Bergen Strikkefestival 2019

I was delighted to be invited to hold workshops and a talk at the Bergen Strikkefestival in 2019 at the Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum at Salhus about 20 minutes outside of Bergen by the Salhusfjord. Michael had never been to Bergen, so he wanted to come along. I had already heard about the well organised event and the delicious food on offer before I arrived. That was no exaggeration, by any means. For the first time, I had access to a Backstage Room and used it well, since the knitting cafe was packed most of the time with a high level of buzz in addition to clicking knitting needles. I met a number of knitters I knew during the even and even spotted designers Marianne Skatten & Rasa Ziburkute, aka Galgen Design, on the same plane, flying from Oslo to Bergen.

The festival began on last Friday 27. September with an Opening Party including a concert with Sigrid Moldestad (vocals & fiddle), a talk by Pickles & Dagny about colour choices in their patterns and a knitting quiz. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert which was a perfect ending to the party. Pickles had encouraged knitters to wear their garments knitted from their recent book and it was fun especially to see all these women on the stage in different colours all wearing different versions of the same dress.

The opening party took place in the Spoleloft/Winding Attic, with seating at the front and tables along the sides of all the old machinery. I saw Rasa walk by, so she and Marianne came to join us. We knitted and chatted through the evening. Marianne was wearing my design Yellow Gold Pullover, Rasa her own design Royal Cardi and I was wearing the Damara Skirt as a poncho. Michael took most of these photos, but I am better at photographing the yarn stands as you can see below.

For dinner I had the lasagne on offer and it was delicious as if I was in an Italian restaurant! You could also have Norwegian homemade waffles or a selection of homemade cakes. On the menu for Saturday and Sunday was two different soups: Indian Dal Soup and Beta Soup (a vegetable soup) and freshly made baguettes instead of the Lasagne. I choose the Indian Dal Soup both days, enough said.

My talk on Digital Strikking/Knitting was moved to the same location on the Saturday afternoon since there was a cancelled talk. They had a technician giving me a microphone, but I had Michael to assist on setting up my laptop. I talked about my social media experience, how much the internet has changed knitting with events such Knit-A-longs and Test Knitting on Ravelry, technical videos and Podcasts on YouTube as well as all the useful dictionaries as tips to be found these days. My experience with the different pattern sales platforms and magazine submissions. I was thrilled with the comments afterwards that it had been a revelation packed with useful information and very professional.

The festival volunteers made sure I was driven to and from the festival so I did not have to take the two buses to get there. 9 AM on Saturday, Michael and I was picked up outside our hotel – the festival hotel Augustin close to the harbour. I was quick to spot Julie Dubreux, aka JulieKnitsInParis, at breakfast since her hair is bright blue and introduced myself. We went in the second car, while the third car had to carry one extra suitcase, and were driven to the door. We had a lovely chat on the way there and will meet up again at Barcelona Knits. Below you see us in the Market Hall, Julie is wearing her Tuva’s Arrows and I am wearing my Aife, in case you were wondering.

I had booked the chartered festival ferry going back to Bergen at 6 PM, since it was so tempting to travel on the fjord. It also gave me some time to check out the Market Hall after my talk.

Flettestrikk Masterclass/Cable Knitting Masterclass was my first workshop, held on Saturday morning at the Strikkeloft/Knitting Attic. Again a very atmospheric large room with a view of the fjord. It was nice to meet knitters I have met at other festivals, that I knew as well as new ones. I had an hour in between the workshop and the talk so I had lunch Backstage. The photo above is from Japanske Mønstre/Japanese Patterns workshop I had on Sunday and you see Rasa wearing her Lithuanian Lily Cardigan at the front.

Here is the view from down along the inner wall.

The view towards the fjord from the Backstage room. Bergen is know for all its sideways rain as it is on the west coast of Norway, but we were lucky and sunshine one day and only a few scattered showers the next day.

I had to photograph all the lovely yarns on display at Norne Yarn where I found Julie again. The yarns are dyed by Tuva, who is an indie-dyer based in Oslo, to the left in the photo above.

Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk is located quite close to Salhus, at Hjelmås, so they had a stand. I had asked them bring more brochures and they had. I met the “Princess” as she introduced herself as from the Faroe Island there. Above you see her flicking through the latest brochure. She knew my designs and book well, I was happy to hear.

Saturday night, Michael and I had another nice evening with Marianne and Rasa. I had brought my knitting, but I got very little knitting done, as usual! Above is another photo from the Market Hall, of Ystabø Gull, taken late Saturday afternoon when it was possible to walk around in there. I had a wonderful weekend! Thank you to all the knitters, designers and yarn dyers I met! Well done, Bergen Strikkefestival!


Oslo Strikkefestival 2019

I have spent an exciting weekend at Oslo Strikkefestival/Knitting Festival and since I was not teaching I had the opportunity to sign up to workshops but due to the packed program it was difficult to choose. Last time I attended a workshop was at Strik Bornholm in 2014 with Norah Gaughan. I picked three in the end, all held in English by; Canadian Artist/Maker Arounna Khonnoraj, aka Bookhou; American Designer Renate Yerkes, aka Elephino PDX; and American designer Jennifer Steingass, aka I have learnt several tips on the Social Media front, how to work double knitting and more in depth on colorwork design. Above you can see the Lain’amouree stand.

I discovered new yarns at the Market Place, got to fondle quite a number of lush yarns, met designers, knitters and yarn producers. I stopped Eli, aka Skeindeer, to introduce myself and I spotted Stephen West in his colourful designs. The festival was held at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History at Bygdøy, in the different historic buildings with the main attraction being the Gol Stave Church dating back to 1200. Like most of the tourists, I preferred to take the ferry from Aker Brygge/Wharf instead of the very full bus. Above is the Garthenor stand. “Garthenor Organic have produced exclusively organic yarn in the UK since 1999, being the first company in the world to gain organic certification for wool yarns from sheep to skein in 2003. They offer lovely certified organic, breed specific, fully traceable yarns in dyed and undyed shades. Nothing less than gorgeous!”

Instead of travelling from Ørje both days, I chose to stay with my mum in Oslo for the weekend. The market hall on the first day on Saturday was packed and with a queue to get into the second room. I spotted designer Kristin Wiola Ødegård in the queue and I exchanged position with her relieved husband. Below is another photo from “Lain’amouree is a hand dyed luxury wool brand from France offering a wide variety of soft and exclusive wools ranging from baby alpaca and silk, through mohair and merino, to yak and baby camel. Their colour palette is soft and delicate, and every colour has its own story— revealing itself stitch by stitch”.

While I was looking at yarns at the French Lain’amouree, Øyvind & Anette from Hillesvåg walked in together with designer Sidsel Høivik. They were heading for a talk by Erling Digernes of Rauma Ullvarefabrikk and I decided to join them. I enjoyed seeing old photographs of the factory and hearing about their production process.

After the talk I saw designer Marianne Skatten and her designer friend Rasa Ziburkute, aka galgendesign, who I met last time at Fefor Strikkefestival. We are all wearing our own designs in the rain. I asked if I could join them for lunch. We headed towards the coffee shop next to the entrance at the museum. It was packed with knitters and a fab place for sweater spotting.

Marianne and I had both booked the Social Media workshop, so we headed there after lunch. There were about 20 of us attending the class so we had ample opportunity to ask questions during Arounna’s presentation and after it. The workshop ended with her commenting on a few of the Instagram pages to some of the volunteers. I also had time for a quick spin in the knitting history exhibition at the museum and that is what you can spot above. Below is the full listing of the workshops I attended. I so enjoyed meeting these designers and learning new techniques, tips and ideas!

  1. Arounna Khonnoraj, Bookhou — Social Media and Marketing your Business Online.
  2. Renate Yerkes, Elephino PDX — Two Sides to This Story: The Dynamic World of Double Knitting.
  3. Jennifer Steingass — Introduction to Colorwork Design.

For the first time I could look at the bright coloured Garnsurr yarns. They had a stand outside in the courtyard. Here is the introduction from the Market Hall listing: “Garnsurr is a Norwegian social entrepreneurship hiring refugee women. The women in Garnsurr dye yarn for sale, knit and learn Norwegian, so this truly is hand dyed yarn with a purpose. They offer beautifully hand dyed yarn in unusual and often surprising combinations—a real colour explosion!”

Værbitt also had a stand in the courtyard. Above you see Laila’s friend looking after the shop while she was holding a workshop. The four last skeins on all rows are hand dyed on Sølje by Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk. Here is the introduction to Værbitt from the Market Hall listing: “Værbitt Garn is an Oslo-based indie dyery working their colour magic on no-nonsense wool, aka yarn bases that are locally produced here in Norway. With great care for the environment they make sure the yarn is short travelled and made from the wool of happy sheep wandering freely.”

I also met Sophie from Pom Pom, who took a photo of my holding up last issue 27 issue 27 Winter 2018 magazine with my design Ataraxia for their Instagram story. The weather only cleared up later in the evening after the festival ended on Sunday at 5 PM. I went back to the centre on the ferry and had a walk on Aker Brygge/Wharf where a boat festival was ending and the boats were leaving. My head has been buzzing for a few days now, but my what a knitting festival it was! Oslo is a Knitting Capital, I agree with Ronja Cecilie Moås! Thank you for a fantastic festival!


Prescott Pullover Knitted by Marianne Skatten

 For the second time around, I am showing one of my designs that Marianne Skatten has knitted, the first one was Halli, which she wore to the  Strikkefestivalen/Knitting Festival in Fredrikstad. Instead of making the Prescott Pullover, Marianne decided to modify it into a dress, by adding more ribbing in the sides and purl stitches in the ribbing for waist shaping. Marianne told us about her plans in the Prescott Pullover Knit-A-Long thread, I set up in my Ravelry group last autumn, just after the pattern was published in Interweave Knits Fall 2018. Marianne made size medium but used a different yarn, Holst Supersoft Wool held together with the discontinued Holst Samarkand Uld/silke, that resulted in a different gauge, hence she had to re-calculate the pattern as well. I have seen Marianne wearing the dress, at Wenche Roald’s book launch at Cappelen Damm, and it looks stunning on her. Marianne has inspired others to make a similar dress too.

Marianne has written a detailed description of her modifications on her project page: Here is one of her points: “I like to knit in the round, so that I don’t have to sew together the sleeves and front and back pieces. I have therefore reworked the pattern for both the sleeves and the body, to be made in the round. I did not knit the sleeves together with the body, which is what I would normally do, but made set in sleeves as the pattern calls for.”

Marianne also wanted a close fitting turtle neck. She explains: “To accomplish this I moved the front neck line 5 cm upwards, compared to the front neck line in the pattern. I did not make any adaptions when placing the back neck line”. Thank you so much, Marianne!

The gorgeous cable is designed by Dorota Kowalczyk, aka devorgilla on Ravelry. The English pattern to the Prescott Pullover is included in the Interweave Knits Fall 2018 magazine and available in a digital edition as well as a print edition.


Strikkefestivalen/Knitting Festival in Fredrikstad 2018

For the 3rd time the Strikkefestivalen/Knitting Festival was organised in Fredrikstad Old Town, the oldest fortified town in Norway (founded in 1567) and in the Nordic countries and one of the best-preserved fortress towns in Northern Europe (see more photos from two years ago here). I arrived on Friday by train from Oslo, in the aftermath of a hurricane (read: extremely windy and wet), and did wonder whether the city ferry to the old town was running. It was, but the rocking sensation did make it feel more like being on the ferry to Denmark, crossing the North Sea. Thankfully, the ferry only takes a few minutes to cross the river Glomma. Due to the extreme weather, there were less knitters visiting the market hall on the Friday, than last year. So I did manage to have a good look, but did not buy anything (read: very well done). I walked over to the Commandor’s building, where all the workshops were held, met a few knitters I recognised from last year, to find designer Tove Fevang since both of us were staying with organiser and founder of the travel agency Explore Travel; Marit Larsen. But before we headed home to Marit, we went to the Official Opening Event taking place in what would be the Knit Café for the event, in the Cloth House (another former military building, now housing the museum and premises for rent). A place perfect for drinking wine and knitting. Take a look at the video (above) the festival made for volunteers and get a better idea of the idyllic old town setting. Actually, more than 90 volunteers did participate this year.

Tove and I had wine at Marit’s house. Yes, Marit found us chatting in the kitchen when she came home a few hours later. Tove held her third while I held my first workshop on Saturday morning from 10 am to 1 pm. It was the first time for my Beginners Cable Knitting workshop and it went well. One of the knitters that had signed on, had actually done my Masterclass in Cable Knitting, the year before and first thought she would do it again but decided to try a different workshop, even though they were in the opposite order than I had planned. I met some of the other designers present; Helle Siggerud and Kari Hestnes, during the lunch break. Both had exhibits in the museum during the festival, and so did Tove. It is always fun to see the designs on a mannequin and not only in a photo online.

Tove and I had lunch at the Knit Café. We met several of the volunteers we knew from last year as well as knitters. My second workshop was fully booked hence the afternoon went quickly. After 6 hours of teaching, Tove and I were on the lookout for an open café in the old town. We quickly realised that all the cafés were closed after 6 pm on a Saturday, since Tove drove down nearly all the streets to find one. We did enjoy looking for one, though. So instead we headed for the Knitting Evening, took out our knitting, chatted and waited impatiently for the food. At our table was Anna, who is a doctor by profession, but also the owner of Anna’s Angora, see above. Yes, she has 120 angora rabbits as well as other animals at her croft.

Our table did not win the quiz, our defence is that a number of the questions were not knitting related. The winning table received goody bags with knitting and crochet magazines from the Norwegian magazine Familien as well as sweeties. During the evening we ate delicious tapas, then chocolate and cookies for desert. Tove and I continued the party with wine at Marit’s house. Just as the day before, Marit did come home to join us, late at night. Even after we had decided to go to bed, we kept talking in Tove’s room. I was grateful that the workshops started at 11 am on Sunday so we could get a few hours of sleep beforehand.

More than 4500 persons visited the festival on the first 2 days, so the number of visitors has increased year after year. On Sunday morning I held my third and last workshop, while Tove held a talk. This was another new workshop, called Perfect Fit. Signed on to take part was a friend of mine from Facebook, Marianne Skatten, who walked into the room wearing my design Halli. Marianne has worn it ever since she finished knitting it, I am proud to say. Especially since Marianne designs herself. Take a look at her blog: She is also taking part in the ongoing Prescott Pullover KAL. Talking to Marianne in the previous photo is Anne, who attended my workshop in Cable Knitting Masterclass last year. I had a fabulous weekend; enjoyed meeting knitters, holding workshops and seeing friends! My host Marit, I will see next at Røros, at the Knitting Weekend in October.