Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sick Puppy

Well we're home.

Actually we've been back for over a week but I caught some nasty bug on my first day back at work and have been one sick puppy since.

Being sick does have its advantages (more knitting time) but I got into the Artemis Fowl books just before our holiday (yes, I'm regressing back to junior fiction) and spent my bed/couch ridden time reading books 4 & 5 instead.

I did get some knitting done. Like the 1st project using my newly acquired Scandinavian yarn - or the first sock anyway.

The main project I'm currently working on is the Jo Sharp cardi from Knit 2 for my mum. So far all I've done is the back and half of the left front. I love the feel of this yarn (Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette)...

Her birthday is not til mid July so I'm taking it easy at the moment (maybe I shouldn't be). We'll see.

Friday, May 04, 2007

World Tour of Yarn Shops

If you've been reading this blog you might be under the impression that we've been on a world tour of yarn shops. I assure you it's not true. But here are a few more if you haven't overdosed on yarn shop descriptions already...

Strikk (Vallagatan 23) - One of the best I've seen on this trip. This place was like an Aladdin's cave. You go through a little door down some steps into 3 spacious rooms full of yarn and knitted goodies.

The first room is full of Collinette, and their own brand of handspun single ply. They have quite an extensive range under their own label (but I've found this to be the case in many Scandinavian yarn shops tho the yarns are the same, they just put their own label on) including a 100% silk, gotland wool, and linen.

They also stock Malabrigo, Araucania from Chile, and of course, Garnstudio. Lots of buttons too. The highlight is their own knitted designs. Quite modern and very clever use of yarn and notions.

I also visited another yarn shop just a street away but it's tiny and I've forgotten the name.

Sländan (Lilla Fiskaregatan 1) - Again their own line available, including a 100% mohair with similar meterage to Kid Silk Haze (but comes in hot pink, amongst other, more subtle, colours). Their line also includes a super soft baby alpaca (below) which I couldn't keep my hands off.

Small shop but chock full of the standard Scandi yarns.

Stopped by Irmas Hus, Kalendegatan 13, but it is mainly a habedashery shop with just one shelf of yarns. Only Rowan and Drops.

Also wandered past Signe Svensson Garnaffär (Davidshallsgatan 25) but it is tiny. Some very nice shops on the same street though.

At Yllet (Jöns Filsgatan 2) there is a small line of yarns including linen and gotland wool again but it's mainly a clothing shop.

One thing worth mentioning is the artist collective shop Formargruppen (Engelbrektsgatan 8) run by 20 local artists. Lovely ceramics, textiles, glass work and jewellery. My favourite was a felted penguin by Yvonne Bävman. There's a photo of the penguins on her site here.

Wilfert's (Gammel Kongevej 102) - Best shop here in my opinion. Run by Wilfert and her friendly black labridor (I think, I'm not good with dog breeds). Again their own line of yarns including Duo (100% wool) and Duo Silk (wool silk) from Jutland in Denmark, but I found the textures slightly coarse and opted for 4 balls of their Bambini (100% superfine merino).

The shop is very tastefully decorated, with chandeliers and glass cabinets brimming with buttons and notions. There is a very good collection of Rowan yarns and magazines.

I was completely taken by the no brand but luxurious 100% cashmere that they 'buy from some woman up in Jutland'.

Also visited Sommerfuglen (Vankunsten 3) and Strikkeboden (Krystalgade 16). The former is quite good and another treasure trove packed with yarn and lots of knitting books. When I walked into the latter, a woman barked at me 'What do you want?' which led me to leave at unprecedented lightning speed. You can read a pretty good review of both here.

(Front room of Sommerfuglen)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Adventures of a Little Red Sock

Bergen is a quaint little town, despite being touted as the capital of Western Norway, with a much more relaxed laid back feel compared to Oslo. It was nice to chill out in pubs and meander the streets without an itinerary. On Saturday night after we arrived, we took a stroll after dinner and pretty much covered all the main sights (including the yarn shops, but more on that later).

Pubs along the waterfront in Bergen.

On Sunday morning we took the floibanen up the side of Mount Floyen (320m above sea level) to breathtaking views of Bergen city. Then we took a long walk up to the peak which gave us magnificent views of the landscape - snow covered peaks, glassy water holes, pine forests... you get the idea.

The first red sock came with us as well and I took some photos, much to the amusement of passing walkers.

The pattern is the Child's French Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush.

There are probably 3 yarn shops in Bergen (there maybe more but I couldn't find them). Also we were there on a Sunday and none of the shops were open so all this is just from peering longingly outside the shops...

Husfliden - similar to the one in Oslo but smaller. Tho it looks like it has more modern souvenirs like fleecy blankets and designer homeware. The range of yarns look pretty much the same - Drops/Garnstudio and Tynn Alpakka etc.

Modellstrikk (Vaskerelven 15) - cute little shop on a street full of cafes and other cute little shops. Looked like it mainly stocks Drops yarns and patterns. They have pictures of the types of yarn they stock on the website which gives you a pretty good idea of the kinds of yarn you find in Norway.

Pinnsvinn Designs (Jonsvollsgaten 9) - Had a sign on the door saying it has English patterns. Had some Rowan patterns and yarns. Also sells toys. They have a few pictures of the store on their website.

On our train ride back to Oslo, it gave me a little thrill when we passed Dale (pronounced 'dahl' here) of Dale of Norway fame. I noticed that they have a factory outlet there but as we were on a schedule, we had to give it a miss. Oh well.