Friday, April 27, 2007

Day 1 in Oslo + Yarn Shops

Took a stroll around Akershus Festning (Royal Fortress) this morning before boarding the ferry to Bygdøy to the Vikingskipshuset (Vikingship Museum). Quite an austere little museum with bits and pieces from 3 buried Viking ships, and of course, the ships themselves. The interior strangely resembles a whitewashed church.

I was struck by the simple yet functional nature of these boats, in contrast to the complete uselessness of the extravagant and elaborately decorated ship Vasa we saw in Stockholm.

We then went to the Norsk Folkemuseum nearby. For the NOK70 entry fee, the place is not really worth it. There are quite a few restored houses but very little interpretation (in either Norwegian or English). There are only so many houses labelled 'Farmhouse' you can look at before it gets really boring (strange that). One redeeming feature is the toy exhibition. I was particularly taken by the intricate doll houses. In a music room, there's even a miniature bust of Beethoven!

Okay okay, the yarn shops.

For lunch we went to the Grunerløkka district. On the main street was the Elna Sy-Og Servicesenter (Thorvald Meyers Gate 48) which is basically a sewing machine shop, but had some very 'sensible' knitting yarns on the back wall - 100% wool in 4, 8, 12 ply, mohair, alpaca and cotton in a variety of solid colours.

On a quiet side street was the find of the day - Guanako garn & design (Seilduksgate 7). This is a more 'modern' shop owned by a 29 year-old. It's only been opened for over a year. She stocks a lot of Rowan yarns and magazines, but also the more traditional Norwegian brands. I picked up a mixed bag of colourful Egyptian mercerised cotton, baby merino and some sock yarn for an absolute song (thanks to Jerms' reassurance that he'll carry it in his luggage).

She's also got some beautiful pieces knitted up, including the Butterfly Camisole in both short and long versions. Also a few Birch shawls in different mohair yarns. The shop is gorgeous and well worth a visit if you're in town.

Finally, we paid the obligatory visit to the tourist oriented Husfliden (Rosenkrantz Gate 19-21) right in the centre of town. They have a massive range of traditional Norwegian yarns. The costume and ribbon section is worth a look and they have quite a few mits and socks knitted up. They also sell Hanne Falkenberg knitting kits, drop spindles and embroidery tools and kits. They even have a working loom in the store!

P.S. The next day we visited another yarn shop near Vigelandsparken (the massive sculpture park) called Tjorven (Valkyriegata 17) but it sold pretty much the same stuff as other Norwegian yarn shops. They have some Rowan magazines and books and a small selection of Noro.


Sally said...

We are REALLY looking forward to seeing all your new purchases. Enjoy the rest of your trip

So Much Fun said...

Thank you for taking us along on your adventures! Do you know where the butterfly camisole pattern can be found?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendations. I'm going to Oslo in May and definitely want to check out some yarn shops!