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!


Bergen – The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum

I was so delighted when I was invited to give a presentation at Norsk Trikotasjemuseum/The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum at their knit night on Tuesday 28th. November, since it took me to Bergen on the west coast and close to Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk, which I had the opportunity to visit for the first time. Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, is known as the Gateway to the Fjords of Norway and a UNESCO World Heritage City – yes, it is stunning! The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum is located at Salhus, while Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk is at Hjelmås, both about 20 minutes outside of Bergen.  This first post is about Bergen and the Knitting Industry Museum, while the second one is about Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk – a Econo Musee – with their more than 100 year old machinery still in use.

Above are the views from my loft room at the Klosterhagen Hotel at Nordnes, in a lovely and quiet part of the city.

I arrived on a sunny day and Bergen is known for its heavy rain, so I had to take the opportunity to take the Fløibanen, the only funicular railway (read: incline railway) in Norway, that whisks visitors to the top of Fløyen, one of the seven mountains encircling Bergen, 320 meters above sea level. The ride is best described best by Matt Hickman: “Despite the relatively short 8-minute trip to the top, with three local stops on the way, this is one funicular ride many visitors wish would last forever. The views from the railway’s two panorama-windowed, glass-ceilinged cars, Rødhette (the red one) and Blåmann (the blue one), simply defy description. And once you reach the top, you may never want to come down”.

The view from the top of Mount Fløy late in the afternoon with the strong sunlight making dark shadows. This is just the view in one direction, it was impressive in the other directions too. There were a number of paths to go hiking and a large restaurant that is only open at weekends.

Bryggen, the old wharf, which you see in the background is the main attraction in Bergen. “In 1360, the German Hanseatic League set up one of its import and export offices at Bryggen, dominating trade for almost 400 years”. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I went down to the new wharf to check out the ferries to Knarvik, which I took on Wednesday morning, when I went to Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk. Managing Director Øyvind Myhr met me at Knarvik harbour and drove me the last bit to the factory. There are a large number of ferries going from Bergen, so I had to make sure I knew where it departed from. Luckily it was a short walk from my hotel.

This is the late afternoon view from my room.

The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum is located by the fjord, but there were no ferries going there, only a bus. I was fortunate enough to be able to take a taxi (read: the museum covered the cost) with my heavy suitcase filled with samples. Inside the old factory in a large open room with high ceilings and a view towards the fjord, is where I held my presentation. Unfortunately, I did not have time to join a tour of the museum, but you can see it on Kristy Glass Knits’ podcast here: YouTube.

 The museum is the former textile mill Salhus Tricotagefabrik (1859–1989), that mainly produced underwear. Today, they produce a small quantity of yarn and machine knitted garments for sale in their beautiful shop. This museum is also the venue for the Bergen Strikkefestival/Knitting Festival.

Yes, the shop was open during the knit night. Bring what you want to purchase to the coffee and cake till was the order of the evening. But most of the knitters attending seemed to be regulars and was at the museum frequently. I cannot blame them. It is such a lovely venue!

It was really the perfect gift shop with yarn, knitting magazines, books, knitted goods and some toys. As you can probably see from this photos it is a popular venue for photoshoots.

Present at my presentation was Berit who works at Hillesvåg and she had brought the samples from the factory in addition to yarn kits and brochures. I was very pleased to meet Berit again and I also spoke to a number of knitters present. I had a lovely evening. Thank you to The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum!