I’ve been reading quite a bit while my shoulder recovers – books, websites, and other things, too. I recently went back and re-listened to some my Woolful podcast interview, where I talked about wanting to really explore the world of Norwegian wool. While I have started to do that since moving to Norway, I still feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface. Having a bit more time to sit around and read up on things, though, I’m opening some doors and connecting some dots that I hadn’t before. Between revisiting the fantastic book Ren Ull (“Pure Wool”) which I’ve posted about on this blog before, and having some ongoing conversations with friends, I’ve had Norwegian yarns on the brain – specifically, those yarns whose wool is actually sourced here in Norway. I thought it might be a nice idea to start a sort of informal series here on the blog about Norwegian wool, both as a way to document what I’m learning and a way to share it with you all. I’d love for it to be a conversation, too – I’m by no means an expert and I’m always happy to pick up new information about this stuff. While the Norwegian knitting industry can be rather insular – which means the stuff I write about in these posts may not always be accessible or available to those outside Norway – my hope is that you all find them interesting and hopefully inspiring, too.
I think it makes sense to start with one of the larger yarn companies, and because their patterns have been inspiring me lately, I thought I’d kick off these posts with Rauma Garn. I started using Rauma’s yarns a couple of years ago, first after purchasing some at the Nordic Knitting Conference and later when Tolt Yarn and Wool began carrying their fingering weight Finullgarn and the heavier 3-ply Strikkegarn. They’re lovely woolen spun yarns that give knits a bit of character without being tweedy or heathered, necessarily. And obviously, I like Rauma because they’re one of the Norwegian yarn companies making a point to use wool sourced in Norway. I’ve translated a little excerpt from their “about me” page here:
“At Rauma Ullvarefabrikk we base our production on Norwegian wool, and the entire process – from wool to finished product – is carried out in our own mill in Veblungsnes in Møre og Romsdal. We consider our most important task to be awakening and inspiring joy in creativity, so we place great importance on design in our collections and we hope that you find inspiration in them.” (Original text here)
I have not been to Veblungsnes, but it sits at the end of a fjord on the west coast, which means it is bound to be beautiful. And as for the designs – I’ve been following Rauma’s Instagram account for about a year, and I have to say, I definitely find inspiration in their collections.
Because the knitting tradition and history is so rich in Norway, the major yarn companies have pretty serious back catalogs of patterns, and they often pick out old patterns to be reworked for modern tastes (much like Sandnes did with the patterns in 42 norkse kofter, which I blogged about here). Rauma’s latest round of redesigns is particularly good.
This sweater in particular caught my eye, from the collection 243R Redesign. Being a more traditional yarn company, the designs usually aren’t named, but are rather given what are effectively serial numbers – and you also often won’t find them on Ravelry. Remember what I said about the knitting industry here being insular? Nonetheless, I love this unisex number. The link above goes to the lookbook, where you can see it worked up in alternate colorways. And to top it off? There are kids’ sizes too:
From 244R Redesign.
There are also some more traditional two-color kofter, also from 243R Redesign:
And the new designs have been fantastic lately, too. I’m particularly obsessed with the bright kelly green they’re featuring this spring:
How beautiful is this simple stole above, by Marie Cecilie Dahl? It’s from the collection 241R, and the whole collection feels fresh and is styled beautifully. And lastly, the new kids’ stuff is also bright and fresh and very hip:
This is from collection 242R, and the whole thing is eye candy. It actually looks more like a ready-to-wear catalog than what I’m used to from the knitting world.
To see more, you can click over to the catalog page to see the most recent catalogs online (which include everything I’ve featured here), or you can check out their Facebook photos page, or follow them on Instagram at @raumagarn.
And just for fun, while this short film is only in Norwegian, it shows a glimpse of the mill, its setting, and its history as the marketing director walks you through the steps from wool to yarn:
Have you worked with Rauma yarns before?