About living a creative life in a small commuity approximately 300 kilometres above the Arctic Circle

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas time continued

Hello again. This time I'm reporting from Trondheim, where my mother lives. We came here the 27th and we are going to stay until the 2nd of January. I'm blogging on a really slow connection and was very excited if I would be able to upload images at all, but that went fairly well. I'm also using another imaging program and don't know if the image quality is as well as I think it should be. But nevertheless, I wanted to share some of the Christmas projects I've made for my mother earlier.

The potholders was made with the Tri-Recs ruler and is the only project I ever finished with that one. I'm not a fan about those fast-and-easy rulers which promise you quick and accurate piecing, and I have stopped nuying them. I own only a couple sets. Maybe I will try them sometimes later, but for now I prefer to handpiece this shape.

The second project originates from a wallhanging I once saw. It had lovely tulip blocks and I tried to memorize them for later use. I'm not sure if I remembered it correctly, but this Christmas version isn't bad at all, I think. I've made an Advent version also.

Christmas time is a time for games and fun. We play a game that's known as Ludo here in Norway, I don't know the English name, but you can see how the inner center of the board looks. This was the final result of today's game and if you wonder who won, it was my DH (who played with the yellow pieces).


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It's Christmas Time!

It's time to sit down and review this year's Christmas. In Norway, we continue the celebration tomorrow also, but the most serious part of the celebration is over. When I was a child, Christmas Day wasn't something dealed (dealt?)with easily. We were never allowed to go out and play with other kids. It was a family day. We 've kept it like that this year also, visiting a my husbands aunt and an uncle of him that I've never seen before. He's a musician like both my husband and I, so it was really nice to finally meet him. (My husband and I have been together for more than 13 years.)

As you may know, our main celebration here in Norway is Christmas Eve. We had a nice dinner and then we handed out the gifts. We gave my father-in-law a creative present. He got needles and yarns and he started almost immediately to work on the scarf I prepared. He's 88 years old and I think he's a really good sport taking the challenge I've given him.

When it comes to my crafting, I'm not doing much. I even left home without anything to do. I needed a break. That break lasted for two days. So now I'm crocheting plate coasters. I hope to make at least 4 within the next week.

Have a nice Christmas everyone!


Sunday, December 17, 2006


There are alot of 'Finallys' to report today. First of all, I'm blogging again. Have not felt like blogging at all lately. In fact, haven't felt like doing much at all for the last two weeks. I blame it on the Polar Nights. They have affected me more than usual, so next year I'll be more prepared. But now I'm back! Hopefully on a more regular blogging basis.

Today we finally got some snow also. When we woke up this morning, the ground was covered with 4 inches of snow. We went for a walk and it continued to snow for the hour our walk lasted. The weather forecast antecipates that it will disappear on Tuesday, but they've been wrong before....

Another 'Finally' is holiday. I played the last Military Church Service on Thursday and gave the last lessons on Friday. There is only a gathering with my students for pizza and soda on Tuesday, but I do not count that as work :-) Now I have two and a half weeks of just practicing by myself. No teaching, no rehearsals and no concerts.

And finally there is quilting progress. I've worked on my Dear Jane and made several blocks. On the picture you see how my Dear Jane looks at the moment. If you want to take a closer look at each block, please visit my website.


Friday, December 08, 2006

My new voice

Meet my new voice! (picture from www.selmer.fr). The picture shows what I went to Oslo, the capitol of Norway, yesterday to collect. My old bassclarinet was 10 years old and marked after several years of solid use. So earlier this year I applied to my employees to substitute it with a new instrument. I also applied for a new Bb-clarinet and to my pleasure, I was granted both. Since I mostly play the bass, I decided to deal with that first. So when an instrument maker I know went to Paris earlier this week, he got the mission to find a really good instrument for me. He came home with two, and yesterday I travelled down to Oslo to audition them. I liked one of them more than the other and decided to go for it. It's scary though to take that decision. It's not a cheap instrument and for me it has to be able to express my musical intentions and feelings. So I hope I can be comfortable with this new voice of mine.

I haven't started practicing on it yet. Had to play a military cermon in a church 120 kilometres from here today, but tomorrow I will spend alot of time with the work of art that an instrument of this quality is.

Because the instrument came out cheaper than expected, there was some money left over. I've bought new mouthpieces, reeds and other accesories that will help me find my new musical voice.

And if you wonder about my quilting, I will get back to it someday soon....


Monday, November 20, 2006

Polar Nights are near

It's getting darker every day now. The picture (my husband's) shows how it is at the brightest nowadays, and soon the sun won't rise at all. I notice it on my sleep pattern. Waking up in the middle of the night is not an exception and I guess my mood is more depressed than normal. I thought I should be used to it after almost twenty years above the Arctic Circle, but that's not a fact. In fact, I get just as surprised every year this happens. The only thing that helps is seeing the sun, so I'm looking forward to going further south for Christmas

The crib quilt is pieced and marked. I discovered that I was out of batting, so today I went to town to buy some. To keep me occupied I started a new knitting project yesterday. The mitten production makes alot of colourful scraps so I decided to do something with them also. This time the colours aren't coordinated; I'm just making a 'scrappy' striped 'fabric'. What it will be, I don't know. Maybe a bag, maybe a scarf of maybe one row in a knitted afghan.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Look, she's sewing!

I'm finally sewing again. A new project is on my table. A pair of colleagues of my husband and myself got their third child last week. Already in March, when she told us about the pregnancy, I asked if she wanted me to make a cribquilt for her. She accepted and I started to plan. I wanted to make something unique for her and that was incredibly difficult. I guess I've been procrastinating all this time, but last week, when the baby boy was born, I decided to really give it some attention.

This is what I'm going for. The coloured fabrics are from my Jinny Beyer collection. I'm putting a 4.5 inch teal border outside this center. I plan to quilt teddies in the beige centers and otherwise do some lines diagonally in the coloured squares. Hopefully it will be ready within the beginning of December.

This one has been a really pain to figure out, so I guess it's right, the saying that states that being an artist is 5 percent talent and 95% hard work....

(Photo: my husband)


Sunday, November 12, 2006

I'm still here!

Finally I feel like blogging again. I haven't done much quilting lately, feeling like I have a quilter's block, but today I started a project which have been bothering me for the last two weeks. I'm making a crib quilt for a colleague and I haven't known which design to choose. I'll take some pictures when I see that this project is really going the right way.

But I can at least present a finished project. I have redone my webpage and I'm quite satisfied with the result. Take a look at www.ingahelenejuul.no to see what I've been up to.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Home, sweet home

I'm finally back home again. It has been an exhausting week with lots of travelling and lots of concerts. I've played 13 concerts in 8 days, and the bands total amount is 19, so it hasn't been any vacation. It's all about getting up, eating, travelling, practicing, preparing for concert, play the concert, get to sleep in a new bed every night and so forth. Not much time to be alone and definately not much time to sew. The only sewing I did was fixing a colleague's torn lining in his jacket pocket ;-). I've knitted a pair and a half of mittens and I did find some lovely alpacca yarn, which I will try.

I mentioned in my last post that we were on a cruise ship. This tour was a joint venture with the shipping company that runs Hurtigruten and most of the travelling were supposed to be done by coastal steamers. Due to changes in the sailing directories, we had to do some of the travelling by bus and speed boat. One day was especially cruel. The bus went 5.20 am and then there was a nearly 4 hour spead boat trip that started at 6.45 am. We had to get up at 4.15 am!

But there was a reward for the early awakening. We were able to watch the sun rise over some of the most beautiful landscapes you can see in Norway. I'm posting some of the pictures I shot that day. Enjoy!


Saturday, October 14, 2006

On tour in Lofoten

Hi all. I've been a lousy blogger lately, but life and job has disturbed ;-). Right now I'm sitting in a comfy chair at MS Finnmarken, a ship that travels up and down the Norwegian coast. It's both a cruise ship and a way of transportation for the local people along the coast. I'm on the boat due to work. We're on tour with our band, and today we've been playing a total of 11 concerts on board the ship ( I've played 5). Tomorrow we're leaving the boat to drive bus for a couple of days.

Today we passed through Raftsundet and entered Trollfjord in Lofoten. I thought I should share the view with you all. Enjoy!


Monday, October 02, 2006

New month - new UFO

October is here and I'm ready to start working on new UFO's. Today I've been marking a redwork piece for quilting. I started this in 2000, and the embroidery has been lying around since spring 2001. I made borders earlier this year, and now it's time to finish it.

To mark it, I prefer using the floor as working table. In our living room, there is space enough to mark and baste quite large quilts. My husband's so used to it that he doesn't mind. He actually used today's working session as an opportunity to test out some camera functions. I'm not too happy to be portrayed with glasses , bit I think today's photos came out quite nice.

The other picture (also taken by my husband) shows the top before basting. I was thinking about doing a more complicated border at first, but have decided to leave that for another redwork of my own design. The embroidery is by the way taken from an American Patchwork and Quilting Magazine issue in 2000.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

One stitch at a time

I'm in the middle of this ogre. A chrocheted bed spread, where the crochet is finished and the remaining work is "only" sewing it together. Only what?!?!?!? I did some simple math. It's eight seams. Every row consists of 334 rows. There is 2 stiches in every row and that means four stiches in every seam pr row. If my brain still works, that means a total of 10688 stiches. It seems almost impossible to this within reasonable time, but I have already completed one and a half row this week, so maybe within October?

Another ogre is a nosegay quilt I started on one and a half year ago. It's one 12 inch block set on point with an Amish kind of border. Every time I look at it, I wonder where on earth was I when I chose the fabrics for the border. The block is 1930-ish and the border is not. But I've decided to finish it. It's hand sewn so I'm going to hand quilt it. And I'll give it to my uncle who needs something to put on his walls. I know it will be appreciated despite that I'm not satisfied with the colours.

The miniature version of Liberty Flowers is finished and delivered to my brother. He and his wife where satisfied. Pictures are on my other camera and will come when I remember to download them


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saturday afternoon

Photo: My husbandIt's Saturday afternoon and time to relax. I've spent the day doing house chores, preparing next week's program for the two concerts we're giving (Mozart, Smetana and a couple of Norwegian contemporary composers) and quilting on the Liberty Flowers. We also had a photosession to take pictures of the two wristbands I've designed and knitted last week. It took some time before we found the ideal setting but finally we decided that the piano made a perfect background. I've been wanting a piano since I was 7 and when we finally bought one three years ago, it was one of my biggest dreams come true. I'm not a great pianist, but I can accompany my students and even play some pieces with my husband, who's also a professional musician. He plays the flute.

Here is also a picture of the tablerunner you got a sneak peak of earlier. I'm going to make potholders and place mats also. And when we're talking about sneak peaks:

Jodie, will you please send me your postal address? Because you were right about embroidering spoons and other cutlery on the project from last post. There's a small gift waiting for you here above the Arctic Circle.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sneak peak on project

The quilting on Liberty Flowers is going fine. I'm done with half of it and hope to post a finished result within a week or so. I'm also hoping to finish the crocheted bed spread this month. It has been a long time since I started it, more than three years, but I finally see the end.

Today's picture gives you a sneak peak on what I'm planning to take up next. I have a redwork embroidery which I wanted to make pieced borders for. I made one border, took a look at it and decided no, this won't work. So I've decided to use it as the centre of a table runner. The borders will be white linen and I will use red silk thread and embroider something in the borders. What it will be is a secret, but you all have it in your kitchen....


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another finish

The UFO-pile is diminishing. Yesterday I could mark off another project as finished. Do you remember the project in this post? One of the postcard quilts is finally finished. I appliqued the handpieced 4 x 6 inch block in the middle onto a piece of fabric and then handquilted it. It's a bit hard to see the quilting, but I've quilted a large maple leaf in the colourful centre. I've also quilted lines 1/4 inch apart from each other. In the outer border I've quilted smaller leafs.

I don't know if I'm fully satisfied with this piece. I like the composition and I think the colours in the middle section stand out well. What I'm not so sure about is the quilting. Maybe I should have appliqued some leaves in autumn colours instead of quilting them and then just do stipple quilting? But I've decided to just let it be like it is. I'll learn from the experience and hopefully will I be more satisfied with my next postcardquilt project.

Monday, September 04, 2006


The calendar says September and most of the work routines are back to normal. Concert season hasn't startet though, so I still have some nice days where I can do some sewing between my daily exercises on the intrument. Today's first picture is an old UFO, started more than three years ago. I came over a pattern for the heart shaped placemats by the Danish designer Helene Juul in a Norwegian quilting magazine. I did think I could finish them before Valentine's Day (and I probably could have done it also) but back then I was too impatient and put them aside. They have been only in my mind around the12th of February every year, knowing that I wouldn't finish them for Valentine's Day this year either :-). After I completed the table runner last week, I thought is was time to try to finish them before our (my Husband and me) 13th anniversary later this month. I know I postponed to finish them because of the shape and getting the backing fit nicely in the "cleavage", but it wasn't hard to do at all.

The second picture shows the miniature version of Liberty Flowers my brother has commisioned. Each block is 4" and the quilt will finish 24x24 inch. It's basted and ready to be hand quilted.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Finished stuff - webwise

I've been a good girl lately. Not starting anything new and not buying anything I really don't need. The table runner is finished and photos will come later. I've dug up a three year old UFO, two place mats shaped like hearts, and hope to finish them within the weekend. But the projects I would like to share with you today haven't anything to do with crafting, or maybe they have?
The first webproject is a webpage for a friend of mine who has moved to the US. She is a singer and needed a webpage to present herself. She has included photos, reviews and audio tracks. You can even hear me playing :-). The link to May-Britt's page is here

The other project is a webpage for another friend of mine. She owns a flowershop and the goodies she treats her customers with are awesome. I've taken alot of pictures in the shop and some of the are on this webpage. If you would like to take a look it's here.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

The joy of creating your own stuff

From time to time, especially when I have an access of self confidence, I design my own stuff. Do you remember Star among Stars and Liberty Flowers? The two quilts just popped up inside my head and even if I didn't knew all the details at once, I knew what exactly to do at every stage of the quiltmaking.

For the project I'm working on right now, there's a totally different story. I started the advent table runner almost two years ago. I got an idea about purple and black. I thought I had it figured out, cutting fabric, piecing half square triangles(HST) together and planning the fabric placement. I finished the piecing, took a look at it and thought: what was I thinking????

Some of the blacks weren't black enough, they looked like they belonged with the purple ones. Because of that, some of the purple ones was too dark compared to the blacks, so the overall design was interrupted. I was really eager to work on it then, but the certainty of the need of doing the frog stich (rip rip rip) killed my enthusiasm for that particular project and it was put to rest.

After I started to work on my UFO's earlier this summer, this work has been lying in my backhead, begging and nagging to be finished. So I decided to give it a try again. I picked out the squares that were too bright, too dark, didn't fit in and replaced them. Some of the squares I took out twice, because when I changed one of the fabrics in a HST, after pieced together with the others, the other half didn't look right either. Finally I got a placement that I'm kind of satisfied with. Some squares bother me still, but I've decided to let it go.

Choosing the quilting pattern hasn't been easy either. I knew from the start what I wanted in the black areas, but what to do with the purple ones? I would love to say that I can draw, but that would be a lie, so I have to rely on premade shapes. I tried out at least three diffent designs before I decided to go with my cookie cutters. I picked out a tree and an angel. After outline stiching two angels and a tree, I wasn't satisfied, so during last night I decided to remove the angels and put trees there also. I also decided to use a small star in the border. That seems too little so I have to come up with one more clever idea before I feel that this table runner has fulfilled its potential.

Why do I spend so much time on that tablerunner? I could have worked on another of my UFO's where everything is figured out and all I have to do is follow the description someone else made to make a quilter's life simpler.I could have bought myself at least three decent table runners for the cost of fabrics, thread, batting, backing etc and spent the spare time on the couch with a book. I could have discarded it and forgotten it. But sometimes, the satisfaction of finishing a project and knowing that you've created something unique, weighs up the extra time, money and thinking that particular project took. "I made this by myself, from start to finish. No one has ever made this before me." There is no better self confidence booster than that.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Finished stuff - quilted and otherwise

I realized that this quilting blog hadn't talked about quilting at all lately, so it's nice to present another finished item to you. It's nothing fancy, just a table topper that I made as a teaching example for a quilting class a few years ago. I didn't have enough of the green Jinny Beyer fabric in the border so I had to order some more. That took at least three years. And when I finally managed to order that green rose fabric, the two borders that were already sewn on was not printed in the same way as the new fabric! Luckily I had ordered enough fabric to make new borders (Normally I only buy 30 cm, this time I ordered 50!). I brought this work on holiday in July an my mother-in-law fell in love wih it right away. Everytime I worked on it she commented how much she liked colours so I told her to put it on her wishlist for her birtday in September. After a bit of polite reluctance she did it, so now we have that gift problem solved :-)

Another solved gift problem is this scarf. I intended to make it for my husband, but I wasn't fully satisfied with the colours. I'm going to make him another, but with a shade of purple instead of the beige one. So this will be my father-in-law's Christmas present. He's an 88 year old man and he has a lovely leather jacket that this will go nicely with. Colours aren't only for young people. Maybe I'll design some matching mittens also

Since returning from holiday I've been occupied with a lot of household activities. I'm not playing at the moment, have one more week of self inflicted not-touching-the-instrument- period, since I've got four more weeks of free time before the band starts up. You can not describe me as a skilled housewife. My work takes alot of time and since my husband loves to cook, I don't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. But I do cook from time to time and right now I enjoy spending time in the heart of our home. Today I've baked these cookies called "dreams" and they sure taste good! I used to make them several years ago, but lost the recipe. Yesterday I searched the Internet ad found a recipe I decided to try. I'm satisfied with the result and tomorrow I will continue to (probably) increase my household skills. You see, I have a recipe for a French lemon pie which my husband says is the best cake he've ever tasted, so I couldn't say no when my husband asked if I could make it this weekend. I made the dough today, it's in the refridgerator, and tomorrow, after my homemade lasagna, we're going to have lemon pie as dessert. Yum!


Thursday, August 17, 2006

At home

When you are driving from Trondheim and up north, you will pass under this arch after a while. It marks the region which is known as Northern Norway. This region consists of the the counties, Nordland, Troms and Finnmark. For me this is the first landmark that shows I'm heading home. The arch's symbol is the Nortthern Light, which is best viewed in this region of Norway.

The second landmark is the Arctic Circle. Then we've entered the land of the Midnight Sun. It's also a reminder of the land of no-sun-at-all-during-winter. Above the Arctic Circle the sun never rises above the horizon for a short or long period decided by how far north of the Circle you go.

The third landmark is when we drive off the ferry that takes us from the mainland and to the island of Hinnoey, which by the way is the largest island in Norway. If winterstorms are harsh, we're cut off from the rest of Norway since the ferry then can't sail due to the weather. Alot of foreign visitors have taken this ferry, since it is the main road to Lofoten.

And then there's the last landmark, when we've turned off the main road and driven over a small mountain pass. Somewhere up on that mountain you drive by the community sign. In Norway, whenever you go from a communtiy to another, these community signs symbolize the entrance and exit of the communities you pass.

For me, all these landmarks make me feel a bit more relaxed, a bit more comfortable and a bit nearer to where I belong. Especially when we leave the ferry, I breathe more freely. It's nice to visit the town I was brought up in, but after living in Nothern Norway for nearly twenty years, this is really HOME.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shopping and new blog

I'm definately not no-shopping this month. When living on a place with only one decent yarn store nearby, it's a treat to come to Trondheim and visit several shops with a huge sortiment. Until now I've bought some fabrics (tried to pick some fabrics I normally wouldn't choose) and yarn. The yarn in the front of the picture was a bargain. Because it had been in the window arrangement in the store for a while, I got it quite cheap. The fluffy one's are angora or alpaccaand the lime green one is pure silk! The yarn in the back is mitten yarn and that brings me to the main topic of today.

Because my mittens have caught a lot of interest around the world, I've decided to devote another blog only to that craft. You can find it here. I'll be thrilled to get visitors over there also.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Below the Arctic Circle

We've left the Arctic for a while. Approx. 150 kilometres south-east of Bodoe you pass the Northern Arctic Circle. On top of Saltfjellet, you find this monument dated 1937 - 1940. I chose to picture this monument instead of the newer one from 1990 because the WW2 is essential for the road's existence. Many prisoners of war(POW) originating from the old Yugoslavia worked themselves to death slaving for the German forces occupying Norway. If you travel north towards Fauske you find several sights commemorating the Yugoslavs and the work they were forced to do. One part of the road is actually called the "Blood Road". There is a cemitary where they got their first grave, but later they've been moved to a mutual cemitary in Trondheim where almost every Yugoslav POW who died in Norway is buried.
I admit that is a serious topic, but it's important not to forget if generations following us shall avoid doing the mistakes our ancestors did.

Now we're relaxing at a hotel before the last part of our trip. I already miss the Arctic scenery. We're a bit further inlands, and as used to fjords as I am, I feel a bit squeezed. I only get that feeling when we drive, probably because you follow the changes in the landscape more than if you travel by plane. But I really look forward to sharing pictures of my hometown, Trondheim, with you all.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

On the road again

We’re on the road again. This time our final destination is Trondheim, where my mother lives. We’re just staying a few days in Bodoe, the county capital of Nordland county. I’m working, my husband is on leave, so it’s a kind of vaction, since we only rehearsed yesterday morning and had the afternoon and evening off. Today we’ve played during the opening ceremony of Nordland Musikkfestuke and later today we’ve been given the honours of performing the official opening concert.

From Kvaefjord to Bodoe it’s approx. 310 km plus a one-hour ferry trip. The scenery is beautiful all the way and we had lovely weather. We made a stop at Kjelvik on Hamaroey and we discovered a path leading to an old cotter’s homestead. It was abandoned in 1967, when the last resident moved away. It must been quite a challenge living there. The road wasn't finished until 1986, so to get supplies, you had to walk a 2 km path down to the sea. The height distance between the farm and the sea is 300m. The farm didn’t have neither electricity nor running water and evertything had to be carried up from the sea. Talk about simple living!

Tomorrow we head south. Mosjoeen is tomorrow's destination. We will be passing the Arctic Circle and I'll take a picture of the monument that marks the Circle so I can show you all.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

From Grandma's archives

My mother's mother wasn't a wealthy woman. She left her husband in 1952 and chose to live by herself with four kids from 2 to 12 years old. She didn't have any education beyond primary school and she must has struggled more than you can imagine. She was a thrifty woman, saved everything that could be reused and even the tiniest little piece of yarn was put to use in a way.

About ten years after her divorce she bought the house her parents had lived in before they died. Her kids, at that point grownups, helped to pay the expenses. One of her sons lived with her for a long a she lived, but that must also have been a challenge, because of his chronical illness. Her economic situation improved when she turned 67 and was allowed pension from Folketrygden (the official Norwegian sosial security system). But still she used everything twice if it was possible.

Because of this, books wasn't something she put alot of money in. Probably she considered them not important enough to be prioritized in her budget. Except for some old schoolbooks and books my uncle bought, there wasn't many books for us to look through when we visited. My Grandma was a very intelligent woman with a lot of knowledge and it must have been hard for her not to be able to develop her skills further.

For her 70 or 75th anniversary she got a wonderful book from my aunt. It was a crafts book, explaining techniques and patterns in all sorts of crafts. She covered it with paper to protect it and it was almost a sacred moment when we sat down to look at the different patterns and garments. It even had a black-and white picture of a hexagon quilt. When my Grandma died, the book was given back to my aunt. But for my 30th anniversary I received a quite heavy, rectangular gift. It awas the book! Because I'm the one in our family that cares most about crafts, my aunt wanted me to have it.

Yesterday I was looking through some of my books in search of a pattern for a kind of lace knitting I'm thinking about, I found the book and opened it. The patterns where as lovely as they where 25 years ago. I decided to put all my other projects on hold and try out a couple of them. Since I haven't done any other kind of knitting the last years except for my mittens, it was quite a challenge to follow the patterns, but I did have a great time making the swatches. And it sure was nice to think about my Grandma again.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

About mittens and yarns

I've gotten a lot of questions about the mittens, what do I do with them, what kind of yarn etc, so I better write something about them. In today's picture you see the traditional pattern my mittens started out as. In Norway, this tradition is dated back to the 1860's (approx) and the woman that sort of "invented" this type of knitting in Norway, or at least is credited for it, is Marit Ernstad, who came from Selbu, a small community in Troendelag, right in the middle of Norway. That's why this kind of knitting is often referred to as Selbu-knitware. The pattern often used is an eight-pointed star. Even my mittens has a kind of that, the small one in the center of every motif and also the rounded one outside the smaller one. Originally the colour choices were few. Black or "sheepish black" as it was called and white or unbleached. During last century it became normal to knit with blue and red for girls/boys instead of black. There is a vast variety of patterns, a lot of variations of the 8 pointed star but also motifs taken from the nature. The second photo (taken by my husband) shows a version I knit for my husband a couple of years ago. They are the most complicated mittens I've ever knitted.

Originally a homespun two-ply yarn was used. I'm sticking to the two ply's, but my yarn is a soft baby wool quality from Dale. It's Merino wool. doesn't itch and can be washed in the machine. The needles I use are 2,5 mm (don't know the American equivalent). My husbands mittens are knitted on 2mm needles. That's very thin!!

So why did I go from black and white to colours? One summer after knitting 5 pairs in black and white, I was so bored with the colours. Earlier that summer I had taken a class with Kaffe Fassett and got a new view on colour. So one day I passed a shop window with colourful sweaters and jackets, and Eureka! I ran into the shop and bought colourful yarn. I knew for certain that the babywool yarn was used for some of the jackets I saw, and decided to give it a try. I'm been satisfied ever since.

What do I do with them? I started selling them locally at the arts and crafts society's Chirstmas Sale. Then a friend of mine wanted to sell them in her flower shop. And a gallery owner here where I live also have them for sale. Now I have an order for ten pairs which I'm working on. I'm wondering about making a webshop where I can sell both mittens and patterns I've designed, but at the moment I think it's going to be just wonderings.

And if you are curious, the headband is a design I developed on basis of the mittens.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wanted: Summer!

I've been a lousy blogger lately. It started so well when we were holidaying, but after we returned home last week, I haven't felt like I wanted to share anything. Maybe it has do to with the lousy weather we've had. We went from living on the veranda with 27 degrees celsius to putting on our ovens to heat the house. It was 9 degrees! Makes me want to move further south, but I guess I actually know that bad summer from time to time is the price we have to pay for living in the middle of the fantastic scenery we're surrounded by.

Today I was going ot start working again for a short period, but yesterday the period got even shorter. We got today off, and we don't have to travel to Kirkenes (near the Russian border) next week. Because of terrible planning form the local arrangement committee, our two concerts there next week were cancelled. Then the need for rehearsals dimished. We're only doing a concert on Saturday and also two concerts next Saturday. I've spent my free time painting on the house and testing a car we want to buy (I haven't been driving, just checking if it's okay to sit in the car next to the driver and knit :-D). Buying cars in Norway is incredibly expensive and I'll devote another post to it later.

While driving, I knit mittens. I spend at least three hours in the car every week and that is too much time to let go to waist. I'm planning to take a fancy shot of the mittens out in free air, but I need to secure the thread ends first. Guess how many times I've sworn to do this after every mitten I finish, but when the time comes, I usually forget. So until that fancy shot is taken, here is a small taste of the colours I use. Right now I'm making a pair in two yellow nuances and charcoal black. The colours remind me of honey and licorice, and they are definately not the cup of tea for people seeking traditional Norwegian knitting.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Summer projects

I've gotten a lot of questions about the picture in my last post. And Maya did recognize it! For those who haven't followed my blog, here is what I'm working on. This is a quilt I've designed and it's called Liberty Flowers. I'm making a miniature version now. The blocks in the large quilt are 8 inches, and those I'm working on right now are just 4. The large quilt is 65 x 65 inches, and the small version is 23 x 23. I pieced the flowers before I left on vacation, and I have been appliquéing them onto a cotton/linen fabric.

In today's picture you can see a part of my second summer project. A couple of years ago I started to crochet a twin size bed spread to use in my studio when I have to use it as a guest room also. It will consist of seven rows and two borders. At the moment I've completed 4 rows and both borders, so it's progressing.

I also have brought with me a quilting project. It's a table topper for advent. It's quite simple, made as a teaching example of how to use half square triangles. I haven't worked on it yet, it's too hot! But I WILL start working on it before we go back home on Wednesday (At least I hope so :-D).

Another "project" I'm working on is my photographing skills. My husband and I both enjoy photography, and we try do make more out of it than just holiday snaps. So far he's the one that has taken the most fun shots, but I'm eager to learn more about it.

And finally, I never go anywhere without my mittens. I've got nearly 20 different versions now, and when I return back home, I'll take a picture so you can enjoy.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lazy days

We are enjoying some lazy days in the southern parts of Norway. Last Wednesday we travelled down to my inlaws for two weeks of relaxation. And the first thing that met us was summer weather! Since our two lovely days in may we haven't had the feeling of summer at all, only a couple of days with something that looked like warm spring. I was totally blown out due to allergies and it took a couple of days to get adjusted to the temperature, but now I enjoy living on the veranda and wearing summer clothes.

We have travelled a bit around. First to say good bye to a friend couple that's going to the States for three years. He is going to do a PhD in theology and she is freelancing as a singer. We spent a lovely day in Aasgaardsstrand, a small village that's mostly known for it's former inhabitant, the internationally famous painter Edvard Munch. And then we spent a couple of days with my husbands niece and her family. In the pictue we are disturbed by the photographer while I'm fixing something in Martine's knitting. She and her sister are so fun. Every time we visit and I bring my knitting, they both run to find their knitting also.

Today we're going to Blaafarveverket. I'll write more about that later. Have a nice day, folks!


Sunday, July 02, 2006


This project is a real oldie. I started it long before we moved to Kvaefjord, so I guess it's from 1999 or 2000. I made the four blocks and the scrappy 2 x 5 borders, and then I put it away. Originally this pattern, made by Ute Barbara Schoensberg (a Norwegian based designer with links to Germany) was a square wallhanging, but I decided to make it into a long and narrow one. While working on it now, we received an invitation to a party to celebrate the birthdays to a friend of mine and her husband, who also happens to be a colleague of my husband and me. They were going to celebrate their 50th anniversaries together with their families, neighbours and a few close friends. I decided to finish this as our present to them because I know that she understands the work I put into a piece like this.

The party was yesterday, and that's why I can show the picture today. They really appreciated it. We had a splendid time! I met friends I haven't seen for nearly ten years and I also was introduced to people my friend had talked about but whom I've never met. It's so nice to finally have a face to combine with the name you've heard several times.

We're visiting my inlaws later this week. I'm so looking forward to going away for a while. But I will bring my computer, camera and UFO's, so I guess you'll be informed of any progress being made.