blog

Category
  • recent FOs

    After a summer full of sample knitting for patterns, I was eager to get a bunch of personal projects off the needles once fall hit. I'm happy that I've managed to finish a few things recently, and I thought I'd share a few photos with you all.

    First up was my Garland sweater (which I initially wrote about planning to knit in this post, and I gave a little progress update here). I started it back at the beginning of May, but it got set aside when I needed to dedicate my knitting time to work knitting, and then it got packed with all our stuff in the move from Norway to Montréal, so when I was finally able to pull it out of a moving box in mid-October I was super eager to finish it (it was really close!).

    I will admit that I had some moments of doubt while this project was a work in progress, because both the color and the silhouette of the sweater are not my usual wheelhouse. I'd also never knit a sweater with laceweight yarn before. As a result, the finished garment was a pleasant suprise, because this is easily one of my favorite sweaters to wear that I've ever knit. The light weight of the fabric makes it super wearable and great for layers, and the cropped length means it's easy to layer over long shirts with jeans or skirts and dresses, which means it's one of the more versatile sweaters now in my wardrobe. It's very comfortable but there's a casual elegance about it too, with the bands of lace and the way the ribbed sleeves hug my arms without feeling tight. 

    The pattern is by Stefanie Pollmeier, from the winter 2013 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly (issue 7). I believe this pattern is still only available as part of the magazine. For yarn I used Welthase yak lace, rather than a mohair lace like the pattern was originally written for, and for me the yarn choice is definitely part of why this sweater already feels so versatile. Miriam, the dyer behind Welthase, has a wonderful sense of color, and I became pretty enamored with her pinks after getting to use her single fingering base for my Swedish Pancakes mitts

    I also finished what I've called my Pewter Cowl, a simple 1x1 ribbed cowl in Woolfolk Tynd.

    This was my mindless bus knitting project for months - something I could pick up and put down to work on whenever I had a moment without ever needing to refer to a pattern. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to make with this yarn (Woolfolk's wool is very, very soft) and in the end a simple and easy-to-wear project felt like the right way to let the yarn do the talking. The softness means it's suitable for against-the-neck wear, and it's relative lack of sturdiness will be less of an issue as a cowl than it would have been if I'd made mitts with this yarn, as I intended when I purchased it three years ago. I'm really pleased with this, but now I think I need a new mindless 1x1 rib project to work on...

    The last piece I want to share is my finished Circlet Shrug. The pattern is by Norah Gaughan, a creative force when it comes to cables, and she originally designed it for the third issue of Making magazine, which came out this past spring. (She will be releasing it as an individual pattern in the coming days, but I suggest checking out the whole issue of Making, because it's a beautiful issue!)

    This knit needed a lot of attention - there are cables every other row for the entirety of the sweater (save the bottom ribbing), and I had maybe almost memorized the chart by the time I was working the final repeats of the back. But it was a super interesting knit nonetheless, and I really adore the finished fabric. The Hillesvåg Tinde has such depth as a yarn, and I'm so pleased with how it's worked up into these cables. This was the last yarn I bought before we left Norway, so it's a bit of a special souvenir. I finished this the week after Rhinebeck, which I had originally hoped to knit it for, but given the temps we had during the days, I'm happy I didn't push myself to stress out over finishing. 

    Even though I design patterns myself, there is so much joy for me in getting to knit some of the beautiful pieces that my friends and colleagues have designed. But not to worry, I am working on more of my own patterns, too - I've also recently bound off on a garment design for an upcoming Paper Tiger collection! But more about that on another day. What are you all working on as we head into the tail end of the year?

    Comments
  • a rhinebeck weekend

    This time a week ago I was at my very first Rhinebeck. I took the train back to Montreal last Monday, a journey which is much longer than it seems like it should be (nine hours!), but I'm glad I had a little bit of time to myself to decompress after a whirlwind weekend before diving back into real life. What a wonderful weekend it was.

    I've wanted to write about it, but how is it possible to say everything I want to say about the weekend? While I enjoyed the festival itself, it was truly the magical combination of the festival, the fall colors and atmosphere, and especially the presence of a huge number of friends I don't get to see very often that made the weekend what it was. 

    It's admittedly a little strange to finally attend an event you've known about and watched others go to for years and years. There can be a lot of expectation tied up in the experience - is it is good as everyone says it is? Will I see everything I want to see? Do the apple cider donuts live up to the hype? (For the record, they do.) I think that for me, this trip came at exactly the right moment. I have been treading water a little bit since I left Norway and came to Montreal, trying to work out exactly who I am in this new city. Perhaps that sounds silly - I'm still me, after all - but I had become so accustomed to how I defined myself and presented myself to the world with Norway as a backdrop, that removing that backdrop and replacing it with something else left me feeling a little uncertain. Big moves and transitional periods don't always allow for a lot of self reflection in the moment, it turns out. It's after the fact that you realize there's something different about the person looking back at you in the mirror and you haven't figured out exactly what it is yet.

    So it was wonderful to have a new experience that made me feel very much like me, getting to spend time with friends I haven't seen since last year's Oslo Strikkefestival, or Edinburgh Yarn Fest 2016, or friends I'd never met in person but I've known a long time. This wooly knitting industry is overall a very warm and supportive place to be, and I am so glad for all of the people I get to call friends within it.

    I saw a lot of wonderful stuff last weekend. I fell in love with a number of yarns, but mostly stuck to my plan to buy one sweater's quantity as a souvenir (a few extra skeins came home with me, since Harrisville did a beautiful limited edition run of an irresistible blue). I was taking mental notes, though, checking out yarns I might want to try out in the future. I fell pretty hard for the naturally-dyed hues of Tidal Yarns's Romney wool, pictured below, and her booth was a reminder of why shows like this are so special - she doesn't sell her yarns online at all, but she does do around 15 shows a year.

    In the end, I didn't end up with a Rhinebeck sweater. I had been knitting away on my Circlet Shrug for a month and I got very close to finishing it - I was two cable repeats away from finishing the back. But with the weather in the 70s (fahrenheit), it worked out okay in the end. I finished knitting it on Wednesday, and will block it and seam the sides soon.. I did enjoy checking out the sweaters of those dedicated knitters (and crocheters) who wore their completed garments even in the heat. I also enjoyed checking out the animals.

    How could you not?

    I came home feeling refreshed, motivated, and creatively inspired. Thank you, New York Sheep & Wool, and thank you to everyone who made this weekend so special.

    Comments
  • moments

    Hello, October. I'm glad to see you. We've been in Montreal not quite three weeks now, and while in some ways we're starting to get settled in and find our new routines, in other ways I still feel stuck right in the middle of The Transition. We are waiting on the majority of our things to arrive from Norway, and I think once it does and we can really start unpacking, that will help a lot. I had forgotten how long it could take to find your stride in a new place, especially with such a big change.

    I started a semi-intensive French course this past week to try and get my long-hibernating French skills up and moving again, which gives me a place to go every weekday morning at 8:30. That's been beneficial. I have a backlog of design work I want to get to in the afternoons, though it's been really slow trying to get back into the work groove. In the meantime, I did cast on for the Circlet Shrug I mentioned in August, and that's been pure pleasure to work on. I'll be going to Rhinebeck this year (my first!), and I would love to be able to wear it there, but with only twenty days left the possibility seems slim...

    I am trying to pull my camera out and take pictures throughout my days. When I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed or a bit listless, I grab my bag and go for a long walk around my new neighborhood. I love the tree-lined streets and the unique architecture here, so just like in Norway, a good long walk is a great way to calm my mind or lift my spirits.

    I thought I'd share a few photos of the past few weeks - from my walks, working on my knitting projects, and welcoming the first rainstorm since our arrival. I think October is going to be a good month.

    Comments
  • a new chapter

    In my last post I mentioned that my husband and I were preparing for packing up and leaving Norway, but I didn't say where we were headed. After a couple of weeks of travel, we landed in our new home of Montreal (!) a week and a half ago, and already I don't know where that time has gone. Moving is so full of seemingly unending lists of practical/tedious/annoying/difficult tasks that need to be accomplished, and we've been working away at as much of that as we can. But so far, September has been on the whole a good month. And we are very happy to be in Montreal.

    We left Tromsø the last day of August and woke up on the first of this month in Helsinki, a city that neither of us had ever visited before. We were positively charmed and I definitely want to make it back to Finland someday to spend more time there. 

    After three nights in Helsinki, we were off to Crete for what was essentially the first of two "work trips" (I was presenting at a couple academic conferences). Crete was hot and sunny, but after the northern Norwegian summer, we were both pretty happy to be able to enjoy some proper summer weather. Three nights on Crete was followed by three nights on Mallorca for the second conference. 

    And then, finally, Montreal. We are setting up a new home in a light-filled space in the city, and very soon we will begin finding our new routines and our new favorite places. Already I've enjoyed simply walking the streets of my new neighborhood, choosing different routes to and from various errands in order to explore as much new ground as I can. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and going new places and getting to know this incredibly unique city better. Soon we'll have internet up and running at home and I hope then I'll be blogging again more regularly! Until then, you can find me going for long walks as I explore my new city.

    Comments
  • in the pipeline, august 2017

    I've just returned to Tromsø after about three weeks away, visiting friends and family in North America, but things aren't going to slow down any time soon; in the next three weeks we are packing up our place as we prepare to leave Norway by the end of the month (my degree is well and truly finished, and we're moving on to what's next for us... but more on that at a later date), followed by some travel for academic conferences, and then hopefully moving on to our new home and starting to get settled there. In the meantime, I'm daydreaming of garments.

    Tromsø's summer hasn't been much of a summer this year, as far as I can tell. Beyond a few spectacularly warm and beautiful days here and there, I think it's been largely wet and chilly. Spending time in North American summer for three weeks was a little bit of a shock - I think I managed to be in Seattle for the hottest week of the year there - and I'd forgotten how much really hot weather makes me positively pine for autumn. So, garments...

    I'm determined to get my Garland off the needles before I cast on any new garments (not to mention I'm still working on deadline knits, one of which is a sweater), but I'm on the second sleeve of Garland now and it feels like the end is near! So here's a glimpse at the next several garments I'm planning to cast on, all of which I already have the yarn for.

    First up is the Mount Pleasant tee by Megan Nodecker of Pip & Pin. I've been fairly obsessed with this tee since I first caught sight of it on Ravelry, when it was still in the testing stages. I've got two skeins of a special yarn set aside for this one: a merino singles base from Garnsurr, which is a small, new indie hand dying company here in Norway that's also a refugee integration project (you can read more about Garnsurr on their website in English - and if you're in the NYC, Do Ewe Knit in Westfield, NJ is stocking their yarns!). This is a project I'm so pleased to support, and this blue is going to be pretty gorgeous knit up. I think I'll probably cast on this one first once I've finished Garland. Incidentally, Megan has also started a video podcast on YouTube, so if you're into knitting podcasts, you should check it out!

    Next up is the Ingen Dikkedarer Genser, or the No Frills Sweater as it's known in English, by PetiteKnit (the pattern is available in Norwegian, English, Danish, and Swedish). This is a super simple fingering/sport weight sweater (one strand fingering held together with one strand lace mohair), and I found myself craving something just like this to wear during our lingering winter this year, especially around April/May. Warm and cozy, but lightweight and easy to wear. This one's exciting because I'm going to use the Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine that I frogged during last year's Slow Fashion October, and it's good to find a new purpose for that yarn. I'm planning to hold it together with Pickles Silk Mohair in a similar dark grey, which I picked up in Oslo in May. 

    Third up is a very special combination: Norah Gaughan's Circlet Shrug from issue 3 of Making, knit up in an unusual-for-me shade of Hillesvåg Tinde, their sport/DK pelsull yarn (swoon - pelsull is the same fiber my Dalur is knit in; this is just a different weight). Looking at my existing sweater shelf, my affinity for blue, green, and especially grey comes through loud and clear, so between my pink Garland and this deep golden yellow shade, 2017 is turning into the year of getting out of my color comfort zone. It felt a bit crazy to buy this yarn, and when I got home the first thing I did was photograph it against my face to make sure I hadn't made a huge mistake. And while this color still makes me feel like a slightly skittish cat when I look at the pile of skeins on their own, the photo helps me feel more confident in this decision. It's a color I always find myself drawn to in autumn, so I'm willing to try it out in my wardrobe. 

    This was another pattern I fell in love with immediately the first time I saw it (it's easy to obsess over those cables), and I hope this yarn will work out for it. The Tinde is a woolen-spun 2-ply in structure, so it's not going to have the same amazing stitch definition as Brooklyn Tweed Arbor (which the sample was knit in), and the natural heathering of the yarn runs the risk of obscuring the cables further (although that natural depth, caused by the undyed grey shade of the yarn, is one of my favorite things about Hillesvåg's pelsull yarns). So it'll require a big and proper swatch to make sure I'm happy with the fabric before I move forward with it. And if it doesn't work out, I'll be happy to use this yarn for something else - it's a yarn I won't really be able to get easily once we leave Norway, so I wanted to scoop it up before we go, as a kind of souvenir of my two years here. 

    --

    Are you thinking about fall yet, or does it feel too early to you? What kinds of things are you thinking of casting on in the near future?

    Comments
  • norwegian wool: selbu spinneri

    The Norwegian Wool series returns with another of Norway's microspinneries, the fantastic Selbu Spinneri. One of two micro mills in Norway, it's a small operation that's only been spinning since 2011 (I believe there are just the two, the other being Telespinn, but if you know of any others please do let me know!). If the name sounds familiar to you, the Selbu is the same one you find in Selbuvotter, or Selbu mittens, the name for the iconic black and white Norwegian mittens (you may be familiar with Terri Shea's book, or the more recent the gorgeous and massive book by Anne Bårdsgård still only available in Norewgian as far as I know). Selbu is located near the city of Trondheim, in the middle of Norway's north-south span. The yarn made by Selbu Spinneri is special and Norwegian specific, with a focus on rare and endangered breeds. I made my first purchase from Selbu Spinneri earlier this year, back in the winter, and I opted to try three different yarns made from three different sheep breeds, pictured above. All three are very different - different weights, different textures that handle differently, and different colors - but they're all undyed yarns. This package was definitely a treat to open.

    The creamy off-white skein with a thick and thin texture is their 2-ply yarn made from wool from the gammel norsk sau, the Old Norwegian sheep, also called villsau ("wild sheep") by some, though it is a domestic breed. It's rustic and lofty, with some darker hairs mixed in with the cream, and it was the first skein I cracked into. It's a primitive heritage breed, with an outer fleece and a finer inner coat, like other northern European heritage breeds, and this yarn is spun from both layers, making it both robust and soft. It seemed to be about an aran weight to me, and I worked it up into a Simple Hat by Hannah Fettig. A very, very cozy Simple Hat. The finished fabric gives you a good sense of the varying thickness of this yarn, but you also get a sense of the halo it has after it was blocked. The Simple Hat is such a fantastic blank canvas pattern to get a feel for any yarn, thanks to the fact that it's written for a huge range of yarn weights.


    The light grey yarn in the middle is a 2-ply yarn made from spælsau wool. It looks to be about a sport weight to me, and like all spælsau yarns it's pretty dense and wiry. It's smoother with more of a sheen than the other two yarns I purchased, and I have a pretty good sense of how this yarn will work up since I've worked with spælsau yarns before.

    I'm not sure I'll knit with this one, actually - I think it would make a sturdy crochet fabric and I'm tempted to try using it for a small crochet basket or something like that. It'd also be great and durable for weaving, but as I'm not much of a weaver, crochet seems most likely.

    The final skein, the lovely heathered dark grey one, is spun with wool from a breed I have yet to work with, the trøndersau, or Troender sheep.

    The region where Selbu is located is called Trøndelag, making this breed its eponymous sheep (trønder + sau). The trøndersau is extremely rare, with a very small number of animals existing. I'm really looking forward to trying this yarn, too - it's a 3-ply, both rounder and a little bit more uniform than the other two yarns, and I'd guess it's a DK or worsted weight. I love natural grey yarns and this is a beautiful one. It's more textured than the other two yarns, with less gloss and more of a matte look. I expect good depth and stitch definition, so I might use it for something cabled.

    Being a small operation with only a handful of employees, Selbu Spinneri's online shop is definitely aimed at a domesetic market, and their invoicing and shipping methods don't really lend themselves to international shipping, so I don't think you can get these yarns outside of Norway UPDATE: I've been in touch with Selbu Spinneri and they are happy to accommodate international orders - simply get in touch with them at post@selbuspinneri.no if you're interested and they'll help you figure it out. I do know, however, that hand-dyer Laila of Værbitt Garn uses some yarns from Selbu Spinneri as her bases, so you can always get in touch with her or check her Etsy shop to see if you can find any of Selbu Spinneri's rare breed yarns (in Laila's gorgeous colors!). 

    Previous posts in this series can be found here:

    Comments
  • oslo strikkefestival 2017: saltstraumen

    It's ended up being a busy summer and I'm a little behind on sharing new work, but I have an exciting pattern to share today! I was fortunate to be asked again this year to contribute a pattern to the magazine for the Oslo Knitting Festival, and I was so happy to say yes. This year I designed a hat called Saltstraumen, and it's a little bit of a love letter to northern Norway.

    Saltstraumen is a maelstrom located in the county of Nordland (and I actually got to visit it last fall during our road trip around Nordland, blogged here). It's a spectacular place with one of the strongest tidal currents in the world, where the water rushing through the bottleneck during the changing of tides creates whirlpools and white water dancing in circles. I adapted a cable motif from Norah Gaughan's excellent Knitted Cable Sourcebook to mimic the swirling of the water across this hat, which is knit in beautiful indigo-dyed yarn from Lofoten Wool. Lofoten Wool, as you may remember from my Norwegian Wool post on the company, is also located in Nordland, and water obviously plays a huge role in the lives of the people throughout the Lofoten archipelago. I love the deep connection between the motif inspired by water, the deep blue of the indigo dye, and the wool from Røst, one of the islands of Lofoten furthest from the mainland - it's not every day so many elemnts come together in a design like that.

    Saltstraumen is knit up in Lofoten Wool's Røst Collection 2-ply (look for "2 trådet" in their online shop) in the Brådjupt colorway. If substituting yarn, a woolen-spun sportweight would be ideal. The pattern is available in the Oslo Knitting Festival Magazine, alongside a pattern by Julie Knits In Paris (pictured above along with the Saltstraumen hat) and one by Anna Maltz. I believe the magazine is print-only, not digital, but if you have questions about that I'd suggest getting in touch with the festival organizers or perhaps asking in the new Ravelry group for the festival.

    As a side note, I'm planning to make my pattern for last year's magazine, the Rosenhoff mittens, available for individual purchase this fall. I'll be sure to let you know when they're available!

    Comments
  • FO: norwegian wool dalur

    I finally had a chance to get some photos of my finished Dalur this week. I mentioned in this post that I'd finished it, but that this post would have to wait until after my thesis was in - and here it is! This has been a really special project for me, so giving it a proper FO post feels important, and I want to share some of the details with you all.

    I'm pretty pleased with the photos I finally got of this sweater, which I took last night around 11 PM while I was out for my daily walk - and yes, you read that time right (thanks, midnight sun!). If you're sitting in summer-like temps as you read this, I apologize if the photos make you break out in a sweat, but I was actually more bundled up for the walk. I removed my jacket, scarf, hat, and fingerless gloves to take these photos, as it was about 3°C / 38°F when I was shooting. Nonetheless, I hope you like the photos too, and I hope they give you a sense of how this sweater fits seamlessly into my current landscape and northern climate.

    I first shared my plans for making this sweater back in March, at the beginning of Tolt Icelandic Wool Month. The grey yarn used in this sweater was originally slated for a different project last year, but it wasn't the right yarn or the right pattern for the recipient, really, so it went on the back burner until I could figure out what to do with it. While the pattern is Icelandic (from Knitting with Icelandic Wool), the yarn is not. I used all Norwegian wool for this particular sweater, and I can't sing its praises enough. The charcoal and the grey are both Hifa Blåne, whose fiber comes from the pelssau, or literally "fur sheep," a breed that resulted from crossing Gotland with the old Norwegian spælsau, both northern heritage breeds. I have mentioned in the past that Blåne reminds me a little bit of Álafoss Lopi, although it's not an exact match. Blåne is made up of two distinct plies, while the structure of Lopi more closely resembles a single ply yarn. Both yarns are "hairy," but I'd call Blåne better behaved, if that makes any sense - the hairy fibers are less unruly than they are with Lopi. In some of the closer shots you may be able to see the slight halo that results when Blåne is knitted into a fabric. 

    The grey used in the sweater is the natural undyed color of the Blåne, which doubles as the base for the dyed shades. This meant I needed a different yarn for my white contrast, and I opted for Hifa Troll, a bulky weight from the same company with the same structure as Blåne, but I believe Troll made from wool from the norsk kvit sau (the hybrid Norwegian white sheep, which is very common in Norway). I went for the bleached white because I wanted a high contrast between the different colors in the stranded sections.

    I wrote a little bit about making this sweater on Instagram when I first finished it. The pattern is a relatively straightforward bottom-up seamless circular yoked pullover. The biggest modification I made was that I added short rows to the back of the sweater before beginning the yoke for a better fit around the neck (there are no short rows in the pattern as written). I also added length to the body and the sleeves, although I went a bit overboard with the body, because I underestimated my yoke depth (I deliberately used a slightly larger gauge because I liked the feel of the finished fabric). My quick fix was to take scissors to my fully finished and blocked sweater - I cut the body apart at a point where I had joined a new ball of yarn, frogged about 2" of length, put top and bottom halves of the body back on needles, and then grafted it back together using Kitchener stitch. Full disclosure: I honestly really enjoy Kitchener stitch, so this process was a no brainer to get the finished length I wanted. I'm really happy with the length of the body now, but I kept the extra-long sleeves. (I'm six feet tall and wear a small or medium on top, so ready-to-wear sleeves are never, ever long enough for me. These super long ones are like a special luxury.) The final modification I made was to do a tubular cast on for the body and sleeves, and a tubular bind off at the neck. 

    A heads up to any of you who may want to make Dalur for yourself: some (though not all) of the colorwork rounds involve carrying three yarns at once, so I wouldn't recommend it to total newbies of colorwork. If you struggle to work with more than two yarns at once in colorwork, you may find a stranding guide like this one a useful tool to help keep your yarns separated.

    I'm SO pleased with how this yoke turned out, and so happy to finally share it with you all. It's gotten a lot of wear in the past month and I think I'll probably be able to continue wearing it in the evenings through the summer. If you're interested in more details (like the exact amounts of yarn I used), you can find my Ravelry project page for Dalur here.

    Comments
  • hello, june

    In my last post I mentioned that I was going to Oslo for the weekend, and that turned out to be a very good idea - after a weekend of summer-like temps and sunshine in Oslo, it was snowing in Tromsø when I arrived home late Monday night. "Velkommen til vinteren," said my cab driver as I got into a taxi a the airport (that's "welcome to winter"). It's been above freezing, so the snow didn't really stick around, but the higher altitudes on the island turned white again for a little while. I posted a video of the snow on Instagram from the university campus, which was reposted by the CNN account this morning (it's a bit surreal to see that something you filmed on your iPhone has over 100,000 views).

    In any case, Tromsø is still distinctly un-summery and I'm even feeling a little bit under the weather today, so I thought it would be nice to revisit some of the photos I took over the weekend (which was absolutely jam-packed with buddies and lots of time spent outdoors in the beautiful weather). Katie, who started the Oslo Strikkefestival, was telling me that May is her favorite month in Oslo, and it's easy to see why. The whole city feels like it's in full bloom, and the new green leaves feel positively lush. 

    These photos were taken in Slottsparken (or Palace Park), the public park that surrounds the royal palace, but we visited several parks over the course of the weekend, including Frognerparken (always a favorite) as well as one I knew of but had never been to, Ekebergparken, which sits up on a hill east of central Oslo and features some truly beautiful views over the city and the Oslofjord (and it's also a sculpture park). Even though I've spent a summer in Oslo before, I didn't arrive until mid-June, so I never realized how many lilacs there were all across the city! The smell as you stroll around is simply divine. Up north the lilacs bloom much later - and spring/summer up here is even later this year than normal.

    I'm so incredibly grateful to have had such a beautiful weekend, and I'm feeling pretty spoiled by it all. Oslo truly is one of my favorite cities.

    I've also continued to have lighter-weight spring and summer knitting projects on the brain, and I've made headway with my two laceweight projects. I made some progress on my Loess wrap (aka my "sommarøya wrap") while in Oslo, and I've been focused on my Garland pullover since I got home. I finished the main body, so you can finally see the garment starting to take shape, and I've started the first sleeve. This welthase yak lace is such a pleasure to work with.

    The slightly desaturated pink of the yarn goes quite nicely with all the photos of blossoms, don't you think? Now, if only we had some blossoms of our own in Tromsø...

    Comments
  • late may postcard

    My thesis is turned in (hurra!) and the midnight sun began about a week ago, both of which sound like markers of summer's approach, but we're still trying to free ourselves from winter's grasp up here in the north. Tromsø has been declared "snow-free" based on the marker outside the weather station, and it is mostly snow-free now, but when you get off the roads and into the woods, or up on higher ground, there are plenty of stubborn patches still hanging around. I took a walk up to Prestvannet this evening, wanting to see what it looks like this year at the end of May.

    We had snow early in the month, and while that's not unheard of here, winter has lingered longer this year than it did last year (looking at this photo from roughly a year ago, I can say definitively that the mountains still have a lot more snow on them now). There are hints that winter's grip is weakinging, however. The first leaves are finally getting ready to unfurl on some of the trees, a marker of spring/summer that I've been eagerly awaiting since the beginning of the month. Most of the branches are still bare, as you can see in these photos, but hopefully not for long. The temperature hovers around 5-7°C (40-45°F) during the day, and while the snow has largely retreated, Prestvannet (which freezes over and accumulates several feet of snow on top of the ice during the winter) hasn't yet melted, though the thaw is definitely in progress. The many migratory birds that make this their home during the summer are here and out in force - they make quite a racket, and around the clock too, since the sun never sets. I'm glad to hear them, though, because it means that summer is coming. The sound of running water is another small pleasure I've been enjoying in recent weeks.

    Even with these encouraging signs that soon, soon this landscape will be transformed into a lush green summerscape, I have to admit I'm really glad that I'm escaping to Oslo this weekend, where there are definitely flowers in gardens and leaves on the trees and I plan to enjoy the positively summer-like temperatures being forecasted. While I truly love Tromsø, the lack of a real spring is one of the things I find most challenging about living here. Lucky for me, it's a quick trip to Oslo and I'll get to see some friends while I'm there as well. I'll be packing the sunscreen.

    Comments