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Knitting Poetry

Wed 01 Apr 2015 04:04pm


April is National Poetry Month. Inspired by a favorite poem, I knit a little coaster to celebrate the season. I used motif No.52 from my book 150 Scandinavian Motifs. Instead of knitting it stranded, I tried my hand at intarsia. I’m a little rusty and just off the needles it’s a bit bumpy, but I think it will calm down with a nice blocking.

I actually saw a cardinal today, sitting on a branch just outside my window, sweetly singing. The birds are different here in my new home in the city. I am making new friends and learning new songs.

Pablo Neruda

The bird has come
to give the light:
from each trill of his
water is born.

And between water and light that unroll the air
now the spring is inaugurated,
now the seed knows that it has grown,
the root is portrayed in the corolla,
at last the eye lids of the pollen unclose.

All this was done by a simple bird
from a green branch.


La Primavera
Pablo Neruda

El párajo ha venido
a dar la luz:
de cada trino suyo
nace el agua

Y entre agua y luz que el aire desarrollan
ya está la primavera inaugurada,
ya sabe la semilla que ha crecido,
la raíz se retrata en la corola,
se abren por fin los párpados del polen.

Todo lo hizo un pájaro sencillo
desde una rama verde.

What’s your favorite spring poem?

You want this book! 
Full Woman, Fleshy Apple, Hot Moon: Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda
Translated by Stephen Mitchell
Harper Collins
ISBN 0-06-092877-8

For the coaster I used Quince & Co. Lark yarn. In egret, delft and leek. More specs on my Ravelry  page.




Wed 04 Mar 2015 05:03pm

Storhedder 1 Storhedder 2

Meet Storrhedder – a perfect hat for the season! Two versions for two different moods – a simple beanie or a slouchy beanie. It’s a great beginning colorwork project because the choice of pattern motifs progresses from super simple to more complex. The slouchy version has a bit more challenge, as it includes a “kross og kringle” or cross and circle pattern found on the traditional sweaters of the Setedal Valley region of Norway. In fact I named the pattern after a place that you can hike to in that area which has 1,000 year old runes carved into the rock, a trip I’d love to make.

If you wanted, you could follow the chart upside down to have the XO pattern at the beginning – for either version. That way the challenge is at the start and you can leave the easier stuff for the end, for knitting and mini-series binging with subtitles…if you wanted to.

I’ve been wearing my Storhedder slouchy beanie all through Maine’s “coldest February on record”. Did you see our policeman throwing water and making instant snow? I also took Storhedder along with me to a knitting designer’s retreat in Vermont last weekend. I know…leave Maine for the snows of Vermont?

Seyton Pond Vermont MJ & Gudrun in Vermont (1)

But it was great to hang out by the fire with like-minded friends – silver and gold, new friends and old. And it was the first time this winter I got to spend time with my fine friend and traveling buddy Gudrun Johnston (wearing a Wilma Malcomson hat). Our trips to Shetland are filled for 2015, but we have a wait list for both The Summer Adventure and Wool Week trip. We’ve also started a list for those who would like information on our 2016 trips when it comes out late in the year. Zip over to The Shetland Trader and let us know if you would like to be put on any of the lists and which ones.

Vermont footprints Storhedder_beauty (1)

Find Storhedder on Ravelry!!!

Students who’ve taken my Scandinavian Colorwork class may recognize Storhedder as a couple of versions of our class sample. You can all finally add your project to Ravelry with a proper name! I’ll be teaching this class next here in Portland Maine at A Gathering of Stitches March 21 and in April at Vogue Knitting Live Pasadena 2015 – April 17 – 19. Hope I see some of you at either of these events.

And mini-series binging? I’m watching Fortitude…not all of the season is out so it is only a partial binge…it is filmed in Iceland – worth it for the scenery alone. And the town of Fortitude is based on a community in the Norwegian arctic islands of Svalbard…so Storhedder is perfect knitting!
What are you binge-watching this winter?


Never Not Knitting Podcast #87

Sun 01 Feb 2015 02:02pm

Blacker Yarns and Mucklestone Giveaway

I’ve got a story on Alana Dakos’s podcast #87! A few little tales about how I came to knit with “All The Colors”! I met Alana in one of the most beautiful locations on the planet, at the Net Loft’s Fiber Retreat in Cordova Alaska. Alana has a famously wonderful podcast Never Not Knitting that is always a joy to cozy up and knit with!

Alana has a fantastic giveaway included in episode #87 – my book 150 Scandinavian Motifs and four pretty colors of Limited Edition Blacker Yarns Westcountry Tweed – gorgeous stuff! Visit the Never Not Knitting Website for details. There are two identical prize sets to give away and you’ve got until February 15 to enter. Two winners will be announced in Episode 88!
Cordova Town
The town of Cordova


Cordova hiking!

Alana & MJ

With Alana and her bestie at the top of the Ski Hill – wonderful and magical in the fog!

Listen to me babble on and go for a chance to win!

Never Not Knitting Podcast #87


Travels: Bergen Norway

Tue 06 Jan 2015 02:01pm


We had a breathtakingly beautiful arrival as we sailed into Bergen Norway, misty and wonderful. It was our first stop on the Craft Cruises Trans-Atlantic Knitting Cruise last summer.


There is lots to see and do in this gorgeous little gem of a city.

3_Bergen (3) 3_Bergen (2) 3_Bergen 1

Adventures abound around every winding corner, charming tiny houses often with lace curtains, a bustling fish market and fine shops.

3_Bergen (1)

The highlight of our visit for me was a visit to the Oleana Factory. I’ve loved this Norwegian brand since their very beginning. My mom picked up a sweater in Norway way back in the early 90’s, and I used to keep the tiny 3 x 3 inch catalog she brought home next to my bed, for inspiration before I went to sleep.

The idea for Oleana began over tea. Alarmed that most production of Norwegian textiles was moving out of the country, three friends and colleagues, decided to start a company of their own. Their backgrounds: a knitter, an economist and a textile engineer. This was a bit of a dangerous undertaking in the 90s.


Oleana wasn’t only interested in keeping the textile industry alive in Norway, they wanted to produce some of the most beautiful knitwear in the world, with a commitment to fine, progressive design. Oleana combines a fresh modern look with design traditions of the past.


Their first hire was Solveig Hisdal, an amazing artist trained in fashion design. Her process begins with sketches, so beautiful they are worthy of framing all on their own!

Solveig remains the sole designer and is responsible for the entire look, including styling and location scouting for photoshoots and all the photography! She even produced a model. Oleana’s first model was Solvieg’s daughter and to this day all of their models are relatives of the owners or employees.

Solveig Hisdal has been the winner of “The Award for Design Excellence” by the Norwegian Design Council six times! In 2001 she was awarded Norway’s top prize for design, architecture and handicrafts, the Jacobprisen from Norsk Form.


The factory itself, situated on an exquisite fjord about a half hour outside of Bergen is a thing of beauty! Like no factory I’d ever visited – fresh and clean, modern and inspiring!

8_Bergen 9_Bergen (1) 16_Bergen

Co-Owner Signe Aarhus, the textile engineer mentioned, (above right) showed us around and shared the Oleana story.


Eye candy everywhere.


What an exhilarating treat our visit was!


Notice the views!


Precision work, committed employees…


…with a sense of humor!


Yarn bombing shows the way!

If you’d like to visit, there’s another North Atlantic Craft KnittingCruise next summer with awesome Gwen Bortner. Make sure you let Mel know I sent you!

To learn more about Oleana, you should really get a copy of their gorgeous book, Oleana From dream to fairytale reality…I got mine at the factory and don’t see it on their website, so you might write to them to inquire, it is absolutely stunning!