the book here: and inside the book here: Norske strikketradisjoner.

Now why stripes? Nina explains: “Over large parts of Europe seamen wore stripes during the 1800-century. Several artists have documented that stripy sweaters were in ordinary use all over Norway through the 1800-century. From Tysnesøen south of Bergen and Os there exists a number of pictures of stripy sweaters taken by the photo pioneer Knud Knudsen. «Parti fra Tysnesøen» is dated 1865-1875 and shows a group of five men and two boys, in addition to a small child who has sneaked in into the background”. She continues to tell us about the small differences in them and how they are made. See more here: here:

All the hundreds of photos in this book with its histories make it a treasure trove but also unlikely to be translated due to the cost of the photo rights. However the Norwegian edition is a treasure for anybody interested in knitting and its history.

I bought my copy directly from Nina, when we were both teaching at the Strikkehelg/Knitting Weekend at Geilo, but you can buy the Norwegian book directly from the publisher Gyldendal or selected book stores in Norway.


To raske pinner by Kristin Wiola Ødegård

DSCN0044Wednesday evening, I went together with talented designers: Nina Granlund Sæther (see blog, Denise Samson (see, May Britt Bjella Zamori (see one of her hats here: and Vanja Blix Langerud (see one of her “kofter” here: as well as Makeløs/Remarkable re-design stylist Kristin Elise Halkjelsvik (see pictures from one of her exhibitions here:, to the launch of Kristin Wiola Ødegård’s second book: To raske pinner/Two Speedy Needles at Gyldendal. An amazing feat to finish her second book in a year, and it is as stylish as her first: Strikk med raske pinner. We were joined by designer Sidsel Janne Høivik, Ellen Andresen (see and jewelry designer: Siri Berrefjord (see Siris Skattkammer) whose beautiful brooches Kristin has used on her garments. Even Editor-in-Chief Jan Swensson was suitably dressed in a cool garment from the 40 in the book, see above. Below you can see the end of the fashion show, that finished way too quickly since we all craved more, with Kristin at the back. Earthly tones, yoked jackets, chunky sweaters, funky accessories and all styled in Kristin’s vintage style with a trendy undertone.

10917790_819947854733069_4931690997410709564_oYou can see inside the book here: To raske pinner. Just as her last book, it is photographed by her daughter Sofie Ødegård while her other daughter is on the cover. The sweater worn by the man is based on the successful “Retro Kofta” (read: kofta = traditional jacket in colorwork) she designed for women in her previous book. You can find the book in selected book stores and online at e.g. Haugen Bok in Norway. Follow the updates to see if the book rights have been sold abroad on the Gyldendal Agency here:

KristinWiola2Even Jan Swensson could not resist making the joke that her next book will be published next year, and given the title; “Tre raske pinner/Three Speedy Needles”. It would not surprise me if Kristin did manage to deliver her third book within the year, but I am convinced that she would insist on a different title than the one suggested.


Knit Café at Gyldendal

10703625_10152515173638111_2434438183964977329_nI went to Saturday’s Knit Café at Gyldendal, where there were 3 workshops to choose from, samples from recent published books: “Strikkesidas favoritter”/Knittingpage’s favorites, “Voksne ingen adgang”/Kids only, and “Heklelyst”/Crochet desire, fashion show with designs mainly by Kristin Wiola Ødegard and Sidsel J. Høivik from each of their first books and the second ones to be published next year, raffle with proceeds going to the charity Kirkens Bymisjon/The Church City Mission. The banner above says “Come and Knit with Gyldendal, Open House, Knitting Day, Workshops, Knit café and more. Come and be inspired by our knitting book authors! From 15.00 Fashion show. Please someone who is dreading Christmas. We want to spread some light and warmth in the city at a time which is extra difficult for many. If you need a scarf, it is yours.” I met several knitters, editors and authors I know so I had an enjoyable afternoon in good company.

DSCN2037Here is one part of the presentation of the book “Voksne ingen adgang”/”Kids Only”  by Heidi Grønvold and Anna Enge – the women behind the yarn brand Pickles. This is the first book they have published at Gyldendal, but they have published books previously on their own.

DSCN2053Here is the end of the fashion show, with author Sidsel J. Høivik in the door entrance. As you can see it was a popular even with about 150 knitters present and the yarn shop Nøstet Mitt provided an essential shop stand, since not everyone had brought enough materials for the workshop. Some knitters did not need any excuse to buy more yarn.

DSCN2065Models wearing garments designed by Sidsel J. Høivik who held one of the three workshops on offer: Useful techniques and ideas to decorate your knitted garments. Bente Myhre held a workshop on crochet for beginners, while the Pickles girls held a workshop on their Islandsk Soloppgangsjal/Icelandic Sunrise Shawl and how to work the little crown stitch – which looks like a row of sunrises, see a useful video here:

DSCN2063Finally the two authors and designers: Kristin Wiola Ødegård with “Strikk med raske pinner” and Sidsel J. Høivik with “Lekre masker og lekne sting”. Kristin’s new book is out in January while Sidsel’s new book is out in August next year. We are all waiting with anticipation after this fashion show!


Strikkesidas Favoritter

strikkesida omslagFINALEHot off the press, is this book with 60 patterns made by members of the Facebook group Strikkesida/Knittingpage and selected by a jury, consisting of its founder and moderators: Aase Lynne, Kari-Anne Dal-Pedersen and Torill Strand, in addition to designer Sidsel J. Høivik and crafts editor at Gyldendal; Ann Kristin Nås Gjerde. The whole group, currently with 66 142 members, have been waiting for this book to be available in print, months after the submission details where posted in February this year. Initially, I had not planned to submit but Ann Kristin convinced me to do so since parts of the funds will go to Røde Kors/Red CrossKirkens Bymisjon/The Church City Mission and Frelsesarmeen/Salvation Army, plus that I will keep the publication rights to the pattern. Just before the initial deadline of 1st of March, I was in the middle of designing one series of designs for Made By Me so I opted for a set of wrist warmers and a cowl. The Cardigan on the cover is designed by Kristin Wiola Ødegård. See my review of her first book here: Strikk Med Raske Pinner.

DSC_2407The color I chose was Terracotta Red in the lovely yarn Embla-Hifa 3 – a pure wool. The set is knitted on a 4 mm/US 6 in the round, I chose a stitch pattern which resembles a lyre with both lace and cables. My design is one of the ones featured on the back cover, see above. The book contains a large variety of patterns for mittens; scarves; hats and headband; wrist warmers; socks and slippers; cushions; children’s dresses; sweaters for children, women and men; kitchen towels and cloths; blanket; dog sweater; trousers; vests, pouff cover; cardigan; boots cosy; briquettes cosy; skirt; plastic bag holder cosy; down mat cosy. See more inside the book here: Gyldendal.

DSC_2410-EditAll of us who were chosen to take part were asked to write a brief introduction, and include a portrait photo. The technical editor wanted to change from my use of a red box for the repeat to brackets outside which are more common in Norway, and I received a pdf of my pages for approval. None of the models used in the book are professional but all the pictures are taken by photographer Ann Sissel Holthe, aka Fat Monkey.

DSC_2413-EditIf you read Norwegian, you can take part in the draw of a yarn kit for the cardigan on the cover ,and the Flagglue by subscribing to the publisher’s craft blog: Puff and post & share a comment on Facebook about it, see Puff.


Strikk til smårollinger

Strikk-til-smaarollinger_hd_imageKnitting clothes for small children is the English translation of this charming book by two sisters; Eli Østgård and Mette Harbo, who have 11 children together, and hence are very focused on children’s fashion and especially knitting. Together with their third sister, they have a popular blog called GustavogBerta, where you can see their retro style inspired by their own mother, and the outfits they wore as children. The book contains 50 patterns for children at the age of 0 to 6 years, in a classical, or modern or retro style in different difficulty levels. It is a book to treasure with stunning photos, taken by different photographers including the sisters themselves, that makes you smile, and wanting to dress up all the small children you know in these outfits. Take a look inside the book here: Issuu. The book is available in selected bookshops in Norway and directly from the publisher Gyldendal. You will find one of the patterns for a pleated skirt in Norwegian on Gyldendal’s blog, together with Easter Greetings, see Puff.Gyldendal.


Strikk med raske pinner by Kristin Wiola Ødegård

Strikk-med-raske-pinner_hd_imageKnit with speedy knitting needles is a direct translation of Kristin Wiola Ødegård’s first knitting book title recently published by Gyldendal, containing 44 easy and playful patterns. In her preface she writes: “I love large, soft sweaters and jackets that can be worn with anything, hats in cool colors which make a simple outfit exciting, and chunky cowls that do not itch. In Strikk med raske pinner, I have gathered my favorites of lovely knitting garments that can easily be combined with your wardrobe. My vision has been to make a knitting book that can inspire the reader to make simple garments found in the fashion of today.” I have no doubt that is has been a fun project, as Kristin writes, since both her daughters have supported, and assisted her. Ida has been a stunning model, together with 3 others, and Sofie has beautifully photographed the entire book. The original setting; at a garage with its bare brick and concrete walls makes a perfect setting for all the soft knits as well as the borrowed tractor. The book launch was last Saturday, and it was packed with 200 people attending, not wanting to miss the fashion show; the yarn store Nøstet Mitt‘s stand; the opportunity to both see the garments close, and to win prizes such as yarn kits and ready made hats.


This delicate yoked sweater is knitted in Alpaca Mix from Drops in a main color with 5 contrast colors and decorative beads, using a 4.5 mm/US 7. It was the most popular yarn kit donated by Tjorven, the yarn shop, where Kristin works. She is well aware over how much remains most knitters have in their stash, and encourages everyone to play with them to make your own yarn by working several strands at the same time. Why not add another strand when you need to add width instead of increasing? See the glimpse of the red multi coloured dress in the last photo; you start working the skirt from the hip using 2 strands and a 7 mm/US 10.75, add another strand and change to a 10 mm/US 15, then finally add a fourth strand and change to a 15 mm/US 19. A crocheted edge graces the long dress.

side17_SØMarvelous leaf pattern combined with garter stitch in a chunky yarn gives this poncho with long sleeves, and hat a fabulous stitch definition. Both are knitted in a mole coloured Eskimo from Garnstudio using a 8 mm/US 11 needles. There are numerous other hats to choose from and they proved so popular at the book launch that Nøstet Mitt sold out of  Puno Alpakka from Rauma. The yarn is also one of the options for the cowl on the cover.

gyldendal_visningKristin designs, and makes clothes too, and decided to make all the clothes for the fashion show on the book launch. She is number four from the right, her daughter Ida is number two from the right. No wonder that Kristin’s second book will be published next year, really! Until then, I suggest you enjoy her first, and learn from the Knitting and Crochet School at the back. You will find more photos here: Gyldendal.



Sidsel J. Høivik Book Launch & Knit Night on TV


Inspiring knitting gathering this coming Saturday at Gyldendal, the publisher of Sidsel J. Høivik’s book “Lekre masker og Lekne Sting”/Gorgeous stitches and playful stitching. I have been waiting for this book launch where Sidsel will present her book, garments will be displayed, yarn and books will be available for sale. Refreshments and free entrance, so there is no reason for not going in other words. Here is my review of the beautiful book lekre-masker-og-lekne-sting, that came out in June, and here are photos from the amazing space at Gyldendal: knit-cafe-at-gyldendal-publishing-house. I am looking forward to this and to the National Knitting Night on Friday, a slow television program with 10 hours of televised knitting from 20.00 to 06.00, see slow-tv-norwegian-movement-nrk. NRK is working on streaming the program online, according to their Head of Social Media, due to the enormous response for all over the world. I will post the link when it is available, see message from Head of Social Media below; on how you can follow and talk to them. In the meantime here is the trailer with English sound: nrk.


Lekre masker og lekne sting

Gorgeous stitches and playful stitching is the title of Designer Sidsel J. Høivik’s new book, stunningly photographed by Anne Helene Gjelstad and recently published in Norwegian by Gyldendal. The book is like a treasure trove filled with inspiration, it is made with the intention not only to knit but also to simply enjoy each garment and each photo. “What makes knitting fantastic is that you make everything from scratch; out of one single thread. It is the closest you can come to magic!”, a great introduction to this spellbinding book. Sidsel learned to knit as a four year old and has never stopped since. Indeed, after completing a four year degree at Accademia di Costume e di Moda in Rome, Sidsel designed even more beautiful garments for yarn companies and magazines – see sidsel-j-hoivik, on Facebook: sidselhoivikcom and on Ravelry. But this is her first book and Photographer Anne Helene Gjelstad herself a former designer with a unique vision – see annehelenegjelstad – was Sidsel’s choice. And what a team they make!

Above is one of Sidsel’s favorites a poncho with set in sleeves, knitted in a pure alpaca; Inca by Rauma with a thin mohair; Plum and fashion yarns; Beo and Concorde for the bubble/popcorn crocheted edges. The collar is attached at the neck but could easily be made into a cowl and worn on its own together with the hat.

I adore this cropped Bolero with a long top underneath in a delicate beige wool Finull by Rauma held together with a fine kid mohair; Plum, knitted in cables and rows of eyelets on a stocking stitch background, edged by garter stitch.

The cover photo is a popular design based on the traditional Fana pattern given a modern remake by Sidsel; Fritt etter Fana/Freely after Fana, worn with one of several crocheted necklaces, made of flowers delicately attached by mother of pearl buttons to a chiffon ribbon.

The book contains 50 patterns including accessories, a few matching patterns for girls and babies, great sketches, advices and tips; covering  an amazing 254 pages. No wonder it has hit the best seller lists! Who would not, want to be inspired?

The book is available in most bookstores in Norway, and can be ordered from Gyldendal, their information in English pages will add the book details, this summer: Agency.