Thursday, September 25, 2008


I like Halloween. It is not a day that is that widely celebrated in Norway, but since my birthday is around that time I tend to have a Halloweenish attitude around that time.

I started knitting a sweater this weekend. A simple seed stitch pattern. After 30 years of knitting you would think that would not be a problem. But after having not come any further than three inches even though I have knitted on it for three evenings (rip, rip, rip), I decided to take a breake and do something else instead.

So I started a little Halloween wall hanging I found in a new issue of a quilting magazine. It is not done yet, but I have planned it to decorate my wall for my birthday.

I like it:-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I won't hatch!

One of my favourite poem these days are from Shel Silverstein:

Oh, I am a chickie who lives in an egg/but I will not hatch, I will not hatch.
The hens they all cackle, the roosters all beg,/But I will not hatch, I will not hatch.
For I hear all the talk of pollution and more /As the people all shout and the airplanes roar.
So I'm staying in here/where it's safe and it's warm.

So instead of thinking about loosing my job and the difficulty of getting a new one in this failing world economy, I think I will adopt the chickie's attitude, 'stay in here where it's safe and warm':) and share some photos of a beautiful fall day in Oslo.

I like the way the maple threes have all the different colours going at once.

This is from my favourite place, Bærums Verk. It is an old factory area that has been redone into an artist village, where the workers old living quarters have been made into small shops. One of my favourite quilt shops are situated here. The place is wonderful at any time of year, with the river running through it. There will be more pictures:)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The philosophy of warm toes

I have knitted since I was around 10 years old. It was for a long time the only way I could sit still at any length of time. My mom used to say I had 'flies in my blood' - a Norwegian expression for a child that can not sit still, or stand still or just be still!

Though I knitted sweaters and jackets and skirts and blankets, I never developed a fondness for knitting socks. Strange, as my feet and toes are always, always cold in the winter. One of the reasons I do not go skiing anymore. My mom knitted socks for me as long as she cared to, and then one of my grand aunts, who became a reserve grandma, continued knitting socks to me until she passed away a few years ago.

During one of my visits to Colorado, after having been to one of the knitting stores in Boulder, I realised that sock yarns seems to be more prolific there than what I had ever seen in Norway. Here we got one kind of sock yarn; hefty, sturdy and thick. In three colours; grey, red and blue. Not so in Boulder. It is amazing. So now I buy sock yarn whenever I visit, and knit up socks and socks. This time I found three different colour variations.

Looks good, don't they? I have also started buying books on sock knitting, too, whenever I am there. It fascinates me, the whole sock culture over there.

Another thing that fascinates me, too, is the the fact that I knit all these socks in all these wonderful colourful yarn. And then I give them away. I always end up wearing a pair of grey wool socks with Hello Kitty on them - bought at H&M. Figure it out if you can.


Two new blocks for Baby Jane!

D 6 Challenge.

Not sure why they call it that. With freezerpaper this is as simple as 1-2-3. Used the wrong colour, though. It was supposed to be yellow. I might have to make it over again, or exchange it with another. We shall see.

I 3 Family Album.

Simple with freezerpaper, again.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Knights and kilts in the mountains

Each year, Highland Scottish Festival takes place in Estes Park, Colorado. I have been lucky enough to visit the festivals twice now, last year and this year. It has become a part of my vacation. I have no irish or scottish blood in my veins at all. My uncle, the history buff, have proved us to be Scandinavians through and through. Though I did read somewhere that freckles is a proof of Celtic heritage, and those I have enough of - my whole face is covered, even at my age.

Anyway, there are lots of fun things to watch at the festival.

Grand costumes, 

slightly weird costumes (though, if a foreigner came to Norway on May 17th he might find our costumes weird, too.....)

and lots of music. Among them the most fabulous, heart pulling and blood pumping bagpipes and drums you have EVER heard!!! Albannach is a scottish band that can't be explained, just experienced. Even if you are not into bagpipes or scottish music - if you ever have a chance to hear them - DO!

Among the more ..... strange.... ? things you can watch at the festival, the jousting tournament has got to be the strangest of them all. I did not think things like this actually existed anymore. It is a true jousting championship. That consists of (mostly) men dressed in heavy armour on big horses riding full speed towards each other with big wooden lances, trying to hit each other and break the lances down to kindles. Or, if possible, heave them off their horses. And it is not for show - it is real! We are talking pain and the occasional need for ambulance and health personnell. But my goodness it is entertaining:)

This is the BLACK KNIGHT!:)

My pictures aren't that good as I was stuck on the stands, but this guy was down there among the horses and the knights.

So if you need a tip, go to Estes Park on the first week of September. Highly recommended. If only to watch the men in kilts.....;)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Watch out!

When my friend in Colorado got a new dog earlier this year, she sent me this picture.

Days later I found this great stitchery on Lapp-Elisa's Online Shopping. The text translates to 'Beware of the dog' - which was the first thing I thought of when I saw little Fergus:) He looks ferocious, doesn't he?

He is a little bit older now, and loves to help out in the kitchen. Mainly by licking the plates in the dishwater...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

History lesson

I am fascinated by the history of crafts - not just the development of it, but the history behind specific pieces or patterns. I think that is what fascinates me with the Dear Jane quilt - knowing that Jane Stickler made this incredible quilt in the middle of a civil war while waiting and hoping for her husband to return safely. The need to keep mind and hands occupied in a time of stress and uncertainty is something I can relate to.

So here is another piece of the history of crafts in Norway:) - a two part story.

A couple of years ago my good friend in Colorado turned 40, and I wanted to give her something that was truly Norwegian. I got a carpenter to make her a typical towel rack from the time when a basin in the kitchen was the only way to get clean. This rack has little hooks on the back to hang the dirty towels, while you in front would hang a decorative 'towel'. This towel served a double duty - it hid the dirty ones and it showed how good a housewife and crafts woman you were. The towels were supposed to always be brightly white and starched, and made by your own hands in whatever line of crafts you preferred - Hardanger, embroidery, crocheted lace on white linen etc.

And! you had to have at least one for each season, preferably also for each holiday. So: winter, spring, summer, fall, easter and christmas.

I made my friend four - one for each season.

The one in the picture is the summer towel, and here comes history lesson part two:)

This pattern was made by a young woman in the late 18.. something, while she spent long summer nights most likely all alone on the summer pastures. In the olden days, the farmers living in the valleys in mid-Norway would send their cattle up into the mountains for summer pastures. Along with them went the young girls, either daughters or hired help, to care for the cattle during the summer, milking and prosessing the milk into butter and cheese. Once in a while they would come up from the farm to pick up what she had made, and bring news and food from the valley. But most of the time, she was alone with the animals the whole long summer.

If she was lucky, the neighbouring summer pasture was not that far away, and she could meet up with other girls, but not always. In some places she could sit outside her little hut and look down on the valley, see the people go to church on Sunday and hear the church bells. There has been written both songs and books about these lonely girls. 

Norway is far up north, which makes for a big change in length of day during the year. The sun comes up late and goes down early in the middle of December, but hardly goes down at all in the middle of the summer. That makes it possible to sit outside and sew even late at night, because the sun is still up around 10 pm. So this specific girl spent some of that time during a summer up in the mountain to design and embroider this pattern. And now a copy hangs in Colorado:-)

oh... and God Morgen means Good Morning in Norwegian!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Returning to Baby Jane

I did manage to get a few blocks done while on vacation. Appliqueing. I must admit I did I few that I have to redo again - for different reasons. Cutting it too close seems to become a theme with me. Argh.

I revisited a favourite quiltstore in Colorado to replenish my stash for BJ. So many wonderful batiks! Got many, many new colours. Should be good for another couple of.... months?:-)

A 7 Dad's Plaid. A combination of reversed applique and ordinary applique.

B 1 Bachelor's Buttons. Reversed applique.

C9 Jane's Tears. Reversed applique.

D 3 Jason's Jacks. Applique.

E 10 Five and Dime. Applique.

I use freezerpaper for all of these. I have tried using the freezer paper on top of the fabric, using it as a template for sewing under, as that was what I was taught in an applique class I went to once. But .... I have admitted defeat there. I prefer using it on the wrong side of the fabric, folding the fabric around and under it. It gives me sharper edges. Yes, you get the added trouble of removing the paper, and as I hate cutting out the fabric in back (just another of my foibles), I have perfected the art of removing the paper before I sew the last stitches. And it works! :-)

As fall is arriving, my knitting needles are beckoning me. And I am afraid I am going to listen to its siren song for a little time..... but maybe now and then the fabric will call me. I hope so.

Back to work

I have just returned from three weeks of vacation - in beautiful Colorado. Having lived there for a couple of years as a student about.... twentyish.... years ago, I return to visit friends whenever I can. I have been fortunate to have been able to go almost every year the last five or six years, and hope I can continue doing that. It is a treasure to see my friends' children grow up and to be a part of their lives - albeit a small one.

Returning back to Norway is not easy. Fall is arriving, the days are becoming shorter and shorter, and the weather colder and colder. Add to that a fear of loosing my job (will learn my fate at the end of this month!) - and the wish to stay in Colorado is greatly enhanced.

With no other choice than to return home and face the music, I will have to be content with revisiting via pictures. However, I did not take that many this time. I wonder why.....

Rocky Mountains in sunset. I never tire to look at the Rockies. Always new colours, never the same. So different from Norway.

We went up to Estes Park for a day. These flowers, or shrubs, or whatever they are - had some amazing colours. They almost looked like miniature trees in the middle of fall!

Thanks guys, for letting me come back, year after year. Love you all!:-)