blog

travel
  • 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
  • more lofoten goodness

    There were several other Lofoten-related things that came to mind as I was putting together the Lofoten Wool post, but I didn't want the post to get too long and I really wanted the yarn and its relationship with the landscape to be the focus. So I decided to save these little bits for a new post - and I hope you enjoy these too.

    First up, there are a few Lofoten-related segments from a TV show called Norge Rundt that I thought some of you might enjoy seeing. I'm pretty sure you should be able to stream these outside Norway, because I have memories of watching Norge Rundt from time to time when I still lived in Seattle. The show's name means "Around Norway" and the format is made up of relatively short segments from some place or another, meeting a diverse array of people who do all kinds of things - and you usually jump around the country a bunch within a single episode. The show is still on today, but I'm particularly fond of the older episodes found in the show's archives, and the clips I have to share today are both of that variety. The audio is in Norwegian only, but the visual experience alone is worth it, so don't let that dissuade you if you don't speak Norwegian:

    Clip 1: In my last post I mentioned the fishing huts where fishermen would lodge, called rorbuer, and how they mainly cater to tourists now. This clip from 1978, entitled "rorbuferie" (fishing hut holiday) covers that very topic, along with some stunning footage of Lofoten in the summertime. You'll have to click through to the NRK website to watch it.

    Clip 2: This is a pretty endearing segment from 1979, which starts off with a voiceover about how the number of fishermen and of fishing boats in Kabelvåg is steadily decreasing, just like many other towns in Lofoten - "mange begynner etterhvert å glemme hvordan Lofotlivet i gamle dager var," he tells us, or "many are beginning to gradually forget what Lofoten life was like in 'the olden days'." So the kids and teachers of the local school decided to host a big event about what life used to be like in Lofoten. Their stage performance features a hanmade backdrop, adorably goofy singing, and lots of fantastic knitwear - all of which prompted my husband to ask "Wait, are we watching a Belle & Sebastian video?" when the girl in the yellow sou'wester showed up on the screen. (Fun side note: Belle & Sebastian have totally been to northern Norway, actually). But I love a community coming together to take a look back and remember what life was like in the not-so-distant past - with young people stepping up to take care of their traditions. Again, click through to watch the clip on the NRK website.

    Given the dates of both of these clips, it's worth pointing out that just like in Shetland, the 1970s was a decade that transformed sea-based industry in Norway after the discovery of oil on the continental shelf. I feel like both of these clips point to that changing landscape. (It also brought to mind the exhibition Ella Gordon put together for the Shetland Museum back in 2014 about Shetland knitting during the oil boom.)

    Artwork was another theme that came up when I was thinking about Lofoten. Some of my favorite Norwegian artwork features scenes of northern Norway, and I thought I'd share a few pieces that to me, really manage to capture the place.

    Winter Morning in Svolvær by Gunnar Berg, 1887. Berg grew up in Svolvær, which is also where the landscape photos in the last post were from. Berg really captures the light, and the brilliance of the white snow against a blue winter sky. The misty clouds and the masterful reflection in the water are so atmospheric.

    From Reine in Lofoten by Otto Sinding in 1883 (courtesy Digitalt Museum). Sinding's paintings of Lofoten manage to capture the feeling of the size and scale of the mountains in a way that photos can't seem to do. I love the low winter light in this one, and the way the reflected sky is a steel grey. These are all the things I love to notice in my changing surroundings as the light changes at different times of year.

    And for something completely different, I love this piece by Reidar Aulie. This is Lofoten, tall rock formations, from some time after 1922 (courtesy Digitalt Museum). The first thing this piece brings to mind for me is some of J.R.R. Tolkien's artwork, and given that they were very nearly contemporaries (Aulie was 12 years younger than Tolkien) that's not entirely surprising. It's just pen on paper, but it's beautiful. The Tolkien pieces this one brings to mind are Caerthilian Cove & Lion Rock and Cove near the Lizard, both scenes from Cornwall which can be seen on this page, as well as in the book J.R.R Tolkien, Artist & Illustrator, which is where I was introduced to them.

    And last but not least, I wanted to mention a book I've just finished reading, which was a Christmas gift from my friend Anna: The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen. She gave me a copy in the original Norwegian (De usynlige), and she described it along the lines of being a sort of quintessential northern Norwegian novel. It follows the story of a girl who grows up on a small island, home to her family and her family only. They have a small farm, and her father goes to Lofoten to fish every winter. The content from page to page is very everyday sorts of stuff for much of the book, which makes it an excellent novel for someone interested in what life might have been like on a small Norwegian island in the gamle dager, the old days. It's available in English as The Unseen (linked above), and I'm incredibly excited that the English translation just made the longlist for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize.

    Thanks for indulging a little bit of Lofoten exploration on the blog today.

    Comments
  • nordland rundt

    I'm recently back from a whirlwind trip around Nordland, the Norwegian fylke (county) just to the south of Troms, the county where I live. We've had some dear friends visiting from the states, and it seemed like a great opportunity to get ourselves off the beaten track and show our friends a nice cross-section of northern Norway. We were lucky to have some very nice weather and the autumn colors were pretty spectacular, all of which we got to enjoy from planes, trains, and automobiles - and on foot too, of course.

    Nordland is long and narrow from north to south (the mainland part is so narrow that one of its larger fjords, Tysfjord, ends just 6km from the Swedish border), but it's also home to the famous Lofoten archipelago. The Arctic Circle also cuts through Nordland. We began our journey with a train ride from Bodø to Mo i Rana (after flying to Bodø - there's no train that goes to Tromsø)*, where we rented a car and started heading north. We stayed somewhere new each night and the drives were short, which meant there was time for long pit stops or detours depending on how we were feeling each day - it's an approach I can highly recommend. A few highlights:

    The flight! Flying over northern Norway on a clear day is always a special treat. Tromsø to Bodø is just a quick 45-minute hop.

    Saltfjellet is incredibly unique. The area surrounding this mountain range is all national park, and I'm so glad we got to spend some time here. Going north meant a stop at the bizarre gift shop at Polarsirkelsenteret (situated at the Arctic Circle) before we made it to our lodgings for the night, the charming Saltfjellet Hotell Polarsirkelen (which has a great big common room that's lovely for knitting or reading, for the record). The hotel is surrounded by nature, and it's a short walk from the Lønsdal train station if you don't have a car. This area is incredible for hiking, and the colors are just beautiful in autumn (I feel very lucky that we got to see it like this - as the woman at the hotel said, "one windy night and it's all gone!").

    Wobbly time lapse from Saltstraumen, the world's strongest tidal current. #Saltstraumen

    A video posted by Dianna Walla ⚡️ (@cakeandvikings) on

    Saltstraumen has one of the strongest tidal currents in the world, and I've been looking forward to seeing it in person for a long time. We arrived at just the right time, as the tide was changing, and the speed of the water and the meandering whirlpools were difficult to wrap my head around. We also got to see some "Saltstraumen safari" boats zig zag and run circles across the water. We stayed a night here at a rental cabin, but on the quiter side of the water at Saltstraumen Brygge (on the peninsula just to the south of the strait - that was our view in the photo directly above).

    Visiting the former mining town of Sulitjelma tucked into the inland mountains on a lake is an experience I'm unlikely to forget. We weren't able to walk through the mine museum, but as mining was an active industry here until 1991, the traces were easy to see.

    And one last highlight: we took a Hurtigruten boat from Svolvær back to Tromsø, and were blessed with clear weather and some very active northern lights that night. Unfortunately, a moving boat + long exposures don't make for the best photos, so I left my camera in the cabin. 

    Aside from the stops, the drives themselves were just beautiful. It's hard not to love long drives down tree-lined roads at this time of year, especially when the pit stops are also beautiful.

    If I haven't convinced you that a road trip through Nordland in autumn is worth it, Van over at Snow in Tromsø went on a roadtrip through Nordland last October and shared a photo essay on her blog. Since she was there a few weeks later in the year than my trip, the mountains all have a lovely dusting of snow.

    --

    * After having watched Nordlandsbanen minutt for minutt (the slow TV program produced by Norwegian national broadcaster NRK that documents the train journey from Trondheim to Bodø) multiple times, I was really excited to spend three hours on the northern end of the route. Someday we'll do the whole thing. The full journey is 10 hours - I often put it on TV in the background when I'm working, as it's relatively meditative background nosie - and you can check it out here (for free) on the NRK website if you're interested.

    Comments
  • edinburgh yarn fest

    I had an incredible weekend in Scotland for Edinburgh Yarn Festival, though I did an absolutely terrible job of taking photos at the festival itself (and in fact I took very few photos all weekend). There were so many highlights - too many to name them all! It was incredible to see so many friends meet so many others for the first time, many of whom are colleagues whose work I've followed and blogs I've read for years (among them Ysolda Teague, Kate Davies, Felicity Ford, Bristol Ivy, Anna Maltz, Rachel Atkinson, Susan Crawford, Karie Westermann, Thea Colman, Kirsten Kapur, Ella Gordon, and the list goes on as I'm sure I'm leaving some people out). There is something so incredible about connecting in person with the community we so often interact with via a screen - it's a unique camaraderie. Now it's back to work and I have an email inbox full of messages that need replies...

    But first, I will share a few highlights! The marketplace was absolutely swamped on Friday morning when I arrived, and it was a treat to wander around and hear so many different accents (and languages!) around me and know that so many folks had traveled to the festival from afar like I did. I was able to attend Susan Crawford's talk on Saturday about the Vintage Shetland Project and it was incredible to hear about this project several years in the making. Susan has worked together with the textile museum in Shetland to recreate 27 different pieces, and the patterns to knit those pieces have been compiled in a book along with the unique stories of each garment and accessory. The book is being printed next month and I absolutely can't wait to see it (it's currently available for preorder here). Friday night's ceilidh was also a highlight, though I didn't partake in any dancing myself due to a shoulder injury. 

    I typically travel light and I didn't go straight home after the festival (I'm in LA for the remainder of my Easter break) so I didn't go nuts at the marketplace, but I did manage to squeeze in a few woolly souvenirs that I'm quite excited about. From left to right: the gorgeous Daughter of a Shepherd yarn launched by Rachel Atkinson at the festival, which is 100% Hebridean wool from her father's flock (and it's naturaly that gorgeous dark color); a skein of the recently-launched undyed Blend no. 1 from Ysolda, a blend of Merino, Polwarth, and Zwartbles wool that is the most gorgeous heathery light grey with a charcoal halo; and a small green skein of the same yarn, dyed by Triskelion Yarn.

    For more on the festival, check out Kate's recap and snapshots - the photo of Kate with Ella in her crofthoose yoke and Felix in her Missy Elliott masterpiece is a favorite.

    The rest of the weekend, for me, was about spending time with wonderful people in a wonderful city. I love Edinburgh, and I got to have many great meals and the weather was gorgeous Saturday and Sunday. I took a walk up the Crags on Sunday afternoon with Thea, Kirsten, and Rebecca Redston that was just the cherry on top. A massive thank you to everyone who made this such an incredible weekend, and to Jo and Mica who organize the festival. If you ever find yourself with a chance to go to Edinburgh Yarn Fest, my advice is simple: go. You won't regret it.

    Comments
  • autumn days

    If October was "focused" last time I wrote, it got busy. Very busy. The last two weeks of October were my absolute busiest so far, and I'm hoping that the frenzied pace peaked with the two presentations I gave last Friday and I'm on the descent side of the slope now.

    In between and around a bunch of schoolwork and an extra three-day course I took (focused!), I've continued to enjoy life in Tromsø. 

    I made pickles for the first time. I used the light pickling solution from The New Nordic and these were a delight (that's radishes on the left and onions on the right). One of the bonuses of living in Norway is that I can basically find any of the ingredients used in that cookbook. I also made some fancy cookies which I can't show you yet, but more on those later (edit: the piece went live, so now I CAN link you to those fancy cookies!).

    I collected a few short video snippets I've been taking over the last couple of months into one video. It's just snippets, but for the curious, here's a glimpse of autumn in Tromsø:

    Mørketida, which I mentioned in my last post, draws ever nearer (or is already upon us, depending on how you look at it). Daylight Savings Time ended here on October 25th, which very suddenly made the days feel much shorter. The sun set today at 2:30 in the afternoon and it's really not long now before the sun disappears for the winter. One thing that makes the dark easier to cope with, though, is the northern lights that visit us when the weather's clear. I don't get tired of watching them from my living room window. I love how they often look like twisting green flames coming from behind the mountains to the east.

    Another thing that makes it easier to cope is snow. About a week ago we had our first snow in the city. It started snowing on the 26th and by the morning of the 27th there were several inches on the ground. It stuck around for a few days before mostly melting away, but man, it was beautiful. From what I've heard, the snow-melt-snow-melt cycle is pretty common here, but after Christmas the snow is more likely to stick around (and it also starts to get lighter again, so that's when skiing season really begins).

    This city is absolutely charming covered in snow. It's such a treat to see my daily landscape transform so dramatically. The university campus, too, looks a little bit more magical in the snow.

    So between the northern lights, the dramatic skies, and the snow, I think I'm going to get by okay during the dark season. 

    Comments
  • velkommen til tromsø

    We've been in Tromsø for two weeks as of today, and what a whirlwind it's been. There's been so much to do and so many new experiences that I've barely had time to think, let alone sit down at the computer (let's not even talk about the state of my email inbox). We've been in our new apartment for a week and it's slowly (ever so slowly) creeping towards a cozy, habitable dwelling, but this has been the longest and most involved move of my life.

    I thought it'd be nice to give you a little bit of info about my new Norwegian home. Tromsø sits at 69º north - well above the Arctic Circle (and the entirety of Iceland, for a knitterly point of reference; Reykjavík sits at 64º north). That means it gets the midnight sun in the summertime (the sun doesn't set for two months) and polar night in the winter (the sun doesn't rise above the mountains in the south for two months). That dramatic difference between summer solstice and winter solstice means the days are already growing shorter at a staggering rate. When we arrived two weeks ago, sunrise was at 2:26 AM and sunset was at 11:08 PM. Today, sunrise was at 3:48 AM and sunset was at 9:45 PM. That's a difference of almost an hour and a half at each end - in two weeks! Still, it hasn't gotten totally dark yet and it won't for a couple more weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing the stars again (and eventually, the northern lights). You can check out sunrise and sunset times for the month of August here, if you're curious.

    Looking west to Kvaløya from Tromsø at 11:45 PM, August 7th

    The natural beauty of the landscape here is overwhelming. Tromsø's a city of around 70,000 (or 75,000 when university is in session) and most of it is situated on the island of Tromsøya ("Troms Island"). The Norwegian mainland lies to the east and a much larger island called Kvaløya ("Whale Island") lies to the west. Tromsøya is connected to the mainland and to Kvaløya by bridges. I can't even describe how happy it makes me to be living on an island surrounded by water and ringed by mountains. The weather can change at the drop of a hat and the light is often dramatic. I could probably stare at the sky and the light on the mountains all day.

    Tromsøya as seen from Storsteinen on the mainland, with Kvaløya at back

    At this point in the year, there's fireweed growing everywhere and it feels impossibly green and positively lush compared to drought-ridden Seattle. I love the scrappy subarctic birch forests, too. Even though the island of Tromsøya isn't that big, there are so many corners to explore. We spent some time down at the beaches on the southwest side of the island last weekend, and I've started exploring the network of trails that criss-cross different parts of the island. Everything feels so alive. I expect that will change as winter approaches.

    I think we're a few weeks away from really feeling settled in (we should be acquiring the essential pieces of furniture we still need this week, at the very least) but it's easier to put up with the hassles of moving when all of this is right outside your door. My classes start this week and perhaps I'll be able to get into a bit of a routine after the first week or two. And then, maybe then, I'll be ready to check out the yarn stores that are just a few blocks from our new place. For now, I have plenty to do (and plenty of WIPs that need working on, if we're being honest).

    I'm looking forward to sharing more of this incredible place with you all as we find our feet here.

    Comments
  • a day trip to harrisville, new hampshire

    My last week in Seattle went by in a flash. The whirlwind of emotions is difficult to describe, but in some moments, it just hit me. In others, it really didn't feel like I was leaving at all. I expect that'll continue to happen for a little while.

    I left Seattle on Sunday, and I've been in New Hampshire this week visiting some family I won't see for awhile. They live about an hour away from Harrisville, home of Harrisville Designs - known to many knitters as the mill where Brooklyn Tweed's yarns are spun. Wool yarn has been spun in Harrisville since 1794, so this small town has a long and rich history and I felt like I couldn't miss another chance to head over and check it out. It was a bit of an impromptu trip, but my mother, my aunt and I enjoyed our short visit to the Harrisville Designs retail store (a beautiful space) as well as our lunch at the general store across the road. I spent quite a lot of time looking around the store; it's always wonderful to see the Brooklyn Tweed yarns in person, but I really enjoyed getting a chance to see and handle Harrisville Designs' own line of yarns, and they carried a small selection of other yarns as well (from the likes of Rowan, Shibui, and SweetGeorgia, to name a few). It was also a real pleasure to chat with the ladies working in the store (hello, Annmarie and Paula!). I'd love to go back someday and tour the mill buildings.

    a rainbow of Shetland wool on cones

    HD's own Watershed, a beautiful worsted weight

    The store sold much more than just yarn and fiber, and I was pretty smitten with these Maine-made blankets (I think they're these cotton throws from Brahms Mount, but if anyone knows otherwise please let me know!)

    Cheers to my mom for this photo of me at the store entrance!

    Even though it was a very warm summer's day, it was a beautiful one. The rain clouds rolled in as we were leaving town, which was actually pretty delightful. It's easy to fall in love with New England.

    For more Harrisville: Anna from Tolt recently visited Harrisville and you can find the blog post from her visit here; and check out the most recent episode of the New Hampshire Knits podcast (episode 25) for an interview with Nick Colony, whose family owns the business.

    --

    I'm off to New York today and I fly to Norway on Saturday, so the next post here will most likely be from Tromsø!

    Comments
  • slovenia

    Slovenia was special.

    I'll be up front about the fact that before we started planning this trip, I didn't know that much about Slovenia (even having lived in a bordering country, Hungary, for a year). A small country on the Adriatic Sea, sandwiched between Italy and Croatia, it has a population of just over two million people. It's mostly mountainous, and there's a lot of forested territory. We entered the country from the Italian side, as we were coming from Venice, and as it was a clear day, we had beautiful sweeping views of the snow-capped Julian Alps the entire time.

    And then we got to Ljubljana. We were utterly charmed by this city, and I think it would be hard not to be, especially when it's all lit up for Christmas. The center of the town is the historical center, full of cobblestone streets and bridges criss-crossing the Ljubljanica river. I've been fortunate to see some pretty spectacular lit-up-for-Christmas city centers in Europe in my life, but Ljubljana's was unlike any I'd seen before. Mostly forgoing the typical snowflakes, bells, horns, and traditional holiday imagery, many of Ljubljana's holiday lights were astronomy, math, or art/design themed. My very favorite was probably the street full of shooting stars, pictured above. 

    I also managed to find what I later learned was the only commercially-made yarn in Slovenia - made by Soven (website in Slovene only). Not purely a yarn company, Soven deals in a wide range of woolly industries, and carry not just their yarns in the store but also a selection of knitted goods (both hand knits and machine knits), a variety of bedding materials, wool insulation for construction, and more. Quite a different type of company than I'm used to interfacing with! I spent the most time looking at the yarn, of course, which came in a range of solid colors, both dyed and undyed, as well as a selection of marled yarns. I kind of fell in love with this pink/cream melange above.

    I commented on Instagram that there seemed to be a lot of knitters/crocheters/weavers around, and put out a general call for information on Slovenian textiles. A Ravelry member sent along a very sweet message with some info, particularly on the lace-making tradition (thanks Neža!), which had caught my eye. If you're interested in lace, I recommend checking out this link on Idrijan lace that Neža sent along. It's bobbin lace, not knitted lace, but it's incredible beautiful and the lace school in Idrija has operated continuously since 1876, which I think is quite a feat. I'd still love to hear suggestions of links or texts to check out on Slovenian textiles, and welcome suggestions in the comments!

    Comments
  • some thoughts

    We're really into the meat of our trip now (or if the trip is a chausson aux pommes, we're into the gooey pastry filling). It's nice to take a step back from the daily routine - home and work truly feel lightyears away - and we've seen some incredible stuff. I've been thinking about food, too.

    France and Italy were a little bit of a revelation. One of the things that I'm realizing is that stereotypes and ideas about other cultures tend to stick around, outliving the things that created them in the first place. Without going too deeply into it (this isn't a food and drink blog, after all), this article about France's coffee situation is a really interesting read, particularly for anyone who's been to France and wondered, why on earth is this coffee so terrible? On the bright side, we found the most amazing little locally-sourced foods store in Lyon, de l'autre côté de la rue.

    Italy was interesting this time too. We really only made it to Venice, which is a beautiful unicorn of a city - I'd been once before, but Chris had never been. But Venice is expensive and there's some shockingly bad food to be had. On the flipside, there's also some incredible food - but it makes me realize that I'm spoiled by having a place like Delancey in my neighborhood at home. Once upon a time, you had to go to Italy to get pizza like that. Now, I can sit down eating pizza in a beautiful square in Venice and say, this is almost on par with Delancey. The modern world is weird. Still, I think I left Italy this time much more interested in Italy and the Italian language, which is a bit of a surprise (I've never cared much about Italy one way or another). I'm looking forward to going back and seeing different parts of the country someday.

    I am so grateful to be on a trip like this; to see so much is a privelege in the first place. But I am also incredibly grateful to have a trip like this open my eyes to new things and ideas, which I suppose is part of why people travel in the first place.

    Comments
  • land of the angles

    Here's to falling asleep at 7:30 pm (because you didn't sleep at all on the red-eye) and not getting up until 7:00 am the next morning. To blustery December days and afternoon tea breaks. To long talks over a veggie English breakfast. And to handknit socks when you're far from home and forgot to pack a scarf (seriously).

    Just wanted to pop in to say that we arrived in England yesterday safe and sound (if exhausted). I love this country and I'm so happy we're kicking off our trip here. I'd like to try and post periodically to check in on this trip - I always forget that I really like writing about travel, and it doesn't feel like work the same way that blogging about my work does (funny, that). In any case, I realized there were a few things I wanted to post about, too:

    • If you're in the London area, the Pom Pom Christmas Party is happening this weekend (Saturday, December 6). I'm sad I'll miss it by only a few days, but you can read more here.
    • If you're in the Seattle area, this weekend is Urban Craft Uprising. Whether you've never been or you've been before, GO. It's such a fantastic craft fair. Runs Saturday and Sunday at Seattle Center.
    • Cirilia is hosting a knitalong for the Loro Vest from her new book, Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads. The official cast on date is December 15, but you can find all the details here.
    • ETA: Spincycle Yarns and Pepperberry Knits are running a Pine Bough Cowl KAL! It kicks of December 26 and you can find details on Ravelry here.

    That's it for now! Wherever you are, I hope you're staying warm (and for the record, I bought a scarf).

    Comments
  • a trip and a pattern sale

    In a sort of continuation of my last post: while we small business owners are very lucky to do what we get to do, and I am so immensely grateful for the community of talented and creative people I get to work with regularly, small business can be a slog. December, in the run-up to Christmas, tends to be the best month of the year for many, many retail businesses, and this includes small businesses (perhaps especially so for yarny ones). So perhaps this is a bit crazy of me - but I'm taking December off. Last year, during the month of December, I found myself getting really burned out. I'd had an incredibly busy fall season and was facing deadlines on top of the bustle and stress of the holiday season and the personal toll that can take - and I realized right then that I didn't want to be in that place this year.

    This time tomorrow, I'll be on my way to the airport, bound for Europe! My husband and I are taking three weeks to travel from England to Istanbul by train. I am so excited. We'll be covering old ground and new: both places we've been before and places we never thought we'd end up. I've loaded up my phone with bilingual dictionaries and language learning apps and I can't wait to take a million photos.

    I'll be periodically checking email and Ravelry, so I'll still be on hand to answer questions, but my response time will very likely be slower than normal. Additionally, wholesale orders are on hold until I'm back in the office the first week of January.

    As a treat, both because I'll be semi out-of-the-office and also because I love the holiday season, all Paper Tiger patterns will be 25% off for the month of December! Simply use the coupon code papertigerholiday at checkout. There's no minimum purchase and you can use the code more than once! Please note that the sale applies to Paper Tiger patterns on Ravelry only; patterns published by third parties (Brooklyn Tweed, etc.) are not included. The sale will run from December 1st to December 31st (Pacific Standard Time). Thank you all for making what I do possible.

    P.S. For those of you who are as uncomfortable as I am with "Black Friday" as both a name and an idea, you might find this an interesting read. The popularly given origin of the term, the red-to-black story, is a total myth. My aversion to the Black Friday phenomenon (and the fact that it's spreading beyond U.S. borders) is largely why my own sale isn't starting until December.

    Comments
  • southern fiords

    When I designed the Fjordland hat for Pom Pom Quarterly last year, I had an idea in my head for a matching pair of socks (not necessarily to be worn with the hat, but composed of the same basic colors and motifs). Of course, Tosh Sock in the same colorways as the hat would make for a truly matching set, but when Tash of Knitsch Yarns and Holland Road Yarn Company offered up some Knitsch sock yarn to play with, I saw an opportunity.

    I first read about Tash, her shop, and her yarn in an issue of Extra Curricular (I can't recall which off the top of my head), and when I went on Ravelry to look her up, I discovered she was getting ready to run a Vasa KAL (blogged here)! We've been in touch ever since. You may remember that Extra Curricular, which I've written about here before, is a New Zealand publication, one I discovered while in New Zealand on my honeymoon in 2013. Sadly, I didn't know about Holland Road Yarn Co. at that time, but I fell in love with Wellington, the area where Tash's shops are, so when she suggested I do a design with Knitsch sock yarn, I jumped at the chance. I knew pretty quickly what I wanted to do, too.

    One of the places I had the opportunity to visit in New Zealand was Fiordland National Park, on the South Island. The South Island is an incredible place, full of some of the most beautiful countryside I've ever seen, but Fiordland National Park is especially spectacular. The fiords have much in common with those of Norway, but they're very different, too. Where Norway's are arctic, these were undeniably lush.

    Chris and I took a boat tour of Milford Sound, the only fiord that can be accessed by road. The weather is changeable and often uncooperative, and so as we set off, the sheer cliffs to either side of our boat rose into misty clouds, their peaks hidden from view. By the time our boat had traversed the fiord and made it back to the dock, however, the clouds were breaking and the sun shone down on us.

    Enter Southern Fiords. It's a bit ridiculous to compare a humble pair of socks to something as ancient and immense as a fiord, but there's a connection in the inspiration all the same. I wanted the socks, inspired by these very different fiords, to have a different feeling than the Fjordland hat, even though they're tied together by other characteristics. The colors of Knitsch Sock that I chose (Hydro, Blunderbuss, and Plain and Simple) reflect that different character, I think.

    As Knitsch sock is a 100% merino yarn, these socks are probably better suited for hanging out at home and daydreaming than for actual adventuring, and that's what we went with for the photo story. I pulled out my stack of Extra Curricular mags, a few books, and some of my favorite NZ records and the lovely Kathy Cadigan came over and took photos while I hung out in my living room, playing records and dancing like a fool. I'm so pleased with Kathy's photos and I think she did a lovely job of showing off the socks as well as creating a cozy mood.

    One of my favorite things about these socks is how well they illustrate the importance of shade or value in colorwork (that is, how light or dark a color is), especially when compared to the Fjordland hat. Both items are worked up with a main color (blue) and two contrasting colors (green and white), but on the hat the contrasting colors are very close in value, while with the socks the main color and one of the contrasting colors (green) are much closer together in value as a result of the lighter blue and the darker green. This is most apparent on the two-color rib, but the difference is clear throughout the whole of each piece:

    This means that the finished objects feel very different from each other, regardless of the fact that the motifs are identical. But more on shade value in colorwork at a later date! For now, sock details:

    These are worked cuff-down in the round, with a slip stitch heel flap and a rounded toe, which is grafted together at the end. These are written for DPNs, but if you're used to working your socks another way, they'll be easy enough to adapt. The colorwork means these are a great way to use up sock yarn scraps (the yardage estimates listed on the Ravelry page are generous), and if you're anything like me, you have a lot of those hanging around (I don't even knit that many socks!). Head over to the Ravelry page for all the pertinent details like yarn and needle requirements, sizes, and a full list of pattern characteristics, or to purchase a digital PDF copy. If you're a LYS wholesale customer (or you'd like to be one), Southern Fiords will also be available in a hard copy booklet which will be added to the line sheet very soon.

    Comments
  • norsk folkemuseum, part 2: indoors

    I've been back from Norway for nearly two weeks and I'm finally settling in again and beginning to get back into a work flow. It's so easy to forget how much of a buffer is sometimes needed between long travel and diving back into work. In any case, today I'm writing about the other half of the Norwegian Folkemuseum in Oslo: the indoor exhibits!

    There are a host of different permanent exhibitions inside the main museum buildings (you can view the list here), my favorite of which were the exhibits on folk dress and folk art, and of course, the knitting history exhibit.

    The gallery was dark, so as to protect the items on display, which means it wasn't the best place to try and take photos of things (as is usually the case). I grabbed a few, though. In particular, I was pretty smitten with this chair:

    Between the carving, the painting, and the woven seat cushion, it's a crazy and beautiful amalgamation of several different folk arts.

    There was a wonderful description of the Husflidsbevegelsen, the home crafts movement that is the origin of the modern husflidslag:

    "Due to the great changes that occurred in rural society during the second half of the 1800s, long-standing traditions in crafts gradually began to vanish. In order to halt this trend, and to combat unemployment and poverty, the home crafts movement arose in the 1860s. Starting in the 1880s, museums of applied art became involved in this movement, primarily in order to ensure high artistic quality, but also as a result of the national romantic spirit of the times. In 1891, three home crafts associations in Kristiania (later renamed Oslo) merged to form the Norwegian Association for Home Arts and Crafts [Den Norske Husflidsforening]. This association opened shops in the city, and established a contact network with producers all over the country. The home crafts movement flourished, and similar associations were established in many towns, and eventually throughout the country."

    The husflid movement is still going strong today, with organizations all over the country (you can find their website, in Norwegian only, at husflid.no). The closest equivalent I can think of in the U.S. would be the guild system, but it's not an exact equivalent. A husflidslag from a specific area of Norway will be interested in protecting the regional crafts and styles historically specific to that area, for example, and they cover far more than just knitting. Many of the regional organizations have shops you can visit, and the national Norges Husflidslag has a shop on the bottom floor of the historic GlasMagasinet department store in the middle of downtown Oslo. The yarn selection is great, for the record!

    But back to the museum: the Knitting History section was small, but they managed to cover a lot. I could've simply stared at the items on display:

    That's an original copy of Annichen Sibbern Bøhn's landmark Norske Strikkemønstre (Norwegian Knitting Designs, 1929) to the left. Annichen spent 1927 traveling around Norway collecting different designs and patterns, taking photographs of samples, and writing charts for the different designs. It's a wonderful source of inspiration for anyone interested in Norwegian knitting and while the book was out of print for years, it's been republished thanks to Terri Shea (author of Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition). You can take a peek here, and if you're interested in learning more about Annichen, you can check out the PDF of an article Terri wrote for Piecework Magazine here (PDF link).

    Moving to the right from Annichen's book, there's a stocking from Selbu, a mohair brush, and a collection of straight and circular needles in different sizes. And that painted needle case on the end! 

    There was also a large selection of sweaters on display. Lurking up on the wall, in the top right-hand corner of the photo, there's a Skappelgenser, the super simple sweater that took Norway by storm in 2012 (I've knit one myself). Many Norwegians who weren't knitters learned to knit to make themselves a Skappelgenser. 

    There was also a case full of sweaters designed by Unn Søiland Dale, who designed many sweaters for the Sandnes factory. Her most famous and most recognizeable design (especially as it's seeing a resurgence right now), is the iconic blue, red, and white Marius sweater. Many of her sweater designs became Norwegian icons and are still recognizeable today, like the Marius sweater. Check out this lady's style:

    There was also a beautiful temporary exhibition on when I visited, featuring photography by Italian photographer Luca Berti. Luca cycles around Norway taking photos of people and the countryside, and the results are gorgeous. The photos were shot recently, but most are shot on film and many with large format cameras, so they feel quite nostalgic. That exhibition is up through September.

    My souvenir from the museum gift shop was splurging on a book:

    Ren Ull, or Pure Wool, by Tone Skårdal Tobiassen and Ingun Grimstad Klepp. It is exactly as it sounds: a book all about Norwegian wool. It's a history, an account of wool in the lives of everyday Norwegians, and it tells the story of wool from sheep to product. Here's an English translation of the description from the book jacket:

    Wool is part of the Norwegian soul, a warming gold that is spun, knitted, woven, and transformed into wonderful products like our national costumes, sweaters and undergarments, upholstery and rugs. Everyone knows that the South Pole was reached because of Amundsen’s wool undergarments, and everyone knows that wool is tantamount to a happy childhood. With winter sport idols Vegard Ulvang and Kari Traa (who added a dose of sex appeal), wool  undergarments have undergone a renaissance.

    In PURE WOOL we follow the path from sheep to product. Here you’ll find the story of quality, Norwegian industry, nostalgia and tradition, and modern design. Here also we discount several myths – for modern wool neither scratches nor shrinks. The starting point is Norwegian sheep, but in a globalized world, the wool takes some detours that few know or think about. So let yourself be surprised and seduced into a world that affects us all. [Translation mine.]

    It was released in conjunction with The Campaign for Wool's Wool Week in 2013, Norway being one of several other countries that has taken up the campaign since it was started in the UK in 2010. I'm so pleased to know that the importance of wool is being given real recognition in a country like Norway where it has historically been so important. I'm not terribly far into the book yet (I'm a much slower reader in Norwegian than in English) but it's chock full of color photos past and present, and the topics covered are certainly wide. I'm really enjoying it, and I'd definitely recommend it to any Norwegian speakers (as far as I know, there is no English translation). It is nice to be reading it as I prep for the Nordic Knitting Conference, and I have a feeling a lot of the subject matter may come up in my classes.

    All in all, the Folkemuseum on Bydøy is absolutely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Oslo. Give yourself at least a whole day - it's the largest museum of cultural history in Norway, after all - and try to go when the weather's decent so you can enjoy the open-air museum. It's also a great spot to hit if you're doing research on many aspects of Norwegian culture, and you can read about the collections and archives of the museum here.

    Comments
  • norsk folkemuseum, part 1: the open-air museum

    I've been wanting to get to the Norsk Folkemuseum on Bygdøy all summer, and last week I finally made it! The official English name is the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, but for the sake of simplicity, I'm simply going to refer to it as the Folkemuseum. One of the perks of attending the International Summer School at UiO is that students get free entry to several museums around Oslo with their ISS student cards, and the Folkemuseum is among them (lucky me!).

    I'll be writing about the Folkemuseum in two posts, because it's a vast and multidimensional museum, one I could easily spend several days at. In a way, it's several museums in one: there are many indoor exhibits, permanent and temporary, dealing with the life of Norwegian people over time in a variety of different areas, but there's also a large open-air museum outdoors. The indoor exhibits were quite good, but I must admit the open-air section of the museum was my favorite. I'll be writing about that first.

    The museum was officially founded in 1894 and established at Bygdøy in 1898. All of the buildings that belong to the open-air museum are actual historical buildings that were moved from their original locations to the museum over the last 100+ years, which is pretty remarkable. They're laid out according to their location of origin, so there are many sections corresponding to geographic regions, such as Telemark, Setesdal, Hallingdal, and so on:

    (image courtesy of the Norsk Folkemuseum)

    The first two buildings that the museum acquired were a bur and a loft, both from Telemark. The bur is a storehouse, and in this case it was the larder on the farm. The loft was the guesthouse, where guests to the farm would be lodged and entertained. A majority of the buildings in the open-air museum are from old farmsteads, and storehouses, lofts, and farmhouses from different parts of the country, from several different points in history. I found myself thinking often of Kristin Lavransdatter, the classic trio of novels by Sigrid Undset that depicts the life of a woman in 14th century Norway. None of the buildings in the museum are quite as old as that, but the first farmhouse I stepped into was from the second half of the 1600s, and farmsteads hadn't changed all that much by then: the buildings were largely the same, the crops were largely the same, the wife/mother of the farm was still the keeper of the keys to the storehouse, etc. It's quite an experience to be transported back in time simply by stepping into a building (through a very low doorway, I might add). In any case, here are the loft and bur from Telemark, which date from the mid-1700s:

    I adore the intricate wood carving and sod roofs. Both are typical of Norwegian buildings from the countryside, and the spectacular woodworking skills of the Norwegians were also put to use on one of my favorite types of buildings: the stave church. The Folkemuseum has a stave church of its own, from Gol:

    Built of sturdy pine, the Gol stave church dates from around 1200. The stave churches first appeared in the latter years of the Viking era, after King Olaf Tryggvason converted Norway to Christianity. At that point the Norwegian churches were Catholic, and the Norwegians simply took the concepts of the layout of a Catholic church (nave, circular apse, columns, vaulted ceilings, etc.) and used traditional construction techniques to apply them. This meant churches were built entirely of wood, with tarred exteriors (to weatherproof the building) and often an exterior set of walls for extra protection, which created a sort of hallway around the church hall itself. One of my favorite details is that for a church the size of the Gol stave church, the vaulted ceiling inside was effectively an upside-down longship - master shipbuilders that they were, it's no surprise the Vikings borrowed that technique for their churches. The churches had to be tarred every three years to keep up with the weatherproofing, which was quite an undertaking. Everyone helped out with the task.

    The Gol stave church was moved from its original location in Hallingdal to Oslo around 1885. King Oscar II had a private open-air museum on Bygdøy at that point (oh, royalty); King Oscar's Collection merged with the Folkemuseum in 1907. To this day, Oscar's section of the open-air museum is known as Kong Oscar IIs Samling, or King Oscar the Second's Collection. The gold leaf you can see halfway up the church front commemorates the relocation and restoration of the church. Unsurprisingly, there are only a handful of stave churches left in Norway, but if you're curious about them, you can read more here. I am very fortunate to have been in more than one - I visited the Borgund stave church in 2012, and to give you an idea of the intricate carving around the entrance (symbolic, of course, as the gate through which one steps into God's house) as well as a peek of the interior, here's a photo from Borgund (the entrance and interior of Gol was very similar):

    And the top of the portal of the Gol church:

    Keeping up with the theme of beautifully carved wood, this was a door on a storehouse in the Setesdal section of the museum:

    I found it especially noteworthy because the carvings on either side of the main door greatly resemble stockinette! It was also in the Setesdal section of the museum that I got a close-up photo of the edge of a sod roof:

    While I think many of us find sod roofs incredibly charming, as it so happens, the grass on the roof is really just a by-product of this method of roof-building. The cheapest way to build a weather-proof roof in a wet, windy, and snowy land was to use readily available materials. Birch is abundant in Scandinavia as well as strong and resistant to water and soil, and so people would strip the bark from the trees and lay on top of the wooden roof boards in layers (around 8 layers or so, on average). To hold the birch "shingles" in place and keep them from falling off or blowing away, they're weighted down. Sod was an obvious choice for this job, as it was (obviously) readily available and an insulator to boot. So next came a layer of sod, topside down (the bottom layer of grass helped with drainage and insulation), and then another layer, topside up. Once you put soil on your rooftop, the grass just grows! I love how you can see the ends of the birch bark pieces curling over at the edge of the roof.

    In addition to the countryside areas, there's a little Gamlebyen (old town) as well, to give museum-goers an idea of what life in a Norwegian city would be like at different points in history. 

    I was running out of time by the time I got to Gamlebyen, but I did have a chance to pop into the weaver's shop and pick up some yarn. I chose a beautiful hank of Telespinn yarn, in a 2-ply variety called Symre (named after a flower that commonly grows in Telemark, where the yarn is sourced and spun). I couldn't pass it up: as you can see, it's gorgeous yarn, but I was also immediately drawn in by the company's goals and values. Based in Telemark, they're interested in learning about and preserving both the history and cultural landscape of their area, as well as the relationship between livestock farming and natural landscape (as regards their mohair goats, in particular). Symre is a mohair-lambswool blend, and it feels both hardy and luxurious at the same time. I wanted to buy all of it. You can learn more about Telespinn, their goats, and their mini-mill on their website here (link goes to the English version).

    One of the other great things about the open-air museum is that many of the buildings have guides working inside, typically in costume and often partaking in a daily task typical of the building and time period they're representing. I saw some tablet weaving of decorative belts, a folk dance demonstration, and I spent a few minutes in a very hot kitchen building chatting with some ladies making lefse in the most traditional way: on an iron tray over an open hearth (hence the heat). Then I got to eat some (it was delicious).

    I've been quite wordy, so I'll leave you with just a few more photos. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, though, and I'd love to hear if any of you have been to the Folkemuseum! Or if you've been to similar museums in other places, I'd love to hear about that too and I'd welcome your recommendations! I'm flying back to the states tomorrow, so I won't be posting about the second half of the museum until later this week. I'm looking forward to getting home and regular posting should resume shortly thereafter.

    Comments
  • a visit to the voss folkemuseum

    On my trip to Voss last weekend we had a chance to visit the Voss Folkemuseum. While my trips to museums with groups are always shorter than they would be when I'm on my own (I spent so many hours at the National Museum of Iceland a few months back, which I am now realizing I never actually blogged about), it was a great visit and I think the museum's definitely worth seeing if you ever find yourself in Voss! The biggest reason for the trip to Voss in the first place was that our friend Marius, who's from Voss (but lives in Oslo now), was back home housesitting for a few weeks. Marius has a cousin, Bjørnar, who's a guide at the museum, so he gave us a little tour around, which was great.

    Marius & Bjørnar on the farmstead

    One of the coolest things about the Voss Folkemuseum is that it started with the purchase of the Mølster farmstead in 1917 (Mølster remained a functioning farm until a few decades ago). The museum building housing artifacts and exhibits was built next to the old farmstead. The buildings of the farmstead exist exactly as they did when it was a functioning farm, i.e. they're all in their original locations, sod roofs and slate roofs alike being maintained (Bjørnar explained that occasionally, the grass on top of the sod roofs has to be cut - in the old days, they'd just stick a goat up on the roof, but now the roofs are maintained by museum staff). The oldest building on the site dates from the 1500s, which is pretty remarkable. It's a great way to see what a typical Norwegian farmstead would have looked like, both outside and in, up until the mid-20th century. It also sits up on a hill, overlooking Vossevangen. It's a beautiful spot.

    I really enjoyed the inside of the museum as well. Being a folk museum, there were several permanent exhibitions showcasing what daily life was like for the people of Voss in decades and centuries past. Items used both in day-to-day life as well as more festive and formal occasions were on display. Unsurprisingly, I was drawn both to the knitting and wool-related items, as well as the items related to the bunad, or national costume, of Voss (for those who don't know, Norway has regional national folk costumes worn for celebrations like Constitution Day or weddings; Norwegians who can afford bunads traditionally receive them for their Confirmation).

    believe these are bunad bibs (the part in the middle of the bodice as seen on the bunad below) but for some reason I didn't note what this display actually said, so I could be wrong. In any case, there was a lot of beautiful embroidery and beading on display.

    A bunad from Voss. Voss is the only place in Norway where I've seen the two-pointed skaut shown here (skaut is the word for headscarf). For all regional bunads, traditionally the type of head covering often corresponded to one's age and martial status, and brides wore special bridal crowns and silver for their weddings. The page is in Norwegian, but you can see photos of different types of bunads from Voss here, and you can see the wedding crown from Voss here. It's interesting how the bridal crown maintains the unique shape of the skaut.

    On to the wool!

    The thing I enjoyed most about seeing the old tools for working with wool (prepping, spinning, ball-winding, etc.) is how very little these things have changed. The modern-made tools we use are the same in so many respects. I got especially excited about the umbrella swift in the bottom photo, which dates from 1842. The mechanism for adjusting the height of the moveable part of the swift appears to be a slim piece of wood removed and inserted into different holes, so that it effectively acts as a stopper. I'm not going to lie - this probably works better than the common wooden screw stopper version I have (like this one), which has a tendency to not hold the swift in place after enough use (leading to much grumbling and/or swearing).

    There were also some knitted items on display:

    They were well-worn and there was definitely some visible mending going on. I was pleased to see the long cap next to the stocking in the top photo on display; it's actually knitted, but was rather made using nålbinding (it was nålbinded? Nålbound? Needle-bound? I'm at a past participle loss!). The sign in the bottom photo reads "Når sokken er tre gonger påspøta, er det nok -". I'm utterly and completely unfamiliar with the word "påspøta" but I can only guess it has something to do with mending (the regular bokmål word for mending is bøte, which bears some resemblance to spøta, I guess). If that's the case, this would mean something like "When the sock has been thrice mended, that is enough." Fair enough! Of course, in Norway, once woollen goods reached the point beyond reasonable repair, they were often torn up and shoved into corners of walls and windows needing extra insulation, and then later, they'd be sent to the shoddy mills to be recycled into new woollen goods.

    My other favorite thing in the permanent collection may have been the fiddles.

    In Norway, there are hardingfeler and flatfeler ("Hardanger fiddles" and "flat fiddles," respectively). Flat fiddles are more like a typical violin, but the Hardanger fiddles are a bit more special. Sound-wise, the biggest distinguishing characteristic is that they have a second set of strings, set below the main set, which are called understrings. The understrings aren't played, but rather, they resonate when the main strings are played. I first saw a Hardanger fiddle up close and heard one played back in North Carolina when I was in college, and I remember thinking that the decoration was beautiful but perhaps a bit strange. I've really come to love them, though, having seen many more examples over the years of the lavish decoration that is typical of these fiddles. Patterns of black ink rosing on the body, inlay (usually mother of pearl, but sometimes bone) along the tailpiece and fingerboard, and an ornamental carving such as a dragon's head above the pegbox are all typical decorations. I especially liked the more simple one pictured at left, because of the eight-pointed star motif.

    There was also a temporary exhibit on display of photography by Christian Herheim, who was described to me as "Voss's first photographer." There were some pretty spectacular photos, both of daily life in Voss in the first half of the 20th century, as well as posed portraits for formal occasions. I was drawn to this photo below, of the Lirhus children (all eleven of them):

    Admittedly, the knitwear they're sporting is part of what drew me in. There was also this photo of a bride, who's an ancestor of both Bjørnar and Marius (I think Bjørnar said she was his grandmother). You can see what the back of the bridal crown looks like in this photo:

    We stopped by the gift shop on the way out where I picked up a bilingual book on popular bunads. It's been fun to thumb through it and read a bit about some of the different bunads I haven't seen before. All in all, a very worthwhile visit. Tusen takk, Voss!

    Comments
  • school, snow, and a vasa update (sort of)

    When I last posted two and a half weeks ago I had every intention of returning to more regular blog updates. While that obviously didn't happen, I have been keeping busy. Not much of it directly pertains to Paper Tiger as a business, but I thought I might share some of it here all the same (Paper Tiger was a personal blog and a place to share my thoughts and creative work before it was ever a business, after all).

    Firstly, this is as close as I've gotten to a photo of my fully finished Vasa from the Vasalong:

    I'm holding out for a proper modeled photo (taken by someone else, preferably not on an iPod/iPhone) before I share all of the details, including my mods, etc. but the short version of the story is that I love it in the linen (yarn is Quince & Co. Sparrow, in the colors Juniper and Little Fern), I love the sleeve border I added, and this one has quite a bit of positive ease, far more than I recommended in the pattern (which was at least 4" - I haven't actually measured this thing yet, but I know it's more than that). I promise I'll wrap all that up soon! (The ravelry project page can be found here.)

    As for why it's taken me so long to get around to photographing and writing about my Vasa, as well as other projects I have going on, the reasons are many. The biggest reason, however, is that the summer school does actually keep me fairly busy, and when I'm not in class or hanging around the library working, I'm resting, cooking, exploring Oslo, or traveling. The International Summer School at UiO is something I have wanted to do for a very long time - nigh on a decade - and now that I'm actually here doing it I want to enjoy it and get as much out of the experience as I can. That makes PT work lower priority and it's naturally fallen a little bit by the wayside. This has also been a time of reflection for me. I'm in the middle of something of a long transitional period, and coming to the summer school has been a deliberate part of that. It's a transition away from creative work as my full-time daily work (though I will never give it up entirely) and back towards the world of education. It's something I plan to write about more on this blog, because I have a lot of feelings about it all and I've spent a lot of time thinking about it, but I'll save that for another day.

    In the meantime, to give you an idea of what I have been doing...

    Most days look a lot like this:

    But some days look like this:

    On top of Aurlandsfjellet in Sogn og Fjordane fylke. That's the lopapeysa I bought on my trip to Iceland in March I'm wearing.

    Or this:

    Voss, in western Norway, in the rain & fog

    I've been on one ISS-organized excursion (around the Oslofjord) and one road trip unrelated to the summer school to visit friends in Voss, which was this past weekend. The drive to western Norway is one I've done before, and it's staggeringly beautiful. It was nice to stay in Voss as well, and we took a brief trip to the Folkemuseum there (I only have a few photos from it, but I think that still warrants its own blog post). I won't be going on any trips this coming weekend, as I've only been in Oslo one weekend out of three since I arrived, and I'd like to do some weekend exploring (hitting up farmer's markets, second-hand markets, and parks and the like that I wouldn't normally get to on a weekday). 

    I've also been thinking a lot about the concept of home, my nomadic tendencies, and why I'm drawn to Norway in the first place. The visual ties to the Pacific Northwest are pretty obvious in many parts of the country. I found myself thinking about drives out to Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, Washington, as we drove through Hallingdal on the way back to Oslo on Sunday. I never realized Hallingdal looked so much like the Snoqualmie Valley. 

    Driving through Hallingdal on road 7

    In any case, I'm having an amazing time in Norway. We have a long weekend (no class Thursday or Friday) this weekend, so I'm planning to hit up some of the museums I haven't had a chance to get to yet and hopefully catch up on some work as well. As always, you'll find more photos on my instagram account (I'm @cakeandvikings) and you can follow me there if you'd like to keep up with what I'm up to on a more regular basis!

    Comments
  • hello from norway

    Soon I'll be sharing photos of a few of my favorite finished Vasas as promised, but I've been packing, traveling, and fighting off jetlag, so it'll still be a few days, I'm afraid! I arrived in Oslo on Tuesday and I'm here for the summer, taking an intensive Norwegian language course at the International Summer School at the University of Oslo. I'm also hoping to set aside some time for a little bit of Norwegian textiles research, and if I'm really lucky, I'll be visiting Annemor Sundbø's studio in Setesdal at some point. I'm excited to explore resources that are harder to find or unavailable in the States, and this includes visiting lots of museums. 

    For now, I'm just settling in and trying to keep a steady sleep schedule as I start to explore my new neighborhood in Oslo. It's an area where I haven't stayed before, and I love the process of exploring a new neighborhood, finding the most awesome things tucked away on side streets. Norway in the summer is pretty hard to beat.

    Comments
  • reykjavík fashion festival

    The third and final post about my trip to Reykjavík: the Reykjavík Fashion Festival! Eight designers were showing this year, and according to Cirilia, the room was larger this year than last year, so I gather that this show is growing. Like many of the big events at DesignMarch, the venue was Harpa. It was my first experience with the world of fashion shows, so if you're new to how they work like I was, here's a little run-down:

    The shows are short - ten, maybe 15 minutes at most, depending on how many pieces are being shown and how fast or slow the models walk. After each show, everyone must clear the room so they can reset the stage and prep for the next show, changing out lights, set pieces, screens, and any other scenery being put to use. After waiting around for about 45 minutes, they're ready to reopen the doors and let the show attendees back in. The next show happens, and the whole process repeats. In, out, in, out, in, out, in out... you do a lot more waiting around (and people watching, as everyone's totally put themselves on display - this is a fashion event, after all) than you do actually watching fashion shows. 

    The Ziska show at RFF14

    And speaking of putting oneself on display, while I didn't put quite as much effort into my RFF ensemble as Cirilia and Stephen did, I can't deny that I wanted to look good and I put some thought into my clothing choices! Cirilia knit herself a truly amazing dress with some Big Loop yarn from Loopy Mango and some Schoppel Wolle XL (distributed by Skacel). The fashion bloggers were all over it. Stephen wore a pair of his infamous swants with a pimped lopapeysa and a shoulder piece by Cakes and Troubles, and the fashion bloggers were all over that, too. I went a little simpler, with a few pieces from Velouria and a knitted collar. You can see Cirilia's dress here, Stephen's outfit here, and my ensemble here (all Instagram links). For the record, the people watching was great.

    But on to the shows! I won't write about all of them here, but here's a list of the designers/labels that were showing, with links to photo slideshows:

    Farmer's Market
    Ziska
    Magnea
    Ella
    Rey
    Sigga Maija
    Cintamani
    Jör

    As far as the actual clothes, my favorites were probably Farmer's Market and Ella. And for the shows, Farmer's Market and Ziska (Ella's show had a girl-power theme going on, but as far as I'm concerned there were some mixed messages about war and peace, both in the video portion and the models' walk portion).

    The Farmer's Market Collection I could probably live in. It was the first show of the day, around 11am, and they kept a mellow pace throughout the show. I think some folks were hoping for something to wake them up first thing in the morning (for many residents of Reykjavik, 11:00 isn't that far from "first thing in the morning"), but I really enjoyed the quiet mood. Atmospheric music played, and the screen at the back of the runway displayed a rural Icelandic church as the models lazily sauntered down the runway. It was the slowest-moving runway show I think I've ever seen. The nice thing about it was that you had plenty of time to take in every detail of the clothes. Farmer's Market was creating a mood. 

    I'd call the Farmer's Market style a little bit rustic; they're definitely nodding at traditional garb and acknowledging a connection to Iceland's history. Their knitwear is always gorgeous, and the styling for this show was fantastic as well. It was quite romantic, and as much as I start to roll my eyes when I hear someone bring up Kinfolk, it wouldn't be out of place there. The palette is muted and often natural. None of these clothes would be out of place in Seattle.

    Farmer's Market at RFF14. Photos by Birta Rán, used with permission. View the whole slideshow here.

    Mixed messages aside, I did really like the clothes in Ella's collection, which was full of simple, wearable pieces. My favorites were the super sixties numbers with miniskirts/minidresses under coats - made to feel even more sixties by the Twiggy-esque hair. There was also a long dress (or skirt and top; I think it might be separates) that I loved. If I ever have reason to wear something floor length like that, I would absolutely wear that piece. The palette here still wasn't bold, but there was more variation in color, paired with neutrals.

    Ella at RFF14. Photos by Birta Rán, used with permission. View the whole slideshow here.

    Other thoughts: the palette of the Ziska show was gorgeous (black, white, grey, lavender, and mint), Cintamani pleasantly surprised us with a bright and colorful show we enjoyed (they're an outdoor and activewear line, so we weren't sure how much to expect, but it was the most bright color we saw all day), and the Jör show was totally weird, but weirdly enjoyable (it was clear that generally it was the most highly anticipated show, and consequently the best-attended one). It felt like we'd fallen into some kind of steampunk manga. All that said, I probably don't need to attend any fashion shows for awhile, but I'm glad for the experience!

    Comments
  • rvk part 2

    Barbara borrowed my hat when it started snowing on us.

    Friday was spent at the National Museum and ended with a fashion show, a precursor to Saturday's events. I didn't take any photos at the museum (though Cirilia did take a handful of them), but if you're interested in Iceland's history even a little bit, I feel like the National Museum is a must-see in Reykjavik. I spent two hours there but I could have lingered longer. I definitely spent some time nerding out over medieval manuscripts, and as a drop spindle spinner, I really enjoyed seeing the Viking-era stone spindle whorls and woven (or nalbinded) fabric remnants. There was also a really great photography exhibit on the the ground floor while we were there, and all the work being featured was shot by female photographers. The works spanned over a century of photography.

    The fashion show we went to was over at the art museum by the harbor, Hafnarhúsið. It was a very different vibe than the shows the next day. I think that the fashion world tends to take itself a little too seriously and the folks in attendance at the Hildur Yeoman show seemed to fall into that category. Still, it was an interesting experience and I'm glad we attended. The show was for Hildur's new collection, called Yulia. I believe it's named after (and partially inspired by) her great aunt. Or grandmother? Either way, it was a badass lady in her family, and I'm all for being inspired by that.

    The clothes weren't for me, but I managed to grab a photo or two anyway. Black, white, and red were th thematic colors for the collection. The girls you see at the back were doing a choreographed dance piece, which also kicked off the show.

    Comments
  • reykjavík so far

    Hello from Reykjavík, where we're halfway through DesignMarch 2014 and the Reykjavík Fashion Festival!

    I've been posting on Instagram since arriving, as have Cirilia and Stephen, and I put a bunch of our photos into the montage above. If you want to follow along, you can follow us at @cakeandvikings, @cirilia, and @westknits.

    First of all, Iceland is beautiful. I may be here for the design and fashion events (and to galavant around with buddies) but it wouldn't be that hard to skive off and stare at the landscape or out over the rooftops all day instead. Truly. 


    I arrived early in the morning on Tuesday. I had the Flybus drop me off at Reykjavík Downtown Hostel, near my friend Peter's place, which worked out well for me because I could have a coffee (I didn't sleep on the overnight flight) and some breakfast while I waited for Peter. We got to spend the day together, but I also got to get some work done and take a nap (very necessary).

    Stephen and his friend Barbara (of Chillimint) arrived from Amsterdam later that day, and Cirilia arrived the next morning. Our days thus far have consisted of a lot of coffee, snacks, and knitting. And outfit changes. Reykjavík is known for its street style but I'm not sure this city's residents can hold a candle to these guys. 

    Cirilia, Stephen, and Barbara headed down the hill to Harpa for Thursday's opening day Design Talks. I love how Harajuku Cirilia's pimped-lopapeysa look feels.

    post-coffee on Wednesday

    I feel positively tame standing next to them, swathed in black, white, and grey (right down to the lopapeysa I bought at the Handknitting Association today, seen in the Instagram montage above). But I feel like me, so it works.

    Opening day's talks on Thursday were really excellent (you can read about the programming on the DesignMarch website here). "Design" is such a diverse, broad term, and the wide range of speakers really drove that point home. The morning started off with two speakers who work in urban planning & design situations, and one of them, Kathryn Firth, might have been my favorite speaker of the day. She's working on the ongoing redesign of Olympic Park in London in the wake of the 2012 Olympics, and I have to admit I hadn't given much thought before to what happens to all the giant Olympics complexes after the games.

    After lunch the talks switched gears: we had some tech talk first (with Robert Wong from Google) and then moved on to fashion, with Mikael Schiller from Acne Studios and finally Calvin Klein. The Google talk was good, and about what you'd expect: Robert was charming in a humble, not-smooth-talking kind of way, with funny quips and emotional hooks and appropriately placed "instructional videos" that are totally ads, no matter what Google claims. I got caught up in the moment during his talk, and found my feelings toward Google (which are mostly good, but I do have some grievances) shifting in a more positive direction. After his talk, however, I came down from this magic Cloud (I guess Glass isn't a great thing to stand on) and realized I'd just been expertly emotionally manipulated. High five, Google. You're winning whatever game you're playing and it still makes me uncomfortable.

    I really enjoyed Mikael from Acne's talk. He was funny and genuine and seems generally bemused that people like what his company is doing (though of course he works very hard to make it so that people do). I probably won't buy their jeans or other clothes, but Acne's really on the up right now.

    Calvin Klein... well, he's undeniably a legend. Instead of giving a presentation like the other speakers did, his talk was in the form of an interview, and his interviewer was Icelandic designer Steinunn (a former employee of his). It was clear that CK and Steinunn have somewhat of a special relationship and the utmost respect for each other, which is lovely, but it made for a pretty vanilla interview, I must admit. I'm very glad to have heard Calvin Klein speak at all, and he gave some great advice for aspiring designers, but it would've been a much richer and more interesting interview if his interlocutor had been willing to bring up critique or controversy, or anything other than glowing praise. Perhaps if you're Calvin Klein, you have the authority (or maybe the ego) to pretend critical analysis doesn't apply to you and choose your interviewers accordingly. He was so casual when he mentioned hanging out in the Hamptons and deciding to send his personal plane to Boston to fly Marky Mark down to talk about underwear... and it was at that moment that I realized how far Calvin Klein's reality was from mine, or most of the other people in this world. Nonetheless, it was interesting to hear his story and I'm grateful I had the opportunity. 

    --

    The weather the morning of Design Talks was gorgeous, and we took advantage of the gorgeous light outside Harpa (reflected off the geometric, multi-colored windows) and snapped a few goofy photos:

    I have more to write about what we've done so far (especially the National Museum!), but I think I'll save that for the next post. Until then!

    Comments
  • travels &c.

    Well, I'm all packed...

    ...and ready to go to Iceland! I'm headed to Reykjavík next week for Design March and the Reykjavík Fashion Festival, where I'll be hanging out with Cirilia Rose, Stephen West, and my dear friend Peter (Peter and I are old friends from high school, and we used to get together to bake brownies and cake and watch Björk videos, so we're pretty excited to hang out in Iceland). I always love a trip to Iceland, but it's my first time going to Design March, so I'm looking forward to it even more than usual. I'm hoping to share some updates while I'm there (I've brought my laptop along for the ride).

    On that note, after Iceland I'll be visiting family for a week, so I won't be back at Paper Tiger HQ until the second week of April. I've taken down listings for physical items from the shop (digital items are obviously still available), and any wholesale orders won't go out until I get back. 

    Comments
  • a few updates

    I'm back in Seattle after a few weeks of travel over the holidays, and it feels quite good to be back in the office and working again. I had a lot of fun on my travels, though. Here are a few things I've been up to:

    I spent the new year in Oslo, which was really lovely despite the lack of snow. In addition to seeing some dear friends, my partner and I did a little bit of coffee tourism, because there's a pretty unique thing happening in the Oslo coffee scene right now. I have to say I'm a fan (you can read about it here - thanks to my friend Kamni for the link). The coffee in the photo above is Finca Tamana at the Tim Wendelboe spot in Grünerløkka (extracted via the Aeropress, which was totally different than an espresso preparation - Aeropress is the way to go, for this one).

    I went to London, where it was mostly rainy (but there was some beautiful sunshine as well). I had a chance to meet up with Meghan and Lydia from Pom Pom Quarterly which was a treat, and I hope I'll get to see them both again sometime. I'm already looking forward to the spring issue coming out. And I really loved London. I want to go back already, because there's so much to see! I feel like I barely scratched the surface.

    I also had a stop in North Carolina, where I was able to give my mom this skein of handspun I'd made her for Christmas. It's my third skein, a 2-ply, and much finer than the first two. It's more even, as well, and mostly a fingering weight (with some thicker spots). I'm still enjoying spinning, though I feel quite slow at it, but I love the portability of a drop spindle.

    A few other updates:

    • I've created an errata page for pattern corrections, which can be found here. I'm working on integrating it better into the site so that it's easy to find, but the "knits" page needs an overhaul anyway, so I'll probably combine those two projects.
    • I'm at work on a couple different patterns at the moment, so I'll have new designs to share in the coming weeks, which is always exciting!
    • I have paper copies of several of my patterns now (Vasa and the F/W 13 collection) and I'm putting the finishing touches on my wholesale set-up (I'll be distributing myself for the time being), so if you work in a yarn store and your store would be interested in carrying paper copies of Paper Tiger patterns to sell, I'd love to hear from you. My email can be found on the about page.
    More soon, as always.
    Comments
  • knitting in japan

    Dispatch from Japan!

    I've been here since Tuesday, and this is mostly a vacation, but I couldn't resist doing some yarn-related exploring while here. A few months back I read a feature in Amirisu magazine, a wonderful bilingual Japanese/English online magazine based in Japan, about new local yarn stores in Tokyo. At the top of the list was Keito, and I made it over there yesterday to check out the store.

    the adorable front doors of Keito

    誕生日おめでとう, Keito!

    They're getting ready to celebrate their first anniversary this month, and they had an adorable window display complete with a pom pom cake. I was too shy to take any photos inside, but I spent a good deal of time browsing their selection of yarns and books (and they had a great selection of both). It's a really lovely space, with a table over at one end for their knit cafe events. Keito imports a lot of their yarns, and it was fun to see Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift on the shelves along with one of my favorites, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter! They also had several imported yarn lines I'd never seen before. Somehow, I managed to not buy any yarn, but I did leave with a new stitch dictionary, pictured below:

    パターンブック 300 / Knitting Patterns Book 300 is one of the stitch dictionaries published by Nihon Vogue, and as far as I can tell from my Google searches it looks like it's out of print. There are plenty of stitch patterns in here that I've seen before, but quite a few that are nothing at all like what's found in the stitch dictionaries I've purchased in the States. Honestly, I think this book's got me itching to just make blankets to try out different stitch patterns. It's not hard to see how the sampler afghan came to be! I'm looking forward to getting it home and trying out some of the patterns.

    東京 > 京都

    For now, I'm in Kyoto, and I don't get back to Seattle until the 13th so it may be a few weeks before you see a real update from me. I did get a little knitting done on the train from Tokyo to Kyoto, and you can be sure there will be some travel photos upon my return!

    Comments
  • feature in knitscene magazine

    I'm really excited to share some news with you today: I've got an article in the fall issue of Knitscene Magazine!

    It's no secret that I love to travel, and the article is a short piece on travel and inspiration. I take a look at a few designers who are doing cool things with traditional techniques tied to a specific place or people. Huge thanks to Kate Davies for chatting with me about her work and Shetland, and to Andrea Rangel for talking to me about Cowichan knitting (and to both of you for sharing photos). I also want to give a shout out to my editor, Amy Palmer, and especially Lisa Shroyer, editor of Interweave Knits (who was still on the Knitscene team when we started work on this issue), because they're both amazing and it was Lisa who brought me on board in the first place. They rule.

    This is a great issue with some really beautiful patterns (I'm in love with Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark's Emmanuelle Sweater. Such a great use of intarsia!). The magazine officially hits newsstands on July 16th but the digital copy is already available, and you can either pick one up or pre-order the hard copy on Knitting Daily's website here.

    Comments
  • sydney favorites

    I wanted to round up a list of a few favorite discoveries from Sydney, Australia. Five days is not a long time to explore a new city, and though I did my best to get out and around different areas of the city, many of these favorites are located in the neighborhood where I stayed, Surry Hills. It's a neighborhood I can heartily recommend visiting, though, and I enjoyed strolling up and down Crown Street, checking out a myriad of awesome local shops and restaurants. But without further ado, on to the favorites:

    Hyde Park / Metro St. James

    Hyde Park is in the center of town, a gorgeous green couple of blocks full of tree-lined walks and fountains. I found myself in Hyde Park every day I was in Sydney, but the walk through the park early in the morning my first day there was pretty magical. We stopped for breakfast at Metro St. James, a brand new French cafe built into an old building that's part of the entrance to the St. James metro station. The cafe opens up onto the park so that even when sitting inside, you feel like you're out on the terrace. And this place is good. Great coffee, and I had the best avocado on toast of my life. Both the park and the cafe are worth your time.

    Kürtősh

    It's relatively rare to see Hungarian restaurants, bakeries, or shops outside of Hungary, so after my year spent living there I get really excited when I stumble upon one. Kürtősh isn't specifically Hungarian themed, but the prioprietors did take its name from the Hungarian pastry kürtőskalács, one of my favorites (anglicizing the name with an 'h' at the end, so that you might come close to pronouncing it correctly!). They even traveled to Hungary in order to purchase the traditional oven kürtőskalács is baked in, and they trained with Hungarian bakers to learn how to make this specialty properly. I can vouch for the authenticity: their kürtőskalács is super good and exactly like what I've had in Hungary. The philosophy of this cafe, which has a few locations, was to create a cozy space that feels like home, reminiscent of childhood memories of a kitchen filled with the smell of fresh baked goods. The selection of treats reflect that, with a mix of different offerings, from the aforementioned kürtőskalács and traditional Hungarian dobos torta to the less exotic but totally comforting 'mum's chocolate cake'. I visited the Surry Hills location three times in five days, where the staff was super friendly and amazing, and they have two other spots, in Randwick and Crows Nest.

    Follow

    During an afternoon downpour we took refuge inside a little shop called Follow. I didn't get any photos of the shop interior itself, which is a shame, because it's tucked inside a beautiful old pharmacy storefront - and I mean old. All the old wooden pharmacy cabinets lining the walls have been preserved and now showcase beautiful products by independent Australian designers. This is one of the best curated boutiques I've come across in a long time, carrying clothing by independent designers, a range of artwork and other handmade goods, paper goods and stationery, and jewelry. This spot was another Surry Hills find.

    Taronga Zoo

    As far as zoos go, this one's pretty spectacular. Taronga Zoo is a short ferry ride from downtown Sydney, so the journey to the zoo is a trip in itself, with great views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Everything about this zoo felt so well done, and there's a huge emphasis on education and conservation, helping park visitors to learn about the impact our everyday lives as humans have on the natural world and ideas for how to reduce that impact. (Public thank you to my mom for suggesting a trip to this zoo - we wouldn't have made it over otherwise.)

    Mardi Gras Parade

    This last one's kind of cheating, because it's time-dependent, but I couldn't not include it in this list. We had no idea until right before we we left for the trip that we'd accidentally booked ourselves into Sydney Mardi Gras's culminating weekend, but I'm so glad we did. Mardi Gras in Sydney is basically a three week-long pride festival, drawing hundreds of thousands of people every year, with a big emphasis on LGBTQI rights and equality. The parade was immensely fun and while I didn't make it to any of the other events going on, this festival is both one big party and a great opportunity for discussion and education. It was hugely inspiring and I encourage anyone interested to check out the official Sydney Mardi Gras website.

    Comments
  • color/texture/pattern in sydney, australia

    The biggest impression that Sydney, Australia left on me was one of color and life. This city felt like it was brimming with vivid saturation, a reflection of the vibrant, bustling, and creative communities that have sprung up over the last decade. I have more to share about my time in the city, but I wanted to put some of the examples I collected of that color and life around the city into one post.

    Comments
  • travel / store updates

    I've just gotten back from a two-week trip to Australia and New Zealand! It was an inspiring trip in a million different ways, and I'm working on a post rounding up some of my favorite things and places, but I've got a bit of work to catch up on before it's ready to go!

    In the meantime, I'm super happy to announce that the Paper Tiger Store is now accessible right here on paper-tiger.net and it can be accessed at any time by clicking "store" at the top of the menu on the left side of the page. It's still set up through etsy.com, but being able to carry my products right here on the website rather than linking to an external site is a great move forward for Paper Tiger! In conjunction with this move, I'm really happy to announce that my knitting patterns that are available for purchase on Ravelry are now also available to purchase as instant downloads in the Paper Tiger Store (free patterns won't appear in the store). While most knitters I know seem to be on Ravelry these days, plenty of people do still purchase elsewhere so I'm glad to be able to offer another option!

    Lots of stuff is in the works, so look for more updates soon!

    Comments
  • inspiration: old stomping grounds

    I'm back in my hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina for the holidays, and I've been out & about hitting up some old haunts and I'm happy to see it seems like Greensboro's doing well. In particular, I've been spending time in a little pocket of Elm Street, downtown, and I thought I'd share some of the goodness with you.

    One of my favorite spots to hit up when I was in high school was a vintage shop called Design Archives. They've moved locations a couple of times since I moved away, but their current spot at 342-344 S. Elm Street is half Design Archives vintage shop, half handmade emporium with booths full of handmade goods and art by local vendors and designers. While I miss the old giant location of my high school years, this might be my favorite incarnation of Design Archives to date. The handmade emporium is kind of hard to beat. (storefront photo from the Design Archives website)

    I picked up a really cute print by Heart & Craft while I was there to remind me of my home state once I'm back in Seattle. I love everything this husband and wife team is doing.

    (here's the listing, if you're hankering for one of your own)

    I also popped into a shop on the next block called Just Be (352 S. Elm Street), and I'm glad I did. They carry a really nice product mix, some strictly local stuff and some larger nationally-distributed independent companies as well (I was happy to see some products from Bison Bookbinding & Letterpress, of Bellingham, WA in there). Their website is also an online store, if you're too far away to make it to the brick-and-mortar location.

    This pocket of Elm Street is also home to one of my favorite local coffee places, The Green Bean, and my favorite yarn store in Greensboro, Gate City Yarns. Should you ever find yourself in Greensboro, make sure you save some time to make it downtown!

    Comments
  • where in the world is paper tiger?



    Hello, friends. It's been a little quiet in this space as of late, I know! It's high time I provided an explanation.

    Arts and crafts are a huge part of what I do, but I am an academic as well. Earlier this year, sometime in the spring, I was getting ready to finish up my master's degree in TESOL (that's Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and feeling restless, I decided to apply for English teaching jobs abroad. Well, I was offered a few, and so I have relocated to Debrecen, Hungary for the 2011-2012 academic year to teach at the university. My new job takes up quite a bit of my time and energy, leaving less time for the various art projects I usually have going on.

    But never fear! That does not mean that I'm not working on any projects. I still have some design things on the horizon, and I'll be doing quite a bit of knitting and crafting over the course of the year. I'm hoping to finally work on a few of the knitting patterns I've been meaning to write for months (or years). I will continue to post about arts and crafts and music happenings. And next summer, when the year is over, I'll be headed back home to Seattle.

    If you have any interest in my Hungarian adventure, you can read about it and see lots (and lots) of photos right here:
    greathungarianplain.wordpress.com

    And in the meantime, here are a few recent happenings:


    I performed at Doe Bay Fest on Orcas Island in Washington with my old friend John Vanderslice, and it was an immensely good time. I might have something to share with you in the next few weeks. Until then, this is a photo of me and John by the supremely talented Lori Paulson, taken at the festival.


    On a trip down to San Francisco this summer, I made sure to swing by Vanderslice's studio Tiny Telephone to see the new B Room, Minitel. Having shot the A Room last summer, I had to shoot the B Room too! You can see all my Minitel photos here.


    My first knitting project in Hungary: this is Knitted Bliss's Stockholm Scarf


    I had some WA Home shirts printed for my art show in June, and there are still a few available through Luckyhorse Industries.

    Check for more here soon. Promise!

    Comments