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.