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!


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.


Pickles’ New Shop in Oslo

I have finally managed to visit the new Pickles’ new yarn shop at Grünerløkka in Oslo. It is bright, airy and tidy unlike their previous shop but that was their in their warehouse, so no wonder really. Pickles is the designers Heidi Grønvold and Anna Enge, who set up in 2009. The shop is not huge, but their website and sales are, due to several reasons I believe: A popular blog with easy and fun patterns, in Norwegian and English, with little finishing and beautifully photographed. They offer one of the pattern sizes for free while you buy and download the pattern for any other size. A huge selection of yarn at reasonable prices; the brand Abuelita from Paraguay in addition to their own brand. The shop was buzy on a Friday afternoon, during my visit, but I did notice that they had iPads for loan and comfy chairs so you could easily check out your pattern at Very impressive, I thought! Here are more photos from the shop and a blog post on the opening: hurra-hooray.

A popular new pattern, at least according to the Norwegian Facebook group Strikkesida is Garland Sweater-poncho,where size L/XL is available for free, see: garland-sweater-poncho. In addition they also offer kits with pdf pattern and yarn, knitting equipment and buttons. I was attracted to Pickles Merino Tweed, see bottom shelf in the photo above or more here: pickles-merino-tweed. The bottom shelf in the shop had Pickles Extra Fine Merino, just to let you know what is outside the photo. So, well worth a visit when in Oslo!