Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Norsk Klasse March 11, 2015

Filed under: Language study,Norway,Norwegian language,Scandinavia — Janet @ 8:34 pm

Our fabulous norsk laerer is on vacation    In his absence a small group has formed to meet at Piccolino’s in Ballard at the usual Tuesday morning time of 10:30-12.  We had our first meeting this past Tuesday.  The group was small but very enthusiastic.  It has been suggested that we have a topic to talk about next Tuesday.  In norsk of course.  One member suggested Norwegian authors.  Good idea – I hope we all agree.



Which came first in stimulating me to take a interest in Norway?  Stamp collecting, rug making, adventure book reading, knitting, weaving, Norwegian friends, fabulous skiers, close boy friend, travel – Norway Sweden and Denmark weren’t my first choice for the American Youth Hostel cycling trip in 1959, but I’m glad I went.

First I have to work out what I’m going to say about Norwegian authors, po norsk of course.

Question:   Is the postcard image below from Sweden or Norway?


A Cycling Odyssey July 19, 2011

Filed under: Bicycling,Finland,Norway,Scandinavia,Scenery,Seasons — Janet @ 10:12 pm

Given my interest in all things Nordic and a son who is keen on long distance cycling, I seized upon this book when it came out not so long ago.  This past week said son was participating the a long distance endurance cycling challenge in Colorado so I thought it appropriate to be reading this book as he was cycling up and down those mountains.  As it turned out, the book was also appropriate in reminding me of a trip that said son did maybe 20 years ago in Norway and Finland.  That long-ago trip was in somewhat reverse direction from the cycling done by Robert Goldstein in Riding With Reindeer.  And also it wasn’t done by bicycle, so far as I know.  I’ll ask James when he gets back from Colorado to find out just what and how he did that trip north from Oslo to loop over the top of Norway and then south in Finland to Helsinki.

The Riding with Reindeer man did his trip ex-Seattle flying to Helsinki and then cycling intensively east and north, completing over 2000 miles.  A great adventure.  He did this trip in the summer of 2007 and the book has a 2010 publication date.  If I’m not mistaken it was launched only a couple of months ago when the author gave a talk about the book at the Nordic Heritage Centre.  I didn’t get to the talk, but I did buy the book at that time when I saw it in the Heritage Centre shop while browsing before my Norwegian language class.

Reading the book, I came away with a somewhat better knowledge of the history and geography of Finland.  And his roughly day by day account gives a good feeling for the possible triumphs and hardships to be encountered in such an endeavour.   There are some good black and white photos in the book but for some lovely colour photos of fishing in Finland follow the link. 

Also I have just been reading the official blog of the Colorado High Country cycling challenge that James did.  That makes for good reading and viewing also.



June = Geassemannu June 24, 2011

Filed under: Art works,Artists,Librarians,Scandinavia,Seasons — Janet @ 5:43 pm

  Cover for the Sami Spirit Calendar 2011

This calendar celebrates the lives and culture of the Sami people of northern Scandinavia, Finland, and Russia.  The artwork is all copyright Kurt Seaberg. 

The calendar is dedicated to the memory of Rudolph Johnson (1916-2007).  Rudolph was born in Kirkenes Norway of Sami ancestry but lived most of his life in Duluth Minnesota. ( Kirkenes – the final stopping point on the trip north of the Hurtigruten, for those of you who followed the live voyage last week.)  Not only does Kirkenes ring a bell but also the fact that Rudolph Johnson was the library director at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. 

   artwork from The Sami Spirit Calendar, the drawing for June

If you google the words Sami language, you can find out more.


17 Swedish Designers June 4, 2011

   17 Swedish Designers, all women, touring in the U.S.   This is an exhibition of current industrial design ideas as pursued by 17 Swedish women.  Ceramics, furniture, and textiles, design for everyday use.  In black and white with a lot of bright accents.  This morning I went to a the Nordic Heritage Museum to see the exhibition and hear a talk given by one of the designers, Lotta Kuhlhorn.  Lotta is a graphic designer.  She has quite a range of work, all of which I liked – book covers, designs for kitchenware, designs for textiles.  She has her own firm,  Koloni Stockholm, along with being a designer for IKEA.  Her work, and that of others in the show, made me think of William Morris, Marimekko, and Cath Kidston.  She really likes the styles from the 1960’s – and that made many in the audience feel right at home!  I liked the colourful dress she was wearing – when asked if she had designed it, she replied “no, I found it in a flea market in Stockholm only last week”.  That is just so neat – to be a distinguished visitor giving a talk about a major exhibition and wearing a dress she found in a flea market.  My type of person!!

Here’s another website I found showing some of her work.  I think it’s fabulous. 

The exhibition was spread out over 3 rooms in the museum.  Items very neatly displayed on temporary flooring/platforms.  I was a bit disappointed not to see more in the way of textiles but then that’s my particular interest.  The exhibition as a whole was wonderful.   And here are a few of my photos from this morning.

  these knitted textiles were the work of Ulrika Martensson.

  very strong but in a way muted statements in rugs and cushions

  this photo doesn’t do justice to Lotta Kuhlhorn’s work but I want to include it anyhow

  an IKEA chair and cushion – I am a great fan of IKEA and in fact the chair I am sitting on as I type this is an IKEA chair which I bought for the sheer love of the design.

  some of the people there this morning – you can’t quite see Lotta live but she is in the mural – 2nd from the right

  Lotta live, in the patterned dress with a beige sweater – in the discussion earlier one of the questions was about a favourite colour – Lotta wasn’t sure but did say that one technique she used for getting to like a colour was to wear it for a while.  So here she is wearing beige which she doesn’t like very much but has plans to use it.  I really like her approach!

Another humourous thing that happened this morning was early on in the slide show when Lotta was starting to talk about her work.  She showed a couple of slides of her allotment in Stockholm.  Allotment was a strange word to this Seattle audience.  It was finally sorted out that allotments here in Seattle are called “pea patches”.  I like allotment better.

It was a coincidence this morning that I had a couple of emails about a big exhibition that is opening tomorrow in Kilkenny in Ireland.  An exhibition of work by leading tapestry weavers – all old friends.  Wish I could be there.


An Antique Postcard February 27, 2011

Filed under: Denmark,Postage stamps,Postcards,Scandinavia — Janet @ 2:19 am

  In the sorting of my belongings today I found this postcard.  I thought it looked quite antique, but when I turned it over I found the message was dated June 27, 1956.  Well, I guess that is antique – then so am I.  It’s from  the Fish Market in Copenhagen where according to the writer, the women wear newspaper hats.  Look left.  And also note the bicycle.  And the outfits worn by the customers.

  note the Danish stamp


Memories of Bhutan December 1, 2010

Filed under: Family,Family history,Photography,Scandinavia,Travel — Janet @ 1:57 am

The past few days have brought a veritable flood or memories of our years in Bhutan, particularly 1985-87 when we were there as a family, including cats and dogs of course.

Back in October when we attended the Snow Leopard Evening I sat next to a very nice man who I discovered had been to Bhutan recently and would be going again soon. We were mutually delighted when we found we had that part of the world in common.

Now this past Sunday I went to church and there was a guest speaker who talked of her work in connection with a Mountain Kingdom. She never mentioned Bhutan by name but it was in fact Bhutan that she was talking about and her work as a linguist recording the language of a group of people in eastern Bhutan. She lives in Ching Mai in Thailand and has travelled extensively in South East Asia. What a delight to see photographs of her family doing tourist things in Kathmandu Nepal.

I talked with her a bit after church and discovered further that she knows Egil and Kjersti Haugstad with whom we were friends all those years ago in Thimpu. Egil’s parents were missionaries in eastern Bhutan and established a leprosy hospital there. The Haugstad connection really set me abuzz particularly because our son James subsequently lived with them and their young family in Oslo Norway for two months one summer – early architecture experience for James. James worked on the Bhutan hospital project a bit when he was there with them in Oslo. (And James had a great travel experience afterward as well when he went to the far north of Norway and then travelled east and south to end up in Helsinki before returning to Dublin.)

Feeling stirred with Bhutan associations, I was browsing in the travel book shop in Wallingford and lit upon a wonderful travel book for this Himlayan Kingdom. A more recent edition of the book by Francoise Pommeret. Wonderful pictures and maps. And that has lead me to finding a lot of more up-to-date pictures of that part of the world.

More – we have finally got our dvd player (or more accurately James’s dvd player) hooked up and can watch not only our European dvd’s but also ones from the U.S. For some weeks we have had Brad Pitt just waiting to be viewed in Jean-Jacques Arnaud’s film Seven Years in Tibet. At last – we have viewed it – I thought it was wonderul!

Further coincidence – in browsing the internet I find that recently there was a Bhutanese delegation which, along with the President of Ireland Mary MacAleese and her husband visited the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde in Denmark. Remember the Sea Stallion that sailed from Roskilde to Dublin was it 3 years ago now? When we were in Bhutan there was a large presence of Danish people and they were part of the social scene. We even acquired a cat from a young Danish family. (Said cat was a bit untame and tended to bite which was not particularly suitable for a young family – when we left Thimphu the cat moved next door and was renamed Thatcher by her new owner)

Should I go on? No, I’ll just post a few photos from Francoise Pommeret’s collection. I transferred the photos from this site. There are a lot more excellent ones if you want to go there – to the site I mean. (my apologies – I now can’t find the site – the vagaries of the internet – but I copied some of the photos to my files and have posted them from there – the point is, they are not our photos – we have plenty of those as well and can post them in due course, if anyone is interested) Two of the photos below are from Denmark and the other is Thimphu Dzong in winter – snow was unusual in the Thimphu Valley but there it is – beautiful!


What To Knit November 4, 2010

Filed under: Knitting,Norway,Scandinavia — Janet @ 11:16 pm

I have so many ideas floating around of what I would like to knit, either using yarns from my stash or, heaven forbid, buying more yarn.  At the moment I am continuing to knit the multicoloured blankets, using a self-striping yarn and another lace weight yarn of a suitable colour.  Suitable depending on my ideas about colour co-ordination and matching.  I have almost finished the latest one, which is mostly yellow and green.  I have a goal for these blankets.  There are a lot of great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews appearing on the family tree.

  latest blanket, work in progress – I’m in the middle of a row, going back and forth in garter stitch (all knit) on a circular needle

One of the items I have in mind to knit next is some sort of jumper/sweater in an appealing colour or colours.  Given my fascination for Scandinavian knitting, I would like to do it in yarn from Scandinavia.  Not double knitting, finer than that.  Today, after my Norwegian language class, I went up to the Nordic Heritage Museum shop and couldn’t resist  a book on Norwegian style sweaters.

  Norwegian Sweater Techniques for Today’s Knitter by Therese Chynoweth

Included in this book there appear to be not only some very interesting patterns but also good instructions for doing steeks – i.e. taking scissors in hand and cutting a hole in my knitting.  More about that anon.  I haven’t been brave enough to tackle that technique yet but it is a skill I would like to master.


100 Cats Let Loose for a night in IKEA September 11, 2010

Filed under: Cats,Scandinavia — Janet @ 1:26 am

This morning on National Public Radio (NPR) we heard a news clip about the 100 cats spending the night in an IKEA store in Wembley, outside London.  Wow!  What a coincidence – yesterday I made my first visit to an IKEA store.  What an experience.  We must have spent about 4 hours roaming through those warehouses.  And in the end we came away with very little.  Not for lack of trying though.  We did get the big items we had gone there for – namely 3 big bookcases which were delivered to our house later in the evening.  Also an ironing board.   And we got a miscellany of smaller items which we brought home with us in the car.  Big disappointment though – the sofa bed which we very carefully selected was not available in the “load your shopping trolley” area. 

But it was very valuable to wander through the store and get more ideas of items which we might at some point order from the catalog.  A much better experience to see the items “live” rather than just a picture online or in the printed catalog.

Those 100 cats in IKEA Wembley.  IKEA Wembley looked very similar to IKEA South Seattle.  What fun to see the video of them leaping about, being nosey, being friendly, spitting, snarling, curling up, sleeping.

No cats in IKEA South Seattle  – at least if there were, we didn’t know about them.

  James and Ian in the check-out line

  Ian minding someone else’s trolley – it was really funny, we kept meeting the same people in each of the departments and at each of the stages – everyone proceeding at approximately the same pace

  the final instruction – how to say goodby in Swedish!


Solstice Notes June 21, 2010

Filed under: Nordic countries,Scandinavia,Scenery,Seasons — Janet @ 8:29 am

Continuing my fascination with the Solstice, I found the following information this morning.  This website is the source

Rising and setting times for the Sun

      Length of day Solar noon
Date Sunrise Sunset This day Difference Time Altitude Distance
(106 km)
21 Jun 2010 04:56 21:57 17h 01m 26s + 03s 13:27 60.0° 152.020
22 Jun 2010 04:56 21:58 17h 01m 22s − 03s 13:27 60.0° 152.029
23 Jun 2010 04:57 21:58 17h 01m 12s − 09s 13:27 60.0° 152.037
24 Jun 2010 04:57 21:58 17h 00m 55s − 17s 13:27 60.0° 152.044
25 Jun 2010 04:57 21:58 17h 00m 31s − 23s 13:28 60.0° 152.051
26 Jun 2010 04:58 21:58 17h 00m 00s − 30s 13:28 59.9° 152.058
27 Jun 2010 04:58 21:58 16h 59m 23s − 37s 13:28 59.9° 152.064

All times are in local time for Dublin
June Solstice (Summer Solstice) is on Monday, 21 June 2010, 12:29 in Dublin. In most locations north of Equator, the longest day of the year is around this date

And looking at the times for the whole month of June, I see that the length of the days and nights have been and will be quite similar.  Around the Solstice we seem to reach a sort of plateau and then the days get gradually shorter.

Rising and setting times for the Sun

      Length of day Solar noon
Date Sunrise Sunset This day Difference Time Altitude Distance
(106 km)
1 Jun 2010 05:03 21:43 16h 39m 51s + 2m 07s 13:23 58.7° 151.690
2 Jun 2010 05:02 21:44 16h 41m 53s + 2m 02s 13:23 58.8° 151.714
3 Jun 2010 05:02 21:45 16h 43m 50s + 1m 56s 13:23 58.9° 151.737
4 Jun 2010 05:01 21:46 16h 45m 41s + 1m 51s 13:23 59.0° 151.759
5 Jun 2010 05:00 21:47 16h 47m 26s + 1m 45s 13:23 59.1° 151.781
6 Jun 2010 04:59 21:48 16h 49m 06s + 1m 39s 13:24 59.2° 151.802
7 Jun 2010 04:59 21:49 16h 50m 40s + 1m 33s 13:24 59.3° 151.822
8 Jun 2010 04:58 21:50 16h 52m 08s + 1m 28s 13:24 59.4° 151.842
9 Jun 2010 04:58 21:51 16h 53m 30s + 1m 21s 13:24 59.5° 151.860
10 Jun 2010 04:57 21:52 16h 54m 45s + 1m 15s 13:24 59.6° 151.878
11 Jun 2010 04:57 21:53 16h 55m 54s + 1m 09s 13:25 59.7° 151.895
12 Jun 2010 04:57 21:53 16h 56m 57s + 1m 02s 13:25 59.7° 151.912
13 Jun 2010 04:56 21:54 16h 57m 53s + 55s 13:25 59.8° 151.927
14 Jun 2010 04:56 21:55 16h 58m 43s + 49s 13:25 59.8° 151.941
15 Jun 2010 04:56 21:55 16h 59m 27s + 43s 13:25 59.9° 151.955
16 Jun 2010 04:56 21:56 17h 00m 03s + 36s 13:26 59.9° 151.968
17 Jun 2010 04:56 21:56 17h 00m 33s + 30s 13:26 60.0° 151.980
18 Jun 2010 04:56 21:57 17h 00m 57s + 23s 13:26 60.0° 151.991
19 Jun 2010 04:56 21:57 17h 01m 13s + 16s 13:26 60.0° 152.001
20 Jun 2010 04:56 21:57 17h 01m 23s + 09s 13:27 60.0° 152.011
21 Jun 2010 04:56 21:57 17h 01m 26s + 03s 13:27 60.0° 152.020
22 Jun 2010 04:56 21:58 17h 01m 22s − 03s 13:27 60.0° 152.029
23 Jun 2010 04:57 21:58 17h 01m 12s − 09s 13:27 60.0° 152.037
24 Jun 2010 04:57 21:58 17h 00m 55s − 17s 13:27 60.0° 152.044
25 Jun 2010 04:57 21:58 17h 00m 31s − 23s 13:28 60.0° 152.051
26 Jun 2010 04:58 21:58 17h 00m 00s − 30s 13:28 59.9° 152.058
27 Jun 2010 04:58 21:58 16h 59m 23s − 37s 13:28 59.9° 152.064
28 Jun 2010 04:59 21:57 16h 58m 39s − 44s 13:28 59.8° 152.069
29 Jun 2010 04:59 21:57 16h 57m 49s − 50s 13:28 59.8° 152.074
30 Jun 2010 05:00 21:57 16h 56m 52s − 56s 13:29 59.7° 152.078

All times are in local time for Dublin

I think the furthest North I have ever been at this time of year is Bergen Norway.  I was there in early July in the summer of 1959 and I was so struck by it being light until well after midnight.  It never did seem to get completely dark and some of us had difficulty in sleeping.  Our group was staying in the youth hostel high above the city and our view was splendid.  Were we lucky in it being clear?  Bergen is well known for its rain but as I recall we only had a few showers and that was during the day. 

Reykjavik is even further North but still not North of the Arctic Circle, where the summer sun doesn’t set.  In Reykjavik the longest day is almost 22 hours.

Following are a few photos from the wikipedia entry for Reykjavik

  colourful rooftops

 Reykjavik in the 1860’s

  main street


Absent-Minded Knitter May 13, 2010

I knit this sweater a few years ago and I have worn it a lot.  Yesterday I happened to be looking at the cuffs and realised that one sleeve had a cuff knitted knit one, purl one – the cuff on the other sleeve is knit two, purl two.  Does it matter?  I don’t think so since it has gone un-noticed until just now.

Regular readers of this blog know that I like to read memoirs and other works of such ilk.     Here is an excellent one which I finished last night.  Nothing to Do but Stay, My Pioneer Mother, by Carrie Young.  A book I found in the Scandinavian Store on 15th near our home in Seattle.  This book is a collection of essays about Carrine Berg, 1879-1962.  Carrine came to America from Norway at the age of 3.  She grew up in Minnesota and went on to homestead in North Dakota.    She would have been of my grandparents generation.  The essays are fascinating telling of family life in the middle west at that time in history.     Carrine was a very skilled seamstress, and no doubt a knitter as well.  She was anything but absent-minded.  Her story comes through as of a pioneer woman of sturdy stock and one to be greatly admired.                                      

Now to get back to the editing of my own autobiography.